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Get ahead of your competitors by looking beyond SEO

Posted on 19th January, 2017 by Chris Stott

Search Engine Optimisation, Web Design

There are many factors that can affect how your website performs in the search engines — and while keyword optimisation and SEO can help get your website better results, there are also some strategies that go beyond SEO which can have a major impact on your rankings. In this article, we’ll talk you through some of the other key factors which can help you get ahead of your competitors.

Website usability

There are many elements that make up website usability and play a role in how your website ranks in the search engines. Some of the key ones that you need to consider are:

  • Effectiveness – This is a measure of whether people can find the information they need on your website and whether they can achieve their goals. Making sure your site is effective will help you get better rankings.
  • Efficiency – Often included as part of effectiveness, this is a measure of how easy your site is to use and how quickly users can find what they’re looking for. If your website is easy to use users are more likely to stay longer and use your services.
  • Learnability – Is your website easy to learn? Is your navigation easy to understand and are your calls to action clear and consistent? Don’t put any obstacles in the way of your customers and make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
  • Memorability – You’ve done the hard work of getting visitors to your website in the first place so make sure that your site is memorable to encourage repeat traffic. The more repeat visitors you can get the better chance you have of increasing your customer base.

Doing an audit on your website and looking at your website usability is a great way to evaluate whether your website meets the needs of your users. Ask family and friends to have a look at your site and give you their feedback on ease of navigation and effectiveness.

By improving your website usability you can improve your search engine rankings as the search engines reward sites that have good user engagement.

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Page load speed

Google and Bing have both confirmed that page load speed is part of their ranking algorithms so you really need to make sure your website is as fast as possible. Add to this the fact that Google is now starting to use a mobile-first index and the importance of speed, especially on mobile, is a factor that you can’t afford to ignore.

There are many ways that page speed can be improved on desktop and mobile from optimising image sizes to minifying files and implementing caching. Google provides a great tool for testing your website and we’d recommend using this to get started and find out how to improve your website’s performance.

Site architecture

Having a website that is easy to navigate and well laid out is all down to the site architecture, the blueprint for your website if you like. A flat site architecture not only makes it easy for visitors to quickly find what they’re looking for on your website but it also helps search engines to crawl your website properly.

Ensuring that it doesn’t take more than 3 clicks to get to the deepest level of your website will help to improve both usability as well as indexation of your website and help your website feature more often in the search results.

Mobile-friendliness

This is perhaps one of the biggest elements that can help your website not only get better rankings but also help your business get more customers. Since 2015 Google has been putting more focus on websites to cater to the needs of a mobile audience and starting in January 2017 they are now starting to use a mobile-first index for ranking purposes. In short, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly then you are definitely losing out.

If you want to get to the top of search results in 2017 then you can’t afford to ignore mobile any longer. With mobile searches already outstripping desktop searches in nearly all business sectors having a website that works on all devices is one of the sure fire ways to ensure you don’t get left behind by your competitors.

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