The Impact of Website Performance and Usability to SEO

Did you know that ranking well in Google doesn’t only depend on good quality content? In fact, your website’s usability, as well as its performance, also have an impact, so can improve or damage search rankings. Therefore, by improving your website’s usability, as well as its performance, you can get better results from your website.

Google has always placed significant emphasis on performance and usability. It even offers a free site speed test tool that you can use to check the performance of your website. This tool even tells you what you should fix.

In addition, Google publishes guidance and advice on some elements of website usability.

Let’s now look further at the impact of website performance and usability to SEO

Understanding Usability

Usability is a measure of the user-friendliness of your website. For example, it looks at how easy it is for users to navigate your website, find what they need, and do what they want to do, without getting lost or confused.

The following questions can help you determine the usability of your website:

  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Are there elements that you can improve?
  • Are there many distractions on the website (like ads or popups)?
  • Is the contact information clearly visible?
  • Does the design include all necessary features?

Site usability also takes into account the efficiency of your site’s design. You can judge this by analysing the time it takes users to perform tasks once they are familiar with the layout.

Finally, website usability is also about making your website available on all device. This means ensuring you have a responsive design that works well on mobile phones.

Understanding Website Performance

Google measures website performance by the speed it takes web pages to download and display in users’ browsers. Therefore, an outdated website design, regardless of whether it has incredible content, will probably suffer on search result pages with a low ranking.

Google told us this directly back in 2010 and it has issued updates regularly since then. Specifically, it says it uses site speed as a factor when determining the rank of websites. Why is Google so fixated on performance?

A webpage that takes too long to load can lead to a bad user experience which, in turn, increases the bounce rate. Google doesn’t like high bounce rates because they essentially mean failure, i.e. Google failed to send the user to a website that could help with their query.

As a consequence, your ranking in Google – and the goals you have for your website – suffer.

In fact, statistics show that 47 percent of users expect a page to load in just two seconds. In addition, as delay as short as one-second can lead to a reduction in conversions by as much as seven percent. So, an e-commerce site making roughly $1,000 a day could lose as much as $250,000 a year in revenue because their website has a one-second delay.

How Usability and Website Performance Impact Your Business

Usability and website performance have both a direct and an indirect impact on SEO. As well as impacting SEO, however, both also have an impact on your business. After all, website performance and usability play a part in improving recommendations, increasing traffic, and achieving conversions.

For instance, if navigating through your website is difficult, then engaging with visitors will be difficult too. These low engagement rates often lead to visitors leaving your website and being hesitant to return in the future.

Likewise, if users don’t quickly spot what they are looking for, there is a high chance they will just stay on your page for only a few seconds before heading back to the search results page in the hope of finding another website that will be more helpful. This is a potential lost customer.

What Can You Do to Improve Website Performance and Usability?

It is important to remember that Google uses a lot of tools, factors, and strategies to determine performance and usability. It even uses its web browser Chrome to monitor how people interact with websites.

So, what should you do to optimise the performance and usability of your website?

Primarily, good usability involves not only removing roadblocks but also minimising the total steps a user must take to get to the end goal. Since usability involves making a task hassle-free and intuitive, you need to come up with a user interface that is very simple to learn as well as being appealing and rewarding to visitors.

You should also speed up the loading time of your website so that fewer users abandon your pages out of frustration. There are a lot of things you can do to improve loading times like leveraging browser caching, using a content delivery network, minimising redirects, optimising images, etc.

To find out exactly what is slowing up your website, you should check it with the speed test tool above before fixing any problems it highlights. Make sure you check the speed of your website on mobile devices too, as there may be additional issues you should look at.

