While SEO is something we have helped clients with for over a decade now, that’s not my area of expertise. Other people on our team handle that. However, that puts me in a position to relate to our clients who hire us because they’re not SEO experts either!
While the technical details are a mystery to me, I do know some of the issues that can affect your website’s Google ranking in a negative way. So without further ado, here are some questions you need to ask yourself to discover how SEO friendly your website is.
Is my website mobile-friendly?
Believe it or not, Google looks at whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, and takes that into account in your position in search results. Specifically, Google likes a technology called responsive design.
What is responsive design? If you are looking at your website on a computer, try resizing the window so it’s skinny like a mobile device. Does the website adjust and look like you would expect it to on a phone?
If you’re not sure if your website is responsive or not, you can use this tool to find out:
Does my website load quickly?
If your website takes a long time to load, that will have a negative impact on your search engine ranking. Google wants users to have a good experience online, and a slow website is a horrible experience!
A great target is under two seconds load time for any individual page on your website. Google themselves shoot for under a half-second, but they do have a lot more money than you do. Fortunately, there are quick and easy ways to improve your load time, although there are definitely some that take more investment and expertise.
Fortunately, Google provides their own tool for checking your page speed. They use a fairly harsh standard, so don’t freak out if your site initially ranks in the teens:
Do you have an SEO plugin installed?
If you run a WordPress website, an SEO plugin of some sort can be a lot of help. Of course, you still have to know what you’re doing when you set it up. You can’t expect to install it, click activate, then be done. But if you have one, it makes a lot of technical SEO work a lot easier.
There are several SEO WordPress plugins that have a good reputation, including the following:
Is your hosting too cheap?
Did you know that the less you pay for something, the less quality you tend to get? Maybe that seems obvious in most areas, but for some reason people don’t think about that when it comes to their website hosting.
If you’re only paying a few dollars monthly or especially yearly for your website hosting, it’s very likely there are technical issues cropping up that are negatively impacting your Google ranking. They might be issues you can see when you look at your website or they might not.
Those issues can include:
- Error messages
- Pages not loading consistently
- Intermittent periods when your website is unexpectedly offline
- Slow loading pages
- You get more traffic than you pay for and your website goes offline as a result
Of course, those are just a few of the more obvious examples. The point is, the cheaper your hosting, the more likely you will have technical issues that cause problems for you in Google.
Are your URLs set up well?
Your URL is the address to individual pages. Sure, your home page has a URL like example.com. But other pages on your site have other URLs. For search engines and URLs, there are two guidelines that you need to keep in mind at once:
- The shorter the better.
- They need to be readable by humans.
What does that mean? Let’s look at an example. Pretend you had a page on your website titled “The top ten reasons why you need our services.” The following would not be good URLs for that page:
On the other hand, this one would work great:
Or if it was a blog article, this would work as well:
Other potential issues
Here are a few more potential issues with your website that could negatively impact your Google ranking:
- A lot of broken links
- A lot of broken images
- HTML frames
- Flash files with animation
- Java programs
- WordPress is set to discourage search engines from indexing the site
- Your pages aren’t well organized
- You have a lot of pages or blog articles with less than 300 words
- You use a lot of PDFs for content
Of course, those are just a few examples of problems that could cause SEO issues, and some of them are more severe than others. But none of them are a good thing.
Worried that your site has any of the issues on here? If you are paying someone to manage your website on an ongoing basis, they may be able to help with some of these items under your current arrangement.
If not, we would be happy to talk. We offer a couple different options for analyzing your site and several options for helping it be more SEO friendly from a technical standpoint. Reach out to see if we can help you!