If your website design has not been designed and developed properly, then chances are that you are not getting the online SEO rankings that your business deserves. One way to test this out is to type your service or product offering into the search box in Google and see the results. Ask yourself these two fundamentally important questions: 1) is my business on page 1 of the search results and 2) are my competitors on page 1? If you have answered ‘no’ to question (1) and ‘yes’ to question (2), then you need to take a good long hard look at your website and make some serious design and programming amends.
What could be the issue?
There could be a number of problems with your site, and some of these are listed below. If you recognise any of these, then please get in touch with your SEO web design company and have these corrected immediately. Don’t take no for an answer from them, and if you have to pay a fee to get this done then you should be a little concerned–as these are web and SEO basics that should be a part of each design and build.
- Many web designers know how to design and develop awesome looking websites–but unfortunately Google just doesn’t register them. Have a look at your site and check if there are moving or animated images; commonly referred to as Flash animation. All SEO website designers know that search engines do not recognise flash programming. In the past this was a common trend in website design as flashy, moving, colourful images were very eye catching. Many web programmers and designers ignored this negative component of flash as they were able to use other techniques to rank a site. Today with the many algorithm updates and changes, ranking a site is no longer as easy as it used to be and as a business owner having flash on your site will hurt your ranking. Get your SEO web designers to take down all flash animation and if you must have rotating images get them to program it in java or another SEO web friendly language.The sooner you do this the quicker you will see your rankings start to improve.
- If you are going to have images on your site and if it is going to be content heavy make sure that the site loads quickly. Users do not want to be waiting around whilst a site is loading. Having them wait will result in massive site exits, lost business as well as a poorer SEO ranking. Reason being, Google now looks at site bounce rates; that is people coming to your site and leaving quickly. The higher the bounce rate, the lower the ranking. A useful tip here is to keep image size small, say no more than 72dpi and if you must have animation, keep it in the banner area and to a minimum.
- Is the content on your website too thin? Are there just a few paragraphs on the home and and internal pages? If so you may need to start looking at beefing up content through out your site. Google love content so the more you have the better your ranking. If this seems like a hard task and you find that you don’t have the time or ideas its probably a good idea to get a copy writer on board like us here at Hopping Mad Designs. Copy writing is now the cornerstone of any (SEO) search engine optimisation campaign. People need to be engaged with your site and its only the combination of graphics and content that will keep users on the site and keep them there for a long period of time. The search engines now recognise this even more and reward sites that cater for this. If you are the kind of person that want to do things yourself then a blog is a great way to add content. In fact, there is no reason why you can’t write, say 1 article a week, that is industry specific. Most blogs a very easy to use your web designers should be able to install a blog to your site easily. Open source, free blogs such as WordPress will enable even the most non tech savvy user to start writing away. One important rule to note is that everything that you post on your blog has to be unique as well as relevant. Remember that people who come to your site or blog are there for a reason and want to be either entertained or leave with some handy information. Never bore them and never copy articles or content from other websites. This will be picked up immediately by the search engines and will not work in your favour.
- Try to limit the amount of links leaving your site. There are two reasons for this; firstly you do not want users exiting your site and secondly, external links drain your page rank authority. Its OK to have 1 or 2 links to external sites as this seems natural and organic in the eyes of the search engines but having pages of links might seem a bit spammy and will hurt your SEO ranking. Any web designer should know this and advice you against too many links. If you must link to external websites make them very industry aligned such as associations or organisations. A golden rule to remember is that once people leave your site through a link, the chances of them getting lost online and nor coming back to your site are very high. To maintain page rank authority to help with your SEO, try to get in bound links to your site from these associations. Generally speaking, they are perceived as sources of authority and a link from them can only help with your SEO. I know, as a graphic design company Hopping Mad Designs are members of AGDA (The Australian Graphic Designers Association) and have a link from their site pointing to our site. This helps immensely with our SEO. Just type graphic design into Google and you can see that we are on page 1 for this search query.
