It’s confusing due to the sheer amount of information there is on this
subject and it’s only made worse by this information quickly becoming outdated.
This is down to the constant evolution of search engines, social media and
the introduction of machine learning.
In this article, you will learn some of the most common reasons why your
website isn’t performing well within search engines, as well as how to identify
opportunities to improve your website.
A website's visibility in search engines is dependant upon the quality of the website.
For your website to be visible, it has to be good. For high visibility,
it needs to be the best. The best at what? you might be asking.
The best 'user experience'.
Before explaining what I mean by 'user experience', let’s break it down into
3 key sections.
The 3 amigos
For great website visibility, you need great content, on a good website,
that you promote in the right way.
If you aren’t getting the results you expect from your website
then it’s almost certainly weak in at least one of these key areas.
What happens when any of these weaknesses exist?
- Weak website
- Poor content
- Poor promotion
Arrange your initial consultation with our award-winning team
1. Weak website
It’s no good having great content on a poor website because it'll never be seen.
Even if you promote it well enough, users will soon be turned off by the website.
There are many reasons why customers will leave your website.
If a website is too slow, 40% of users will leave after 3 seconds.
Wait, it gets worse. A badly coded website may not even be crawled by
search engine bots, let alone indexed and ranked. This is usually due to
errors in some script wrongly stopping the bots e.g. one line in your robots.txt can tell search bots to ignore
your whole website, resulting in no traffic for any of your web pages.
2. Poor content
All content you publish online, represents your brand. If you publish below-par content, that offers your audience no value,
it will significantly decrease trust and your chances of building a loyal audience. No matter how great your website is technically,
it will only perform if your content is great as well. You should also ensure there is interest in your topic.
Hopefully you’re now beginning to understand how intertwined this all is.
The single best way to ensure that your brand experience is great, is
to focus on your user’s experience. Nail this, and you will have customers
falling over themselves to get what you're selling.
It’s no good having great content, on a good website, if you don’t promote it.
Sure, you may get a steady stream of organic traffic if your website is
good in every way, but don’t just rely on search engines sending traffic your way. In order
to get the traffic you deserve, you need to be sourcing traffic from many different
channels. Find and master at least one other traffic source: Youtube, Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Why? multiple advertising avenues (channels), help safeguard your business,
ensuring you aren’t overly reliant on one source.
When marketing your brand, diversity is your friend. Use as many different
advertising channels as your business can sustain, without sacrificing
quality. This increases your brand's reach, enabling you to drive
quality traffic directly to your website, all without Google.
Offline bakery example
Let’s say we own a world class bakery. The only downside, we are based in a
little known village. There are only so many people we can rely on to just
'walk in'. If there’s enough local interest in our bakery it will grow through
word-of-mouth advertising, which is great, just what we want. But, waiting for the ‘buzz’ to get around
is all a bit slow and can often have limited reach. What happens if/when
this word-of-mouth advertising fizzles out? This is where digital marketing comes in. It’s our opportunity to find
potential customers from all over the world.
Whether the goal is to tell the world to try our world-class goods or to
sell online, digital marketing helps us either way. It gives us extra
power to reach new customers. Right now, we could have an untapped source of people demanding our
product or service, they just don’t know about us yet.
Going back to our bakery example....let’s say our local area has good
tourist attractions. Perhaps we could tap into this tourism by advertising
ourselves as an attraction too?
Some coffee shops have gone so far as to rebrand their entire business to
tap into the Pokemon Go craze. This is just one example of how the internet can turn one idea, into a
steady stream of paying customers.
What is good User Experience and why should you care?
Understanding what 'User Experience' is, is straightforward. It’s any brand
interaction that affects how users feel about your business. Obviously, you’ll want to give your users a positive
experience so they love your brand.
Getting your 'user experience' right for your users isn’t straightforward,
because there are many things that can go wrong.
Your content is key. Whether your content is competing with all other
content online, or you have managed to find a content gap. It needs to
be the best resource there is on the topic.
Your target audience needs a reason why they should visit your website. You need to be giving value.
Whatever content you create, it needs to be enjoyable for your customers to read/view.
What’s content got to do with User Experience? Almost everything! Have you ever seen awful content on a website before?
I bet you didn’t enjoy that experience and probably left the page.
The whole user journey needs to be as smooth and captivating as possible.
From your brand’s first impression all the way to the end-goal; subscribing,
paying for a product or service. Remember each user is a human being, just like you and me,
therefore your target should be to make your website so good, that your users
can’t help but share it with their friends.
Everything you do reflects your brand.
Building a strong brand is important for many reasons...
- Your brand builds recognition, which helps maximise your investment.
- It also builds trust. Building trust is crucial to your ranking and
earning potential.......just to name a couple.
Arrange your initial consultation
Great, but how do I know what’s holding my website back?
You can run a:
- Technical website audit
- Content audit
- Promotion audit
1. Technical website audit - Rock solid foundations and stable structures
Firstly, we do an in depth investigation into your site to ensure there is nothing
seriously wrong with your website technically. Making sure the foundations of your business are rock solid, before going
all out at promotion. If your website is so bad that it’s not visible at all due to technical
issues, then you will literally be wasting your time/money with promotion,
so it’s wise to start here. Once we are happy with your site foundations, we would then move onto the
content of the website.
