6 Website Design Issues Hurting Your Rankings (& How To Fix Them)

Jan 21, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Struggling to grow your business? Perhaps you’ve not looked at your most valuable asset to attracting customers - your website.

81% of shoppers research products and services before buying them, so mastering your online presence is vital to ensuring your business’ success in 2019.

With that being said, ensuring your website is properly built and optimized will help ensure you reach your business goals for the new year.

Let’s talk about making your website better and your business set up for long-term success.

Google Rankings, Fixing Website Design Problems, and Auditing Your Website

In order to make your website rank higher, we have to look at Google ranking factors that matter most.

Google's Role With Website Design

Why Focus On Google?

First of all, focusing to rank higher on Google should be your main focus as far as search engines are concerned.

It easily garners the market share of internet users with 73% of all internet searches in 2018 (the second place spot went to Bing with around a mere 7% of searches).

Not only that, the average adult spends around 6 hours a day looking at either desktops, laptops, or mobile devices.

That’s around half of all waking hours spent online, and since most people are using Google to search, optimizing your site for Google is a great way to ensure your pages get in front of the most people possible.

What Does Google Care About?

Well, the long answer is a lot. Like, holy crap a ton of stuff. There are over 200 Google ranking factors that affect whether or not Google “likes” a page and places it highly for relevant search queries.

These ranking factors typically fall under the realm of on-site SEO (on your actual website), off-site SEO (outbound and inbound links to your website), and miscellaneous factors (the things we don’t have cool names for).

While all are important, for the purposes of this blog we are going to focus on the on-site SEO factors because they’re usually the simplest to identify, easiest to accomplish, and most important to Google.

Now, let’s get into identifying the 6 main problem areas most websites suffer from and how to fix them.

6 Common Website Design Issues & How To Fix Them

1. Header Tags

A header tag is how search engines determine what a page is about. They come in H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, etc...with descending priority, and depending on what sentences you tag as which determines how Google will understand the topic of your page.

The Problem

Through whatever set of circumstances, header tags aren’t optimized.

For instance, if you sold coffee mugs and all of your website pages talked about coffee mugs but your header tags were all about chicken fingers Google would probably be very confused and you wouldn’t rank high for search queries about coffee mugs.

You have to make your web copy, header tags, and page intent line up.

Fixing Header Tags

Here are guidelines to follow to clean up your header tags.

  • Make sure your H1 tag is the page title. (ex. “business name” home page or “business name” about page)
  • Make sure your only H2 tag is on what is on the page (ex. blog title, the main focus of the page, etc…)
  • Try to include around 5 H3/4 tags on blog pages with supporting info necessary.
  • Whatever your H2 is, make sure you talk about it on the page.
  • Include your target keyword in the header tags when sensible (ex. we included “website design in our H2, H3 and all over the web copy)
  • Don’t overstuff keywords in the title tag. Google will dock you for that.

2. Image Optimization

Image optimization refers to whether or not your images are compressed, the right format, clear, and relevant alt.text.

Alt.text is the description of the image that Google actually reads.

The Problem

Websites often have uncompressed, blurry images in the wrong format with bad alt.text.

It’s usually due to the fact that whoever is designing the site or editing it just isn’t paying attention to what they’re doing.

Fixing Your Image Optimization

Here are some guidelines to follow to make your images great:

3. Keywords In Domain & Header Tags

Keywords are chains of words search engines use to determine the search queries intent.

If I look up, “can I run faster than a bear?” Google will assume I’m looking for how fast a bear runs or if it can catch humans (pro tip...they can).

Therefore, Google is going to show that info first before web pages talking about “bear populations in Wisconsin” because it doesn't match the keywords or search intent.

The Problem

People either keyword stuff or they forget to place their keywords optimally in the domain or header tags.

Fixing Keyword Placement In Domains & Header Tags

Follow these tips to fix this area of your website design:

  • When writing the domain name for the page, include your target keyword.
  • As mentioned earlier, include that keyword in your header tags where appropriate.
  • Don’t keyword stuff (a.k.a. always use it once and never more than twice per header tag).

4. Page Speed

Page speed refers to how fast your page loads in once clicked upon. Of course, poor internet will affect this, but when that isn’t the case, slow websites can lose the attention of their prospects in around 2 seconds.

The Problem

Most businesses don’t focus on optimizing their web pages, especially ones that have a DIY website (highly unrecommended).

There are a ton of things that factor into page speed, but businesses simply glaze over them or assume their web hosting platform is taking care of this when they aren’t.

How To Fix Your Website Page Speed

It’s not a simple answer. You first need to figure out how your website currently performs.

Utilize GTmetrix's free website speed tool to analyze your website. It will indicate where it’s performing poorly and recommend ways to fix it.

Fixing it is complex. Usually, you’ll need a web designer or savvy enough person to do it. We can handle these issues for you, but here’s a great 10 step guide to improving your web speed.

5. Mobile Responsive Design & AMP Usage

Mobile responsive design refers to making your website fit the screen size it’s loading on. This means that you don’t have the same website structure on a 4-inch phone screen that you do on a 20-inch desktop monitor.

Google will seriously dock websites that don't have a responsive design.

AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is an application for websites that help them load much faster on mobile devices since mobile devices aren’t nearly as powerful and fast as laptops or desktops.

The Problem

If you’ve had your website for over 5 years and haven’t made significant changes then you probably don’t have a mobile responsive web design or AMP enabled.

Fixing Mobile Responsiveness & AMP Usage

Well, you can have your web hosting platform/company work on these things. Luckily, most websites come with responsive design now, so if you have an outdated site, it might be time to upgrade.

If you don’t have AMP for your site it’s as simple as getting someone who knows coding or web design to do it for you (because it’s fairly complex for most business owners).

It also might be a great indicator to upgrade to a brand new website.

6. Backlinks & Menu Navigation

Backlinks, or internal links, refer to linking to other pages throughout your site. This makes it easy for Google to crawl your site (as well as users).

Menu Navigation refers to structuring your menu out for search engines to easily navigate as well.

The Problem

Poor websites rarely use backlinking throughout their web copy. Therefore, Google has a harder time navigating the site.

As well, those same websites either under-utilize their menu or cram it full off every single web page they have.

Fixing Backlinks & Menu Navigation

Heres some tips for fixing these issues:

  • Place links back to your pages where relevant and applicable. This goes for blog pages and web pages alike.
  • Structure out your menu with relevant options for your website. Here’s ours for reference.

 

 

How To Audit Your Website’s Design & Performance

If you want to learn how your website stacks up in all of these areas it’s fairly simple: audit your website.

You can do this through two great options:

1. GTmetrix

These guys have a fantastic auditing platform. Simply copy and paste your URL into their search query box and they will perform an audit on tons of important areas on your website.

Click here for yours!

2. PHNX21creative Audits

We offer website audits free of charge. We will utilize free services like GTmetrix as well as our own personal expertise to audit the same things as well as some UX, copy, branding, and your company’s message.

Click here for yours!

Final Thoughts

Ranking high on Google is vital since 95% of people don’t scroll past the first page of Google.

The first and most important step to this is to ensure your website is properly designed, optimized, and utilized.

Focus on these 6 areas to make this happen:

  1. Header tags
  2. Image optimization
  3. Keywords in domain & header tags
  4. Page speed
  5. Mobile responsive design & AMP usage
  6. Backlinks & menu navigation

Audit your site with either of the things we mentioned to find out where you should focus on to increase your rankings.

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Did we miss anything? Drop a comment mentioning great ways to optimize your website for search engines!

Let us know of any success stories you have with search engine rankings as well!

As always keep rising!

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