- Have your checked your webmaster tools account in Google yet? If not, do so immediately. A reason why you site might not be ranking as well as it should be might be because there may be an important message for you from the search engine that you have not seen. Google communicates to web owners through this account and if there are any issues or problems with your site they will let you know. Addressing issues will result in SEO rankings improving. Your web company should be advising you about this and act on any correspondence quickly.
- Install Google Analytics through out your website. This is a very useful tool as it lets you know site wide statistics and can be used to your advantage if understood. One main aspect of analytics is the number of site visits and how long they have stayed on the site. Poor rankings will mean site visits and a poorly designed site will result in high bounce rates. Addressing these 2 factors with your design team should see an overall improvement.
- There is a very fine line between web design and SEO. More often than not business people want to have as many visual and creative features through out the site regardless of how it affects their site indexing. Reining in the graphic a bit and focusing on site usability, navigation, user interaction and content are all necessary variables that now need to be taken into account for online rankings.Try not to get carried away with placing as many graphics, moving animated banners and images on the home page. Try to spread it out evenly so the site has a consistent look and feel. There is the tendency to cram as much information as possible on the home page but this will only result in the users getting information overload and existing the site. Keeping the user experience as simple as possible is the key to online success. You will notice that the websites that have the biggest names and brands are all designed in a very stylish and simple manner. Their interface is simple and buys/clients/customers are led through the site in a seamless fashion.
- Make sure that your URL’s, titles, and H1 headers are all consistent as well as relevant to the page that the user is on. For example if the web page is about about superannuation then make certain that the URL, title and header has the word superannuation in them. This is called site semantics and if they all line up correctly, then this will result in a higher ranking for that particular page. Make sure also that this page has well worded content of over 500 words. A warning however, never stuff as many keywords as possible into the content thinking that this will help your ranking. Sure, it used to work about 10 years ago, but keyword stuffing will only result in a page penalty by Google.
- If you are going to engage a web firm to implement your SEO strategy, be realistic about how much things actually cost. If you are promised super fast rankings at very cheap rates then you must be careful about what is on offer. Generally speaking, fast rankings mean that ‘black hat’ non compliant SEO techniques are being used and this will result in future ranking suppressions. To be properly ranked you must use SEO techniques that take time and use a fair amount of human resources. Depending on the competitive nature of the keywords being targeted you might be looking at around 10-20 hours work per month per website for say 4-5 keywords. If your web designers also offer a SEO service its best to use them and keep everything under one roof. But remember, cheap and quick SEO rankings are no longer an option and are no longer able to be achieved. Algorithm updates by Google will see any unusual spike in activity and this again will result in your website being suppressed. SEO is all about the ‘long term’ and it is these companies that are prepared to partner with their web designer and pay for this premium service are the businesses that will see all the benefits.
- If you are business owner and are very concerned about getting the very best possible ranking for your website and SEO is something that matters a great deal, then you really must use a web design company that has experience in this field. Choosing such a company can prove very difficult and making the wrong choice at this early stage in the design process can and will lead to issues once the site is deployed. If you follow these 3 simple rules you may just end up making the best marketing decision of your career.
- Choose a company that has a good ranking themselves. You can do this by checking their ranking and if they are on the first page for the keyword graphic design, then you are on the right path.
- Use a web design company that can prove that they have not only designed many great looking sites in the past but have also been able to rank them. Ask for some testimonials and do your phoning around. Don’t just believe what you are told. Clearly web companies will only give you the best references but call a few from their online portfolio that they haven’t provided.
- Use a company that has experience and longevity in the industry. The barrier to entry for web designers is very low and any person with a Mac and a bit of programming skills can claim to be a designer. Avoid these people like the plague. You might pay next to nothing for your site now but you will end up having to go through the whole exercise again once you see the final result. Believe me, I have had people call me up in tears, having been ripped off by these so called web designers. What they do is quote so low that you think why not give them a try. But, once they have your deposit you are left hanging. What follows is scrappy, poor design with no regard to your business or SEO. Plus customer service is generally non existent. They are super friendly to begin with but will soon turn cold once you start asking some design questions. Pay the bit extra now by using a credible and professional design team and you will start reaping the benefits immediately.