In addition to the above, you can also use the following tips to improve both website performance and usability:

  • Use a heat-map tool that lets you record click behaviour on your website. This will help you understand how visitors use your website, so you can make improvements.
  • Try to avoid publishing a lot of irrelevant content. Your pages and posts need to be clear, concise, and easy to understand.
  • Place key information in places where the eye is naturally drawn. Statistics show that 80 percent of users look at information placed above the page fold while 69 percent of users spend their time looking at the left side of the page. Content above the fold is content that is visible without the user having to scroll. Therefore, put your most important information at the top left-hand side of the pages on your website.
  • If your website is not mobile-friendly, it is time for you to optimise it for those who visit your website using their tablets or smartphones. Remember, optimising your website for mobile doesn’t just mean making it look good on mobile devices. You must also check all the content and functions to ensure they work properly on mobile too.
  • Pick out visually appealing colours instead of those that are quite distracting. Make sure you research colour psychology before you finalise a colour scheme.

Website performance and usability are issues that you simply cannot ignore as even small problems can have a significant impact. On the flip side, by optimising performance and usability, your ranking in Google and your business overall are likely to improve.

5 Reasons Your Google AdWords Campaigns Are Not Delivering a Return on Investment

Are your AdWords campaigns failing to get clicks? Do your campaigns get clicks but those clicks don’t result in any sales? Are you paying too much for clicks or do you have to set your bid too high to ensure you appear in one of the top positions? Are you not getting a good enough return on investment from your AdWords spend?

We understand the frustration of each of these scenarios. After all, the pay-per-click model of AdWords appears so promising on the surface, i.e. you only pay when your ad successfully achieves a click. Of course, the reality is not as simple as that.

Here are five reasons why your Google AdWords campaigns are not delivering a good enough return on investment to make them worthwhile.

1. Your Keyword Strategy is Wrong

Getting the keyword strategy right in your AdWords campaign is crucial. This means selecting keywords that have buying intent. You must also analyse the competition to decide whether it is worthwhile targeting a specific keyword. For example, the competition might be too high making it difficult to get a return.

In addition, you must also include negative keywords. Negative keywords ensure Google sends the right traffic to your website by not showing your ad on search results pages that are not relevant.

2. Your Ad Text Is Not Compelling

Writing the text of a Google AdWords ad is a crucial part of setting up your campaign. There are a lot of things you need to think about, however. Firstly, you must ensure you follow Google’s AdWords’ policies. There are also character restrictions you must follow.

Google Adwords

In addition, your ad text must achieve three crucial objectives:

  • It must demonstrate to the user that you potentially have the answer to their query
  • It must win the user’s trust
  • It must have a compelling enough message to make the user click on your ad instead of one of the other options on the page

If your ad text doesn’t do all three of these things, you won’t get the results you should.

3. You Don’t Have an Effective Landing Page

Of course, getting a click on your ad is only part of the process of making an AdWords campaign successful. You also must convert that click into a sale. That is the job of your landing page.

The first mistake people often make is using the homepage of their website as the landing page. In fact, in most situations, existing website pages do not typically make effective landing pages.

The best approach is to design a specific landing page for the AdWords campaign, focusing on the user, answering all their questions, and giving them a reason to purchase right away.

4. You Don’t Analyse, Test, and Optimise

Even the most experienced AdWords professionals will analyse the performance of the campaigns they run, making adjustments to improve results. It is also important to run tests, including split tests, to optimise every aspect of the campaign. If you are not doing this, your return on investment will not be as good as it could be.

5. You Don’t Use an AdWords Expert

In theory, anyone can set up a Google AdWords account and launch an advertising campaign. This is because Google makes the process of doing so as easy to follow as possible.

However, optimising a campaign, making it profitable, and maximising return on investment requires specialist expertise. You can get this if you spend time gaining the experience and achieving certified Google Partner status. If you can’t do this, however, you should consider getting AdWords experts to run your campaigns.

Even when you factor their costs in, you will get a better return on investment than running a campaign that is not optimised.

Why Trying to Rank Number 1 in Google is a Waste of Time, and What You Should Do Instead

Ranking number one in Google for targeted keywords has always been tough, but it is becoming increasingly difficult. In fact, it is so difficult now it is simply not worth the time, effort, and money. You won’t get a return on investment, particularly if the keyword has a lot of competition.

This is an unusual concept for many people to understand, whether you are a digital marketing expert or not. After all, appearing at the top of Google has been the goal of businesses online for more than a decade.

