Your website is a constant work in progress and once launched, there should be a level of ongoing maintenance and updating. This is to ensure that you are increasing traffic to your site and ranking for keywords on relevant search engines. In markets where Google is the dominant search engine, play by their rules to ensure your site is listed in appropriate search listings.
I would always recommend working on what you can improve in your website operation before paying for social media advertising and anything else that you might think can improve your website traffic and sales.
Some questions to consider when looking at your website traffic:
- What channels are driving the most and the least amount of traffic to the website? Search, social and referrals? Find the weak areas and work to improve these.
- How long are people staying on your website (bounce rate), what pages are they viewing and what is their exit point from the site?
- What are the most viewed pages on your website? Analyse the reasons behind this and take some of the learnings and apply to other pages on your website.
Key things to understand
- Your content is key to getting indexed and good ranking on search engines. If you do not like writing much, search engines have not yet developed the technology to scan images. However, search engines can understand words, contexts and phrases which it is able to sort your content into the correct search classifications and index accordingly.
- Content is also very important, as search engines measure the length of time people spend on your pages to measure the level of relevance that page has in terms of it content (is it doing what it says on the tin?). The longer people stay on the page the lower the bounce rate, therefore leading to a higher page authority score, which will improve your search engine ranking.
- Stop with the waffle and flowery language and be precise about what you are talking about. Most importantly, make sure your content contains keywords. I have seen sites that have a lot of content on them, but are not being picked or indexed by search engines, because there is not an ounce of a keyword on them. Without keywords, it is hard for search engines to index your site and pages, which means lower visibility in organic search. The only way people will find you is by typing your site in direct, or you appearing on the never page of search engines. If you are not ranking for page 1, at push page 2, then you may not be found.
Keywords = People’s intentions- what kinds of things are people typing into search engines when looking for your products or services?
To address the above points, here I bring you 5 top free seo tools to help you improve your websites performance in the simplest form. You don’t need to be tech savvy to use or understand these things. Just some common sense and thinking more about how your customer navigate and search for your website rather than thinking about how YOU engage with it.
These tools will help you to identify the hiccups on why your site is not performing well, and areas that can be improved. it can also help to optimise your keywords to improve your search engine ranking.
Google Search Console
A free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site’s presence in Google Search results. It is made up of a variety of tasks geared towards improving the usability, usefulness and popularity of a website. Taking action and working on these enables you to influence the rankings of your website in search engines, depending on your keyword focus.
You don’t have to sign up for Search Console for your site to be included in Google’s search results, but doing so can help you understand how Google views your site and optimize its performance in search results.
The Console provides:
•Find out how Google sees your site
•Check who is linking to you
•Tell Google about your site- submit site maps
•Analyse data, see how many people found your site in Search engine Ranking Performance results and how many clicked on it
•Scheme mark up completed?
Monitor your site’s performance in Google Search results:
• Submit new content for crawling and remove content you don’t want shown in search results
• Monitor and resolve malware or spam issues so your site stays clean
Discover how Google Search—and the world—sees your site:
• Which queries caused your site to appear in search results?
• Did some queries result in more traffic to your site than others?
• Are your product prices, company contact info, or events highlighted in rich search results?
• Is your mobile site performing well for visitors searching on mobile?
Google Analytics is a key tool for measuring SEO and your website traffic. For most companies, your website serves as a hub for all of your digital traffic. If you are running any marketing activities such as search ads or social media ads, your users are most likely going to visit your website somewhere along their user journey.
Given that your website is the central hub of your digital presence, your website is the best way to give you a holistic view of the effectiveness of all the campaigns you are running to promote your product/services online. Google Analytics can help you track your digital marketing effectiveness.
“But my website already give me data on people visiting my website”. Yes, if you are using one of the many platforms then you will have in-built analytics. However the data is usually topline and not very in-depth as customer journey and behaviour on your site. Google Analytics provides a detailed customer navigation through your site, time spent on pages, page performance, mobile vs desktop functionality. All this and more can be tracked through the tool.
What to look for?
•Unique visitors and page views
•Referrers and keywords (limited data)
•Exit pages and bounces
Test My Site
Another Google tool, which basically tests the load speed of your site. This is very important as this is potentially where many customers can be lost.
With ever more consumers using mobile phones to browse the web, it is important that your site meets the relevant operating specification to keep those customers engaged and not off chasing another website.
Just load your website address into the site and let Google do the rest of the work. It usually takes about a minute for it to analyse your site and then give you a load speed score and a brief overview. Sign up and get a full report of your sites performance for free. The actions will be clearly laid out for you and your web developer to work through.
In your Google analytics you can also get a further breakdown of you site page speeds. Under Behaviour>Speed>Suggestions, this will tell you what pages you need to address to improve their loading times for mobile and desktop.
Most common things that affect your site page loading speeds are:
- The size of your images. If they are too big, you should compress them so that the page can load quicker
- Plugins and additional app functionality on your site. As your site becomes more complex and adding additional functionality and features, this can sometimes slow down the load speed of your pages. Test your site with and without certain apps to see if this make a difference to load speed.
- Apps such as some of the insta shops are examples of that can sometimes slow download speed. Shop around and find one that has limited impact on your sites performance
- How old or long have you had your current website template? Have you been receiving regular updates for your template to improve it functionality? If it is an old template, has the developer updated this so that it is mobile responsive? If not, and you don’t have a web developer who have create these updates for you, it might be time to consider shopping around and finding a template that supports this functionality. Mobile is the new online world.
Links are great for recognising other work and keeping customers engaged in your website by taking them to other pages. However, with constant changes to your website or external websites you are linked to being updated may lead to links being broken. This leading to the dreaded 404 wrong page alerts to appears where the page has been lost.
This does not affect your search engine ranking or indexing, it just means that you may lose potential customers and any links that were referring to that page.
Whenever you are changing the content on your website and most importantly your URL’s that are linked to other pages internally and externally, the links are automatically updated and make sure the appropriate redirect is added to ensure the traffic continues to flow to the correct page.
Sometime links are broken without us knowing and it is important to regularly monitor the performance of your links and address any that are broken. Use the Broken Link Checker to make sure everything is in good working order. Fix them and inform any other websites that you are linking to the page of any changes you have made.
Websites such as wordpress have a free plugin which you can add that will monitor and inform you when this arises on your site for you to fix.
Broken Link Checker
Hoth Keyword Researcher
The HOTH Google Keyword Planner Tool helps find high volume terms that relate to your primary keyword.
Enter your keywords to find out what the search volume and alternatives is for the keyword or phrase. Set it to the relevant market you are targeting and it will provide you with data that is easily downloadable for you to analyse. A useful tool that works as an alternative to Google keyword planner if you are creating Google Ads. In some instances it will also give you the costs per click if you wanted to create a campaign for targeting this keyword.
Improving your website performance takes time. Be patient, as updating your website is an ongoing activity. You won’t go from being ranked 50 in search, to number one overnight. A selection of coordinated actions with some tweaking and testing will help to move your website forward and improve its performance.
Monitor your website traffic and pages over time through Google Search Console. It usually takes between 3 to 6 months for updates to take effect and for you to start to see improvements to your site.
As part of my services I can provide further support carrying out an SEO audit on your website. A great starting point to work through improving the operations of the website and search engine ranking.
It is a detailed report which analyses different aspect of your website which include:
- Website layout and navigation
- Onpage and offpage SEO analysis
- Identifying errors that are impacting on your websites performance
- Website content analysis
- Presenting the findings in a full report and action plan for implementation
For further information on how I can assist with improving your digital performance.
Contact me to Discuss Further
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