Your website is not meant to be a static marketing tool, especially in the world of inbound. Its performance is not only a reflection on your business, but shortfalls can dramatically impact your lead generation efforts.
Use these quick wins to ramp up your website and inbound results.
Leverage On-Page SEO
Not surprisingly, optimization is the first and arguably the most important of the quick wins when it comes to your website. There are several on-page SEO actions you can take to ensure maximum website performance:
Implement keyword optimization. Researching, analyzing and choosing keywords that best resonate with qualified traffic is critical because, simply put, if you don’t choose the keywords your potential customers are searching, you won’t get found — and therein lies critical missed opportunities. The site audit behind finding keywords can be lengthy, but it is essential in order to naturally place keywords in titles, descriptions, headings, content and image alt text.
Verify that all pages have title tags, meta descriptions and h1 tags. These three elements work in tandem to improve search engine results page (SERP) rankings and visitor traffic. The title tag defines the title and provides HTML/XHTML information, and usually appears on search results pages; the meta description is the short description that appears on search results pages to entice click-throughs; and, h1 tags denote website headings and informs page formatting (with h1 being the most important, and often displayed in the largest font).
Check for 404 errors. The dreaded “404 error” is an HTTP status code that means a requested website page could not be found on the site’s server. While a 404 error might be caused by user error in that the URL may have been entered incorrectly, they also could represent broken links, a moved page, or duplicate content that was removed without using a 301 redirect code to send traffic from the duplicate page to the original content page. This is undoubtedly a suboptimal user experience, so getting to the root cause of 404 messages and addressing them is a top priority.
Make sure your images have alt tags. Used with HTML code to describe the appearance and function of page images, alt tags serve several key purposes. They help screen readers for the visually impaired better understand the displayed image, will appear in place of an image should the file not load and provide search engine crawlers with better context for proper image indexing.
Check indexing status. A quick Google check of “site:yourdomain.com” will reveal if Google has the appropriate number of pages indexed for your website. If so, all is well. Fewer pages indicate that Google cannot index all of your pages, and too many could be an indication of duplicate content concerns.
Enhance the User Experience
The best content offers in the world won’t entice a visitor to hang around long on a website that is slow, disjointed or confusing. To help deliver a top notch, seamless user experience:
Monitor and maximize load times. Instant gratification is a need rather than a want for today’s Internet users. Makes them wait even a fraction of a second longer than they anticipate, and they are on to your competitor. Unnecessary code, huge media or image files and insufficient hosting power can be the death knell for your site. Google has provided a simple solution with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which helps you build web pages with static content so code is stripped down and page speed is increased.
Pay attention to image size. Large images tank page loading speeds which, in turn, sends your site lower in search engine ranking. Images are sometimes overlooked as the culprit. Spending the necessary time in PhotoShop to reduce image sizes is well spent, as it gives you control over reducing images to the lowest resolution JPEG without sacrificing quality.
A Final Word on Content
Content drives inbound marketing. While there’s much to be said for clear, professionally written content, simply stocking your site with current, relevant information to attract visitors doesn’t equate to lead generation. Use these best practices to get conversions:
Gate existing content. If the content truly is of value, then visitors won’t mind exchanging a bit of their personal information for it. Develop landing pages for your most popular content — anything from eBooks and checklists to webinars, events, contests and more — along with a contact form to help you capture those leads.
Include specific CTAs. If visitors don’t take the desired action — calling you, downloading content, subscribing to your blog — your website isn’t much more than an electronic handshake. Make it easy for them to understand what they need to do with a stand-out and simple CTA form, and don’t be afraid to repeat placement so it’s impossible to miss.
Place an email signup form in the header and footer. As with CTAs, visitors are more apt to sign up for your email list if it’s easy. Give the people what they want with header and footer signup forms that drive subscriptions.
For more on making your website an inbound marketing powerhouse, reach out to us.
Posted by Justin Harrison
Justin Harrison is the Associate Creative Director at Weidert Group. His wide-ranging experience in graphic and web design helps clients establish and leverage effective inbound marketing tools across several digital platforms.