You’ve worked hard to create a meaningful business—from your company’s values to your reputable customer service. So, why aren’t more people trickling into your online doorstep? If you haven’t updated your website in a while (or ever), your online visibility could be suffering. 

Google’s search engine utilizes an algorithm to rank web pages. A variety of methods are taken into account when determining which pages are displayed first, including whether a website is outdated. The exact formula is unknown, however, there are search engine optimization (SEO) tactics and tools that can improve your website’s ranking. With 75 percent of people never scrolling past the first search engine result page, it’s extremely important

to perform an SEO audit of your website every couple of months.

Here are just a few ways to begin positively adjusting your business’s position in the search results:

Think Mobile-First

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In today’s world, over half of all worldwide online traffic is generated through mobile phones. Not to mention, 61 percent of mobile searchers are more inclined to contact a local business if they have a mobile-friendly website. Knowing this, it makes sense that mobile-first indexing is Google’s latest attempt at making the web more mobile-friendly to match user behavior.

Essentially, it means Google will scan the mobile version of your website first and use that as a baseline of where it would stand in the rankings. If you don’t have a mobile website, your desktop version would still rank—but the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could have negative impacts.

If your website has a responsive design there’s no reason to panic, as the layout will adjust based on the device. However, if you find the user experience isn’t great on mobile, investing resources to create a mobile version should be at the top of your list.

Pro Tip: Search your website on your tablet or smartphone and play around to get a feel for how others are experiencing your site.

Decrease Page Loading Speeds

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The average loading time for a website is two to three seconds, with 40 percent of consumers abandoning a page that takes three seconds or longer. In fact, even a one-second delay can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions. In the Amazon, “need it now” era seconds matter.

A few factors that may be increasing the time it takes to load your site include:

  • Non-optimized, high-resolution images (larger images take longer to load)
  • Not utilizing caching techniques (storing frequently used data points)
  • Having a poor web host (shared hosting is generally slower)
  • Lack of coding compression (remove any unnecessary phrases/spaces in your HTML, CSS and JavaScript)  

Pro Tip: There are free tools that analyze your website’s loading speed. These can help you determine how quickly your page displays and what things are causing it to slow down.

Optimize Images

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Search engines can’t read images (though newer AI technology is helping with this), so it’s important to fill out the backend data to help them understand what your content is about. The worst thing you can do is upload an image with no alternate image text as this has no value to the search engine crawlers.  

To optimize performance and improve rankings, give your website’s images attributes by adding descriptive alt image text. In the event the image doesn’t load, the alt text will display and give the reader more clarity. This also improves the user experience for those with who have trouble viewing images.

Pro Tip: Chrome has an “Alt Text Tester” extension you can use to check missing image attributes.

Improve Readability

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Wordy sentences, unorganized layouts and unique words unknown to your audience can all hinder readability. If consumers are having a hard time understanding your content and quickly bouncing from the page (or not returning), Google will lower your website in the search rankings.

Your copy should be written in a way that the majority of an audience is able to digest. Some things you can do to improve readability are:

  • Include headings and subheadings to break up content
  • Include images to provide visual context
  • Make sure sentences are clear, concise and complete
  • Make sure words are easy to understand

Pro Tip: Readable is a free readability test tool, and readable.io is available at an affordable monthly cost. Both of these are great options to identify wordiness or comprehension difficulty.

Once you begin auditing and cleaning up your website, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an immediate improvement. Search engine optimization is like playing the long game, it takes a while for search engines to re-analyze everything on your site. The goal is to continuously update and enhance while the search engine evaluates.

How does your website currently rank on Google? Is there any factor mentioned above you’d like us to go more in-depth on? Let us know in the comments!

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