5 Good Reasons to Optimize Your Website
Search Engine Optimization is a hot topic, but why should you optimize your website? Many times your website is the first impression you give to your customer. Outdated content, old pictures, broken links, outdated code, and non-mobile friendly websites all lead to a poor user experience. Search engines and Google in particular in recent years have made significant improvements in understanding user experience, and a poor experience leads to poor rankings. Understanding what a "poor experience" is though is key to optimizing your website, and Web Works can help. Here is a list of 5 reasons you need to optimize your website today.
Let's face it, if you stumble upon a website that looks like it was optimized for Netscape Navigator circa 1997, you'll leave quicker than you got there. Aside from some nostalgia and a few good laughs, the content is more than likely outdated, and you may seek more recent data. The search engines look for fresh content that is relative to what the user is searching for. Remember, their goal is to provide the best, most relevant search results they can, and writing clean content that is easy to read is preferred.
Along with writing good content comes good keyword placement; after-all, incorporating good keywords is what helps to rank for a particular topic. Good content and content structure for that matter should flow naturally, broken down into manageable sections with good white space. The search engines will know if your content is top heavy with fluff content at the bottom. They will also know if we simply write out your keyword 100 times in a row. Content is King many webmasters say, so let's spend some time writing good content to help your rankings.
Sometimes old images are fine, especially you are writing about history or something historical. However, if you have a tech site and you have a picture of a tech with a desktop computer and monitor the size of a small car, some people may not take you too seriously. Aside from keeping the images clean and new, many people enjoy full width images, especially at the top of the page. And along with high-definition images, they need the current standard for tagging. Each image much have a proper title, alt and title tag (meta description), and preferably sized to the correct dimensions.
There are several types of links, but I want to focus on broken links. A broken link is a link that no longer exists sending the user to a 401 error page or no page at all. This is extremely frustrating for the user, and the search engines will identify these broken links. All of this leads to a poor user experience, driving down your ranking even farther. Every link on your page should work properly, and this includes links built in to images as well. Many times images are overlooked because we cannot see the link, it is coded into the meta content. Looking at each page at least once a week to make sure there aren't any broken links is more than sufficient.
Streamlining your code is extremely helpful for SEO and also will boost the speed of your website. The current HTML standard is 5.1, and current CSS standard is CSS3. Google will look for several things, but most common are deprecated code, and inline CSS. This means any styling that occurs in the code should be placed in a separate Style Sheet or area reserved by the theme. This helps the search engine render the code quicker, boosting speed results, and making for a better user experience.
Mobile Friendly Website
Mobile friendly websites are possibly the most important item on the list. Since September 2015, Google has expanded its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor. I have written about the importance of a mobile site, you can read about that HERE. The preferred method to building a mobile friendly site is by using a responsive theme. A responsive theme will automatically change size depending on screen size and orientation. For example, a responsive theme will size properly for mobile portrait mode, but also mobile landscape mode. This is extremely beneficial for the customer since two websites are no longer needed, one for desktop and one for mobile.