Did you know that overnight your traffic and conversion rates can drop to the bottom?
OK, that might be an exaggeration. But all it takes is one Google algorithm change, and all your hard work goes to waste. So it’s always best to keep up to date and ahead of the game.
After all, what good is having a great website if nobody can find it on search? Everything in your web arsenal should add to your bottom line, and web optimizations are at the top of the list.
Here are ways to improve your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is still the most effective way to gain organic search traffic. But you may not know that SEO isn’t just about keywords. Of course, make sure your pages have a keyword in mind that will get you the best chance of showing up on a search. But there’s more.
SEO comprises on-page, off-page and technical. On-page focuses on optimizing the website itself, while off-page focuses on strategic marketing such as social media, guest posting, and paid ads.
Do note that many specialists include technical SEO as on-page. Still, others use it to distinguish code from content, for example. For the interest of this article, anything mentioned relates to on-page optimization, including some technical optimizations.
Site Speed Optimization
Slow loading pages are not only frustrating for your visitors but can also harm your search engine rankings. Addressing speed can help increase sales and conversions as customers will stay on the site longer.
It’s estimated that for every 0.5-second delay, your bounce rate increases by 4-5%, which for a website with 10,000 clicks a month means you’re losing 500 visitors for every half-second delay. That’s huge!
Take Your Website Mobile
67% of traffic to websites is now coming from mobile devices. And, although speed is important, one of Google’s main ranking factors for mobile in 2021 is CLS, or Cumulative Layout Shift.
If your website isn’t using a mobile-friendly theme or Google’s own AMP plugin, then you should make this your top priority.
Think of a layout shift like inviting people into your home, and you live a messy lifestyle. The clutter needs putting in boxes, and those boxes need putting in cupboards or on shelves. Or you could have a clearout. There’s less to clean, and it’s quicker, so you can invite people in sooner.
Optimize Your Images
One of the main culprits of page speed is image optimization. If you’re the sort of person that uploads high-quality photos to a small thumbnail, think again. The only time you need to upload these kinds of images is to use a commercial screen or printing purposes.
And in the case of the latter, most websites offer download services while serving a smaller image. So instead, download a plugin such as TinyPNG that auto-compresses all your pictures and offer a “lazy load” service.
Some plugins such as Flying Images will also serve your images as next-gen WEBP, making them smaller and more efficient.
Give Your Sitemap Some Direction
Sitemaps are often neglected when optimizing a website. A good sitemap will be clear to the search engine and avoid duplicate content, which can happen when you allow categories to be indexed and blog posts, for example.
Conducting a quality site audit using free or paid software will highlight these kinds of issues to you and advise the best ways to improve them. Imagine going to a theme park and not having a site map!
Use a mixture of internal and external links to help map the different pages of your site and how relevant it is to other websites that you link to.
Clean Up Your HTML Code
If you’re good at HTML coding, you shouldn’t need to do this, but if you’re a novice, chances are you’ve installed a thousand plugins that all conflict with each other. Firstly, stop.
Like antiviruses on a computer can cause issues, deactivate any plugins that conduct the same task. This is the number one issue in optimizing websites because many think they’re doing the right thing by over-optimizing.
Remember to backup your site before optimizing, just in case issues arise with old code. WP Reset is a great plugin to reset individual tasks (such as your plugin settings) and start again without losing all your data.
Secure Your Site
Help build trust with your visitors by providing a secure website that meets industry standards for SSL/TLS encryption and offers malware prevention tools like Cloudflare.
These protect against phishing scams and malware downloads for both yourself and your visitors. Sites with SSL are more widely trusted, and as a result, help to convert customers into sales.
Link-Up Your Social Media
Social media is becoming more important for marketing strategies. That’s especially true since organic search engines are taking note of social signals. Make sure to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social sharing buttons on your site.
Some plugins such as Schedulepress also allow you to schedule blog posts to post to social media simultaneously as your website. This is a great way to build brand loyalty at the same time as automating your workflow.
Focus on User Intent
When people come to your website, what do they want from you? This might seem obvious, but there are many ways you can go wrong here. For example, if the primary purpose of your website is to sell products, you should focus on that objective as the best choice.
A Call-To-Action is a functional feature that encourages the visitor to do something else. Most commonly, it’s a button on the site that says “click here” or “contact” or “read more.”
But it can be other things, too, such as an eye-catching image that doesn’t have a message but catches the reader’s attention enough to lure them in.
Tools such as Decibel can help you know what people are doing on your website. This could be a great tool to spot where people are getting bored or spending most of their time. You can then use the insight to make appropriate adjustments.
Focus on Web Optimizations to Build Traffic
SEO has improved over the last couple of years. Google has refined its algorithms to eliminate “black hat” methods that weren’t fair to companies doing it the right way.
By following these steps, you’ll maximize your chances of ranking top of the table for your target keywords. Some of them will take a while to kick in and yield results, but that’s the beauty of SEO! Over time, you’ll see organic traffic rise as you get better rankings for your chosen keywords.
For more top marketing tips, keep reading our blog posts!