4 Tips to Make Your Website Search Friendly

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A search friendly website is performance oriented. The good news is that optimizing technical aspects like speed and functionality will not only improve your findability on search engines but also the user experience you’re providing. So follow these 4 tips for a website that both users and search engines will love.

More than 90% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 75% of people never scroll past the first page of results. So it’s safe to say that having a strong and well-thought presence online will help you achieve your business goals by putting you in front of the right audience.

This isn’t an easy job. Getting to the top positions on a results page can take months of hard work, and you might not have very clear what you should prioritize to get there. It is true that your content will play a huge role in your ultimate results, but for people to consume it, they have to find it first.

1. Be fast

As instant gratification takes over Internet browsing, site speed becomes an essential part of good user experience. Google added it as a ranking signal since 2010, but far beyond search results, speed can impact sales and revenue.

If you’re thinking that a couple of extra seconds won’t matter, just look at the numbers: bounce rates increase by 50% if your website takes 2 seconds extra to load. And on mobile, which now outperforms desktop usage, for every second delay on page load conversions can fall by up to 20%.

Your hosting and website design should provide a solid foundation here. Make sure your hosting plan is right for your needs, since your back-end performance will determine how fast the servers respond to requests. And in terms of design, resources like images, videos, JavaScript, CSS and HTML files, need to be used wisely and optimized accordingly.

2. Be mobile friendly

With the exponential growth of mobile usage in recent years, optimization for all screen sizes went from a being competitive advantage to an absolute necessity for all website owners.

Mobile friendly design is now an absolute necessity for all website owners With 52% of all web traffic coming from smartphones, designing with a mobile-first approach is now the rule instead of the exception, and Google’s algorithm knows it. Their 2015 update included mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, and since the search engine giant drives 96% of mobile search traffic, your rank can easily suffer for it.

Keep in mind that mobile users are different than desktop users, so optimize for both adaptability and functionality by simplifying navigation, making it easy to contact you and avoiding pop-ups.

You can pick up a few useful tools to test your website in our article: Is Your Online Presence Mobile Friendly? Learn How to Test It.

3. Be local

46% of searches on Google are local, which means almost half of all searches are based on the current location of the user. People are searching for specific information about products and services near them and 18% of the searches on mobile lead to a sale within one day.

Naturally, it is now usual for page results in searches with local intent to display phone numbers, addresses, reviews and even service hours for the top three results. Use Google My Business, Bing Places or Yahoo! Local to easily set this up.

Your local off-page optimization should focus on making as available as possible the contact information of your business -or NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)– to search engines and local directories, and also on encouraging your customers to leave positive reviews on popular platforms.

On-page wise, schema markup is the way to go. This means including HTML attributes on your content to help search engines find the most relevant information to display on local search results.

Head to our Local SEO Magic guide for a better understanding of the fundamentals, and read also this 5 Step Method to Setting Up Your NAP.

4. Be safe and secure

With a 32% increase on attacked websites in 2016, is essential to maintain website security at the fore front of your strategy. Any vulnerability can do a lot of damage not only to your website but to the reputation of your business and the privacy of your users.

SSL certificates count as a ranking signal on Google’s algorithm, so besides being a quick SEO win, the security will comfort your visitors.

Google and Firefox are now labeling HTTP sites as non-secure. And WordPress, the top Content Management System on the Internet, is also requiring it from hosts. With these Internet giants pushing to make the Web safer for everyone, upgrading to HTTPS is no longer optional.

Learn the truth behind some common myths regarding secure connections in this cool infographic we made debunking the myth that HTTPS is only for websites that handle sensitive information.

And what about the content?

While covering thoroughly these technical and performance aspects will make it easier for search engines to find you, it’s critical to highlight that these will do little for you if the content you’re providing is not adding value to your audience.

Since the way we look for things on search engines has changed, they evolve to present us with more relevant results every time. Crawlers now have the ability to understand the context of your content, so keyword oriented tactics start to lose relevance to user-focused content.

Although keywords are still useful to find the topics you should be addressing, an exact match is no longer a guaranteed pass to better rankings, but writing about the right subjects and using natural language can be.

As search engines seek to answer people’s questions faster and better, your content should aim to achieve the same goal, so they can not only find you, but also prefer you.

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