We are focused on ROI, though – getting a tangible return for the money, time, and effort you spend on digital marketing activities. On that basis, chasing the number one spot in Google is not worth it.

First, let’s look at why and then we can look at what you should do instead.

Content Overload

Firstly, you need to post lots of content. In simple terms, websites in the same industry or niche as you that post more content will usually get a higher position in Google.

What does lots of content translate to, though? According to HubSpot, it is 11 or more blog posts per month. That’s more than two per week which is more than most small and medium-sized businesses can achieve.

Remember also they must be high-quality blog posts. Throwing up a couple of hundred words promoting something about your business or rehashing something that has appeared somewhere else is not going to cut it.

You need longer, unique, informative, and useful blog posts three or more times a week. As already mentioned, that is a bar that is too high for most businesses. Can you really afford to spend so much time writing content when you have customers to service and other aspects of your business to run?

Link Crazy

Another key element to ranking number one in Google is backlinks. You need thousands of them to rank for most of the important keywords. Not only that, the backlinks must come from high-authority websites and there must be multiple domains.

Unless you’re willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on building this backlink profile for your target keywords, you are unlikely to get enough to get you to number one.

Established Competition

In addition to the above two points, you are probably competing with an established competitor. They will already have content that Google knows people like and it will have backlinks. For many keywords, that head start is too much to come back from.

Advanced Tools

Click-Through-Rates are Underwhelming

Even if you manage to deal with the content, link, and established competition issues, the results you get from ranking number one in Google might not give you a good enough return on investment.

After all, just 66% of search queries get a click, and most experts believe that number continues to fall.

Why is this happening? There are two main reasons:

  • Cluttered search result pages – on a search results page, people often have to wade through PPC ads, Google Shopping results, social results, news results, video results, and more. All too often, the organic search results, including the number one position, get lost in the mix.
  • Google often gives the answer – for many keywords, Google tries to give the answer to the user’s query right on the search results page, negating the need for the user to click through to your website.

Google algorithm

Moving Target

Finally, Google constantly changes the way its algorithm works.

So, let’s assume you find a way to deal with the above issues, you get to number one, and you’re getting traffic. Google then changes the algorithm in a way that drops you out of the number one position. In this situation, the fortunes in time and money you have spent getting to number one are for nothing.

In other words, it doesn’t make sense:

  • Investing when the odds are so stacked against you
  • Achieving number one spot when you might not get the results you hoped for
  • Investing so much in a third-party platform that you have zero control over

 

What You Should Do Instead

You should focus on results, not traffic.

Getting to number one in Google is about maximising traffic. Focusing on results is about maximising profit which makes much more business sense.

There are lots of ways you can do this including:

  • Google ads
  • Lead generation or conversion ads on Facebook
  • Creating lead magnets – downloads you offer in return for a website visitor’s email address

 

You should also focus on how your web pages look on search results pages instead of their position.

This means optimising the page title of each page as well as the meta description – the two-line summary you see under the headline of each listing on Google’s search results pages. Both of these should encourage the user to click on your website instead of one of the other options.

Focusing on results IS worth your money and time, and will deliver a much better ROI than trying to get to Google’s number one spots.

10 Essential SEO Tips for Your Website

If you just build a website and do nothing in relation to SEO, it is unlikely many people will visit it. Here are 10 essential SEO tips that will increase your visibility in Google. This, in turn, will bring more traffic to your site.

1. Move your website to WordPress

There are lots of tools and platforms you can use to build a website. For most, however, the best option is WordPress. It is the most popular platform, it has powerful functionality, and it’s easy to use. Plus, it has great SEO plugins you can install – more of that later.

2. Optimise for mobile

When going through the process of getting a website designed, most people think about the desktop version first. This is not the way Google looks at your site, though. In addition, a significant proportion of your visitors will use mobile devices to browse and use your site. You should, therefore, concentrate on optimising for mobile first both in terms of appearance and functionality.

