Web Trends

Why your website is a ghost town

Written by Ensmble Guest on Friday 02, September 2016
8 Minute Read - Share:
An everyperson’s guide to SEO by Gustavo Moller

In the digital space, what was irrelevant yesterday might be tomorrow’s next trend. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a clear example of how fast the online space changes: search engines like Google update their algorithms at least 100 times per year.

Google and other search engines crawl your website to decide if it’s worth showing to their users. So how can you find out if they like your site? You can’t––not exactly. But there are a few things you can do to improve your chances.

    1. Make sure your website is searchable to users. Type your business’s name into different search engines. If your site does not appear in the results, it means you’re already at a disadvantage. Fixing this issue could involve anything from disabling/enabling a backend plugin, to fixing a conflict in your site’s code, to resolving a malware issue. Either way, it’s important to identify and fix the issue(s) as soon as possible.

Notice that Orchestrabeta does not appear in top search terms. This is an example of bad SEO.

  1. Audit your site. Understanding your site’s UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) standing is critical if you don’t just want to fix your site, but improve it. A reliable developer will be able to help you with this step – especially when it comes to responsiveness and security – but if your site is running on WordPress or a similarly easy-to-develop-on platform, this is definitely something you can manage on your own. Might be worth mentioning some of the things a developer would look at, like mobile responsiveness, run speed tests, check security plugin’s, etc.
  2. Install Google Analytics. This free analytics tool will help you to better understand your website’s performance. Now, fair warning: Google Analytics provides a ton of metrics. If you’re new analytics, focus on the bounce rate. This number will tell you the percentage of people who have visited your website and left almost immediately.

    There’s no magic formula you can use to lower a high bounce rate, but critically analyzing your website’s content, UX and UI can help. Keep an eye out for things like long load times, a complicated user experience (i.e. dead links, too many buttons), and outdated content. Search engines prefer “fresh” content, meaning you should update your site with new and high-quality copy, keywords, and images as often as you can.

    We sell flowers to all types gardens. Our flowers come from all over the world. We have exotic flowers that can stand the winter, and flowers that require extra care.

    If you’re looking for flowers, contact us and rest assured that we will have the perfect flower for your garden.

  3. Speaking of keywords, the image above is a classic example of keyword stuffing. In short, your website is not a turkey. You don’t want to saturate your site’s copy with the same search terms over and over. Instead, you want to diversify its wording and use synonyms (i.e. flowers, roses, orchids, seasonal arrangements.
  4. We sell exotic plants from all over the world. Same day delivery

    Flowers, Toronto flowers, garden flowers, garden, garden toronto, garden

    Highlight the blank line above to see the “hidden text”

    The image above highlights a second potential keyword problem: hidden keywords. In the past, search engines used to overlook this overstuffing of key search terms at the bottom of the page, but nowadays, they not only catch these algorithmic exploits, they penalize you for them. The penalties can vary, from people labelling your website as spam to search engines removing your website from their query returns altogether.

  5. And speaking of keywords, add tags. Tagging your website’s photos will enhance both its searchability and its usability: it’ll help users to better understand your site’s content, it’ll allow search engines to better crawl your site, and ultimately, it’ll help improve your site’s ranking.
  6. Make your site mobile-friendly. As of 2015, roughly 56 percent of web traffic was from mobile devices––a number that is only going to increase. If your website is not optimized for mobile, you are alienating the majority of Internet traffic.
  7. Finally, keep your copy clear, simple, and relevant. A good copywriter can optimize things further by making sure your site includes the optimal number of keywords, reads well, and is contextually relevant, but if that’s not an option, straightforward copy that you’ve written and spell-checked yourself will do just fine.

Once you’ve made all the necessary changes to your website, don’t forget to keep an eye on your Google Analytics. From an SEO perspective, your bounce rate should improve. If it doesn’t, this is the point at which you’ll want to consider hiring professionals. They’ll be able to look through your site from top to bottom, do a user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) audit, and solve any problems they discover.

One important final point: you’re going to want to do this every few months. Search engine algorithms are always changing, which means your site should as well. But don’t worry, it doesn’t need to be anything drastic. Just keep it simple, and keep it fresh!

If you are just starting to learn and understand SEO, we recommend picking up a copy of Search Engine Optimization for Dummies. This handy guide will break down the whats, hows, and whys of SEO marketing, and help you to determine what steps you should take to get your company’s digital game to the next level.

If you are already familiar with SEO and web concepts and are interested in making the move from “improve your digital presence” to “own your digital presence”, visit moz.com and searchengineland.com to learn more about alogarithm changes, html structure, online trends, and digital best practices.