If you were building a website from scratch five years ago, your main priority would have been to make it look as pretty as possible. You’d most likely use high-quality, heavy loading images, totally disregard load times, and perhaps even play a theme song automatically whenever a visitor landed on your homepage (remember that?).
In 2016, all that has been discarded, and focus has shifted towards optimization and keeping Google happy.
Here are five factors every business thinks about when building or redesigning their website for SEO.
1. Time Is of the Essence
With so many shiny things to click on and interact with on a computer screen, users will leave if a website takes too long to load. Nobody wants to wait five seconds for a page to load, and nobody will put up with your website crashing on every visit.
Did you know that even a four-second load time will cause 25 percent of your visitors to flee your site before they ever even reach it?
Savvy businesses no longer use annoying music or heavy-loading images on their website. Instead, they optimize every element on their page—including using content delivery networks and compression techniques—to reduce load times.
It was reported that Amazon lost $1.6 billion in sales each year for every second it took their site to load; that’s how important load times have become.
2. Mobile Users Are #1
To this day, when some businesses are re-designing their websites, they still say, “We don’t care about mobile users.”
The truth is, they should care! Over 60 percent of all online traffic is from mobile devices.
Google doesn’t like websites that aren’t optimized for mobile or tablet devices, so much so that they penalize websites in mobile search rankings for not being mobile friendly.
When Google updated their search algorithm in April 2015, businesses that had unresponsive websites reported massive drops in traffic, overnight:
The future of the Internet is mobile. More people today have smartphones than ever, mobile apps are on the rise, and 4G technology has made mobile Internet just as fast as broadband.
3. User Experience is Pivotal
Back in the day, user experience wasn’t a big deal, and users weren’t frustrated if a website was hard to use or didn’t work properly. The Internet was still fairly new to most of us, and with so little competition, users didn’t know any better.
Today, studies have shown that making the user experience better can lead to higher rankings in Google and generate more sales. How many times have you “rage exited” a website because it was too hard to navigate or it had too many pop-ups?
High bounce rates can result in Google lowering your site ranking, while intense competition means if your website isn’t functional and easy to use on all devices, prospects will leave your site and go elsewhere.
4. Websites Are Built on Keywords
In the old days, you could create web pages around the products or services you offered and wait for people to visit your website. Ten years ago, there was very little reason to blog or to create pages that didn’t contain sales material.
Nowadays, we do in-depth keyword research around industries to find the most relevant keywords, and then we create content for them. Blogs are not just an important way to share news, but also to rank for specific keywords that drive prospects to your website.
Every major keyword today is tagged to a webpage and has been optimized for SEO.
5. There Is Now a Framework to Follow
While some people may argue that SEO has made website development much more difficult, it has actually never been easier to run a website effectively. Google offers several free tools that help you manage, monitor, and improve your website for SEO.
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Keyword Tool Planner
- Google Page Insights
- Google Mobile Friendly Test
You can also find several free and paid tools to further enhance your website presence, which before was simply not possible.
In today’s online world, you cannot build or re-design a website without prioritizing for SEO. The number one reason businesses update their websites is because it wasn’t optimized for SEO in the first place.
With technology advancing at unstoppable rates, SEO will become an even bigger factor for websites and a business’s online visibility. Is your website optimized for SEO?