What are we most resistant to as human beings? You might say a trip to the dentist or visiting your in-laws, but most of us would agree that we’re most resistant to change. This spills over to all aspects of our lives – including our businesses, brands, and websites.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a good website should never have to change. The unfortunate reality of our day is that things quickly become obsolete.
Now, we aren’t suggesting you throw out your company values or unique selling points. We’re focusing more specifically on your website.
When was your website designed?
This is the easiest bit of oversight for many businesses. Let’s say you are a medium-sized manufacturer, and your website was designed in 2007.
You think: 2007? That wasn’t so long ago. Think again.
In 2007, the top-selling mobile phone looked something like this.
Technology has progressed exponentially since that time.
Even if you knew everything there was to know about search engines in 2007, new trends are always arriving. Google is constantly tweaking how they rank websites.
Although we’re happy to help you redesign an old site, we’d like to share a few basic tips for improving your SEO. Follow these do-it-yourself steps for great landing pages and blog posts.
Optimize for user experience
In the old days, it was all about cramming as many keywords within your pages as possible. Now, optimizing for the user is the most effective strategy.
Depending on your industry or business model, your user experience and web strategy will be different.
If you’re a manufacturing company selling steel to large manufacturers, your user experience will look very different than a tourism council building awareness of local hotspots.
Google values user experience
It’s more important than ever for a visitor to your site to easily navigate your pages and find the content they’re looking for.
Your site needs a straightforward home page with well-organized tabs and strong, visual content to keep visitors engaged.
Optimizing your site’s user experience will reduce bounce rates and improve your search engine rankings.
How to spot areas to improve user experience
The easiest way to identify roadblocks within your website is to ask your clients. Find a customer you trust and ask them their honest opinion of what they’d like to see changed.
This may not represent your whole client base, but it will help you understand what’s important to your clients.
Make sure your website is mobile-responsive
A few years back, Google decided to penalize websites that were non-responsive to mobile screens. This gave privilege to sites with better user experiences.
For non-responsive sites, this hurts. It could be seriously limiting your online visibility, restricting access to potential customers.
How to fix it?
If your website is 4-5 years old, your best bet is to redesign it. It’s often cheaper to develop a new, mobile-responsive website than to try and adapt an outdated one.
Additional reading: Madison Chiropractic Group Launches Mobile-Responsive Website
Update your content regularly
This SEO tip is commonly overlooked but has become increasingly vital to search engine success. This effective strategy for the web called content marketing.
We recently wrote a piece on why your website needs unique content marketing, so we won’t go into great detail here, but it’s important to remember is that search engines are looking for website activity as a ranking factor.
The more active the pages, through adding content consistently, the better you’ll rank on Google. Consider adding a blog or keeping names, dates, addresses, and contact info as current as possible.
Include internal and external links
The art of backlinks is a tricky one because you’d prefer to keep visitors on your site, rather than sending them for information elsewhere.
If done right, however, links on your web pages improve your site’s user experience in Google’s eyes.
When to link internally
Internal links are used to redirect a visitor from the page they are viewing to another on your site.
This can be a call-to-action link to your contact page or a redirect to information located on another page to streamline navigation and improve user experience.
When to link externally
Adding external links to your web content works best if the link is to a high-traffic website.
A good starting point is to link industry keywords that may be difficult to define to their Wikipedia definitions.
Wikipedia is a high-traffic site that won’t direct too much attention away from your own, as visitors are likely to return to your site after checking the word’s definition.
Once you feel comfortable with external links, experiment with industry-specific sites – just be very selective.
Include quality images with title and alt-text
Quality imagery doesn’t directly improve your search rankings, but it should still be a priority for your website.
Including visual content on your pages keeps users engaged and less likely to leave. This will increase the average time spent on your site, which improves your search rankings.
When uploading images, optimize them by adding alt-text and title text. Use a relevant keyword that describes what the image depicts.
When will I see results?
SEO results require patience. You may not see any large leaps in the numbers for a few months, especially if you don’t have a redesigned site.
Keep in mind that improving your search rankings is an ongoing commitment – especially in today’s mobile climate – to draw customers to your online storefront.
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If you’re considering a website redesign, give us a call at 262-725-4500 or drop us a line.