3. Fix errors

Google hates errors on websites so you should find them and fix them. One of the best tools you can use to do this is Google Webmaster Tools. It shows you what Google sees when it looks at your site, including the errors.

SEO

4. Do an SEO audit

The next stage is to run your website through an SEO audit service. There are many services available for this including Neil Patel’s SEO analyser and SEMrush, plus you can do a search on Google for alternatives. Most offer a free initial analysis that will give you enough information to work on. This includes information on your site’s keywords, backlinks, page load speed, and more.

5. Optimise your content

This step includes:

  • Installing Yoast on your website. It is an SEO plugin with features like checking the keyword density on a page, showing you how the page looks in Google, analysing the quality of writing on the page, and more. There is a premium version, but the free version has enough features to get you started.
  • Ensure the writing on your website is high-quality and error free. It is usually a good idea to use a professional proof reader, copywriter, or editor to do this for you.
  • Ensure the visuals on your website are fantastic. This includes adding infographics and making images personal to your business rather than using stock images.

SEO Tips

6. Create and submit a sitemap

The Yoast WordPress plugin will create this. You should then submit it to Google Webmaster Tools and to Bing. The sitemap helps search engines understand the content on your website.

7. Start blogging

A blog will bring more traffic to your website, plus it helps with SEO. For example, a blog will bring more long-tail search traffic to your site. It also helps with the following tips.

8. Submit content to RSS feeds

Google doesn’t take RSS feed submission into account but this tip can still help with SEO. By submitting your content to RSS feeds, more people will see it which will generate traffic as well as backlinks and follows on social media. Google does take these things into account.

9. Get Backlinks by guest blogging

Guest blogging on popular websites in your industry will bring additional traffic to your website. It also helps to increase your profile and reputation. Plus, guest blogging will generate additional backlinks to help with SEO.

10. Add a related posts section

Google looks at a number of factors in relation to your website. Generally speaking, it regards it as good when people who visit your website look at more than one page. Plus, the more time they spend on your site the better. Adding a related posts section helps keep people on your website for longer.

There is quite a bit in the above 10 tips and you might need help implementing them. They are all, however, important for SEO.

How You Can Get on the First Page of Google

How You Can Get First Page of Google

You have probably heard many people talk about how important it is to get on the first page of Google. After all, most research says the first page of Google gets 70-75 percent of the available clicks. What does getting on the first page of Google mean, though?

It means a lot of things, in fact. The easiest part is getting onto the first page of Google, ideally position one, for the name of your business. This is not enough in the real world of business as your name only catches those people who already know about you. What about all those people searching for keywords related to your industry?

There is a difficult truth to grasp when you consider this question. That truth is that in almost all industries, you won’t be able to get onto page one of Google for your industry’s main keywords. Why? Without getting too technical, it is because of the way Google works. It looks at the authority of a domain and how many links it has as well as about 200 other things. If your domain authority is lower than your competitors and you have fewer links, you won’t be able to beat them.

At least, you won’t be able to compete head-to-head with the big competitors using traditional methods. There are ways to get to page one of Google, however, if you are creative. In fact, there are four ways.

Getting to Page One of Google

The first thing is to forget about targeting the popular, high-traffic keywords – this is the traditional method described above. Leave the big competitors to fight over those keywords themselves.

While they are doing that, there are easier and much less costly strategies you can deploy.

Target Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are typically more than two or three words. For example, one of the main keywords for a property management company might be:

“Houses for rent”

Examples of long-tail keywords, however, would be:

“Houses for rent in Mount Eden” or “houses for rent in Mount Eden under $600 per week”

Long-tail keywords like the examples above are easier to rank for. They also generate lower levels of traffic but that traffic will add up when you target a lot of them. In addition, long-tail keywords usually also have better conversion rates as they are used by people closer to a buying decision.

Start Blogging

Blogging is a good way of targeting long-tail keywords and attracting traffic from social media and links from other websites. To be successful, however, you need to do the following:

Blogs

  • Publish more posts than your competitors
  • Publish better quality posts
  • Ensure your posts are keyword focused

 

Use Google AdWords

Most search results pages worth targeting contain ads. Crucially, these ads dominate the top of those search results pages with up to four ads on display before the first organic search result. Therefore, if you want to get page one, use Google AdWords.

