This is a guest post courtesy of Alicia Lawrence. She is a content coordinator for WebpageFX and enjoys helping clients like Havahart with online PR. Her work has been published by the Association for Business Communication, Yahoo! Small Business, and Inspiration Feed.
You may participate in spring cleaning your home as the weather gets warmer, and it’s a good idea to think about doing the same thing for your website. A website that has been recently updated and reflects current search engine optimization practices will be more likely to maintain consistent readership and traffic levels. Keep reading to get some tips on how to make sure your website is in good shape for the season to come.
Make Sure Social Media Buttons Are Present and Working Properly
In the past, good rankings in search engines were achieved by linking back to content within an article or other type of content. However, many people now consider social signals to be just as important, or even more powerful than just links themselves.
Social signals are representations of how content is shared on the Internet. If a post on Google+ gets a lot of “+1” feedback, or a status on Facebook that features a relevant infograph gets a lot of “likes” from followers, that will help your website rank more favorably.
If you’re not already featuring social sharing buttons on your website, now is a great time to add them. Otherwise, just make sure the existing social media sharing tools work correctly.
See What Happens When You Search for Your Website
Try searching for your website on a popular sites such as Google to ensure it’s as visible as you’d expect. Also, keep an eye on Google Instant — the autocomplete suggestions that appear when you run a Google search — to see if the suggestions reflect appropriate search terms. For example, if you sell American-made bathroom vanities, good Google Instant suggestions might be related to color, exterior materials, local dealers, installation tips and price ranges. If you’re not happy about what happens when you search for your own website, that’s a clear indication it’s time to retool your keyword strategies. Fortunately, it doesn’t take very long to do that, and the results could be very noticeable.
Check for Broken Links
When a visitor is trying to find information, it can be extremely frustrating if a link on your website doesn’t direct to the proper place, or displays a “page not found” message. Ideally, get into the habit of checking for such problems whenever you make updates to the website. If you haven’t done that in a long time, or perhaps never before, plan a time to thoroughly check every page, including clicking on images and scrolling down to examine links in the footers.
Act Like You’re a User
The above tips focus on being proactive so users are less likely to encounter problems. As a final step, put yourself into the shoes of a brand-new visitor, including filling out any applicable registration forms and searching for specific information. As you click around, make notes about whether there are things that could be improved to bolster the user experience. If you force yourself to pretend you’ve never seen your content before, you might notice some of it is not laid out as clearly as possible.
These suggestions can be done in just an hour or two, and they could allow you to gain prominence online by helping people more thoroughly enjoy time spent at your website.