BASIC PRINCIPLES internal website optimization
Cheatsheet for those who want to understand on the basis of internal SEO and save time
the hundreds of factors into accountWhen ranking search engines sites. Some of them are more significant, some less. Moreover, their importance changes with the development of search engine algorithms. But a group of factors that are associated with internal site optimization still play an important role in both Yandex and Google.
In the article, we will focus on the basic principles of internal SEO, without following which, getting to the top is impossible at all or possible only in topics and regions with very low competition in search. It is important to know them not only for specialists but also for site owners to correctly set tasks and control the work of performers.
What is the main difference between website internal SEO and external SEO
Internal website optimization is a set of measures aimed at improving the perception of a resource by search engines and users. It includes optimizing the code and site structure, working with content and commercial factors, analyzing and improving usability.
What is the main, difference between internal site and external site SEO? If work is carried out on the site (involving code or files on the server), then this is internal SEO. Other work (e.g. building links and brand mentions, local search promotion) is external SEO.
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Specialists will any advertising campaign on a turnkey- context, target, SEO – it is enough to have at least 3,000 rubles on your balance sheet.
Internal SEO: How started
Internal SEO is an ongoing process. No site can be said to be perfect from an SEO standpoint. You always have to refine, change, improve something. Search engines are developing their algorithms, and webmasters need to keep up with new requirements.
Therefore, before proceeding with the actual work on internal optimization, you need to conduct an SEO audit. It will help to identify weaknesses, critical problems and understand the scope of the tasks ahead.
Want to get a detailed website optimization report? Order an SEO audit! PromoPult specialists will analyze the site by more than 100 parameters and give recommendations on how to improve it.
It is also useful to audit not only the promoted resource but also the sites of the main competitors in the search. This will reveal the factors that influence getting to the top for targeted key phrases. In the process of analyzing competitors, pay attention to the following fundamentally important points: the
- number of pages in the search;
- type, volume, and optimization of content;
- structure and internal linking;
- domain age;
- optimization of meta tags;
- commercial factors;
- the loading speed of different types of pages (main page, content page, product card, etc.);
- usability and optimization for mobile devices.
There are popular paid tools for SEO audit of competitors: SimilarWeb, Serpstat, SEMrush, and others. Such a possibility has been implemented in the “Search engine promotion” module of the PromoPult system.
Let’s go directly to the principles that determine successful internal site optimization.
Principle 1: technical optimization at the forefront
Technical SEO is a set of works that ensure site performance, fast loading, and correct operation. A competently technically optimized resource provides a good user experience and adds “points” for ranking in search engines.
Here is a list of work you can’t do without:
- Eliminate duplicates. They can be explicit (for example, pages with and without WWW, with and without a slash at the end of the URL, with HTTP and HTTPS) and implicit (pages with similar content, pagination pages, comment pages). It is better to work in this direction at the stage of launching the site so that there is less “garbage” in the index. Here is a detailed instruction with examples.
- Correct the errors in the code. You can check HTML for errors (validity) using the service validator.w3.org, and CSS using jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator. Also, make sure that everything on the site is working correctly, nothing freezes, and does not “float”.service will help you evaluate the layout from different screen resolutions Screenfly.
- Close technical pages from indexing. Engine files are best closed using robots.txt. And pages with confidential information – using robots meta tags with the values ”noindex, nofollow”. Read about when to use noindex and nofollow here.
- Install web analytics counters and set goals. This is necessary to track targeted user actions on the site and analyze traffic sources.
We have described in detail the procedure in these articles:
Instructions for installing and configuring Yandex.Metrica
Instructions for installing and configuring Google AnalyticsTake care of reliable hosting, because it ensures the operability and availability of the site.
- Implement micro-markup – this will help search engines more accurately determine the type of content on the page and give a chance for a more attractive snippet in the search results. For information on how to implement Schema.org markup without the help of a programmer, read this article, Open Graph – in this one.
The technical optimization of the site is becoming especially important in light of the upcoming innovations from Google. In May 2021, new quality assessment factors come into force – Core Web Vitals. These are three main indicators that will potentially affect the ranking of a resource in Google:
- LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) – the loading speed of the main (largest and most significant) content on the page. The optimal rate is up to 2.5 seconds.