Get Featured on Other Websites

In many industries, it is also often possible to get featured on other websites that do appear on page one. One example is a review website. You will need to spend time reaching out to the authors of reviews on those websites, but getting into their reviews is an indirect way of getting onto page one. Another good example is in the property management industry, i.e. listing your properties on the main property portals.

By taking a more strategic and targeted approach to SEO, you can get onto page one of Google, whoever you are.

10 Ways To Build Quality Backlinks

Link building has become one of the most important practices for better SEO performance. Backlinks are like votes of popularity for your website to search engines. The higher the quality of the links and the more of them you have, the greater ranking potential your web pages will have.

According to a recent survey by Moz, 37% of business owners spend $10,000 to $50,000 per month on link building. That’s how important it is.

Backlink quality is measured from the source the link comes from. One of the important factors is that your backlink is inserted with proper content. Otherwise, it will look like spam.

For example, a backlink to a tech blog would have great value if the link is inserted in an article that gives tech information. That would be a credible backlink with good contextual relevancy.

The other variable that determines the quality of a backlink is the authority of the link’s source. Google puts a measure of authority on all websites, ranging from 0-10. It is called PageRank, or PR for short. So, a website with a PR7 (high authority) offers greater link value – or link juice – than a PR1 (low authority) website.

Building quality backlinks for SEO involves a combination of utilising high authority link sources and sources that offer some degree of contextual relevancy. This is the foundation of SEO link building best practice. Read this blog post for good SEO practices to get you started.

Here are 10 techniques to create high-quality backlinks for search engine optimisation:

Blogging: Create and maintain a blog that is a separate domain from your money site (the web site receiving the links). Build the blog around a niche topic that relates to your money site and frequently publish content with backlinks integrated into the blog post’s copy.

Guest blogging: Guest blogging is one of the most effective ways to build backlinks on higher authority blogs. This takes some effort as you must find good blogs, contact the blog owners, and inquire about writing a blog post for their blog.

RSS feed: Have an RSS feed on your blog. Doing this is free and easy to set up. An RSS feed is advantageous as it allows people to syndicate your content to generate greater interest and increase the popularity of your blog. This can then result in others providing attribution links back to your pages.

Press releases: Write and distribute press releases regularly. The key here is to publish your press releases through distribution sites that allow you to add backlinks in the copy, as well as other sites that offer great coverage and authority.

Create case studies: Writing a case study about a client who has succeeded through your services will not only display credibility in your company but also generate interest from the client. Quality clients will often link back to your website out of respect for your solid PR stunt.

Link to other relevant blogs: Often, linking to other related blogs can generate link reciprocity. In other words, some blog owners are likely to return the favour. In some cases, you may want to make it known that you are linking to their blog as not all blog owners check their backlinks.

Create visual content: Consider diversifying from text to visual content such as images, infographics, charts, and cartoons. Not only will these techniques attract readers, but they will also earn and retain backlinks.

Social sharing widgets: Social sharing widgets on your web pages and blog posts – like Twitter’s “tweet this” or Facebook’s “like this” – can go a long way to propagating your content and generating link popularity.

Write reviews: When you give a positive review of a company or a piece of content (like a book), chances are the author or website owner will link back to your website.

Offer free tools: If you have skills in a particular service or niche, create and offer free tools and resources. This is one of the best ways to attract new business and quality backlinks.

We hope these ten link building techniques will get you on your way to generating quality links to start raising your rankings in search engines. If you find it difficult to do this, you may need to hire a backlink building service.

How you can grow web traffic without SEO

If you don’t have much budget but are looking for new ways to drive traffic other than SEO, email marketing, social media, or guest posting, then this article is for you.

In this article, I will show you how to drive targeted traffic and reach thousands of people for free via Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, twisted guest blogging, and by partnering with others.

