According to a recent MOZ study, most wonderfully-designed websites actually have shockingly poor SEO. By comparing the websites ranking among the tops in their categories at Awwwards.com with the websites of other agencies, they determined that it’s not unusual for great-looking websites to have functions which can interfere with best SEO practices. But having a relatively unimaginative website isn’t exactly a good indicator of great SEO, either. But how can you tell if your own website design hurting your local SEO?
We’ve put together a number of great tips and tricks to help website owners determine the do’s and don’ts of website design as it relates to local SEO, and even suggested some easy fixes or alternatives.
Forewarned is Forearmed
As the old adage indicates, being warned about potential issues is almost as good as being prepared for them. One of the best things you can do to protect your local SEO is to be aware of the spread of local keywords your website should be ranking for, your existing placement on them, and how many visitors you should be getting for those keywords. You can easily use Google’s Keyword Tool to roughly estimate possible visitor counts and competition for high-ranking pages. A good rule of thumb is to try to rank well for a keyword which has low to no competition, and see how long it takes you. If you never get there or it takes a long time… chances are there’s a problem.
Use of Heading Tags
You probably know what heading tags are: the big, bolded lines of content which head or break up elements of text. H1, h2, h3, and so on! One of the biggest problems facing many websites is a web design which misuses heading tags. For example, the title of posts or pages might show up as an h5. This is a common SEO mistake! So is putting company logos or names in h1 tags on every page, or using multiple h1s on a page. Some web designers will even use h tags to format fonts for whole paragraphs.
If you need to clean this up, make sure that only short statements are in h tags, not full paragraphs! There should only be one h1 tag on a page, and should indicate keywords or phrases for that particular page.
Your Page Speed
Did you know that your page speed has an effect on how well your website ranks? And often poor web design drags down a website’s speed. Improperly formatted images or elements can add precious microseconds onto your loading times, and ensure that your website won’t break into the top 10 for given keywords. But how can you fix this?
The best way is likely to contact a great local web design firm. If you’re a company in Dallas, TX, for example, another company in Dallas will likely be better able to help you measure your local SEO, and point out unique opportunities to help you gain SERP positions.
High Bounce Rate Problems
It’s unfortunately true that the more people who come to your website, and the longer they stay, generally the lower your website’s ranking will be. So, having a high bounce rate can be particularly problematic. And unfortunately, there are a lot of factors which can contribute to a high bounce rate. Having a lot of pop ups, audio or video which begins when someone lands on the website, or even poor typography can all cause this issue.
If you’re looking at correcting a high bounce rate, it’s important to focus on one element at a time. For example, if you think audio or video which plays automatically are the problems, change those to be user-activated and then measure any shifts in bounce rates for a few weeks. If that doesn’t do the trick, then attack the next potential problem: misspellings and typos. Attacking problems methodically is more likely to result in success!