Every website has the potential to be even better. Nowadays people can get weighed down with just the SEO of their site, but it’s important to remember that ultimately your site is for your visitors, not Googlebot. If people aren’t finding your content engaging, useful or original then neither will Google. It might sound obvious, but it’s integral that you don’t lose sight of your priority – your users. You aren’t going to climb the ranks of Google if people aren’t interested in your site.
How to create a good website
How to create an SEO aware, but mediocre website
- Concern yourself with the number of words a page should contain
- When writing, focus exclusively on how many times to use keywords on a page
- Get caught up with how many backlinks you have
Though these are all important factors to consider, without high-quality content that serves users’ needs your site won’t be the best it can be.
How to create a high quality, successful website
- Consider the needs of your users and meet them
- Provide useful information in your own distinctive tone
- Decide on and implement changes that will improve the site for users
- Review pages individually and create a list of how you can better them
- Look at comparing competitor websites, see where they’re stronger than you and then work on this area
No site achieves success by monitoring the number of words a page contains. Quite simply, if these words don’t come together to form actually engaging content, the number of words used is immaterial. Though SEO is an essential and valuable tool in helping people find your website, it’s important to not get bogged down in its technicalities. Your visitors are humans, not bots!
How to improve your website: 12 SEO tips for new websites
With so many in depth SEO resources available, it can be easy to lose sight of the core elements that lead to tangible results for newer companies. Our 12 top tips will help your website deliver where you want it to. This checklist is specifically designed for sites with main content under 50 pages and those hoping to rank for a smaller amount of related terms.
1. 301 Redirect
The first key aspect of SEO is deciding whether you want visitors to see a www version or non-www version. When visitors come to your website a 301 redirect (a permanent redirect) will steer people to your preferred option. This redirect signals to applications like search engines that indexing properties should be transferred from the source to target.
2. Verify ownership
Next, you should verify your ownership in Google Webmaster Tools and enable email forwarding. Email forwarding provides alerts straight to your inbox on vital information like hacking, malware or crawling difficulties with your website.
3. Research your domain’s history
It’s also useful to carry out a background check on your domain. If a website was previously owned by spammers, this will mean a lower ranking now. In order to check this, you should first review the keywords in Webmaster Tools to see if there are any unwanted words. Another useful indicator is whether you’re indexed, something you can check by carrying out a [site:thecontentworks.uk] search with your domain. Take a look at other factors that impact site ranking.
4. Use Fetch as Googlebot
Fetch as Googlebot is a feature of Webmaster tools which allows you to tell Google to not only crawl, but submit content to index. This means that when you update pages or create new ones, the entire indexing process is prompted to happen by Google and so new content is available to searchers faster.
5. Include an analytics code
Decide on an analytics provider like Google Analytics and begin to collect data, even if you’re not ready to analyse and use it yet. This will ensure you have information on your history that new employees can refer to.
6. Consider site design
You need to consider three main groups: your customers, investors and press. In order to provide a high quality site experience for each of these groups, you must consider the personas within each. Site design must cater to the needs of each group, be easily navigable and have unique pages that are specific to one topic. It’s best to avoid generalised, lengthy pages which will require visitors to scroll.
7. Define your conversion
Create a website where a relevant conversion is possible on every page in order to decrease the number of clicks a visitor has to make. A relevant conversion can be anything from signing up for a newsletter, buying a product, promoting your service via social media, or contacting your team for a quote.
8. Focus on site copy
The actual copy of a site should have keywords naturally embedded into text, bearing in mind query terms that people are likely to search for. For example, instead of ‘athletic garments’, ‘running clothes’ is a more common term.
Secondly, copy should answer any questions that visitors may have. This can be done through showing reviews, allowing users to review or by making a customer satisfaction policy easily accessible. In addressing questions before they arise, you encourage confidence in your product or service and eliminate any doubt a visitor may have.
Each page should include:
- A unique topic
- Unique title (in search results)
- Unique meta description
- Keywords in file name (lowercase and hyphen separated)
- Descriptive anchor text for every link
Sitelinks are determined by Google, however can be influenced by having unique titles, meta descriptions and relevant anchor text, so it’s important that content takes each of these factors into consideration. Check out some ideas of how to produce high quality content for your site.
For example, anchor text should be placed upon valuable information. Instead of ‘For more information on our hoovers, click here’, try ‘To find out more, refer to our hoover catalogue’. The anchoring should be placed on the relevant phrase.
9. Don’t fall for common SEO mistakes
- Don’t hire any SEO that guarantee specific results, each project is different.
- Don’t buy links, this will harm your site’s ranking long term. Google factors in a website’s authority, meaning high density but low quality links will not improve your site’s ranking.
