Playing the SEO game can sometimes feel rather unfair, as if your opponent is constantly shifting the goalposts and changing the rules. But while you may feel like you need springs in your shoes to keep up with developments in SEO, the good news is that the internet is becoming a better place because of them. Spammy sites are on their way out and SSL technology is making transactions safer. If you invest in making your website more robust and user-friendly, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts. Check out these five ways to optimize your website here.
1. Make your website fast and secure
Site speed is a ranking factor of most search engines. So, making sure that yours is fast will earn you brownie points with Google and friends. But, even better than that, you’ll convert more site visitors into leads. How come? Because every second counts. Literally. People have the patience of a gnat when it comes to online browsing. 40% of users will click out of a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. Three seconds might not sound like a long time, but time takes on a different meaning on the web. You may as well stick up a “come back in half an hour” notice on your door, or point your customers to a competitor’s site.
2. Focus on your content
Make sure that the content on your website is well-written and engaging. If you have the budget, hiring a copywriter is a good idea, as they understand about sales psychology. You’ll also need to make sure that you know your keywords and that your content includes the right amount of them. This will help your website appear higher in search engine results, especially when you get good at knowing your longtail keywords.
Make sure that all your blog articles, social posts and site pages are optimized and engaging. Having a message that’s a joy to read is a great start. But if you fail to include strategic CTAs, or it’s too thin on your keywords, you won’t get converting visitors. In fact, your site won’t even appear on a Google search. Consider important elements like meta data, H1 and H2 headings, optimized images and content length.
3. Improve the User Experience
You want your website to deliver a flawless user experience to everyone. Your site visitors should be able to find the information that they need quickly and easily. They should be encouraged to stay longer on your site and find getting what they want simple and quick. Make sure that all links are working and that they don’t get any error messages, or are faced with broken forms or redirected pages.
If you have foreign website visitors, localize your content into the language in question. According to the Common Sense Advisory, 87 percent of non-English speakers will not buy from websites in English-only. So, make sure that you produce a local language version that speaks to their tastes. Think about the appropriateness of colors, icons and images, and make sure that weights and measures, currency and dates and times are converted to their needs as well.
Improving your user experience will improve your conversions wherever you do business. Think about hiring a UX Manager who can run tests and check heatmaps to see what people are clicking on and what turns them off.
4. Capture data
Getting potential customers to your site is a big step, but that shouldn’t be the end goal. In fact, that’s only the beginning. You need to start capturing their information. Not everyone who lands on your website will be ready to purchase in that moment. But if you offer them interesting information, a how-to guide, or the chance to get something for free, they’ll readily give you their details.
This means that you can start building up a database of potential clients and include them on their mailing list. Ask them what service interests them most so that you can target your offers to them. A word to the wise, be sure not to email them too frequently. Over-emailing is one of the surest ways to provoke unsubscribes.
5. Test your efforts
Once you’ve got all your ducks in a row, so to speak, be sure to continually test your efforts. Make sure that your links stay fresh, that your pages are working and that your content is still relevant. Remove any offers that are out of date and try different landing pages to see which one provokes greater action. A/B testing, where you try out two different versions of the same page is an awesome way of getting live customer feedback. Ditch the version that isn’t working and go with the one that gets more clicks. Tools like hotjar and heatmap are great for this.
Even the smallest of changes on your website, such as the position or wording of a CTA, can have a huge difference on conversion. So, don’t think of your site like Michelangelo’s David. It’s not crafted in stone. To keep it optimized and appealing, you’ll need to make frequent changes.
These five ways to optimize your website are just the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll find out when you progress along your SEO journey. But fixing your site’s speed and safety, creating killer, optimized content and a great user experience are all great ways to start. Along with frequent testing and a willingness to switch up your game.
Christina Comben is Content Manager at translation and localization services providers, Day Translations. Multilingual and qualified to MBA level
Christina is passionate about writing, traveling and continued education.