When creating their first website, many brands feel the need to make a dramatic entrance into their nice in the online market. They believe the flashier the site, the bolder the fonts, the brighter the colors – the more attention the site will get because it stands out.
Well, true – the site may get lots of attention, but more likely than not, it will be for its horrible design and lackluster user-friendliness – neither of which will do their search engine rankings any favors. In fact, this could prove detrimental for their digital marketing campaigns.
The goal of SEO is and has always been to increase traffic to a website naturally – organically, through unpaid, algorithm-driven results. To achieve this, SEO campaigns have to listen to the Google gods and give them what they’re looking for. There are no two ways about it.
And what the Google gods are looking for is a clean, streamlined site that is authoritative, informative user-friendly and well-designed with keywords and high-value backlinks that are used sparingly, yet effectively.
If your digital marketing campaign is not producing the results you wanted, your website’s content could be to blame.
Looks vs Functionality
All website layouts were not created equally. Just because a certain format, color combination or design looks good – doesn’t mean it’s going to work good. The highest ranking websites will always be the ones that focus more on functionality than looks. Flashy banners, giant pictures with over-laid text and pop up frames all interfere with a site’s user-experience. Would you want to visit a site that threw all kinds of stuff at you and was impossible to figure out, much less read? No. You wouldn’t. If site visitors can’t easily navigate the site and Google’s bots can’t easily crawl the site, being “pretty” won’t save its search engine placement from an early demise.
We already discussed making your website readable and easy to understand for humans, but making sure it is readable by the search engines is more important because if the search engines can’t read it, potential visitors won’t ever get the chance to. Search engines send out robots to “crawl” sites, looking for coding. They are looking for your site’s manifesto, known as a robots.txt file. It tells them which pages to index and which ones to ignore. Hidden pages with no links to them are impossible for the bots to find so avoid that mistake at all costs. Make sure your meta-tags are unique for each page because they are what distinguishes pages of your site from each other.
SEO experts will preach to the end of time that high ranking, relevant keywords are vital to a website’s search engine placement. Inexperienced website owners may get the impression that they should capitalize on this suggestion and just pepper their website content with any and all keywords that may ever be remotely related to their business. No! Don’t do this! Not only will it not help your site’s search engine placement in the least, it may get you penalized by Google or removed from their index all together. Use natural placement of keywords instead. Sparingly.
If you are short on site content, you may be tempted to borrow a page or two from one of your other websites or some PLR content that you found elsewhere, just to fill the space on your site. Don’t do this. There is absolutely no benefit from it whatsoever. Once a piece of content has been posted and indexed by Google, that’s it. It has served its purpose and remains forever in the catalog. New copies of old content won’t be indexed again and using them could result in penalties by Google. Curate content if you have to, put a new spin on it, rework it – all of that is acceptable. But never use the same stuff twice.