Your website is more than just a pretty face. It’s your virtual storefront! And in a world that conducts more business online each year, it is a direct reflection on you!
It also has an incredible impact on SEO. In fact, if your on-site SEO is not up-to-par, then nothing else you do can have its fullest impact. The simple truth is:
No SEO effort can compensate for a bad website.
You see: Google, and other search engines, have a huge responsibility. When people go there to search, they’re not just expecting to get a list of vaguely-relevant websites.
No. They’re expecting the best websites. They’re expecting that these websites will have the content, information, products, or services that they’re looking for.
And they’re expecting these websites to be available immediately! On any device; and they take it for granted that these websites will be safe. So how do you make sure your website is checking all of these boxes, and that it isn’t holding you back?
There are 4 areas that you can focus on. By getting these areas right, you are setting your SEO up for success:
- Technical SEO
Not only is website performance vital for SEO, it also helps in other areas. For example, having a fast website will improve conversion rates, generate more leads, and ultimately increase your revenue. So what should you be looking for when it comes to performance?
You need to make sure that your website loads quickly, and is immediately functional.
If you suspect that your website suffers from a performance problem, here are a few areas you can look at to the get started.
Your website is made up of several individual pages. Each page is a certain size. The bigger the size, the slower the website runs. So what’s the ideal? For optimal performance, aim for a page size below 3 MB.
A “Page Request” refers to the number of HTTP requests your website makes. The more it makes, the slower it becomes.
One way to reduce the number of requests is to combine files. For example, it is sometimes possible to combine all of your images into one file, and then just display them as needed.
When we’re talking about Page Speed, it’s not just a matter of how quick the text and images appear.
We’re talking about interactivity.
Your website should be interactive within 5.3 seconds. The longer it takes, the more likely visitors are to abandon your site. This has a direct impact on conversions and SEO.
Browser caching is when you store frequently used content in local memory.Using browser caching is yet another way to improve the performance of your website.
Redirects are when a user clicks a link or navigates to a URL, and rather than being taken there directly, they are automatically taken to another URL instead.
Although there are several legitimate use-cases for page redirects, they can have an adverse impact on your performance. The less you have the better.
Image size can be a huge issue. Images can take a long time to load. One thing that will make that even worse is if you have large images (with large file sizes) that you are dynamically shrinking down.
Using optimally sized images can reduce the time that it takes your images to load and thereby improve your performance.
Technical On-Site SEO
“Technical On-Site SEO” sounds complicated. All it means is that your website needs to be designed in such a way that it’s easy for Search Engines to index it.
This is separate from utilizing keywords, blog posts, or anything like that. Most people struggle with the technical side of their on-site SEO. The good news is: it’s easy to fix.
Here are the four things you need to get right:
Give Permission to Index
This is a no brainer! In order to index your site, search engines need permission to do so. Simply grant them permission to index!
Put Meta Descriptions on Your Website
Meta descriptions are the text that show up beneath your web page name in search engines.Include meta descriptions so that people know what your page is all about when they see it in their search results!
Avoid Content Plugins on Your Website
Search engines have a hard time accessing and deciphering information that relies on browser plugins. Does your website use Flash?
If so, get rid of it! Remember, this is all about making it easy for search engines to read and index your website!
Use Descriptive Link Text
Descriptive link text applies to text links and to buttons. It’s tempting to use generic Calls-to-Action (CTAs) such as “Click Here”. But there are two problems with that approach:
- It doesn’t help your visitors know what they’re going to get when they click
- It hurts your SEO
In fact, a good rule of thumb is: “If it helps the visitor, it helps SEO”.
Your Website on Mobile
Over 60% of web activity is conducted on mobile devices – phones and tablets. And that number is only going to rise.Your website doesn’t just need to work on mobile devices; it needs to be built for them.
Make Sure the Font Size is Legible
Your font size should be big enough that mobile visitors can clearly read your text. Visitors will have a difficult time reading smaller text – especially on phones.
Use at least 12px size font for all of your text
Make Your “Tap Targets” Nice and Big
Tap targets are your links and buttons. A lot of developers overlook the fact that their tap targets will show up on mobile. As such, they’re often too small, or too close together.
All of your interactive elements should be spaced sufficiently so that someone using their fingers can navigate without trouble.
Your Website Design Should Be “Responsive”
What does “Responsive” mean? It means that the design is dynamic enough to display on different-sized screens without distortion.
Your website should be just as beautiful and easy to navigate on phones as it is on desktop screens.
Having a secure site is absolutely vital to your SEO. Google will avoid sending visitors to sites that it has evaluated as being “not secure”. So how do you make your site secure?
There are two big things that you can do…
HTTPS is a secure web protocol. It is the secure version of HTTP, which is not secure.
By enforcing the HTTPS protocol for all of your resources, you demonstrate to visitors (and search engines) that your site is secure and trustworthy.
Now, I’ve personally heard of web developers telling their clients or employers that HTTPS is not necessary. They claim that if you are not collecting personal or payment information, then you don’t need the added protection of HTTPS.
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
If you want any kind of credibility in your online presence, and if you want any success with SEO, you must have HTTPS on your website. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you otherwise…