A few years ago if someone said they just wanted SEO that meant that they just wanted link building. It was well known that even though Google said that if you wanted to get good rankings all you had to do was produce high quality content, the reality was that it was a number game of how many links you had to your site.
To many, SEO became simply doing off site link building.
Today this is not the case.
Today Google ranks sites based on different metrics. To get a site ranked today, you need to have a clean coded, user-friendly site that publishes high quality content that is loved, liked, and shared!
A website redesign is not exactly a separate project from SEO, but rather a part of it. There are certain elements that top ranking sites have in common. Some of these elements are things like social sharing bars. Other elements would be things like pagination or a dynamic navigation. In order to get the best SEO results in the shortest time possible, these elements should be added to a site.
So how can you tell if your site needs a re-design?
First, take a look at your code. The code of your website is how Google knows what your site is about. By placing keywords throughout your site, you can tell Google what your site is about. The key here is to not overdo it. If not done correctly you can actually hurt your site. Some of the places to check your code are the following:
- Title Tag
- Meta Description Tag
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Images named with keywords
- Alt Text with Keywords
You can also run your site through a code validator tool to check other elements. Also be sure to check page load speed as well as if there are any errors on Google Webmaster Tools.
Next, take a look at how user friendly your site is. There are three basic metrics you can check to determine if Google thinks your site is user friendly or not.
Bounce Rate. Bounce rate is the percentage of visitors on your site that immediately leave your site without clicking through to another page. So if Google sends you a visitor from the search results and that visitor immediately leaves your site, then they “bounced” off your site. Google interprets this to mean that the visitor did not find what they are looking for. Since Google wants to give their user the best results possible, they see this as a sign that your site is not relevant to the search results and your ranking is penalized. If your bounce rate is high, your site may need some re-design elements so that visitors don’t immediately leave your site.
Click Through Rate. Just like bounce rate, Google is looking at the click through rate of your site. The click through rate is the number of pages deep that your visitors travel through your site. If your site has too low of a click through rate, then Google interprets that to mean that your site was not very interesting.
The third way Google can tell if your site is user friendly is by how long your visitors are spending on your site. If they are on your site for less than thirty seconds or so, then it is clear to Google that they did not find what they were looking for.
Next, evaluate if you have a method to add high quality content that your market can share. This normally means… do you have a blog on your site? If not, then you need to add one. When adding a blog, the design of the blog normally matches the design of your site. If your site design is not something you absolutely love, then consider re-designing your site at the same time you add a blog to your site.
Finally, evaluate the lead capture pages of your site. Your website may sell physical products, but many forget that the best opportunity you have is to capture leads from your site so that you can market to them later. Even many sites that sell direct to consumer, could easily add a corporate or bulk buying area to their site. This can usually be accomplished by adding a separate area to the site that is structured with sales copy with the goal of capturing leads. Again, it is important that if you are going to add a new area to your website, that the site design be consistent.
So in review:
Check your code, usability, and ability to publish high quality content and create special landing pages on your site for specific target markets. If you can’t do these things or are limited, then maybe a website re-design is the right choice.
Are you ready for a site re-design? Schedule a free 20 minute site evaluation with me today.