Generally, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about optimizing websites for machines and Algorithms: search engines. But reaching your HUMAN customers is the end goal (in most cases). Improving your SEO can help more humans make their way to your site, and become good customers overall.
But Search Engines are volatile – the number of factors to determine how to rank sites for certain terms changes quite often. And with Personalization (Google) what one user sees may not be the same set of results another does, depending on their individual search histories.
Good Search Engine Optimization isn’t just about getting your website found – It’s also about providing searchers with the answers they are looking for, and making the experience fast and smooth. Most of the time, the Search engine algorithms can distinguish between truly relevant helpful sites, and those just packed with keywords for the sake of luring traffic. Great content, clear MESSAGE and a well-functioning site are the best ways to capture potential customers, and the search engines also recognize this. So what is the best way to clarify your message, and provide the best answers? Here are a few 2021 suggestions.
Your Site Needs to Look current and presentable – and easy to navigate.
If a website is hard to navigate, whether through poor linking or design, it won’t hold visitors’ attention for long. When the client gets frustrated and leaves quickly, your SEO score will reflect that. Bounce rate and session duration are two of the largest factors that affect SEO: the shorter the sessions, the lower your site’s score, and your ranking reflects it.
To keep your viewers active on your site, make their trip to visit it worthwhile. Make sure it’s easy to navigate to your service and products pages, and that those pages are informative and functional. Make them interesting embedding rich media like images, infographics and videos. No one truly wants to see just text on a page anymore – they expect better in this day and age.
On each content page, break pages up with useful headers and dividers (ideally with relevant keywords) to make the text easier to read, similar to a magazine layout.
Can you find what you’re looking for quickly?
If you, the business owner, can’t find what you’re looking for on your site, a new visitor is also going have a tough time.
Is your site’s design up to date?
If your site looks like it was built in the late 80s or 90s, many viewers will simply leave, thinking the site is out of date, and its bounce rate will reflect that. And websites that haven’t been updated in years may not be secure or load properly on mobile devices – another reason for a viewer to bail out. And considering the vast majority of traffic is shifting towards mobile use, your site HAS to be usable and attractive on cell phones and tablets.
Does your site link have HTTPS – is it encrypted?
HTTPS is a layer of encryption that makes online transactions much safer than HTTP. Without it, customers will not want to enter their credit card information or buy products from your site. Since 2018, Google has marked non-HTTPS sites as not secure, with a red indicator on search results, which can scare away potential viewers, and, in turn affect SEO performance.
Is it easy for a client to contact you via email, chat, or phone?
The days of only having an email link as a method of contact are over. Impatient customers want to get questions answered now; so many modern sites now include chat support, whether via AI or with live humans, and have a dedicated phone, and/or address listed. All of this also helps to make clients feel like they are dealing with a professional company, and feel safe. You need to be PRESENT AND AVAILABLE in the operations of your site – even if you are not online all of the time.
Don’t Hesitate to Link your site Properly.
It is also still very important to link your site to other sites that are relevant to the questions and answers customers are seeking. These Backlinks not only make your site and services more accessible, it helps to improve your SEO ranking, by helping to establish your site as a knowledgeable authority in the subject matter.
A good structured site is linked BOTH internally and externally. You SHOULD link to other sites, and not be afraid to sending traffic away. But these links need to be handled the right way. The best way to retain traffic while allowing users to access external links is by having those links open a new tab. This way, visitors can see the external site while staying on yours. On the flip side, you’ll want to ensure that your internal links don’t open new tabs or windows.
External links help answer customer questions and allow you to borrow search authority from the destination site. Here is a classic example – , .gov and .edu sites have much higher trust and legitimacy than your standard .com or .net sites. By linking your site to these sites with higher authority, you’re telling your customers (and search engine algorithms) that your information is high-quality.
But be careful – this only works when the information you link to is relevant and useful. If you pack a page full of random .gov or .edu links, you will delegitimize your site, and have a negative effect instead.
Ongoing Content Writing and Research is still critical.
We have all heard the marketers say “content is king.” But this is still a TRUE statement – well written articles and researched postings can drive traffic like nothing else – because you are AGAIN PROVIDING ANSWERS – A CLEAR MESSAGE.
When choosing the subject of your posts, be sure to look at what your desired audience is looking for. Make your posts timely, related to current events or newsworthy happenings in your products or your industry. Tailor your writing to provide the answers your viewers need – even before they realize the question. Keep the viewers perspective and needs in mind first (not just what products or services you want to sell more of this month), and you will keep them engaged and continuing to come back to your site (and then maybe buy the products and services you want them to:) ).
Good SEO isn’t just about selling products but sharing high-quality information. Posts, articles, white papers and related content might not net immediate sales – but by building a conversation and rapport with your audience, you can convert the reoccurring visitors into future customers.
Your site also needs to load fast – like now.
The fastest way to lose a viewer, is for your site and pages not to load quickly.
Long load times will increase your bounce rate and can also signify deeper problems with your site. Consider using a commercial host that is not overly shared – that provides FAST load times, and make your site a breeze to navigate quickly.
Load time isn’t something to ignore. Poor coding, out of date plugins or scripts, or unoptimized image and videos – these all all can cripple a site – by driving away customers that are impatient. A strong detailed web audit can help pinpoint the problem – let us help with a detailed analysis of your code, site speed, stability, reviews, linkage, and ranking with a Free SEO Audit.
The Bottom Line
It takes effort to run a business – and it ALSO takes effort to maintain a good website presence. There is NO magic site that doesn’t need content, or good practices, or to revised and updated fairly often with a current design.
You would never allow your brick and mortar storefront to be dirty, the signs out front to be hidden, or have the aisles with your items for sale hidden or hard to find.
You should treat your site with the same mentality and effort – and by following these tips, you’ll ensure potential customers will find you — and be happy that they did. If you have any questions about your current site, its SEO performance, or possibly a new site design, reach out to the team here at Digital Warlock – we want to hear from you.