4 Essential Steps to Improve Site Performance
If you’re like most B2B businesses, I’m sure you’re constantly looking for ways to boost website performance. But how to go about doing this can be so confusing because there are tons of ways to improve site performance according to all of the articles we read online. Let’s face it, selecting the right SEO tactics and resources can be extremely time-consuming and challenging if you don’t live and breathe this stuff daily.
So what exactly are search engines looking for? How can you build your website to please your prospects AND search engines? How can search engine optimization help your online presence become more profitable?
The goal is to create an enjoyable and seamless user experience and effectively communicate your content to the search engines so they can recommend your website for relevant searches. Content, website speed and architecture, domain authority and user experience all play an important part in overall website performance. To get you on the right track, here are 4 SEO tactics your business should focus on for improved site performance.
Website Crawlability and User Experience
The way a website is designed and its content laid out is appreciated by search engines. Your website infrastructure needs to provide the information they are looking for when crawling your website. A good user experience must be presented to your prospects and customers as well.
How your website provides information when search engines index pages is critical to overall site performance. Details such as providing a content sitemap (usually an XML file) so they understand what content needs to be indexed, making sure there are no broken links, alerting search engines when new content has been added/updated, making sure call-to-actions are located above the fold, quick site speed time, and connecting your website to Google and Bing webmaster tools MUST be implemented, set up and monitored. If your website does not have the proper technical infrastructure set up to be analyzed by search engines, all efforts in producing and creating compelling content will be hindered because they won’t be able to properly index your website. A badly indexed website will dramatically impact rankings in search engine results.
Search engines rank a website not only based on technical compliance, on content, keywords and how content is shared on social networks, but on the actual user experience with the content on the page.
View the presentation on speed and performance below to help you better understand how common website activities create clutter that damage your website’s performance over time. Near the end of this presentation, you will find a comprehensive list of the speed and performance factors to analyze. Also, a complete technical crawlability and user experience checklist can be viewed here.
Write Quality Content that People Want to Read
Don’t just write ok content… write AWESOME quality content that your prospects and customers will want to read and establish your business as a thought leader in your industry. Prospects and customers should see you as a leader and expert who knows about its business inside and out. Websites that provide unique, relevant and fresh content that engages users will always be preferred to others on search engines. As you become a trusted resource for information, users will be more likely to buy your services. The content of a website is essential for search engine indexing and rankings. The more quality content pages you have, the more links search engines have to reference.
Ever wonder why news media sites like Mashable and blogs such as The Moz Blog have become so popular and successful on the web? Even a smaller and more niche website like MINDBODY Online does a great job at producing quality content. MINDBODY Online’s website content is very easy to read and gives viewers the option of reading content by industry or specific product features. They offer a free MINDBODY Connect app for their clients and also have a resource section with white papers, webinars, videos and case studies that is helpful “Free Advice for Business Owners” in the health and wellness industry. MINDBODY’s blog offers interesting and informative content on tips, trends and advice for the health and wellness industry. As you can see over time, websites like Mashable, Moz Blog and MINDBODY Online publish A LOT of great quality content that is indexed by search engines, driving traffic and improving domain authority.
When it comes to on-page optimization for website content, make sure to use unique and relevant Meta titles, Meta Descriptions and H1 tags for every page of your website that describe what each page is all about. Make sure that your titles and descriptions are engaging enough to generate interest. Also, remember to use ‘Alt text’ for images so that search engines can read them for SEO value. Share your content via social media profiles. The more opportunities for content interaction, the better chance of search engines viewing your content as engaging, which can help drive website traffic and improve rankings.
The number of websites that link back to yours is an important metric that tells search engines your site is a resource to others. All websites indexed by Google have a domain authority score, and this score is influenced by how many links refer back to your website. What’s most important is the quality of these websites. A site with a very high domain authority linking back to your website can have much more weight than two hundred websites with lower domain authorities linking to your site.
So while backlinks are important, quality backlinks are critical. The more quality backlinks you have back to your website, the better your website domain authority will be. This helps drive more quality traffic to your website, improving its performance. Also, the more a website has shareable content via a blog or community, the more opportunities it creates to have content distributed, shared and linked back to.
Social Sharing and Engagement
Social media is an important tool that must be used in today’s business world in order to get more website traffic and generate business leads. Sharing content within your social profiles creates links back to your website. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube all have very high domain authorities. Once an audience is built on your social profiles, it creates an easy channel to distribute your content to people who may link to your website.
Content can be actively shared by your company’s social profiles, and it can also be shared by employees and other people through share icons on each of your website and blog pages. Because anybody can share anything on social media, search engines can use it to quickly find and index pages that are popular. The way they do that is to measure how much interaction is occurring with the content on the various social networks, such as “tweets.” These social signals help search engines to quickly find valuable content.
Social sharing requires being active, and while there are mechanisms to automatically publish content from your website to social networks, building and engaging a community requires constant effort. These efforts are in return tangibly rewarded by search engines ranking of your website and content.
SEO Has Evolved
The SEO landscape has evolved over the past few years with all of the Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates to make sure no one games the system. As you can see, it is a slow process that takes time and effort. However, once you have taken the proper necessary steps, you should slowly start to see results. I hope these tips are helpful in helping improve your website’s overall performance. Do you have more tips? Please share them with me in the comments below.
If you’re looking to improve your website’s performance and don’t know where to start, please reach out to us. We can help you with SEO strategies and tactics customized to your individual business needs and goals.