One major way that consumers find services or products they are looking for is by using search engines like Google. But, if consumers are not directly searching for your site, it’s easy to get lost in the search results. That’s why simply having a website for your business is not enough - you must ensure that your website ranks well on search engine results pages. On average, the top 10 positions on a Google search page receive roughly 71% of the queries clicks with the top 3 positions accounting for 54% of those clicks. It’s important to rank on search engines to drive organic traffic and visibility for your site. But how and why do certain pages rank over others? It all comes down to the algorithms. Search engine algorithms analyze the content and usability of your website for factors such as relevance, authority, and user experience to determine which pages should be ranked for a given search query. A search optimized website is a website that has been designed and written to be easily found by search engines. Implementing SEO strategy improves a website's organic ranking on Google by updating websites to agree with these search engine’s algorithms. It’s done through implementing user-friendly designs, relevant and optimized content, and fixing technical issues that may be hindering your site’s ability to be indexed and ranked. SEO is an essential component of digital marketing and can have a significant impact on the success of your online business.The search engine algorithms are getting smarter, and there is an increased focus on user experience in the past couple years. There are different ways to build your website to make the Google algorithm work for you, rather than against you. Let’s take a look at our tips for avoiding common mistakes as well as what to focus on when developing a search optimized website.
When developing a search optimized website, it's crucial to know what to avoid. It’s very common to hear about SEO best practices and tips, but it’s rare that people discuss things to avoid while creating a SEO friendly website. So what are common SEO mistakes that will hinder your website’s SEO performance? Let’s dive in:
Low-quality content refers to content that is poorly written, lacks value, or is irrelevant to the user's search query. Google and other search engines prioritize high-quality content, so it's essential to focus on creating quality content that provides value to your target audience and is relevant to your site. Low quality content can be seen as untrustworthy, unreliable and potentially dangerous, therefore are deprioritized as a search result compared to content that can be trusted. Low quality content can negatively impact SEO and user experience as it fails to meet the user's expectations.
Keyword stuffing is the practice of excessively using keywords on a page or post in an attempt to manipulate search engine rankings. This technique was once effective but is now considered a black hat SEO practice that can harm your website's rankings. As mentioned, search engine algorithms are becoming smarter as well as prioritizing the users. Keyword stuffing often creates content that is difficult to read or not written as someone would talk. It is best practice to choose one primary keyword to optimize for and then use a variety of supporting and related keywords. Google and other search engines prioritize content that is legible and relevant to the user's primary search query, so excessive keyword usage can lead to a penalty and decrease in search engine rankings. Instead, focus on using relevant keywords in a natural and organic way.
A correct data structure refers to the way information is organized on a website. Not following the correct data structure can lead to confusion for both users and search engines. A clear and organized data structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website, which can positively impact your website's search engine rankings. On the other hand, a disorganized data structure can lead to a decrease in search engine rankings and user experience.
Duplicate content refers to content that appears on more than one web page or website. Duplicate content can occur unintentionally, but search engines do prioritize websites that have consistency, so, it has been used as a black hat SEO technique to manipulate search engine rankings. However, search engines prioritize original and unique content that is all related rather than exact. Additionally, having the same content on multiple web pages can lead to confusion for both users and search engine algorithms, which can negatively impact user experience not to mention search engine rankings.
User experience (UX) and website navigation refer to how easy it is for users to interact with and navigate your website. A website that is easy to navigate and provides a good user experience can lead to increased engagement, lower bounce rates, and increased time spent on your website, which can positively impact your website's search engine rankings. The algorithm is designed to prioritize pages that are used by consumers as well as are easy for users and algorithms to easily navigate. So, improving your website's UX can help improve your website's search engine rankings. This can mean a variety of things including responsive pages - so all features function, clear navigation, page speed, and mobile designs. Mobile optimization is increasingly important in our digital age, when the majority of people are using their phones to search, shop, and more! It's crucial your website functions and is designed for mobile use.
hands printing code on laptop. internet technology concept business front-end developing banner. mixed media background[/caption]While SEO is primarily user experience and content focused, there are multiple other factors that can affect your rankings. When developing a search-optimized website, there are some things that are often overlooked.
Meta elements are snippets of codes attached to each webpage that tell the search engine what the page is about. These are what consumers see on the search engine results page. These tags include the page title, SEO description, keywords and more. These pieces of code do not show up on the actual page but instead tell Google or other search engines what the page is about. By including relevant keywords in these tags, it can help improve your website's search engine rankings. Well curated meta tags can also influence your audience to click on the page, increasing organic traffic to your site.
Tracking audience and user engagement refers to collecting and analyzing metrics about how users interact with your website. This can be tracked for Google through Google Analytics,Google Search Console, and other third party tools such as Semrush. These tools include metrics on user behavior, such as click-through rates, bounce rates, time on site, and conversion rates. By tracking and analyzing these metrics, you can better understand where and why people are navigating to your site as well as pages that people are not navigating to. Improving pages that are not performing well can have a positive impact on your website’s search engine rankings and overall traffic or conversions.
HTTP status codes refer to the response codes that a web server sends when a user requests a page. They are common and I’m sure that you’ve experienced one of these errors. A common http status error is a 404: Page Not Found error. A website with a high number of 404 errors or other HTTP status errors can negatively impact your website's rankings. It’s crucial that you eliminate the number of errors on your site by redirecting URLs that have changed and no indexing pages that have been taken down.
Linking strategies refer to the process of acquiring high-quality backlinks to your website, internal links between your webpages, and including external links to your pages. Backlinks, or inbound links, are links from other websites that point to your webpage, internal links are links to your own webpages, and external links are links on your webpage that link to another website. Search engines like Google consider links to be an important ranking factor, as they indicate that your webpage is interacting with other sources and other resources view your website as a valuable resource. Implementing a strong linking strategy that focuses on acquiring high-quality backlinks can help improve your website's search rankings.
We’ve talked about how your site should be easily navigational. A site map is a file that lists all the pages on your website and gives search engines a road map on how to navigate your site. A well-crafted site map can help search engines understand the structure of your website and index your pages more easily, which can improve your website rankings. It’s best to submit this sitemap, and any pages that have been added or changed, to Google Search Console so it can periodically read it and update the rankings based on your sitemap.There are many on-page SEO things that help a website rank on search engines, but there are also many technical and user experience tactics that can hinder a website from being ranked on a search engine. Overall, a search engine’s algorithm is made to prioritize certain website's content over others, and there are strategies that help search engines see your website as a source of valuable information that should be shown to potential customers. By avoiding the common mistakes and focusing on certain factors that other websites skip, you can solidify your SEO strategy and increase your organic traffic.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for the success of your online business. Avoiding common mistakes and paying attention to factors will significantly improve your SEO and in return, your website’s traffic and conversions. At 20North Digital Marketing, we specialize in optimized and user friendly websites for service based and e-commerce businesses. We have years of experience in developing websites that are optimized for search engines, developing successful SEO strategies, and providing a great user experience for your consumers. Our team of experts can help you improve your website's SEO, increase your organic traffic, and grow your online business. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your online business.