Five things you are doing wrong

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By Michiel Heijmans

time for review

The more reviews we do, the more we feel there is a serious problem with the website owners’ perception of their websites and the content on these website.

In this post, we will give our recommendations for the top five issues most websites have and probably do not know they have.

Call-to-action on your homepage

I’m not referring to the call-to-action on your product page. Neither am I referring to the call-to-action on your contact page. The one call-to-action that goes wrong on 90% of all the sites we review, is the call-to-action on the homepage. And most of the times, this isn’t due to a wrong design of a button, to be honest. If a website owner has been reading just a tad bit about call-to-actions, there is a huge button present on the homepage. This will make clear exactly what the owner wants the visitor to do. But there is more to a proper call-to-action:

  • A call-to-action should stand out. Not just by being huge, but also by using for instance a color that isn’t used in the theme. If your website has mainly blue elements, make sure the call-to-action is for instance green or red. Not blue, even though that might ‘looks so nice in the design’. Forgive me for saying this, but screw the theme design when it comes to call-to-actions. Make them stand out.
    Next to that, make sure the call-to-action has a great text. Refrain from button texts like “Send”, “Submit”, “Read more”. Use texts like “Get your free sample »” or “More on [this subject] »”.
  • Make sure it’s the right one. What? Yes, in a lot of cases we find that the main purpose of the website is to get people to call for more information, yet the call-to-action goes to a contact form on a hidden contact page that will merely send an email instead of allowing for immediate one-on-one communication.
    One of the last sites I checked myself had that very problem. There were two (?) phone numbers listed rather small in the header. The introductory content had a huge button to a contact form. Explain what phone number to use when – or rather use just one main number – and make that the main call-to-action. In conclusion: think about the main purpose of your website and make sure the call-to-action on your homepage is related.
  • There is a lot more to a call-to-action. If you want to read more about that call-to-action on other pages than the homepage, please read my post on Calling to the Next Action.

    What the visitor is looking for

    Sometimes you are telling your visitors what you think is valuable for them, where they are actually looking for something else. Compare what you feel your users are looking for to what they are actually looking for.

    We dealt with this issue ourselves on this website. In the initial page for the site reviews, we told the potential client everything we felt they wanted us to check. We told them what we would analyze, instead of what they would learn as a result of that. Currently, our Gold Review page is set up just for the visitor and tells you less about the technical details of the checks we will be performing. Most customers don’t really care. They want to be able to present the web developer and copywriter with a clear to-do list. The end goal is to optimize the entire website for better user experience, better SEO and better conversion, of course. That’s a different story than telling people about schema.org and mobile menus, which might be a bit too much details for a sales page.

    The same happened with the page about our Local SEO plugin. Focus is on what it does for the visitor and for the website as such. The technical details, that only are of interest for a smaller number of customers, are moved all the way down. For us developers, these technical details are the things we have been focusing on the entire development time, so it seems obvious to start with these on the page about the plugin.

    Note that that doesn’t mean we don’t provide details. Usually people email us for more details, at which point we tell them “our reviews cover all areas of a website. These are just a few things, the list is much larger, but this will give you a good impression:

    • User experience: design, call-to-actions, 404s, your menu
    • Content: insights on keywords, structure, internal search, taxonomies
    • Social Media: use and implementation on websites
    • Template code: schema.org, responsiveness, template files
    • General seo: site titles, meta tags, internal links
    • Site speed: caching, compression, image optimization
    • And more!”

    Textexpander is our best friend in this.

    Using banners

    We review quite a lot of websites that sell a product or service, but also leverage their website to push a number of banners. Not like we do, for their own products, but using services like Google Adwords or other affiliate programs. There are a number of things that you want to make sure of:

  • Focus should be on your content at all times. If your web page has three banners and an equal number of text lines, Google Panda could be your worst enemy. Stop being bamboo. Make sure the amount of text on a page makes sure that main text is the absolute main element of that page.
  • Banners and affiliate links are of use. If your website is about recipes, and your banners are about mortgages, chances are your audience will either ignore the banner or even find it annoying. If the banner is about kitchen tools and equipment, your visitor might find that appealing, and might actually thank you for bringing the product to their attention by clicking the banner and perhaps eventually buying the product.
  • Affiliate links should be cloaked. Following the previous section, I’ll try to use layman language: hide the fact that you are using affiliate links. We did an article on that: How to cloak your affiliate links. Both redirect these links and use robots.txt to disallow these redirects for Google. Only the combination works. Oftentimes, we see the redirect, but the robots.txt part is left out. Do both.
  • One small remark on call-to-action here. Most banner designers understand the power of a great call-to-action. For that reason, most banners contain a call-to-action as well. If you are serving banners on your website, make sure these don’t interfere with your own call-to-action. Just saying.

