Building a highly functioning and visually impressive website isn’t as easy as it sounds. It can take weeks of revisions—both major and minor—until everything is just right. Fortunately, technology has made good-looking websites much more affordable and accessible for business owners. Unfortunately, having a good-looking website is only half the battle.
Ranking on search engines, especially Google, is no easy task. The process requires careful attention and a number of actions pertaining to various areas of your site. To get started, we’ve listed some of the most common issues and mistakes to avoid to ensure that your site continues to stay afloat on Google’s results page.
1. Unresponsive Website Design
Google sends traffic to sites on which they knowing users will enjoy a positive browsing experience. Without a responsive design, your website isn’t guaranteed to function optimally across all devices (laptops, tablets, and mobile devices), and will drive away frustrated users visiting from a smaller screen. Additionally, once this declining dwell time is spotted by Google’s thorough ranking algorithm your search engine ranking will plummet even further. Luckily, most websites are now somewhat responsive by design, but we encourage you to double-check with your site builders.
2. Slow Load Time
Another key factor within Google’s ranking algorithm is load time. If your archaic website keeps users waiting longer than a few seconds, you’ll find yourself losing visitors before they reach the home page. The heightened bounce rate signals an issue, damaging your chances of reaching the top of Google’s results. More importantly, your slow website is annoying your (former) potential customers.
3. Improper Header Tags
HTML code is essentially the raw content on your website. It’s used to put all of your text content in place and even helps designate information with their level of importance. HTML offers six header tags that inform search engines to pay attention to headings the most in terms of actual content and topics that someone might search. Think of it as H1 tags typically being found only once on a webpage with the main subject, and all other heading tags denoting secondary information that can help map out what paragraph text is saying.
4. Confusing Site Layout
You may have envisioned your website as a high-end, elaborate visual experience. While your passion and dedication to creating a unique website does not go unnoticed, keep your #1 goal in mind: presenting information quickly and seamlessly to provide the best possible experience for your site visitors. Ease the experience by setting up your main menu at the top of your site and presenting the most important pages in a logical, intuitive order. The easier your website is to navigate, the easier it will be to find on Google.
5. Prioritizing Graphics and Images Over Text
While I love infographics as much as the next visually-oriented person, let’s go back to that buzzword of responsiveness. While your custom graphics affixed with your tagline and info may appear fancy from a desktop, they won’t appear nearly as legible on mobile devices. Furthermore, Google’s algorithm is unable to account for the information within. You’ll definitely want to refer back to those header tags and place them above your photo on your webpage.
To help explain in more detail, let’s refer to a common example: Say you own a bakery and you want to have your menu on your website. You decide to do this by attaching a jpg of your menu onto a page on your site. While it might look great on your PC, Google simply won’t know what types of baked goods you’re serving and only translates that page as containing a large photo. The search engine will have no way of knowing your bakery offers the award-winning peanut butter chocolate cupcake that someone is searching for in your area. This is a literal tragedy! We want everyone to know where peanut butter chocolate cupcakes are at all times.
6. Your Site Hasn’t Been Indexed by Google Yet
Another very common reason that sites fail to rank in search engines is simply that they are too new to have been discovered and indexed by search engines! While the solution to this is mostly just to wait it out for a few weeks, you can sometimes successfully speed up this process by following these steps. 1) Create an account on Google Webmaster. 2) Register and point Google to your sitemap. 3) Request to re-crawl your URL’s. Based on their overwhelming volume, the following these steps will likely still take a week or two for Google to finish. However, we still recommend giving expediting the process.
7. Keyword Saturation in your Region
This is just the simple rule of supply and demand playing out in the virtual world. If you’re in a very popular industry with many competitors, the battle to the top of Google’s SERP will not be an easy one. In this scenario, you’ll want to consult with a digital marketing expert to discuss more advanced SEO actions. These steps include ongoing blogging, equipping your site with an SEO plugin, keyword research, and much more.
8. Google removed your website from search engines
If your site visitors regularly visit and immediately close your site based on its failure to load properly or offer compelling content, your site will eventually be removed entirely from search engines. Don’t be too scared! It takes a lot for Google to consider a site so poor in quality that it should be banned. Another reason for its removal would be Google’s concern due to legal reasons, viewing your site as a potential liability. If you feel like your site has been removed because you simply can’t find it, this might be another reason to seek out assistance from an expert in your region to identify potential reasons and work to resolve them.
Above all we encourage you to consider a high ranking slot as not only something to work towards overtime, but something to continue to focus on. Even sites that have achieved first page rankings can fall based on the competitive landscape! If you have any questions about your specific website ranking, you can drop us a line by clicking here.
J&R Marketing is a marketing company located in Smithfield, Rhode Island that specializes in branding, development, and custom products. If you’re interested in discussing your website design needs, please contact us today.