We all know the tell-tale signs of a website that’s destined for irrelevancy. Navigating it is reduced to blindly clicking your way through its poor layout. The outdated homepage punishes visitors with a splash page leftover from the 90s. As for the content — should anybody ever find it — it’s either completely devoid of any type of SEO strategy or every word is a worthless garbage outbound link. No wonder Google has banished the website to the dreaded double digits of its search results.
If your website is in danger of becoming a ghost town on the web, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and clear out those digital tumbleweeds.
The layout should draw people in, not push them away
A heavily-trafficked website is always going to have a layout that’s inviting to the user. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s simply pretty to look at, but is easily digestable. Visitors are going to decide within a matter of seconds whether they like it visually or it’s a total mess that they don’t want to bother with. Too many pop-ups or a menu that’s clunky and written to come across as “clever” is just going to be confusing.
Aiming for simplicity that is also eye-catching can be easier said than done, but will go a long way in keeping visitors on the site. Think about Google’s homepage. It’s incredibly simple and the negative white space draws visitors into the search bar.
This is by no means to say that having rows of images and titles on your website is a bad thing. Most websites don’t have a homepage anywhere near as simple as Google’s. If you website is going to have a lot of images and text, make sure it’s broken up into rows or small blocks to make reading easier for the visitor. A simple glance at the Hacker Noon homepage is a perfect example of this. Visitors aren’t lost in a jungle of copy and the different pieces of content are easy to find.
You may want to even go a step further when considering your website’s layout by turning off the default CSS to get an idea of how a search engine views your site. What you don’t want is content buried too deep into the navigation that search engines struggle to index it.
There’s one final thing that can’t be ignored in 2019 when it comes to website layout — is it mobile friendly? If it’s too slow to load on mobile, crashes, or requires users to constantly pinch and expand on the screens of their smartphones to read the tiny text, the website is in trouble. Over half of website traffic comes from mobile and search engines will penalize a site that isn’t mobile-friendly.
Where’s the SEO?
Search engine optimization may only be three words, but understanding all the different aspects of it and applying it can be daunting. With a little bit of diligence, incorporating smart SEO into your website and boosting its favorability on Google, will result in an increase in site visitors. For example, Skylark Senior Care has found a way to conquer the adult day care search terms in Google.
Thankfully, there are plenty of professionals out there that specialize in specific industries to help if trying to do it all yourself is too much. (The bigger the website or company, the bigger the SEO demands.)
Throw out any preconceived notions you might have that SEO is simply a bunch of word stuffing. Yes, keywords and links play a big part, but quality content is arguably just as important in turning one-time visitors into regulars.
A business may be able to keep the sign on their building exactly the same for years without so much as a single change, but the same isn’t true for websites. While news-driven websites will likely have content changing by the hour, others may be less frequent. Still, it’s recommended that new content, say a blog or video post, be added at least a couple times a week so that search engines know the website is active.
Successful SEO of any website is going to have strong keywords that match up with the content and queries your audience may be searching. The ocean of keywords is endless, and it all boils down to the content on your site and audience you’re targeting. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can be a great resource for helping to identify the strength of keyword searches and which might work best for a website’s SEO copy.
All about them links
The links that you chose to build into your website can also go a long way in boosting a website’s traffic and SEO rankings. Simply highlighting a bunch of random words on your website and linking them out to popular websites isn’t the way to go about link building for strong SEO on a website.
Using internal links (those from one section of your site to another) will not only help visitors in discovering new content, but regularly updating older content with links to newer content will also help with search engine performance.
In creating a successful link building strategy it’s also wise to work on getting high-quality backlinks or inbound links (links from another site to yours). By high-quality, we mean a link from a relevant or authoritative source. This can be anything from a niche blog to a major publication like National Geographic. Having great content is one way to do this, but it can also be achieved by reaching out to influencers in your niche or inviting guest posts through an SEO specialization company like DFY Links or Linkfish. Running a website that brings in both new and old visitors isn’t a one-time set and forget it thing. The digital landscape is constantly changing, but with regular oversight and some layout and SEO tweaking, even the most deserted of websites can come back from the dead.