Did you know your website setup could impact how successful your SEO is? For starters, SEO means Search Engine Optimization and it helps your business gain online traffic and increases conversions. While many homebuilders and developers have a website and participate in SEO, there could be design elements that hinder your SEO efforts.
Let’s go back to the basics. Any business performing in SEO is likely working on optimizing the content on their website, adding new and relevant content to their site through a blog, and reaching out to other businesses with the hopes of gaining backlinks.
All of these SEO strategies discussed above aren’t new. However, keep in mind your SEO efforts are only as strong as your website. Plus consider this: if your website and SEO don’t align strategically, your SEO will not be as successful as you hoped. Therefore, you could lose potential sales due to a poorly designed website.
Let’s dive into an array of different ways in which your website can either harm or help your SEO efforts:
If you have been keeping up with my articles, then you should know that page load time greatly impacts SEO. This is because search engines, like Google, Yahoo, and Bing mandate websites that have quick loading speeds. Your consumers also prefer faster websites over slower ones, especially on mobile devices.
If you have a slow website with numerous plugins and large image file sizes, then it can definitely hurt your SEO efforts. In fact, recent research from HubSpot has found that even a 1 second delay in page load time means 11% loss of page views. Even on mobile, 64% of smartphone users expect pages to load in less than 4 seconds.
On the flip side, a fast website improves your SEO and enahnces your conversion rates. For instance, speeding up the site can lead to as much as a 20% increase in organic traffic and improves search engine rankings by an average of two positions. If your website is not performing up to par when it comes to page load time, you need to fix it as soon as possible.
Heading tags are essentially the titles and sub-titles of one of your posts or pages. They inform the reader what the article or page is about, helps break up the content into bite-sized pieces and help contribute to SEO by more accurately fitting the search intent.
Search engines use heading tags as indicators of what relevant information is on the page. Improper labeled headings and subheadings which don’t properly reflect the content of the website will confuse not only search engines, but also your target audience. Many home builders and developers tend to use headings that are visually appealing, but you need to make them match the content.
A professional SEOer knows that the H1 tag represents the most important information found on a page or blog post. H2 tags represent the second most important and H3 tags represent a third most important, and so on. They also serve as more detailed information under a respective H1 or H2 tag. Don’t just label them based on aesthetics, instead title them based on strategy and SEO tactics.
Like with any website, there’s a lot of media found on the backend of the website. When it comes to images and SEO, there are a few critical techniques to better optimize your website. For example, these techniques include adding alt text to each image, optimizing the images for use on the web, and properly labeling the media files within your website.
There is no question that low-quality images can be an eyesore on a website. Especially if that website showcases beautiful homes, community amenities for sale or even interactive virtual tours. Consider placement, naming of the file and quality if you don’t want your media to harm your SEO efforts.
Did you know people can find content on your website through Google Images? If you or your website development team properly labels each image or media file to include alt text, are properly saved for web, and have an appropriate file title, then it opens doors for more people to find you online. More qualified traffic = more successful SEO.
Your domain is the URL of your website, companyname.com for instance. Domain names hold important relevancy signals for search engines. Your domain name can have an impact on your SEO because domains can contain targeted keywords. Every domain is unique, should be related to your brand and contain less than 15 characters.
Improper domain names don’t mesh well with SEO because it can decrease trust, quality content score and may not provide relevant signals to search engines such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Plus, irrelevant domains can also hinder your SEO efforts because your reputation management can be compromised.
An effective domain name and skilled SEO practices can contribute to higher clickthrough rates, increased credibility, more quality traffic, and higher link values. Even if you extend your SEO plans to include PPC advertising, proper domain names allow your business to have higher-performing ads, higher authority, and audience validity.
A meta description is a short snippet of text found on each one of your website’s pages or posts. It is text-based and only a few sentences about a piece of content on your website which appears on the SERP, search engine results page. It allows both your target audience and search engines to determine what the content is about.
Most of the time, unoptimized meta descriptions take the first couple of sentences of a given page or blog post. Unoptimized meta descriptions can hinder your SEO because not every first sentence of content will contain a targeted keyword or relevant phrase. Search engines tend to highlight the searched term in both the heading and meta description of the page or post.
In essence, your meta description can arguably win you clicks. There are certain elements each one of your meta descriptions must have to perform well. These are: describing the page content truthfully and accurately, consider the search intent of the user, and include relevant keywords naturally.
In conclusion, page load time, heading tags, media file names, domains, and meta descriptions have a direct impact on how well your SEO performs. If you find yourself overwhelmed with optimizing your website for SEO, then it might be time to start fresh with a new website or consider hiring an SEO expert.
Which website element strengthens your SEO? Let me know on the comments.
About Terry Zelen
Creative Director | Consultant | Author | President of Zelen Communications
Terry Zelen is a seasoned Creative Director with more than 35 years of experience in Home Builder advertising and marketing.
He is the founder of The Punch List, which is an online blog to help inform home builders and developers on strategic marketing insights to fuel their firm.
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