When it comes to optimizing a website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there are two main starting points: on-site and off-site SEO. Off-site SEO deals primarily with things like backlinks, or getting other relevant, high-powered websites to link back to yours.
On-site SEO looks at elements that are on your website, such as content, schema markup, and page speed. In this blog post, we’re going to take a closer look at several on-site elements and how they can affect the SEO of your website.
Is the content on your website fresh, unique, and valuable to the reader? Google views websites with “thin content” as a poor user experience. As such, these kinds of sites don’t tend to rank very well in the organic search results.
This is why it’s recommended that you have at least 350 words of content on the internal pages and update your internal blog regularly. Having high-quality and unique content on your website is crucial if you want to take advantage of the free traffic that Google can send to your site.
In this day and age, almost everyone has a high-speed internet connection. So why are some websites so slow to load?
There are a wide variety of factors that can cause a website to slow down in performance:
- Poor hosting companies
- Huge image file sizes
- Unoptimized website hosting code
- Misbehaving plugin or script
Google put out a tool that allows people to check how fast (or slow) their websites are. Simply enter in the URL of your website and Google will take a minute or two to perform some tests in the background. After your site has been analyzed, Google will show you the exact issues that are causing your website to slow to a crawl.
Broken Links and 404 Pages
Google also looks at the internal pages of your website when it comes time to determine how high your site should rank in the search results. Google is explicitly looking to rewards websites that offer a high-quality user experience.
If your internal links are broken, or your pages don’t load (“404 not found” errors), Google considers this a poor user experience.
Diagnosing and fixing broken links and 404 pages can be performed by hand if the website is small enough. However, it’s best to use a bot designed specifically designed for on-site diagnostic issues. These bots can crawl an entire site and log errors and problems they encounter along the way.
Fortunately, fixing broken links and 404 “not found” pages is easy and considered low hanging fruit that can help improve the overall user experience on your website.
Do your images have ALT attributes? An ALT attribute is simply a short description of what the image is about. For example, if you have an image on your website of three of your employee, the ALT text could read something like:
<img alt=”3 of our workers on the job.” src=”…” />
ALT attributes are important because not everyone has a high-speed internet connection. Some people are still on 56k dial-up modems or slow ADSL lines. Still, others might have a text-only reader which cannot render images.
The size of an image is also very important. We’re not talking about the physical size, but rather how big the file size is. Large file sizes can take upwards of 5 to 10 seconds to load, even on a high-speed internet connection. This is why it’s essential to optimize the size of your images so that they load a lot faster.
Over 50% of all internet searches are now performed on mobile devices. This means that websites that were primarily designed for laptops and desktop computers now need to work on a tiny phone screen.
Unless a website is “mobile friendly” or uses a “responsive design,” there is an excellent chance that it will not work very well on a small smartphone screen. Even if a website looks good on a cell phone, there could be internal technical issues that could pop up unexpectedly and cause the site to break – and the user to hit the “back” button on the browser and go visit the website of your competitors.
Google put out a free tool that allows the public to check to see if their websites are mobile friendly. If sites don’t score very well on the mobile-friendly test, there is a good chance that Google is not ranking them very high in mobile search results.
The best way to fix this is to design your website so that it’s responsive and will automatically resize itself for any size screen.
SEO and Marketing Help
If you have any questions about on-site SEO or marketing that weren’t answered in this blog post, give us a call at (512) 993-9993. At Adapting Online, we specialize in marketing, SEO, and helping drive more traffic and sales to the websites of our clients. Give us a call today or stop by our website to learn more about how we can help with your SEO or marketing needs.