    Mobilegeddon

    Really, I don’t care if you like the name or not. Fact is that mobile traffic is rapidly taking over desktop traffic, and that mobilegeddon is an actual thing you should pay attention to. There is a simple reason why Google likes responsive websites: more and more Google searches are on mobile devices. It’s as simple as that.

    What does that mean for your mobile website? Quite a lot, actually. A mobile website should list the main tasks first. In the reviews, a very common recommendation is to list the phone number in the first view of the website. And make it clickable. Nothing more annoying than a phone number on a mobile website that can’t be clicked. It’s a simple adjustment, really.

    Besides that, mobile menus and links should be usable. It the menu is crammed with links to your pages, it’s not user friendly. Really focus on the main pages, even if that for instance means disabling the submenu. What we have also seen a number of times, is that the page is optimized for a mobile phone, and the mobile design is also used for the tablet version of the website. In most cases, that means poor user experience. The desktop site would be more appropriate on a tablet.

    These are just a few things. I did a post a while back that can help you identify flaws in your mobile design. Read that one and visit your own website on a mobile phone.

    One last remark. If your website is responsive, that doesn’t per se mean all images are. If your stylesheet (CSS) has a section for the mobile website, be sure to add something like img {max-width:100%;} (ask your developer), just to make sure all images fit the screen.

    Links to your website

    Our Gold and Silver reviews mainly focus on the website as is. Most of the recommendations can be addressed by a copywriter or a web developer. We can simply tell you what to do and if performed right, it will help your website. There is one thing in these reviews that we can not control and have little influence on: backlinks.

    Using tools like Majesticseo.com and Searchmetrics.com, we are able to check how many backlinks your website has, how important the websites linking your website are and if you have over-optimized the anchor texts.
    The number of backlinks tells us and Google something about the authority your website has. If lots of sites link your website, you must have something interesting to say, right? The website linking yourself preferably also holds that authority. Majesticseo sheds some light on this by comparing trust flow and citation flow. For more background on that I’d like to refer to my article Cleaning up bad backlinks.
    lastly, the anchor text of the links to your website needs to be right. Normally, the most used anchor for a website is the URL or the brand / site name. If the most used anchor is a product name, or something else completely, that will set of alarms for over-optimization.

    For more background on link building, please read Paddy Moogan’s The Link Building Book.

    Our site reviews

    All of the five sections above highlight things you most probably have heard of. Things you probably have been dealing with for your own website. And our website reviews show that these things are done wrong in a lot of cases.

    It’s really the tip of the iceberg. These are five things we wanted to share with you upfront. And we’d be more than happy to tell you even more in one of our site reviews, of course. Let me give you a very brief summary of the review variations we have:

    • The Silver review is for non-WordPress websites and contains an analysis of your website from from to back, dealing with things from user experience and design to speed and template code. More on that review here.
    • The Gold review deals with the same subjects, but has the added benefit that we know our way around .WordPress. We will advise on plugins and where possible, will tell you how to solve things in WordPress. Besides that, the Gold review comes with a 1-year license for WordPress SEO Premium and our eBooks.
    • The Platinum review contains the Gold review, but has an additional report on the specific issues we found on your website and digs a lot more into the history of the website. We will go over Google Analytics and Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) much more and trends in Searchmetrics.com are checked by default.
    • The Diamond review is for those that want to go all out. It’s the Platinum review, containing the Gold review, but has a separate Conversion review included as well. Especially for webshops, this is a really valuable way to make sure you have all bases covered.

    It’s up to you!

    Stop wasting time optimizing your website by trial and error. If none of the five things mentioned in the article above make you scratch your head, optimize on writing great content. If any of these do make you doubt yourself, please don’t waste precious time and order one of our reviews as soon as possible!

    All reviews and all checks are done manually. This only allows for a number of reviews per week, so be sure to order your review in time!

    This post first appeared as Five things you are doing wrong on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

    Source:: SEO