- Don’t place anything above how searchable your site is. Having indexable text will raise your ranking more than a complicated and elaborate site will.
10. Reduce your page load time
Two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce sites. To ensure people don’t lose interest in your site, compress images and unminified resources where you can to reduce load time.
11. Check your ranking
Check how you rank for your company name. This should ideally be #1 and have site links. It also helps to establish how well you rank for other terms, which can be done through Webmaster Tools.
Next, assess how you can increase your site’s ranking for different searches. If your service isn’t one you necessarily search for, look into identifying a potential audience by researching existing forums, blogs and social media sites.
In addition to the users coming to you via search, social media marketing expands and diversifies your reach. Remember that you want to connect your users to an entry point of conversion on your site. To do so, figure out what platforms your audience use and establish an identity on those sites.
As a start up, it’s inevitable that you have limited resources. It’s therefore especially important that you play to the strengths of your employees, be that someone in the marketing department who uses Twitter regularly, or a developer already on more specific sites like Stack Overflow.
A website is never complete. You should continually review your site and identify areas for improvement in order to make sure your website does well in search engines and leads to a good user experience for your customers.
3 Essential Tools You Should Be Using on Your New Website
Here are three technologies we think every online business should be using. You simply cannot manage your website without them!
1. Anti-Hacker HTTPS
Cyber-crime is on the rise and malware is a growing threat to anybody with a website, email account or online store account. There is an estimated 230,000 malware threats online and that could have notched up a few dozen by the time you finish reading this article.
Online businesses that accept sensitive data from their customers owe a duty of care to protect bank details and personal information. A breach of your security protocol will destroy the trust your customers have in you and your website.
HTTPS security encryptions are a step towards improving the security measures of your site. They are used by financial institutions as they provide a secure socket layer (SSL) of encrypted data which protects hackers from getting access to credit card numbers and other sensitive information that can be used for online fraud.
2. Google Content Experiments
A/B split testing is vitally important for improving your digital marketing efforts. And there are a lot of effective tools that help you test landing pages, content, widgets and whatever else you want to test. But you also have to pay for most of these tools.
However, Google has come to the rescue of small business marketers that have a tight budget. As part of their Analytics tool, the Big G has added an extension they call Content Experiments which enables you to carry out A/B split testing on your online activities and assist with increasing conversions. The tool works slightly differently to conventional testing tools but still delivers:
- Web page and app platform comparisons
- Multiple users per experiment
- Single control scripts
- Traffic measurements
- Statistical engine
- Regular expression filters
- Email updates
Content Experiment in Google Analytics enables you to test up to 10 versions of a single page which are delivered to users via a separate url. Once you have set up and launched you’re A/B testing experiment you can determine which page drives the most conversions thus select the best performer to go live.
3. Content Management System (CMS)
In order to engage in an effective content marketing campaign, you need a content management system to add, remove or update content. Large website also need a CMS capable of handling large amounts of traffic and data.
There are numerous content management systems on the market, but the most popular are Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Whichever you choose depends on the requirements of your business.
With over 76.5 blogs, WordPress is the most popular CMS and accounts for 26% of websites on the net. The reason for that is because WP is the most user-friendly CMS available and built-in functions help to deliver results in search engine rankings. WordPress is pre-installed with relevant plugins that help you improve SEO and attractive themes that look aesthetically pleasing. However, there are limitations when it comes to customising.
If you have a large website, such as an exhaustive eCommerce site, and intend to showcase hundreds of product pages, you will need a powerful CMS that can handle huge amounts of content. The best option for that is Drupal. The platform can manage complex websites and enables you to install unique features other systems struggle to handle without compromising load speeds and the overall quality of the user-experience. The only potential hitch with Drupal is you need technical know-how to use the software. Therefore, it is not an ideal platform for SEO beginners or non-technical users with little experience of content management systems. Before using Drupal, you need to be committed to learning how to use it.
If you do need a CMS that has sufficient power to manage large amounts of data but is easy enough to use, Joomla is a good compromise between Drupal and WordPress. In a nutshell, Joomla provides plenty of power, but is easier to use than Drupal. And although it is not quite as user-friendly as WordPress, you do not have to understand code to comfortably manage your content and make any design updates as and when required.
Maintaining a website is vitally important to your online success, and three key elements are security, performance and content management. You need your customers to trust you, determine which pages work and which need improving and have a system at your disposal that enables you to add content on a regular basis to fuel your content marketing campaign.
We can help
Unsure of where to start? The Content Works are here to help. Our team of experts can help you make your site the best it can be. Give us a ring on 0207 305 55 99 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.