If you want to reach more people through Google search, it's important to know what Google loves on a website.
Your wesbite is the front door for your business. It is unlikely that anyone will ever contact you or walk through your physical front door without first having checked you out online. While the content on your website and the message you communicate is SUPER-IMPORTANT, it is just as important that your website's SEO (Search Engine Optimization) makes it easy for people to find you.
1 – Website Security
For many small businesses and nonprofits, website security is an often overlooked element of website SEO. Yet, having an unsecured website is simply bad for business.
Your first question might be, "What is a secured website?"
The short answer is that a secured website is one in which an SSL certificate has been installed, providing an encrypted link between your web server and the web users browser.
What does an SSL certificate do?
An SSL creates a level of security for your website that ensures that no malware or malicious content is unknowlingly embedded on your site, infecting the computers of people who visit your website.
How do I know if my website is secure?
Look for a little padlock next to the website address in your browser bar.
If you see the little padlock as shown in the image above, you're all set. If there is no padlock then your website (or some of your site) is not secure. If you want more details on why your site might not be secure, visit www.whynopadlock.com to run a diagnostic test. The information you will be provided will be technical in nature and difficult to understand, but will confirm that you have a security issue. Once you've done that you can contact your website host, service provider or us to take measures to get your site secured.
Why is having a secured website important to Google?
Every website on the internet has been given a ranking based on a variety of criteria. Having an HTTPS (secure) website rather than HTTP (unsecure) improves your site's ranking and makes it more likely to be returned in search results.
Having a secured website is also better for the user experience. If you have ever tried to visit a website and received this type of notice in your browser, you know what I mean:
Having a secured HTTPS website is an important factor in your website being returned in search queries by Google.
2 – Website Speed
Google's business is fully dependent on user experience. When people search online, do they find what they're looking for and do they find it quickly? That's Google's goal. A slow website will almost always lead to a high bounce rate.
What is a bounce rate?
The bounce rate for your website is the percentage of people who click to your site and immediately leave (go back) without engaging with any content on your site. They don't visit a second page, watch a video or spend any time on the site. Bounce rates are always higher when a page takes too long to load.
How do I know if my website is fast enough?
Google offers a free tool that will allow you to test the speed of your website. You can CLICK HERE to use the tool. While the information provided in Google's tool might be more technical than you understand, you will be able see a simple score for your site that will let you know if there is work to be done to speed up your website.
If your overall score is between 50-89, it might be worth looking into some SEO work on your site to increase the speed and load time. If your score is lower than 50, I can guarantee that you are losing potential traffic to your website.
Why is my website slow?
There are a variety of reasons that your website might be slow. The causes may include your webhost, file types and file sizes (especially images or video), bloated HTML or CSS or plugins. Using a professional SEO service to correct your website speed issues is a necessity. In some cases, depending on your website platform, there may not be much that can be done to improve the speed and, therefore, a new website may be in order. But contact us first so that we can troubleshoot with you and determine whether or not the problem can be easily resolved.
Every search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, Duck Duck Go) regularly send out "crawlers" to read your website. These crawlers use the data they read to create a massive index of websites and webpages to draw from when someone executes a search in the search engine. The better optimized your site and its pages are for these crawlers, the more accurately the search engine can index and rank your site.
What contributes to good crawlability?
The majority of crawlability factors are "behind the scenes" and relatively technical. Negative factors include missing site maps or site map errors, broken links, server errors, webserver misconfiguration or outdated technology such as Flash or HTML frames.
How do I know if my website has good crawlability?
In most cases you will need to work with a website SEO professional who has access to tools that will crawl your site and provide an audit. This is something that you should do once per year, or more frequently if you regularly add content to your website. It is an often overlooked part of website maintenance, but it is critical to your online visibility. If your site cannot be crawled and indexed properly, it will not show up in search results.
If you own a car, you wouldn't neglect having your oil changed. If you have a website, don't neglect having your crawlability checked and corrected on a regular basis.
Do you have more questions about how to improve your website? Set up a free consultation today.
Bart Blair has more than 25 years of corporate, ministry and non-profit leadership experience. He is a strategic thinker with the ability to establish a clear pathway for progress. He works with passion and integrity. Bart is an incessant learner, always eager to acquire new knowledge and skills that can make his team and clients better.