5 Mistakes to Avoid on Any New Website

Learn about some common mistakes that often negatively impact search engine rankings and user engagement.

Unless you are a professional developer, building a website is a daunting task. When  creating a responsive website  or updating your current one, the biggest concern any business owner has is its impact on the bottom line. However, before your website has the opportunity to convert traffic into cold, hard cash, you will need to attract the attention of qualified buyers, usually in the form of organic traffic from search engines like Google.

To help make your job as a small business owner a little easier, below are some common mistakes that webmasters and business owners often make that negatively impact search rankings and user engagement. To keep panic to a minimum, solutions and tips to overcome these errors are also provided.

Little or No Content

Google and other search engines use the content on the page as a means of understanding whether a page on the site meets an end user’s search criteria. The more quality content your page has, the more likely a search engine is to recognize your page as relevant to a user’s query, thus increasing your ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages) for related keywords. In fact, a recent study by  Backlink shows that the average word count of a Google first page result is 1,890 words.

What can you do?

There is no magic number for how much content you should have on your page, as this response is highly dependent on the query the user has made and their intent.

For example, if your website sells kitchen supplies and you are working on a blog post about the utensils used to make a brigadeiro, then that query can easily be satisfied in a few dozen words. On the other hand, if you are working on a post covering the history of chocolate and baking, then this answer should be much more in-depth.

One thing to keep in mind is that search engines cannot “see” images; instead, they rely on the photo’s “alt tags” and other informational content on the page. This information is especially important when evaluating your category pages, which are often image-laden with their product offerings.

over-optimization

While it’s important to use keywords that your page is trying to rank for at the same time, you don’t want to put a high density of content on just one keyword. This was once a common tactic that provided a lot of SEO value; however, nowadays it is one of the quickest ways to lose the trust of search engines and potential customers. You should aim to provide good information that naturally incorporates keywords and phrases. Always be sure to ask yourself if your content provides value to the user experience.

If you insist on using your keywords as much as possible, consider implementing semantic keywords, that is, keywords that Google normally displays at the bottom of the search result page and that are related to your keyword.

forget user

UX (user experience)  refers to how a user interacts with a website. It is the way in which your website content is presented, combined with the way in which it is used and whether it is performing the actions you want it to do on certain pages.

User interface relates to the form and intent of how your Site is set up: what forms you include and what information you collect, the buttons, links and what colors and fonts you use. It relates to the elements that allow your users to interact with your Site.

If this sounds confusing, don’t worry – you’re not the only one with questions on this topic.

Ultimately, however, not having a clear understanding of these two  web design features  can lead to a frustrating experience for your users and low customer conversion rate. What should you be doing?

Google  Analytics  (GA) is perhaps the most useful tool for getting a clear understanding of which pages on your site are engaging users and converting into sales.

Two points to consider:

  • Look to configure the Google Tag Manager to track specific events and interactions in your domain.
  • Don’t equate a short stay on the site with poor performance. Remember the previous example of utensils to make brigadeiro? Little time on the page is not necessarily a bad thing.

Once you understand what’s working and what’s not, you can start making changes to your site, like simplifying navigation more and eliminating content that seems to be losing customers instead of increasing your engagement. (Pro tip: if these pages are performing well in the SERPs, you can correctly redirect them (using 301) to similar, better converting pages.)

Making do with slow page load time

Having a website that takes more than four seconds to load spells big problems for your business. Technology has allowed us to browse at unprecedented speeds, and as we head into 2021, that’s what users have come to expect.

If users have to wait for your content to load, they are likely to move to another site. Not only does this high bounce rate directly result in lost sales, it also negatively affects your overall SEO performance.

The two most common culprits for  slow website speeds  are large images and an overabundance of unnecessary plugins and shared server hosting that are typically swamped with other applications and larger websites.

What can you do?

An easy way to reduce image weight without losing quality is to use image compression software. Tiny PNG is a free service that allows you to easily compress various image formats.

random title tags

Title tags are the blue words within the SERPs that users click on. These are similar to the title of a book, they are one of the most important places you can stream content from a page on your website to Google.

Having duplicate and/or vague title tags is extremely confusing for search engines and users.

Another problem with non-descriptive title tags is that they are what appear on tabs within the user’s browser. If all of your tags say the same thing, or if they don’t accurately depict the content on the page, a user with multiple tags open can get confused and frustrated.

What can you do?

Make sure you are using title tags on all your pages and take the time to make them unique and descriptive.

1.) Tag your titles

Writing effective headlines is like an art, but having great headlines can increase your rankings as well as your click-through rate within the SERPs. A great headline is descriptive and actionable.

Currently, Google accepts title tags up to 600 pixels wide, which equates to just under 60 characters on average. Look to implement sensory and emotional words and display some personality to help you rank higher.

2.) Use Google Analytics

With the ability to report on audience, acquisition, behavior and conversions, Google Analytics is being recommended again because it gives you a more robust view of how your site is performing. It’s important to configure and regularly review Google Analytics to measure your site’s performance. When making changes to your title tags, be sure to keep track of the dates of those changes so you can easily see the impact these edits had on your site’s performance.

Change your setup and move up your rankings!

Setting up and maintaining a website is a lot of work. Make sure you are not wasting your time or losing potential profits by not correctly positioning your website to  rank well on Google . These simple changes can result in huge increases in traffic and sales conversions.