The internet is constantly evolving. As websites become more advanced and as content continues to grow exponentially, search engines must also evolve in order to deliver the best results to internet users. Search Engines adapt to factors such as smartphone usage, increasing user demand, and the increasing complexity of sites. In order to continue to deliver the best results, search engines such as Google are constantly tweaking and re-engineering the standards by which they select results for their users. This means that websites that may have yielded superior search results in the past may no longer be on par with the evolving standards. Content creators and website operators need to make sure that they are on top of the Search Engine Standards and that they perform Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over all of their content.
2019 brings with it many updates and tweaks to the process of Search Engine Optimization. Are you aware of these changes? If not, these changes were broken down in part with last week’s SEO Updates 2019 Part 1. The remainder of these updates and how they may affect your website or business are discussed below.
SEO Update Recap
If you haven’t had a chance to catch up on last week’s article, here is a brief recap that summarizes some of the updates you will need to be aware of before reading on.
Smart phones are everywhere. Landlines and phones without internet connection have become a thing of the past. As Smart phone usage continues to grow and grow, the percentage of searches done via mobile phones have increased at a commensurate rate. In fact, since 2016; the percentage of searches being done via a mobile device has been greater than that being done via desktop. This means that Google, Bing, and other search engines are placing a higher priority on mobile site quality than they have before. The demands for mobile site quality are even higher with SEO 2019 updates.
If your website or business is focusing on desktop traffic and does not have a quality mobile site and/or app, then you are losing web traffic. It is that simple. Make sure that your website looks good and performs well on mobile, as well as on a desktop. Search Engines are prioritizing these mobile sites and if your mobile site is outdated or performs poorly, then search engines will promote your site less and your up to date competitors more.
Whether on a desktop or on a mobile device, your website must look modern and perform on par with, or superior to, similar websites or competitors. If your website’s back-end uses outdated software or systems, then you may be at risk. Not only will your site feel outdated and “old”, but it may not run properly. This doesn’t mean that you need to change your back-end service provider every day, but it does mean that you need to keep your page updated in a timely manner and be open to newer and different ways of presenting your content or business. You certainly don’t want your site to become old and incompatible with newer devices.
Remember, the primary means of searching is now done via mobile devices. As new devices release, they may no longer support older styles or platforms, so make sure that you are reaching 100% of your potential customer base by keeping your back-end up to date and in order.
This applies to your content too! Make sure that content is relevant and fresh so as to appeal to both search engines and users. Quality websites get more results from search engines and are better liked by users.
The Home Page
The first step in ensuring quality with your website is the Home Page. The Home Page is most likely the first impression of your website or business that new customers and clients will see. If they are presented with a cluttered mess of menus, topics, and options, they may quickly leave your site for a competitor. Users don’t want to have to dig for information or follow a maze-like design of menus. Rather, use your Home Page as a place to clearly layout what your website or business is about and who or what it is for.
Keep your Home Page menu short and to the point and take advantage of sub-menus on other pages. This de-cluttering not only keeps the page more visually appealing, but it makes your website easier to navigate for new users. Remember, quality is key in performing Search Engine Optimization for your site. Start with a quality Home Page and watch your web traffic increase.
A large contributor to a website’s quality is its speed. If your website loads quickly and takes a small amount of time to deliver satisfactory results to the user, then they will generally be satisfied with your site. However, if your website loads slowly and users are forced to wait for their results, they may become dissatisfied and turn to a competitor. It is important to remember that Google typically delivers thousands of search results within under a second. Internet users are accustomed to this speed and the near instantaneous connection they have with queried information and services. If your website falls far below these speeds, their impression of your business may fall short of expectations.
When a competing website produces similar results at a quicker rate, users are more likely to buy into their website because of the speed, even if your content is superior in quality. Even if your website isn’t getting slower, it may fall behind. When a competitor’s site becomes faster, yours falls behind by comparison. Remember to keep your back-end updated with the latest software updates so that speed can be improved and things that may slow your site down can be isolated and addressed appropriately.
