January 15, 2013

Would your website pass its road worthy certificate?

Published: 15 January 2013 


If Google were a restaurant, it wouldn’t serve up rubbish food, and then expect you to come back for more.

As our online palettes are becoming more and more refined, only the best will do for us – we want fine dining at the pace of fast food, so if your website isn’t functional, fast and free from technical no-no’s that will frustrate users, you’re not gonna make it to the top of Google’s Menu.

This is why onsite optimization - or technical SEO as it’s also known - is so important. You can have the best content in the world (which is super-duper important too, by the way) but if your website isn’t running like a well-oiled machine, you’re gonna struggle to get that sweet top spot in the results pages.

Here at Matter Solutions, we have what we affectionately refer to as our ‘web worthy certificate’ which is basically an A to Z of everything that could hinder page speed and functionality, or just generally get in the way of Google indexing your site. By making sure everything about your site is optimised to rank and function well, we know that we’re going to get every last drop of ‘link juice’ out of the work we do to increase the visibility of your business online.

We use an arsenal of tools - that are either provide by Google or Google approved - to discover issues, implement changes and monitor our clients’ websites so we know everything we do is in line with their best practice procedures. As I mentioned before, Google’s priority is to serve up the most useful and accurate results to its users, that way, the brand ‘Google’ becomes synonymous with search and people don’t get frustrated with unsatisfactory results and go elsewhere.

When we consider their motives – to keep people coming back to use their service – it makes sense that Google would help us help them. It’s not black magic or trickery. By helping us to improve our websites, and getting an accurate understanding of what our websites are about, they are better able to serve up useful results to users.

And so by working with Google, you’re not only improving your chances of getting good rankings, you’re continually improving your websites performance. When we build a website, or perform an audit of one for an SEO client, we implement a whole host of strategies to achieve this. We can help Google understand the context of your business by marking up the html in your website using structured data. We can tell them who the author of content published on your site is, and build up the reputation of your contributors as authorities on relevant topics. We can run checks to make sure there is no malware hiding in your website, or leave instructions for the Google bots so they know which parts of your site to crawl and index, how to get around your website efficiently, what pages don’t exist anymore and even which versions of content to favour.

Now, you will need a certain level of technical knowhow to implement a lot of this stuff, but as far as finding out what it is that can be improved – that bits pretty easy.

It’s absolutely imperative that you have Webmaster Tools set up for your website. This is where good ol’ Google will send you a message to alert you to any problems it finds when crawling your web site. It will also give you heaps of information about search queries that bring you traffic and make recommendations on what you can improve. Google Analytics is another free tool that helps you see how users are interacting with your site, so while Webmaster Tools helps you see performance issues, Analytics can give you insights into any usability issues you may have.

Finally, another great little tool is Google PageSpeed Insights. It’s a plugin for Chrome that you can download for free and will run through a list of checks to see where inefficiencies in the back end of your website occur, and recommend ways to improve them – brilliant!

Ben Maden

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