Recent Google updates have been targeting acceptable practices in how the search engine’s index websites and reward those websites which give visitors a good experience with fast, responsive layouts, high quality content and penalise those with sub-standard websites, poor load times and confusing navigation.
With the addition of smartphones the time you have to capture a visitor to your website has been reduced to only 3 seconds and with so many sites competing for eyes, it is only right that Google reward those with the best user experience.
So What SEO Consideration’s Should Your Web Designer Be Adhering To?
1. Page Speed – Google have been reinforcing the message that page speed is going to be big factor when deciding which sites are ranked highly in its search engine result pages. They launched their own page speed tool last year. This tool analyses your site and gives you a score out of 100. Once you have your score it will then give helpful tips it as to what you what you should fix to improve your score. This focuses on server response times/size of CSS and JS files and also gives you separate scores for both mobile and desktop versions of the site.
2. Mobile Friendly Websites – Mobile friendly websites are of vital importance and not just because Google says so. According to Neil of ESP Projects “With more people browsing the web via mobile devices you could be losing out of upto 60% of your available traffic with a site that is poorly designed for mobile users.” Google launched the Mobilegeddon Update last year which rewarded mobile friendly websites via mobile searches with higher rankings in the search engine result pages. Again there is a tool to figure out if your site has a mobile friendly design or not.
3. Navigation – Whilst websites should be unique and have a design that draws the customers in, Google still prefers a way to navigate a site just like a user would. Having a menu and sub menu to easily reach any page of the site is considered good housekeeping.
4. Content Is King – Yes this phrase has been over-used but it doesn’t make it any less true. However, compelling and authoritative copy is what we are talking about here not waffle. Google is still a text based search engine, despite improvements in the crawling and indexes of images. Having a blog incorporated in your website keeps the content fresh and helps Google index you as an influencer in your niche. It will also help you attract a hungry audience for helpful content in aiding their buying decisions
5. Meta Tags – It astounds me how many sites have their title tag as “Home” or their website name. The meta title and meta description should be unique for each page of your site and should feature the most important keywords. The title tag should be no more than 64 characters long whilst the meta description tag should be no more than 160 characters long.
Bonus Tip –
One of the easiest way to harm your rankings Is to tell search engines not to visit your site! But this is exactly what some web designers do. When developing a site they will often add a command in to their sites telling Google not to index their site whilst they work on it prior to it going live. However, when the site is finally launched they forget to remove the “no index” tag and then wonder why the site is not appearing in Google. Always check you have replaced “noindex” with “index, follow”