There are several other updates coming in 2019 that you need to be aware of. These additional updates are broken down below so that you can ensure that your website stays ahead of the game.
Remember that you are not building and maintaining a website for yourself. Your website is for potential customers, clients, and visitors to find your content and use it to better their own experience. If visitors do not feel like a priority when on your website or if content is not easily accessible for them, your website will be penalized by search engines and in the mind of your potential customers.
Keep in mind that the best way to put the user first is by following the other updates for Search Engine Optimization. If your website is up to date, visually appealing, loads quickly, and provides easy navigation and access to your content, then your chances of appealing to and appeasing users increases greatly.
Content Quality can be one of the most difficult portions of Search Engine Optimization to master. How can you ensure that users are having a positive experience when using your website? How can you be sure that your content is providing users with the appropriate answers and/or services?
While surveys and feedback sections may provide some answers, they can often be unreliable or biased. After all, people are much more motivated to comment their dissatisfaction than when they are satisfied or merely have their expectations met. The best way to ensure that your content is of the highest quality is to self-evaluate it.
If you are a business, how does your website relay your mission? If potential customers and clients visit your sight and are merely bombarded with products and potential purposes, your vision may not come across clearly. Belief is a crucial part of the sales process, and if people cannot believe in your brand or in your company, they may quickly take their business somewhere where they can believe in the purpose or mission.
Once your vision and the purpose for your site comes across appropriately, you need to take steps to ensure that the content on your website reflects that idea. Contradictory articles or mistakes in the website may indicate that your website or business does not really believe in its mission or that it is run carelessly. Leaving a good impression on users throughout their visit to your website is crucial if you want them to return and for your web traffic to grow.
After ensuring that content on your site is not misplaced or contradictory, you also need to make sure that users are presented with the best work you have to offer. If you are presenting potential customers with poorly written articles or services that do not live up to their claim, the potential customers will easily be turned off from what you have to offer. A simple way to prevent this is by monitoring what is on your site. If you maintain your website yourself, then take the time to double check your work. Make sure that articles are written properly and that they are factually accurate. Do not offer services that you can not deliver on, and don’t make any false promises just to lure people into a purchase. Your website is representative of you, so make sure that you are putting your best foot forward by striving for the highest quality content.
Why Do These Updates Matter To Me?
You may read this and wonder, “Why does this matter to me?”. If you find yourself asking this question, understand that this may not matter to you right away. If you decide not to update, modify, or streamline your website in order to fit with the evolving standards of proper Search Engine Optimization, you probably won’t notice much of a difference for the first few days. However, as competitors and other websites begin to roll out their updates for better Search Engine Optimization, your website will fall behind by default.
When your competitors rank higher, you rank lower. If you are not willing to make changes to your content and your website, then you will inevitably fall behind. Technology and the ways it is used in the modern workplace are changing drastically and at a fast rate of speed. What was once ahead of the game or modern a few years ago may now be archaic in the internet world.
Search Engines want to ensure that their users are being directed towards the best content in terms of relevance and quality. If you do not keep your website and content up to date with the standards that the search engines set, then you simply will not rank as high on their searches. This means that your website will have decreased traffic and that your business will be put in front of a smaller and smaller audience, decreasing your chances of selling to them or gaining their continued interest. Do not let this happen to you. Continue updating your site’s back-end, improving content quality, and keeping your website “on brand” with your mission.
Change is a constant presence in the internet age. Websites, formats, styles, opinions, and standards are always in a constant state of fluctuation. What may have passed or worked for your website in the past may no longer be a viable option. As the Search Engines continue to lay out their priorities and their changing standards, it is important that you improve upon and revise your website to meet both the search engines’ and the users’ standards. Factors such as mobile-website quality, speed, display/appearance, functionality, and organization are ever important if you want your website to continue to rank well. If you strive to ensure that your website meets these expectations, stays “on brand” with your mission and is relevant to why users search for it, then you are practically ensuring the success of your website and business within search engines such as Google and Bing. Do not let the competition get the advantage, follow the guidelines laid out in this article and you are sure to notice results.