This is a question asked by many business owners. People tear their hair out wondering why it is that their fabulous looking website is on page 3 of Google whilst their competitors with average looking websites are ranking on page 1.
The main thing to takeaway is that it is not about how your website looks. What is important is how it appeals to the visitor and how it appeals to the search engines i.e. Google or Bing.
Your Website Visitors
Let’s start with the visitor. People finding your website want to be able to navigate through it quickly and find exactly what they are searching for. If your website navigation is poorly designed and your visitors need to search hard to find what they want they will leave very soon.
Slow loading pages on your website are also a turnoff for visitors and many will abandon your website rather than wait. It is believed that 40% of people will leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. If your images are large and not resized for the web then this will have an impact on your page loading times. Also some types of code will take longer to run which may cause a delay.
No titles or headings to break up the page. Most people scan a website page. If there are no headings or appropriate titles they will skip the page or worse leave your website. You only have a few seconds to capture them. Without headings, titles or bullet points, your website will appear boring and too much like hard work to read.
Very old content with no indication when it was last updated. Are the prices still up to date? Does the company still function? Your visitors won’t hang around for long if it looks like the website is not current.
Now let’s look at the search engines…..Guess what? The same issues above affect the search engines too and has an impact on where your website will rank.
If your visitor can’t use it well neither will Google or Bing. They need to “crawl” each page of your website following links. If the website navigation is poorly designed then they might miss a few pages and leave them out of their index. This means that they can’t show them in the search results against a query. You may have some fantastic content in those pages which would be popular but if the search engines can’t get to it…..
Slow loading pages.
The search engines take a dim view of pages which take forever to load and cause people to “bounce” out of your website. Ensuring that your pages load quickly and efficiently puts you in a good position to help with your ranking.
Titles and headings.
The search engines need to understand what the web pages are about too. No titles or poorly designed titles will put your website at a disadvantage. Google and Bing use titles to understand what each page is about to ensure that they display the most relevant web page to the searcher.
Yep…, Google and Bing like to see that your website is fresh too. They won’t bother recrawling a website very often if it isn’t being updated. This will make the website less relevant. To help your ranking, make sure that you are updating your content, fixing any broken links and making it worthwhile for your visitors to come back to your website.
The key takeaway message from this blog is that making your website friendly and useable for your visitors will be rewarded by the search engines in terms of ranking. Google and Bing stress the importance of creating websites specifically for visitors and not for search engines. By fixing key issues you will be appreciated by both website visitors and the search engines alike.
Want to find out more about making your website work for you? Contact the Alba Team for a no nonsense chat.
Categorised in: Local SEO
This post was written by Caroline Phillips
Published on Apr 18, 2014