I find it is no surprise with the vast amount of changes Google regularly makes versus how infrequently business owners implement website changes. It is inevitable that a website that remains stagnate will lose ground as Google continues to change the rules, which they do about 500 times each year.
What was sound SEO advice last year and the year before is the Kiss of Google Ranking Death this year.
Some recent changes are:
1. Content – the good kind. Your content has to be good enough to read well (Google looks for spelling and grammar just like your high school teacher did), interesting enough to hold a visitor’s attention (Google looks at how long visitors stay on a page) and written just for this page (Google hates to see the same thing over and over on other pages or on other sites).
2. Link building. While link building was all the rage and if you worked at getting a bunch of links in to your site or hired someone to go and get hundreds or thousands of links for your site, now it could bring you nothing but penalties. Inbound links from relevant and high performing sites was and still is a good plan but you might want to check what links you have coming in and actively seek to have irrelevant ones removed.
3. Speed and Flash. Site load time will not only frustrate a visitor but it will earn you negative points from Google. Check your site’s load times (Google Webmaster Accounts have a test). It could be your site or it could be your host. Either way, get that resolved. Oh, and flash still can’t be read on mobile and is old technology – I don’t think Google and even some of the browser updates like flash anymore. Try java or videos.
4. Responsive Design is not a good thing to have, it is a must thing to have now a days. You don’t necessarily need a mobile site – the better alternative is a responsive design solution. Your site needs to perform well on a desktop, tablet and smart phone for your visitors benefit. Google knows that and will kick you to the curb if your site doesn’t comply.
Other reasons your site traffic might be down could be the result of a wide range of reasons. To be certain of the cause, check your Google Analytics (or what ever tracking software you use) and see where referral traffic has fallen. Once you know what isn’t delivering anymore, you can construct a plan to either fix or replace the source.
One way to look at this issue is by coming to grips with the fact that if you haven’t changed or built out new in the last two years it is the equivalent of riding a horse to work each day. Okay, maybe a bit of an exaggeration but I think you get my point. You may either need a major overhaul or a complete new redesign – don’t shoot the messenger, tell Google. If your site isn’t a lean mean lead generating and converting machine, maybe you can start with a professional site audit.
Mardy Sitzer is a certified inbound marketing professional and president of Bumblebee Design & Marketing. Since 1993, Mardy has been delivering creative and innovative marketing solutions. An avid reader of all things internet and marketing, she also writes blogs, articles, and web content for industry magazines as well as for Bumblebee’s clients. She is an adjunct professor at Fordham University and instructor at Rutgers University teaching social media for business. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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