Given the pace of technical change and the fierce competition to rank highly in search, setting and forgetting your website after launch is an easy way to make your business tumble.
As a marketer, it’s your job to keep your brand ‘top-of-mind’; so constant website maintenance is essential to maintaining a prominent position among your competitors in Google’s search results.
Content and design alone are not enough to make a website rank for search. According to Hubspot, the key metrics for determining a website’s success are:
- Strong performance
- Mobile optimisation
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
- SSL security-enablement.
The good news is, there are often simple ways you can boost your website to address these four areas.
Load speed is the key performance component of websites today. Google algorithms have accounted for loading speed in ranking decisions since 2010, so it’s important to ensure anything slowing down your site is addressed. All websites should aim to load in 3 seconds or less.
Use compression. Firstly, reduce the size of existing images, and ideally compress any new images before uploading into your Content Management System (CMS). You can use web-based tools to achieve lossy compression, such as Tiny PNG.
Use browser caching. This stores some of the commonly-used website files locally so the browser doesn’t have to download them each time it accesses the website. Websites with many return visitors should have browser caching as a best practice.
- Defer any non-critical 3rd party scripts to load after all your core website content.
- Remove or make scripts asynchronous so they load in conjunction with the rest of your page.
In addition to the above, it could be worth investing in a content delivery network (CDN) or front-end optimisation (FEO) to improve your site’s load times.
As we covered in a previous blog article, how well your site loads and performs on mobile devices has now also been incorporated into the Google algorithm.
The most important factor is responsiveness, which you can check through Google’s mobile-friendly test. If it’s not yet responsive, you’ll need to plan your next website redesign around mobile behaviour.
As we’ve noted previously, the mobile-friendly tag is awarded on a page-by-page basis, so you can be strategic with your changes if needed. Tackle your most important pages first, like your home page and contact page.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The most common (and easily addressed) SEO issues arise when new web pages are added. Having various contributors or authors can mean basics are often overlooked.
These can include:
- Page titles
- Heading tags
- Site maps
- Meta descriptions.
Google recently added the inclusion of HTTPS (HTTP with secure socket layer (SSL) or transport layer security (TLS)) as a lightweight ranking signal. This protects data sent between a visitor’s browser and a web server from being intercepted by a third party.
You should be able to enable SSL in your CMS. If this is not available through your web host, consider moving to a host that has this functionality as a feature.
Addressing these key metrics will go a long way in boosting the success of your website. If you have any questions about performing any of the optimisations outlined, contact us via our website.