Kindle Select 90-Day Traffic Plan
Do you know that self-published books now represent 31% of e-book sales in the Amazon Kindle Store? Before the emergence of the Amazon Kindle Store and other similar online bookstores, you needed thousands of dollars and the help of a large publishing house to get a book published. This is now changed as anyone can publish a book within a day. In addition, this technique can be used to drive traffic to your website or blog.

When you publish your Kindle book, you can enrol the book in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program. This makes your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for 90 days. Amazon also includes it in the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library where thousands of targeted readers can borrow it for free. Furthermore, you can run a free promotion for a paid e-book for five days.

To drive traffic to your website through your Kindle book you can place a link directly inside the book. Another way of getting traffic is using free giveaways.

Twisted Guest Blogging
This is a unique approach that is very different from typical guest blogging – this is the reason it is given the title “twisted”.

According to Neil Patel, one blogger recorded a 203% increase in traffic growth in 2013 when his guest posts were featured on high-traffic and relevant blogs.

So, how did that blogger get thousands of people to read his guest post? Here are the three steps he followed for guest posting:

  • Research blogs with social influence
  • Checking the top-ranking websites
  • Pitch them one by one

The objective is to get featured by one of the blogs after it accepts your guest post.

Partner with Others
You can place a badge of a company on your website or blog, or share your content with other blogs, in exchange for them driving traffic back to your blog. This approach involves partnering with them. There are many popular blogs that are looking for quality content and if you provide it to them, they will have no issues linking back to your website.

In order to get this partnership, you must consistently reach out to potential websites and blogs. Most probably you will get one yes out of every 10 blogs you hit.

What is On site SEO?

On-site SEO involves optimising web pages to rank higher and gain more traffic in search engines. On-site SEO includes optimising the content and HTML source code of a webpage. Off-site SEO, on the other hand, involves optimising external links.

So, do you want your website SEO optimised to get more traffic from search engines?

If your answer is yes to the above question, you should consider optimising your website.

There are two factors to consider when it comes to optimising a website:

  • On-Site optimisation
  • Off-Site optimisation

Today I will focus only on the on-site element and will share basic information that impacts website optimisation.

The Domain Name
The domain name is an important part of on-site SEO. However, with Google’s EMD update, having an exact match domain name no longer matters a lot in SEO. Nonetheless, the domain name adds credibility and relevancy to your blog. It can help users decide if the blog is the right one to get the information they are searching for or not.

The Meta Description
Another important component of on-site SEO is the meta description. This is a short overview of what the blog is all about. The statement that you input here will be used by search engines to describe your blog. This will also be the short statement that will appear in search results pages.

The meta description can heavily influence the search user’s decision on whether to check out your site or not. This is also used by the search engine crawlers when ranking websites for certain keywords. Therefore, make sure that your target keyword term is present in the meta description.

Web Content
Web content is a key area that greatly matters in on-site optimisation. Quality and uniqueness of the post must be given due focus so each post must be unique. Ideally, it should not be published elsewhere so it is distinct to your site. Aside from that, it should contain highly valuable information and an eye-popping title that effectively grabs attention.

Internal Links
Another factor in on-site SEO is internal links as they must be properly placed. Each page should, ideally, have a link from another page or from the homepage. The internal link structure should also be flawless to ensure visitors can quickly and conveniently find the right pages relevant to their search.

Metatags
Metatags are HTML elements that provide information about a web page for search engines and website visitors. These elements must be placed as tags in thesection of an HTML document.

Anchor Text
The anchor text is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The words contained in the anchor text can determine the ranking that the individual page will receive by search engines.

Rick Media Files
Another important component of on-site SEO is rich media files. These are the relevant photos and videos included your web pages. These files further add value to your posts, while the relevancy of the photos and videos can reinforce the search engine’s assessment of the webpage. These files should be properly inserted with alt-tags that are relevant to the main target keyword phrase.

Loading Speed and Bounce Rate

Loading speed and bounce rate have little SEO value but they can add up to give you better page ranking due to enhanced user experience. The loading speed of the webpage can affect bounce rate and it can also cause some visitors to leave if the page loads too slowly.