- FID (First Input Delay) – the time that passes before the first interaction with the content (click or scroll) is possible. The optimal rate is up to 100 ms.
- CLS stands for Cumulative Layout Shift. In other words, how much the layout is shifted during the loading process and whether blocks are loaded at the same time, preventing interaction with the content or misleading the user. The optimal value is 0.1.
You can view Core Web Vitals metrics for your site inMetrics Google Search Console (Internet Key report separately for desktop and mobile):
They are also displayed in the tool report PageSpeed Insights:
An overview of tools to help you identify and fix Core issues Web Vitals, presented here. One of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your pages, according to Google, is by using AMP technology. We talked about it and a similar Yandex technology (Turbo pages) in the article.
Principle 2: the correct structure is the path to success
The structure of a site focused on promotion in search engines is based on the semantic core and the analysis of sites from the top. With this approach, each group (cluster) of requests corresponds to a landing page.
The ideal option is to develop the structure of the site at the design stage. If the task is to promote a site with a ready-made, established structure, you need to analyze it and, possibly, revise it.
A clear and logical structure of the site is important for two reasons:
1) it will be convenient for visitors to use the site;
2) search engines will index pages faster.
Depending on the type of resource, the structure can be:
- Linear – pages can be viewed only sequentially. These are presentation sites, slideshows, photo business cards, etc. In this case, SEO does not work well, therefore, contextual advertising or other methods of attracting traffic are used for promotion.
- Hierarchical – most sites have exactly this structure. Business cards, landing pages, or specialized blogs can be two-level. More common is a three-level structure, which is built on the principle of “Home” / “Heading” / “Record”. There may be more levels of nesting, but from an SEO point of view, it is better not to use more than 3-4 levels, otherwise, there may be problems with indexing, and users are not very comfortable walking through the mazes of your site.
- Lattice – it is used by large online stores with a wide range of products from different brands. In this case, the pages of the lower levels fall into several categories at once. For proper SEO optimization, it is important to eliminate duplicate pages.
For large service sites and online stores with a wide range of products, the SILO structure is best suited. This is a method of designing a site architecture, in which pages are combined into large thematic sections and linked within these sections by linking. In doing so, the lower-level pages link to the higher-level pages, giving them more weight. Let us explain it using the example of the website of a design bureau. At the first level, we create pages for the main services: apartment design, house design, hotel design, cafe, and restaurant design, etc. Further, we divide each service into more specific ones, based on the semantics and business opportunities. For example, the service “Design of an apartment” may include the following subsections:
Each such section is linked with the top one – “Design of an apartment” with the help of “bread crumbs” and links in the page content.
Considerations when designing a framework:
- Start by collecting and clustering a semantic core. To speed up these processes, you can start a project in the module PromoPultand, at the first step, generate a list of key phrases for various parameters. Instructions for using the free semantics picker are here.
- When developing a structure, try to do no more than 7-8 sections at each level. If there are too many sections, it might be worth enlarging them or rethinking the site logically.
- For the convenience of users, create a separate page with a sitemap, where a list of all headings, subheadings, and pages will be presented.
- Place end-to-end links to major sections of the site and use breadcrumbs.
- Create a file sitemap.xml and place it in your site root folder. It is better to use not a static sitemap.xml file, but a dynamic one, which is created automatically every time the robot accesses it.
- Adjust chelovek ponyatno URL(NC)- readable format links on the page. In addition to the purely visual appeal and preliminary information about the content of the page, CNC has a positive effect on the promotion.
If you do not have CNC configured, the links look like this:
After setting, the link becomes more user-friendly:
Principle 3: Content Solves
Content is designed to solve the problems of users with whom they came to your page from search. It should be a useful, unique, and optimized search-.
Factors related to page content have always been especially important for ranking in Yandex. The algorithms “Palekh” (2016) and “Korolev” (2017) were based on the analysis of the meaning of texts, and not on the occurrence of key queries (at least, as official sources stated). And in 2020, the Russian search engine introduced the largest update in 10 years – the new YATI text analysis technology. The essence of the technology in a few words: with the help of neural networks, a connection is established between the user’s request and the semantics of the document. This is the development of the idea of a search engine understanding the meaning of content. Ideally, the introduction of YATI should lead to the fact that only pages that are relevant to the user’s request in terms of meaning, completely cover the need, and not just saturated with direct occurrences of the request, remain at the top.
