Web Design Mistakes Killing Your Rankings
In the past few years, Google has made several changes in their algorithm to provide users with higher quality content and rewarding sites that provide a great user experience. These changes can have a drastic effect on your rankings, so make sure that you avoid these common web design mistakes.
Web Design Mistakes:
1. Neglecting Mobile Devices
In 2015, mobile searches surpassed desktop searches. Google will now actually penalize your site for not having a mobile version of your site. Responsive websites are mandatory for doing business on the Internet today. Whatever you do, make sure you have a mobile optimized website.
2. Not Grouping Keywords
The practice of keyword stuffing to increase your rankings is dead. However, there are those who still believe that each article should only target one or two keywords. The truth is, with the advances in Google’s algorithm, Google is able to understand the overall topic of a page. This means, you can rank many different keywords on one page.
3. Using “Stock” Content
There are Web design companies that specialize in providing sites for a particular industry. Many of these companies create generic text for the common services and use it on each website they create and simply change the name of the company. Duplicate content is harmful for your site. If you are using a design company that offers to provide the content for your site, make sure that the content is unique.
4. Not Doing Proper Keyword Research
It’s not uncommon for someone to have a website built and then try to implement SEO into the site. It is better to do your research first and then build the site around the research. It is important to know which keywords you want to target and to then build your site and your content around those keywords. If needed, hire an SEO consultant – it could save you a lot of time and frustration.
5. Neglecting Visitor Flow
A proper internal linking structure is necessary to guide visitors from their entry page to your site to other pages deeper within the site. If a visitor comes to your site from Google – regardless of whether they find the content they need on that page – if there is not a clear choice of links to more relevant information, the visitor is likely to hit the back button. This is called a bounce. A high bounce rate – a high number of people hitting the back button after entering your site – can negatively affect your SERPs. To avoid this, have a clear navigation system for your site with well-defined menus and suggested article listings.
6. Outdated Coding and Design Practices
Just a few years ago, sites were built with basic HTML and any design elements were added by coding directly online. There are now cascading style sheets (CSS) that hold all this information in a separate file. We are now up to version HTML 5 and CSS 3. The point is, programming languages are updated frequently and practices change. Old code and practices could be harming your site. Make sure your site is up to date.
7. Ignoring Meta Data
There is a lot of argument over the effectiveness of meta data today, but providing each page with a unique and descriptive title and meta description is still good practice. Some WordPress themes include this ability when posting new articles, but if not most any WordPress SEO plugin will work – the most popular being All in One SEO Pack or Yoast SEO.
8. Not Adding Structured Data
You can add structured data to your site through Schema Markup. Schema Markup provides more information about the data on your page to the search engines. It is a little more technical, but to help you with that, you can use the WordPress plugin, WP SEO Structured Data.
9. Unoptimized Images
10. Not Having an SSL Certificate
Now, I’m also including some info about SSL – as it was pointed out to me by Paul Taubman of Digital Maestro, I would be remiss not to do so. As of now, Google will consider any website as “not secure” if it collects passwords or credit card information without having an SSL installed.
Make sure your site and your customers are protected, and enjoy having HTTPS display in the address bar along with a lock icon, so your visitors know your website is protected. Don’t let Google label your site as unsecure. Add an SSL before it’s too late. It will affect your ranking and SERPs.
Why should this matter to you? Adding an SSL to your website not only secures it, but also allows you to avoid being branded as unsafe by Google.
These web design mistakes can kill your site’s rankings if they are not addressed. The face of SEO is constantly changing as well as web design technology. It is important to pay attention to these details and keep informed of the latest advancements in order to keep your content front and center on the SERPs.