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.
In order to make your website rank higher, we have to look at Google ranking factors that matter most.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are guidelines to follow to clean up your header tags.
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.
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.
Here are some guidelines to follow to make your images great:
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.
People either keyword stuff or they forget to place their keywords optimally in the domain or header tags.
Follow these tips to fix this area of your website design:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heres some tips for fixing these issues:
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:
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.
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.
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:
Audit your site with either of the things we mentioned to find out where you should focus on to increase your rankings.
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!