They say a new car depreciates the moment you drive it off the forecourt – the same analogy can apply to your shiny new website. Almost from the moment you press publish, it starts to age!
Too many businesses view creating a website as a ticking-the-box exercise, without realising that an out-of-date website is as useful as a chocolate teapot when it comes to search rankings!
Here are 10 ways to ensure your website stays relevant
Keep updating your content
The clever search engine algorithms view the most recent material on a website as the most relevant to web users. If you keep your web content static for months, even years at a time, you can be certain the search engines will not view it as useful and relevant and visitors may view you as out of date and possibly untrustworthy. Fresh content helps search engines (and your customers) find you.
Update your keywords and phrases
Your keywords, the ones your customers are most likely using to search, change over time, so updating your content regularly gives you the opportunity to include relevant, high-performing and timely keywords. Maybe you’ve added a new product or service or changed location, adding relevant keywords that relate to these business changes will help search engines and potential customers find your website.
Check your SSL
Some URLs start with http and others with https, but it’s amazing what a difference that extra S can make. It comes from having a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), a security technology that means your users connection to your website is secure and encrypted. SSL is part of Google’s search ranking algorithm so not having one, or not keeping it up to date, will instantly affect your SEO.
Put yourself on the sitemap
No matter how engaging your content or how brilliant your SEO, if you don’t have a sitemap then search engines will be unable to crawl and index your website. A good sitemap acts as a roadmap of your website that enables search engines to locate all your significant pages. It will take some effort and time to build your site map but once you’ve done so you can easily submit it to Google through the search console.
Assert your authority
Backlinks from other websites to yours, plus keeping the content up to date on your site, helps build your domain authority – how much of an authority on a particular subject your website is. The more people that link to your content, the more relevant it must be. Google holds domain authority in high regard when trying to match search enquiries with the most useful and relevant answers.
Be mobile friendly
60% of all web traffic now comes from mobile devices so if you’re not designing a new website with this in mind or updating an old one, you’ll be missing out on potential customers.
Keep things moving
It’s not just a failure to update the written content on your website that could affect its effectiveness, it’s also the visuals. Customers expect to view at pace so if large images are slowing your website down then change them!
That little copyright symbol and date on the footer or your website might seem like an afterthought, but not keeping it up to date might be losing you critical search positions. Believe it or not, search engines take notice of how current the copyright date is when crawling and ranking websites. From a customer’s point of view, an out-of-date copyright date could signal you are no longer in business, or you just don’t care!
Keep your team involved
Often there is one or two individuals responsible for the upkeep of the website and they may possibly be disconnected from the rest of the business. Often the website can be forgotten about in the day-to-day running of a business. Bringing the website back to the centre, including it in the process and involving everybody means that there is always a flow of content, updates and new ideas.
Aside from the obvious, checking web copy, formatting and layout, there’s always something you won’t find out about your website without testing. Running your site through a website audit (such as one offered by seranking.com) will reveal issues to fix that you might not see with the naked eye. Issues that, when resolved, improve your SEO such as:
Duplicates headings (same heading used on different pages)
Missing H1 or H2 headings
Identical TITLE and H1 tags
Missing META data
Missing ALT tags
Page errors 301, 404
and many more ...
Put simply, your website is your storefront, and its content is your voice. With every business worldwide now having a presence on the web, it’s a congested space. It’s essential to keep your website user-friendly, functioning correctly, and easy for both search engines and potential customers to find its content. Taking time to audit your SEO regularly will make sure your website wins, rather than loses business.