Let’s list the content optimization rules that are relevant for 2021:
- One page – one heading h1.
- In the h1 headings, h2-h6 subheadings, and the text, key phrases from the semantic core are used in a natural occurrence, without spamming (usually 2-4 key occurrences are enough).
- The content of the page uses not only high- and medium-frequency, but also low-frequency queries (“with a long tail”), near thematic phrases, synonyms that help to reveal the issue from all sides and solve the user’s problem.
- The content of the page corresponds to the intent: for a commercial request, the user expects to see a category page or product card, for a how-to request – an article, video, or infographic. We wrote about the types of search queries here.
- For each page, there are title and description meta tags with the entry of the main keys.
- For images, alt tags are written using key phrases (here is an instruction for optimizing images).
- When creating content, the principle is observed: one user problem – one text.
- The texts on the site are unique (check – text.ru, etxt.ru, content-watch.ru, and other services).
- The texts are structured: divided into paragraphs, there are lists, frames, quotes, and other formatting elements.
- There are no spelling and grammatical errors in the texts.
- The volume of texts for catalog pages and product cards is at least 2000 characters without spaces, for blog pages – from 4000.
- If there is too much content on one page on different topics, it is better to distribute it across different pages.
- The number of occurrences of keywords in different areas of the document (headings, text, link anchors, etc.) and the amount of content is best identified based on the analysis of competitors’ sites at the top.
To monitor most of these parameters and identify weaknesses, use popular text analyzers: Rush Analytics, JustMagic, OverLead, and others.
If you do not have your own resources for creating and posting texts optimized for the requirements of search engines, order the content of the site regularly in the PromoPult system. Our copywriters follow the latest search engine guidelines.
Internal and outbound links are an integral part of the site’s content. Therefore, it is important to work on the linking:
- remove broken links;
- remove duplicate links on landing pages;
- remove unnecessary outgoing links;
- close links to external resources from indexing with the Nofollow attribute;
- optimize text anchors for internal links.
Principle 4: There would not conversion except useability.
Usability is the degree to which a site is user-friendly. This is a complex concept that includes the color design of pages, the location of information blocks and menus, types and sizes of fonts, ease of navigation on the site, and interaction with interface elements.
What to consider when optimizing usability:
- Follow the principle of minimalism – the user should not see more elements than is necessary to perform the targeted action.
- Use familiar symbols and arrangement of elements (for example, denote a basket with a basket or cart icon, and not some “original” symbol).
- Optimize the site for viewing on mobile devices (it is up to you to use the mobile version or responsive design; the main thing is that the pages are mobile-friendly and serve the same content for all devices).
Read the guide to mobile site adoption: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
- Highlight the active menu item.
- Set up a custom site search.
- Place the site logo in the usual place – in the upper left corner or in the center (and add a link to the main page by clicking on the logo).
- Make sure that the forms on the site work correctly.
- Make images clickable.
To assess the level of usability, rely not only on your experience. Create focus groups and experiment. To do this, you can use specialized audience survey services such as Yandex. Vzglyad, Testograf, Usabilla, and the like.
For example, give users different tasks, and if problems arise at any stage, fix them.
Principle 5: if you want to sell, sell
The internal optimization block related to commercial ranking factors is important primarily for the growth of conversions and sales.
What needs to be done:
- Ensure the availability of communication methods and contacts – place a mobile and landline phone number in a conspicuous place, add an email, links to instant messengers, a feedback form. For sites focused on promotion in Russia, it is advisable to add a free number for users 8-800.
- On the website pages, use CTA buttons with clear calls to action: “Buy”, “Add to cart”, “Order a calculation”, “Add to comparison”, etc.
- Create sections “About the company”, “Delivery and payment”, “Warranties and Returns”, “Licenses”, “Certificates”, “Achievements”, “Portfolio”, “Legal Details” – depending on the specifics of the business.