2013 has been a year of dramatic change with regards to Search Engines, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Changes to how Google ranks a website, updated algorithms and the prominence of responsive website design, make this one of the most transitional years online in a long time.
With all these changes online marketers should not forget the basics when considering their marketing plan for 2014.
Are All Websites Created Equally?
Simply put, no they are not! As the goal of business related websites is to bring in new customers or clients, the site must “show well” to the search engines. If the site is not constructed in a specific manner or if it contains old outdated source code, it will not be ranked by a search engine properly and may not display well in more current versions of popular browsers. Typically a website that is 5 years or more old will suffer in search engine ranking for these reasons.
Why Is This Important For My Business?
Search Engines have overwhelmingly replaced telephone books, yellow page directories, and trade directories as the source for products and services. Creating and maintaining a credible, engaging and professional website is the key to keeping your current customers and growing your business for the future.
Don’t Forget The Basics!
Although the method search engines use to evaluate and recommend a website (website rank) have continued to become increasingly complicated, the basics of search engine optimization remain very important and have not changed a lot over the years.
Original Website Content:
Content is critical to search engine ranking. One of the main factors in a search engine determining your rank is original content that contains the keyword sets. An abundance of content related to the topic of that specific webpage, that contains the appropriate keyword sets as frequently and logically as possible will promote a website up the ranks. Original content, not copied from another online source is equally as important. Content harvested from another online source can be deemed as plagiarized and will be penalized by the search engine.
Easy To Use Navigation:
Easy to follow, intuitive navigation is an absolute must for any website. Visitors to your website need to be able to find the information they are looking for quickly, easily and within a few clicks. If information is buried deep within a site, requiring sub-navigation and in-site searches to be found, chances are it will not!
High Quality Imagery:
Creating and maintaining a balance between content and imagery on a website can make the difference of engaging a visitor or loosing them back to a competitor. Too much text and/or poor imagery will see your visitor loose interest and continue searching. Conversely a website with high quality images and well thought through content will engage your visitor greatly increasing the potential for conversion from visitor to customer.
Mobility and Responsiveness:
Smart-Phones and Tablet devices are perhaps responsible for the most dramatic changes to online behavior since the introduction of the internet. Currently, depending on the market and customer base, mobile browsing can account for between 10 & 40% or more of company’s online searches. Ensure your company’s website is available in the format preferred by your customer base.
Website Updates & Maintenance:
Fresh content and general website updates is one of the best ways to keep your website ranking in search engines. Newsletters & Blogs are the most popular method for companies to add and refresh the content of their website, without requiring their web developer to do it for them. If you do not have one, consider adding a simple blog to your website to facilitate in-house updates by your staff.