2. Content audit - Audience focused and valuable content
This makes sure the content of your website is of value to your intended audience.
Is it focused to help make their lives better, at the same time as boosting your brand image,
in your audience's eyes?
When reviewing your content, make sure you put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
Your audience is always asking “What’s in it for me?” or “Why should I
How well does your content do in answering these questions? Be honest with
yourself, it’s your business.
3. Promotion audit - Content promotion
Now your content is great and you know your audience will love it. This
will make it incredibly easy to promote. Promoting something you know is
of value to people, makes it easier to sell. It’s just a matter of getting your content in front of the right eyes, at
the right time.
Discover where your target audience hangs out online and hang out with
them, becoming part of the community. But more importantly, be the expert.
Once you’ve shown your value, you can guide them to your helpful content.
Viola! You have a nice stream of visitors interested in what you have to offer.
Arrange your initial consultation
The devil is in the details
Now that we have the basics down, let's start to look at a few of the specifics.
Technical audit specifics
During your technical audit you should look into:
- Domain name resolution – http:// or http://www- pick one
Trailing slash – your server should automatically redirect users to a
URL that ends in a trailing slash or one without, but never both.
Want to see it in action? Remove the trailing slash after 'ranking' in your
browser address bar, then hit enter. You will be redirected back to this
current URL with the trailing slash reinstated.
The same will happen if you add 'www.' to the beginning.
This is good practice from a usability point of view because it
guarantees all visitors land on the the same page, with the correct URL.
Which in turn, ensures any hard earned trust and authority is passed
onto only one page. This avoids splitting any link juice, improving
your website's discoverability.
Internal links should be consistent with the server settings metioned above.
- Avoid causing redirects - a common flaw here is to link to your homepage with
URL's like "/index" or "/home" rather than just "/".
- Friendly URL’s - use only lowercase letters (a-z), hyphens (-) and
- Robots.txt - ensure it's only blocking search engine bots from the correct pages
- Speed & performance - this directly affects your business's bottom line.
Your website should load as fast as possible. Did you know,
user expectation is for web pages to load within 1 second on mobile and 3 seconds
on desktop computers?
If you want to find out how your website holds up, you can test your site speed and performance
with Google's tool
Code & structure
Content audit specifics
Whilst reviewing your content you need to look out for:
- Quality signals - Google utilises user metrics to gather how much visitors
like the content
- Bounce Rate (New users)
- Avoid pogo sticking (Users clicking on your search result, then hitting back)
- Page title
- Treat this as your advert to searchers
- Avoid making your page title too long. Stick to between 30 and 65 characters.
- You can use this handy tool to rate your headlines
- Use headings and sub-headings - make your content easy to skim read; use headers to break up your content
- In-depth content
- Some SEO's state 2,000+ word articles improve rankings because there
is a correlation between rankings and word count. I would argue it's more to do
with how comprehensively you cover your topic.
If you have completely covered a topic with 1,000 words, then
- Interest - is there enough public interest in the subject?
Arrange your initial consultation
Matches user intent
There are 3 main types of searcher intent:
- Navigational intent - looking for a specific area/page
- Informational intent - after information
- Commercial intent - buying product(s)/service(s)
Good design & UI/UX (User Experience)
- Front and center - main content/purpose should start above-the-fold
- Formatting - is it user friendly or a wall of text?
- Great navigation
- Effectively describe what your page is/does – within 3 seconds!
- Keyword/topic optimisation - are you targeting the terms people actually search for?
- Attractive to the correct target audiences
Don't limit your content options to just written content, mix it up with:
- Unique data displayed in charts and graphs
- Interactive tools
- Searcher intent
You'll also want to match the search query intent;
writing a 5,000 word essay instead of 20 second video showing how to put
a tie on, is obviously a bit silly but hopefully it makes my point.
Pick the correct content types based on the intent.
Promotion audit specifics
When you get around to the promotion/ audit look into your:
- Frequency - there needs to be a balance between doing enough and too much (so you annoy your users)
- Advertising channels - spread your eggs, avoid putting them all in one
Google basket. At the same time, ensure you don't spread your resources too far.
- Email - still one of the best forms of communicating online
- Social media
- Community - building a community can be a great way of increasing regular
- Authority websites - Build relationships with popular websites within
your niche/industry, these often have large audiences who may be
interested in your content.
- Brand presence - popular brands rank high in search engines
- Advertising effectiveness - are you planning ahead or winging it?
- Marketing quality - are you targeting the right audience? Are you
promoting with brand consistency?
- High quality backlinks - links from high authority websites that are
topically related is a priority for good rankings
Arrange your initial consultation
So there we have it. Hopefully I've given you the information you need, to
enhance your website rankings. Once you've made these optimisations, you should start to see an improvement.
Remember, this process has a cumulative effect, so make sure you track
and measure all changes. This can help you work out what does and doesn’t
work in your industry.
Wayne Frisby / Website developer and SEO expert
Has this article helped you? If so I'd love to hear about it! Have I missed anything? Contact me on