Search engine optimization improves the chances a website will show up on search engine results pages. When a search engine user uses a search engine, such as Google, Bing, etc., he/she puts in a query. The search engine finds website with the information, products or services the person is seeking, and returns those website pages in search results.
The majority of search engine users click on the top 3 search results, which is why it’s essential your site ranks as one of the top 3 search results.
Search engine optimization improves your chances of being in the top 3 search engine results, but only if you do it correctly. That’s why you need to know what to avoid when developing a search optimized website.
What Should You Avoid When Developing a Search Optimized Website
Everyone always talks about what to do to optimize a website, but not too many people discuss what to avoid when developing a search optimized website – until now.
The following are the things to avoid when developing a search optimized website:
Many templated websites or standard CMS websites contain a lot of “bloat”. What this means is that since they were built to offer as many features as possible for as many people as possible, a website ends up having more than it needs. When it has more than what it needs, it gets bogged down in performance.
Search engine users want their answers, products and services as soon as possible (within seconds). They will NOT wait for a website to load, and for that reason, search engines won’t rank slow websites well.
At the foundation of a search optimized website, the site has to be streamlined with just the coding it needs to do what it needs to do for its intended audience.
Ignoring Search Intent
A search optimized website should be built with the target searchers’ intentions. What is the search intent of your target audience? In other words, what does that target audience search for on search engines?
The way to know the answer to those questions is to do keyword research. Keywords or keyword phrases are the queries searchers put into the search engine. There are many tools that you can use for keyword research, such as SEMRush, Ahrefs, UberSuggest, and Google’s free keyword research tool – Keyword Planner.
No matter what tool you use, know that it is the basis for your SEO strategy. The keyword phrases you find will help you move forward with building and optimizing your website for organic search.
Publishing Low Quality Content
People use Google, Bing, etc. to collect information, even if they are searching for products and services. Information is offered to online users through images, text and videos. This is why high-quality content is so important to a search optimize website.
A major part of a user’s experience on a website is the information they collect. If they find what they were looking for, they will be happy and are more likely to return and/or convert.
Keyword Stuffing Blogs and Webpage Copy
What should you avoid when developing a search optimized website? Keyword stuffing. This is the act of using the keyword phrase as much as possible in the content, and often times, it doesn’t make sense.
This practice was very common many years ago when website owners figured out all the had to do was put a keyword phrase in content 20+ times to get ranked highly. Due to the abuse of it, Google stopped ranking websites that overused keyword phrases and adding keyword stuffing as something to avoid for SEO best practices.
Not Following Best Practices for On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is incredibly important when it comes to developing a search optimized website. The following are just some of the things you should being doing to satisfy the guidelines of proper on-page SEO.
- Page Titles: Page titles or also known as title tags are used in search results as the title of the web page. It also affects search rankings, so be sure to use your long-tail keywords.
- Meta Descriptions: These are under the title tags, and it should be written in a way that entices people to click through to your web pages.
- Headers: All web pages should have a main header (H1) and subheadings (H2, H3, H4). The headers should contain long-tail keywords because they have been shown to be ranking factors.
- Unique Content: If you want high ranking for your web pages, product pages, blog posts, etc., you want unique content. Duplicate content is frowned upon by Google, and could prevent a site from high search rankings.
- Internal Linking: A website should be treated like an ecosystem. The homepage is the middle of the ecosystem, and the pages around it are the service/product pages, blogs, etc. To help Google and users follow the ecosystem of the site, it’s important to have internal links. These internal links go from one page to another to connect them on similar topics. When hyperlinking one page to another, be sure to use target keywords as the hyperlinked text. Target keywords hyperlinked to other pages help Google are one of the ranking factors used by the search engine.
Poor User Experience on the Site
In addition to high-quality content, user experience depends on how the website is structures and functions. Website users must be able to navigate the site easily and quickly. This means they should be able to find what they were looking in no more than two clicks from the homepage.
If you’re an ecommerce business owner, thinking about your potential customers. When they land on their homepage, can they find your products two clicks away from that page? If not, the homepage needs to have more links to different categories of products to make them easier to find.
Site speed is also a big part of user satisfaction on a site. It is imperative that page speed meets the standards of Google for desktops and mobile devices. Page Speed Insights by Google is a tool that can be used to test speed on both desktops and mobile devices.
Not Using Google Search Console and Google Analytics
You have a website that provides user experience, an SEO strategy that caters to your target audience, and you’re ready to receive the glory of organic search traffic. Well, not quite that fast.
Google Search Console should be part of your website maintenance plan. Many people avoid it when developing a search optimized website, and their site suffers because of it.
Google Search Console is a tool by Google that tells you how your site is doing. It tells you if there are any errors on your site, what pages are visited the most, and what you can do to further optimize your website.
An additional free tool by Google is Google Analytics. It provides information about the users of a website. The information can then be used for further website optimization. Some of the metrics Google Analytics offers are:
- Traffic Sources
- New Users vs. Repeat Users
- Bounce Rates
- Time on Pages
- Most Popular Landing Pages
- Conversion Rates
Google gives these free tools to help you follow their SEO best practices. Take advantage of it.
Missing Structured Data
Structured data or schema markup is important to include on a site. It provides detailed information that can be used to help online users find what they need faster, which is what matters to search engines.
Auditing a website every month to find broken links is another thing you don’t want to miss. The integrity of a site depends on it functions correctly, including links out to other websites and internal links between pages.
Inexperienced Website Developers
When you want to know what you should avoid when developing a search optimized website, this is something that you should consider. The professional who develops your website has a lot to do with how well your site will perform online.
A website developer or web development company MUST have the skills, experience, and knowledge to be able to build a website that has the foundation needed to succeed in organic search. This means it should be light (no bloat), fast, well structured, and scalable to allow you to publish new content regularly.
What You Should NOT Avoid When Developing a Search Optimized Website
There’s one thing you should not avoid when developing a search optimized website – Atiba’s web design and development services. Our team of web designers, developers and SEO specialists work together to ensure clients receive a website that not only looks great, but performs amazing for search engine optimization.
The foundation of your website lies in the hands of the developer. Make sure it’s a good one.