After the excitement of having a beautifully designed website devoid of website design mistakes, come the questions: How do I promote my website and generate traffic to my website? How do I get more visitors to my website and make conversions? After all wasn’t this the primary reason you needed a website for your business?
Unfortunately, beautiful websites do not result in impressive traffic. This is why when building a website, SEO is as important as the entire website itself, and even more important than pretty designs.
A lot of web designers and web design company in Nigeria put the cart before the horse by focusing on just aesthetics alone and not minding if the website should rank high in Google, which often leads to website design mistakes that attract Google’s penalization.
Here are six website design mistakes to look out for that can ruin your website SEO performance.
Slow Page Speed: A huge factor determining how your page will rank by search engines is the page speed. Nobody likes slow loading web pages. 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. This is bad for user experience and this won’t put you on Google’s good book. There are many reasons your website could be slow in loading.
- Uncompressed images
- Unnecessary plugins and widgets
- Too many ads
- Too many redirects
- Poor hosting
Mobile-Unfriendly: In 2018, 52.2% of website traffic worldwide were generated from mobile phones. This tells you having a mobile-friendly or mobile responsive website is very important if you will ensure the best user experience for all your site’s visitors, generate leads and make sales. The following tools by Google will help you test your site’s Mobile Optimisation, page speed, your robots.txt; file and report any errors.
See what you should expect from a mobile responsive website design
Intrusive Pop-Ups: Visitors do not like pop-ups, the first reaction to pop-up ads is to want to close them. Pop-ups can be very annoying especially when it gets in the way of users. Pop-ups are very bad for user experience and can increase the bounce rate. They are not even indexed by search engines. While pop-ups can be a great tool for increasing your email signups, Avoid too many distractions on your site, do not let the pop-ups get in the way. Your pop-ups will be better appreciated if you make them very relevant and of value to your user. You could even use a banner instead.
Large Media files: Although beautiful images are impressive and attention-grabbing, the large media file size can negatively impact your SEO efforts. Large media files make a page slower in loading. This will not pay well for the SEO performance of your or your user’s experience. Optimize your page’s speed by compressing large media files. Ensure you use a tool that compresses to an optimal file size without harming it’s the quality.
Improper 404 pages: A 404 page looks like this: It’s what comes up when you try to reach a page on a website which cannot be found be found on the site’s server. Custom error pages are very nice and are an opportunity to play with some creativity. like this one here: However, it is important that your error page has a link that returns to the homepage. If not, search engines will report this as a broken internal link, reducing your site’s search ranking.
Embedding Text in Images: Search engines do not view images the way we do, the major thing search engine programs can comprehend is text. It will be very hazardous to your SEO if important information and relevant keywords have been buried into images when it should be HTML based text that can be crawled. Many web designers with little SEO knowledge will make these mistakes while trying to make the site look beautiful. Google takes priority to on-page elements. Here what Google says about this:
Don’t embed important text inside images: Avoid embedding text in images, especially important text elements like page headings and menu items, because not all users can access them (and page translation tools won’t work on images). To ensure maximum accessibility of your content, keep text in HTML, provide alt text for images.
Keyword Stuffing: I found wordstream meaning of keyword stuffing straight to the point. Keyword stuffing, or the practice of shoving as many SEO keywords onto a page as physically possible, has long been the bane of SEO white hats everywhere.
There was a time when the method of stuffing worked as well on a webpage as it does in a turkey. Back in the early years of search engines, one could easily manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
Sites could rank on a large variety of keywords by simply cluttering them onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.
You could be (somewhat) classy about it by hiding the offending keywords, matching their text color to the background color, or you could just be blatantly obnoxious.
The Dangers of Keyword Stuffing and Over-Optimizing
Keyword stuffing is now considered a strictly black-hat tactic.
Does keyword stuffing work? It depends on who you ask. It does tend to have some positive short-term effects, but it’s playing with fire and rarely is beneficial in the long run. Google will penalize your site if they catch you stuffing the keyword turkey. Your page could be demoted in rankings, or even removed altogether!
Google’s own Matt Cutts warned webmasters about SEO keyword stuffing and over optimization at SXSW some years back, saying:
“We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and a great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.“
In other words, Google keyword stuffing is a dangerous game and isn’t likely to get safer anytime soon.
Google dislikes black hat tactics like SEO keyword stuffing because those methods focus on beating the search engine algorithm rather than great user experience.
Look at the keyword stuffing example below:
Are you looking for cheap running shoes? If you’re looking for cheap running shoes, look no further. Our cheap running shoes website is the best place to order your new cheap running shoes. Feel free to check out our selection of cheap running shoes from our cheap running shoes selection below.
Pretty unattractive, right? That’s not even the worst keyword stuffing out there.
The silly thing is, even if you somehow end up on the first page for “cheap running shoes,” no searcher who clicks on to your site will want to stay there. It naturally repels people, like dog poop left out in the sun. No one is going to see that mess and think “Wow, these people really care about me and my need for cheap running shoes.” Instead, they will feel disgusted, used, and itching to get out of there.
The way your content repels users are being monitored by Google and in no time your website will fall like an avalanche when the dry season is coming back and then it just disappears with the waters.
Website Content Quality: You hear content is king from everyone and that high-quality content is what you should write “10x content” as coined by Rand Fishkin. If you ask the so-called SEO Experts what is “quality content”, you will get bulk of opinionated and varied answers. According to Search Engine Land, SEO pros said content is about “…x number of words” “relevant” etc but ask them Google consider a quality content, and then you will get the long blank stares.
Webmaster Quality Guidelines
Google has quality guidelines here. However, you may notice that there are many guidelines around negative signals but few around positive signals. When reading these, think for a minute what happens when two, ten or a hundred websites aren’t doing anything bad. How do you determine the quality difference if no one does anything wrong?
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
Avoid the following techniques:
- Automatically generated content
- Participating in link schemes
- Creating pages with little or no original content
- Sneaky redirects
- Hidden text or links
- Doorway pages
- Scraped content
- Participating in affiliate programs without adding sufficient value
- Loading pages with irrelevant keywords
- Creating pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans or other badware
- Abusing rich snippets markup
- Sending automated queries to Google
Follow good practices like these:
- Monitoring your site for hacking and removing hacked content as soon as it appears
- Preventing and removing user-generated spam on your site
Google on how to create valuable content
Then there’s this section from Google’s Webmaster Academy course, which tells you how to “create valuable content.” There are a few good tips here on what to avoid: broken links, wrong information, grammar or spelling mistakes, excessive ads and so on. These are useful tips, but again, they focus on what not to do.
There are some tips on how to make your site useful, credible and engaging; however, when it comes to being more valuable or high-quality, Google basically says, “be more valuable or high-quality.”
As you begin creating content, make sure your website is:
Useful and informative: If you’re launching a site for a restaurant, you can include the location, hours of operation, contact information, menu and a blog to share upcoming events.
More valuable and useful than other sites: If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web on dog training.
Credible: Show your site’s credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. An author biography or testimonials from real customers can help boost your site’s trustworthiness and reputation.
High-quality: Your site’s content should be unique, specific and high-quality. It should not be mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.
Engaging: Bring color and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team or yourself. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic and factual errors. An excessive number of ads can also be distracting for visitors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes or social media widgets. Images with Wrong or No Alt Text:
Finally, it is important to get web hosting from a very reliable web hosting company and hire a web designer who can create a beautiful aesthetic for your site and also assure you of impressive traffic.