Suzanne Carter is the business development manager for website design and development company Limelight Online Ltd. To find out more visitwww.limelightonline.co.nz
If you want your website to bring you new business it needs to do well in the search engines. That’s a given.
However, even if time, money and consideration is given to your website in the hope it will do well in the search engines, it doesn’t automatically follow that you will achieve high rankings.
Google’s aim is to ensure that when people are searching, they are given the most relevant websites according to their search terms. As such, they are constantly making changes to their algorithms. Some are subtle and not very noticeable, while others are more significant in the impact they can have on a website’s visibility.
You may have heard mention during the last 18 months or so about Google’s Panda and Penguin updates. Essentially these updates are designed to ensure low quality sites are not visible to searchers using Google.
Many websites have been negatively impacted by these changes and their search engine rankings have dropped considerably.
What makes a website vulnerable?
A low amount of good quality, original and relevant content
- Low or poor quality inbound links to a page or website. Inbound links or backlinks as they are also known are links to your site from another
- Un-natural links. These are artificial links mainly intended to manipulate a page’s ranking and can include purchased links or links created by scrapers and spammers that attach themselves to your site under the radar and potentially link your site
- to another in a bad neighbourhood of the internet
- Low visit times on a page or website. This is also referred to the bounce rate i.e. visitors are not staying long enough on a page to engage with/read your content
- A high amount of duplicate content i.e. content that is repeated between pages
- A high amount of irrelevant adverts particularly above the fold (the top half of your page)
- Overuse of particular words on a page which signals an over-optimised page.
- If you have noticed a drop in your rankings, or your website doesn’t seem to be moving from page 28 of search results, take a good hard look at your site and do what you can to improve things.
Where to start?
Google actually provides two powerful and free tools that I highly recommend you utilise. The first is Google Webmaster Tools which can help you analyse why your website is not appearing in search results. This tool offers helpful tips and following the recommendations should increase your website’s chances in Google.
The other tool is Google Analytics, which when installed on your website, analyses the site traffic to provide powerful information. It can, for example, tell you which pages visitors are not staying on. This can signal a page with poor quality and irrelevant content. It is all about the user experience which is what Google cares about, so if your visitor is not staying on a page long enough to read it, then Google picks up on that.
Also, a full review of your content is important.All content should be well written and well laid out, as this makes it easier for visitors to read what you have to say. Consider adding a blog to your website as this will ensure that you are adding new content to your website regularly – search engines love this!
Do make sure that your blog content follows the same guidelines as the rest of the content on your site.
Take extra care to make sure that content is not duplicated across the site and don’t copy content from another site. If you like what another site is saying, then use their content for inspiration, but don’t copy it word for word. This will not only potentially penalise your site, but their site too.
Clean up your internal linking structure and make an effort to ensure all visitors to your website get a great user experience. Do be prepared for the fact that this could mean a redesign for your website.
As a business owner you really can’t afford to let your site stand still.
Don’t let your competitors get the better of you online. This should be your daily mantra.