There are many formulas that come into play when it comes to instilling a certain digital strategy. However, for that ‘secret’ recipe to work, it has to have the right balance of elements.
Online success is one area that requires a certain science. Depending on who you speak to in relation to SEO, it isn’t uncommon to be met with a series of conflicting information. Some may say it’s the content that counts, while others protest it’s about how many backlinks you have. The truth is that there is a formula, but it isn’t a secret formula at all, and while it may need to be tweaked in some instances, all elements should be applied when looking to promote your website. You should also understand that although there are separate elements to the formula for online success, it will be likely that some elements will overlap.
The design of the website is essentially the structure and the foundation that the other elements build upon. However, it has to be a design that conforms to the needs and wants of today’s user. So, if your website was designed some time back, it may be worth considering an update to ensure that you’re able to gain traction in the online world. For some, you may need to consider a color scheme change, while others may look at the navigation of the website.
The design should also be built around your target audience. Although you may have seen a website you like the look of, it’s pointless implementing the same layout if you pursue a different goal.
You should also ensure that you have a website that can be used by both desktop and mobile users. Statistics have shown that an astonishing 51.3 percent of online users connect and consume content via mobile & tablet devices. As well as ensuring that the design is suitable for mobile users, you also need to make sure that the user-experience is up to standard, which takes us onto our next point.
The user experience is exactly that, the experience of the user. This entails how a visitor interacts with your site, and what they experience could make all the difference as to whether they return or not. It’s worth noting that 47 percent of web visitors expect a page to load within two seconds, with 40 percent of users abandoning a site if it doesn’t load within three seconds.
For more insight, here is how page abandonment looks like:
In this regard every second counts, but what can be done to ensure our website is running in the way it should? Well, there are many causes of why a site slows down, but some of the most common fixes are as follows:
Compression of Images: Although it’s an absolute necessity to include high-quality images on your site, they can negatively impact the overall speed and performance. As such, you should look to compress images, and even consider eradicating some that aren’t vital. As well as a faster-loading website, you’re also ensuring that less bandwidth is used. So, the benefit can be twofold.
Cleaning Up Code: How much code is used can depend on how the website was created, as well as the template used. Far too often, website owners neglect & overlook the importance of having a decent, well-coded theme, which often results in negative consequences.
That said, even though your theme might be well-coded, it’s still worth the effort to eliminate unnecessary characters, spaces, and comments in your scripts. This can be achieved with a typical caching plugin like W3TC or WP Rocket.
Use a Reliable Web Host: While a reliable web host may be more expensive than others, it does mean that your website is being treated with care when online, and not in a ‘make do’ manner. Look for secure, reliable and reputable hosting providers that guarantee an uptime of at least 99.9% and are scalable to your traffic needs.
Take Care of 404 Errors: Google isn’t too strict when it comes to broken links, but your viewers may not be as forgiving. As such, it can be worthwhile ensuring that you can tackle any 404 errors and broken links, and eradicate them as soon as possible. This can be done via Google Search Console or with a handy broken link checker extension for Google Chrome.
Consider AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages is a project initiated by Google with the primary intent to provide a lightning-fast loading experience for mobile users. If your blog/site produces content on a regular basis and generates a healthy stream of traffic, consider integrating AMP on your site.
Although there are many more methods and strategies you can implement when optimizing the speed of your site for the ultimate user experience, the above points will guide you in the right direction.
Nevertheless, you also need to ensure that people are actually visiting your website to make sure you’re reaping the benefits of your amendments, so this is where SEO comes into play.
SEO can take many different forms, but it essentially ensures that your site is searchable & visible. People won’t always know your web address and may use Google to help them find what they need. As such, sites that thrive for high search rankings need to ensure that their On-Page, Technical and Off-Page SEO is in place.
There are also many other factors to consider, such as what sites are linking to yours, and where you stand from a social network point of view. Each site can require slightly different elements of SEO carried out depending on the goals of the site, but it goes without saying that SEO should be a vital part of any website, as it’s essentially a flare that lets the online community know that your site exists.
Don’t underestimate the power of images when it comes to SEO. With Google’s image search function finding traction quickly within the online community, it’s not only text the users are searching for. However, as noted before, it’s important that images are presented in the right way, and do not take up a large amount of bandwidth.
Many can confuse SEO with content marketing, but certain aspects set the two apart. The first thing to note is that SEO elements are more technical, and apply to more than just the content. SEO can include the use of clean navigation and URL structure, optimization of meta and alt tags, deployment of sitemaps, the use of relevant & semantic keywords, canonicalization, markup, generation of quality backlinks and much more. However, the two elements do overlap, a lot.
For those of you who aren’t quite familiar with the broad spectrum of elements that come under SEO, it might be worthwhile starting with the beginner’s guide to SEO by MOZ.
Whether you’re new to the world of SEO, or a seasoned professional, you will have undoubtedly noticed just how much content being delivered isn’t ranking well, and there’s a valid reason for this. Google used to suffer from a lot of keyword-stuffed content that offered very little value to the end user. As such, several algorithm updates were deployed to identify inferior content. This can often lead people to assume that keywords are no longer relevant, but this isn’t the case. However, it does mean that they have to be used in the right way. As such, if your content is incoherent and is unreadable because of the placement of keywords, you can be sure it will fall down the results page.
Of course, it’s not just about writing killer content, but all how well this content is marketed and presented to your visitors. Sure, we still have to carry out SEO work as we would on other sections of the site, but we also need to ensure that we’re presenting our content in a way that’s appealing, useful and relevant, but not misleading. While there is nothing wrong with using paid promotion on social networks, we still have to ensure that the content is relevant and carries value to the end user. Most important of all, it’s imperative that all content created is original. Duplicated work will play havoc with your SEO in the best-case scenario, and might even get you into some legal bother in the worse-case scenario.
Headlines, descriptions, and titles can also be a big part of content marketing, and it can be a tough balancing act. We shouldn’t look to create titles that can be seen as click-bait, but rather a comprehensive description of the content.
This shows that content has become an important aspect of any website, and with the algorithm changes put in place by Google, we need to ensure that we carry out some research to ensure that the content we produce is put in front of the right people, thus enabling us to gain traction within the online sphere.
While your content can be promoted on several different platforms, you need to remember that the content will effectively be hosted on your website. So, to ensure that people can enjoy your work in the best way possible, you need to prioritize the quality, design and user experience.
As you can see, the whole formula goes in a full circle, and without one of these elements being included, the whole house of cards can fall. As such, we need to ensure that all elements of the formula are adhered to ensure the ultimate online success.
Securing that we adhere to such a formula ensures that we do not neglect the ranks when it comes to search engine results and user satisfaction when it comes to user experience.
Dmytro Spilka is a Head Wizard (Director) at Solvid, a creative Inbound Marketing agency in London, UK. His work has been featured & mentioned by a wide range of publications, including The Next Web, Specky Boy, The Huffington Post, SEMRush, Sitepoint, Lifehack, Backlinko and more.