Gym membership, check. Healthy eating plan, check. Website content review…
Many of us want to get fit or lay out plans for success and happiness in the new year. But now we’re one month in, how’s your website looking? Has it ditched last year’s wardrobe? Is it up to date with the latest Google trends?
Here are some tips on getting your website fit for 2015.
Make your content findable
Your website is itching to be found. So if it’s looking trim and wearing this season’s optimal words, then it’s more likely to be higher ranked in search engines. Use keywords and metatags to accurately define your content.
Similarly, each of your pages wants to be found in its own right. As well as ensuring the content is optimised, make sure there is a logical structure (or journey) to all your pages – call it a well-organised wardrobe with clothes ordered and arranged categorically.
As you would at home – if you’re looking for socks, make sure they are all in the sock drawer. If you’ve got some in the sock drawer, some with your shoes, and some on your dressing table, it’s going to be harder to find the ones you want. The same should go with your website’s pages.
If your visitors are having to use the back button or visit multiple pages to find what they want, this is a sign that your site’s structure is not optimal.
- Internal links – do they follow a logical journey to the next relevant page customer is likely to want to visit? Is your home page easily navigable?
- Breadcrumbs – are you using them? They are becoming more essential for sites with multiple layers of content, and show your visitors that you have thought about the structure of your content
- Search box – do you have one? Searching makes your site more easily navigable, so your visitors will want to stay on it longer. Search bars work better when your content is optimised, to return more relevant search results.
Make friends with Panda and Penguin
I recently blogged about how to increase your website’s visibility in relation to Google Panda, which promotes better quality content, while Google Penguin aims to sift out low ranking and poor quality backlinks. If your content is poor and you have too many dubious links pointing to your site, you may be penalised – content farms are a no-no. As part of your new year refresh, make sure you focus on:
- Unique content creation – make sure every new piece of content you create is unique and of high quality
- Unique content review – go back through existing content to make sure you’re not already repeating the same thing on multiple pages
- Canonicalization – I struggled with this one too, but essentially you need to get your developers to rationalise the URLs by which each of your pages can be accessed
- Cleaning up – find those links that hurt your ranking using a tool like SEOSpyglass
Improve User Experience
As much as we might focus on ranking highly in online search, we shouldn’t ever forget that it’s actually our users who are the most important. Good SEO should also be good user experience (and vice versa), so make sure that your customer’s journey around your site is a positive one. Websites that focus on creating a wonderful and simple user experience are usually rewarded with sales.
- Speed – make it quick, removing anything (unoptimised images, flash, java etc) that slows down page loading time
- Navigation – clearly signpost and link to relevant parts of your site
- Social – people love to share, so make your buttons easy to find
Yes, I can’t believe we still have to talk about it, but there are so many sites out there that are still not optimised for mobile. Come on people, this is 2015! It’s the new black, orange and Friday all in one. If you’re not on it, get on it:
- Conduct a Mobile-Friendly Test
- Format your desktop site so it can be read on any mobile device – eliminate the need for zooming; give easy access to contact information; and make navigation easy to minimise hitting the wrong link
- Develop and upload style sheets for individual mobile devices, so every visitor, whatever their device, has an optimised experience
As advocates of accurate localisation, branding and consistency of branding are big things for us. That doesn’t mean that your website has to contain the same content in every country, but it should have the same look and feel, both within the site and between sites. You should:
- Go back to basics – revisit your brand guidelines and check you’re still using them properly
- Do this again for your international sites
- Seek the help of localisation experts in relation to translation of words, images and other rich content to keep it relevant and appropriate to each market, while still being on brand
*Picture credits: Cienpies Design / Shutterstock.com