In our current business landscape, competition is brutal, and can often be overwhelming. Your competition is ahead of you in the digital marketing sector. Why? One important reason is a quality website. Digital marketing gives you a plethora of options to reach outrageous numbers of consumers, and it all revolves around a website. But what does that mean? You have a website. Why aren’t you at the top of Google and Bing. Here are a few reasons:

1. Mobile Friendly Design

Perhaps the most important feature of a website today is a design that looks good and performs across all platforms. Mobile doesn’t just mean on your phone anymore. Your website needs to provide a beautiful, consistent message whether someone is accessing it with a giant monitor, a laptop or tablet, or yes – one of the million different phone sizes out there.

According to Statistica, mobile searches consistently count for over 50% of all search traffic since 2016 (https://www.statista.com/statistics/277125/share-of-website-traffic-coming-from-mobile-devices/). What do you think customers are doing when they land on a page that doesn’t load properly? Exactly! They’re leaving and Google knows it! When readers hit your website and leave quickly Google tracks that interaction (assuming you came from a google search) and logs it. As those quick interactions increase, and longer ones decrease so do your rankings.

Check to see if your website passes the Google Mobile Friendly Test here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

2. Beauty or Beast

Everyone wants a beautiful website, but ask yourself this – would you sacrifice beauty for conversions? Of course, you would. That’s the real caveat to great website design, how to manage a beautiful website and maximize conversions. At the end of the day it’s all about the user experience (UX). I’ve seen plenty of beautiful websites that don’t convert. I’ve also seen ugly websites that do! From a logical menu that takes readers where they want to go, to button placements that don’t get in the way, UX is what converts.

A great website will combine the proper content to attract readers and display it an organized manner to keep them engaged. All the while letting the reader know the purpose of the site is to make a transaction. Sometimes that transaction is a click, or a call. Some transactions are purchases as with eCommerce sites. The point is, the experience is effortless.

3. Speed Matters

Google is out to do one thing, improve the internet. Yup, that’s it. Sounds too simple, right? Well think about it. The happier its users are, the more they’ll come back – and google users are pretty happy. That’s because Google constantly updates its search algorithms to meet the needs of its users. Among the things Google is looking at is page speed.

Believe me, Google is obsessed with speed. Speeding up the internet is just another important way Google is trying to make the internet better. It makes users happier and it lowers operating costs (http://radar.oreilly.com/2009/07/velocity-making-your-site-fast.html).

Want to know how your site measures up. Here is a link to actual test that Google runs behind the scenes –
https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

3. Tag, You’re it

No article on proper website design would be complete without talking about tags. Actually, this section should be near the top. Search engines have consistently migrated from more traditionally authoritative sites to those that have more relevant content, with proper structure, and a better overall experience. This is known as on-page SEO.

On-page SEO is an often-overlooked tool in the toolkit but is nevertheless important in your quest to climb to page one. Here is a look at the more important tags and how to use them

  • Title tag – arguably the most important tag

    Search engines use title tags the same way people use titles, to understand what the article is about. Title tags are also used in the search engine results for users to read and make it easier to navigate.

  • Meta description tag – The description tag is second only to the title tag

    The meta description tag is a brief summary of the page. It used by search engines to display on the results page to further enhance the user’s ability to decide if that content is what they’re looking for.

  • Header tags – This is the simplest HTML you’ll ever learn.

    Don’t be afraid to dig into header tags because it’s HTML. You really don’t need to learn a programming language (or markup in this case) to add header tags. Just run down your article and find the headings and subheadings. That’s all header tags do, let the search engines know a little more about the content of the article. Google can also use them as lists within the search engine results – a great way to expand the listing and make it more prominent!

  • Image alt tags – Your images can rank too!

    I’ve seen many developers and content marketers (myself included) miss this opportunity. Image tags are another way Google ‘reads’ into the structure of your article to determine if it’s relevant to a search. Google love images. Tag them appropriately and Google will love you too. Or at least it’ll love your article!

  • Article! Nofollow link tags

    Nofollow link tags tell search engines not to worry about a link to a website. Basically, search engines love links to other sites. We call them backlinks. The higher ranking, or authoritative the site is, the better. But this can work against you too. Oftentimes we want to link to a non-authoritative site. This can be bad for SEO. That’s where nofollow link tags come in. It is not uncommon to use nofollow links to let search engines know you’re not involved in a scheme to manipulate them by adding links to unrelated sites.

  • Links and anchor text tags – Links are the most important part of SEO. Tag ‘em!

    A great way to credit your sources in an article is to link to their website. Particularly if you’re using stats or images. The best way to do this is with the anchor text tag. It works like this, the link is hidden inside the text. Here is a great explanation ( Here is a great explanation ) from the WordStream site. See what I did there! This type of tag will also help the owner of the site on the other end. See? Now you’re giving back!

  • Canonical tags – These tags are used for organizing content and prioritizing duplicate pages

    Every website has duplicate pages. Yep, even yours. Remember, the search engines see things a little differently than you and me. Let’s see how many pages a search engine might crawl as a sites homepage:

    • http://www.mysite.com
    • https://www.mysite.com
    • http://mysite.com
    • http://mysite.com/index.php

    There can be even more than this for a single page, and every page has them. This can be a big problem and confuse search engines. We use canonical tags to tell Google which url should be given credence and help you rank better.

5. JavaScript can hurt your SEO

JavaScript is a powerful tool to create dynamic content. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a website today that doesn’t use JavaScript in some form or another. Think hover boxes, popups, scrollers, slideshows, etc. They often add JavaScript libraries to their own. While on the surface that may sound great, but in the backend, it can cause big problems. You’ll also be hard-pressed to find a site that doesn’t have JavaScript errors and hang-ups as well. Problems Google can see, or worse, it can’t.

Many content creators have added modules and software to their site hoping for a more user-friendly environment. Think of a JavaScript Library as its own toolbox. It goes to work every day knowing exactly where the hammer, and screwdriver are and works without incident. Now throw another, maybe similar maybe not, toolbox in the mix and all of a sudden finding the right tool becomes difficult. It’s the same with your website. Imagine three, four, or more toolboxes. Loading multiple libraries can cause issues on the backend of your site without you even knowing it.

JavaScript is often used to hide text. Think of a scroll box, or maybe a slideshow. Only one segment is revealed at a time. Now imagine a Google comes to index your page. Remember, Google uses bots to crawl your website and determine if the content is relevant to a search. JavaScript can limit which content the bots can see. If the bot can’t see the content it can’t rank it.

For most of us, a website is more than just a place to plop your logo and some content. It can be the focal point of our marketing strategy and conversion success. It needs to perform flawlessly to beat the competition and move up the scales to rank at page one. Higher ranking. More Traffic. Increased conversions. More ROI.

Matz Media offers a free website audit to see how digital marketing can transform your business to consistent growth. Learn more by calling us at (602) 502-6631.