Have you ever taken the time to test what happens if you search for your products/service in Google?
Does your site appear high up in a direct or related search? Maybe it shows up several pages in. Or is it missing completely? If you can’t find your own website when you are looking online, it’s a fair assumption that new or potential customers won’t find you either.
Small Business Geek’s Liz Smith explained: While it’s important not to become too obsessed with rankings, there are a few key tweaks you can make to boost how your website performs.
Google doesn’t reveal a lot about what its algorithms look for. However, it has made clear the importance of website speed and customer experience. A new set of metrics measuring these factors are being added as part of a core algorithm update this month (June 2021).
As this interesting Yoast article explains: Google is going to use these new metrics combined with existing experience ranking factors, to help with ranking pages. Keep in mind, Google uses an unknown number of factors to judge sites and rank them. Some factors weigh a lot, but most have a smaller impact. Combined, however, they tell the story of a website.
The key message to take from Google’s Web Vitals update is that customer experience is now key when it comes to how your site ranks. SBG’s Liz Smith continued: Although at first it may feel like this just leaves you with more hoops to jump through, it’s much better to take a step back and see it as a further incentive to ensure your website is as user-friendly as it possibly can be.
Alongside the Web Vitals metrics (which you can find within Search Console) there are a number of other areas you can look at if you want to improve how your site ranks. Over the years we have found many small business sites fail to take these into account and so in turn end up ranking far worse than they could.
In most cases it’s more about tweaking a site than it is about making major amends.
The key areas to look at are:
- Load speed the aim should be for your site to load quickly, after all if it doesn’t you are likely to lose potential customers alongside your ability to rank well. In particular make sure you are not using overly large photos and images as these can really slow down how long your site takes to load. Test your site here.
- Mobile friendly – If you do not have a mobile version of your site or it’s not easy to click buttons and use the site on a mobile device it will cause an issue. This takes into account the significant number of users who will look at your site this way. Test your site here.
- Security – To rank well, your site should have an SSL certificate to show that it is secure. You can check this by looking to see if there is a padlock symbol next to the URL at the top of the page. If there is then it has an SSL certificate. Some browser/ anti-virus software will block sites without SSL certificates. Also if you have a WordPress site and fail to update the software and plugins for it on a regular basis, it will become vulnerable to hacking so it is important you keep this in mind.
- Usability Remembering the importance of customer experience, if your website is difficult to navigate or is plagued with pop ups it will have a real impact on your usability ranking. Where possible, gain feedback from your customers on their experience of using your website. Or draft in your friends and family and ask for no holds barred assessment of what can be done to improve user experience.
Liz added: There are millions of other tweaks you can make to improve how your website ranks, but as these are the areas Google has specifically said matter, it makes sense to treat them as a priority.
Of course, putting aside the technical tweaks that can be made, your site needs really good content to thrive.
In the past it was possible to boost your ranking by simply stuffing your content with the right keywords. Now though, as Search Engine Journal explains, Google is ranking content according to how it relates to what the user wants.
So, for example, rather than just explaining what your product or service is, instead focus on what it can help the customer achieve. Photos or images need to be used in the same way if they are to help with how your site ranks.
Liz added: “Well written copy that’s to the point will not only help convince potential customers to ultimately make a purchase, it will also help the search engine to understand your website, too. In turn this will improve how you rank in search results.
It’s amazing how much difference the right tweaks can make to your website and you don’t need a big budget to make real improvements.
* At SBG we know that every penny counts especially for small businesses on a tight budget, and we are happy to work with you to identify what can be done to improve the performance of your existing site. Contact us today to find out more about our Website Review service and how it can work for your small business.
As part of the review, we will look at the design and functionality, copy and on page SEO of your site. A written report with recommendations will be provided. Then, depending on your time, skills and budget, you can either carry out these amends for yourself or we will be happy to take the task off your hands. Contact us to find out more.