I Broke My Website with This Simple SEO Mistake
As I was researching my website content and its ranking on Google today, I came across one seo mistake of the many I have made and am learning from in managing my own websites.
If you’ve ever heard of the barber who never had a good haircut because the other barber had to cut it, that’s me. I am that proverbial barber, not because I have the other barber cut my hair, but because I am a creative person who always experiments on my own product first.
If I break my own website, I am the one who suffers, not my client. At least that’s how my thinking goes, some of the time.
So, after perusing one of the plethora of articles on what to do, or not do, to improve SEO, I removed the dates from all my posts in WordPress. It might also have been during a theme update. I don’t remember, but the end result was I changed the format of how every post on my site looks. Without thinking too much about it, I moved on to other content projects for other clients.
Fast forward to today, when I was researching my target market and realized that I had 59 404 errors listed in my Google webmaster tools. 59 broken links that were not getting search engines, or more importantly, human eyes, onto my content.
If you don’t think that 404 errors matter, just think about how many times you go to a website, get a “the page you are looking for is not here” and immediately x-out of that tab, never to return to the blog again?
I know I do it.
Simple SEO Principles
I wanted to take this time to point out to you the fact that you need to think about the consequences of your actions. The simple SEO mistake I made was to substantially change all the links on my site without setting up a redirect. Here is a blog on how to do that, if you didn’t know.
If you are going to change how your site is laid out, realize that it will break things like internal links, external links, and more, and you will need to plan on having Google crawl your site and giving you a list of pages to fix.
But the simple SEO mistake you should not do is to think that the search engines don’t matter. They do matter, they just don’t matter more than the people you want to read your website. But, if your website has poor SEO or other technical issues, at the end of the day, it is your users who suffer.
Think through the people who will be on your site and realize that good SEO practices make for a good experience for them, and also remember that your experiments on your website don’t just make you suffer, they make it difficult for anyone else to engage your website as well.