Make New Friends but Keep the Old…On Your Website

By: Elizabeth Smith, Project Coordinator

Have you ever Googled your organization? Where do you fall in the ranks of listings? What if you run a broad search for your organization, e.g., private school Atlanta or museum Columbia, SC, would your organization still be ranked as high?

Luckily there are easy ways to improve the health and ease of navigation on your website which will help to raise your organization in the ranks on all search engine platforms. Before making changes, it is important to see what your organization’s strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to search engine optimization and friendliness. The two easiest ways to see what visitors do on your site and the overall health of your site are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Google Analytics is a free service that helps to give insights into website activity data, number of visitors, how they found your site and much more.  Google Webmaster Tools is also free and will let you know of coding issues with your site, sites which are linking to yours, site indexing and search result accuracy.

Once you know the health of your site and who visits it, you can determine what the next steps are for getting your website found. Below are a few aspects that will help your website optimization and search engine friendliness:

  1. Title tags:
    • According to Moz, Google usually displays 50-50 characters of the title tag, so if you keep it under 55 characters then 95% of your tag will show up accurately.
    • Tag should be relevant to the organization’s mission and purpose.
  2. On-page content:
    • Use the keywords from the title tag at least 4-5 times on the page in a natural structure. Using the keywords repeatedly will help to reinforce the content of the page. Beware of keyword stuffing which can hurt your rank.
  3. Links to social media platforms on your homepage
    • Search engines can now differentiate if you have a large social media following or not. They will give higher preference to those pages with a larger following; therefore, social media engagement strategies will help to increase your SEO efforts.
  4. Add Keywords to your Photos on the website
    • Search engines cannot read photos; therefore, using Alt Tags with keywords will help to populate the photo in Google image searches and reinforce the keywords on your page.
  5. Clean and easy to navigate site
    • Navigation should be consistent.
    • Layout should be clean.
  6. Responsive to Mobile Browsers
    • As of April 21, 2015, Google launched “Mobilegeddon” which is designed to rank mobile-friendly websites higher on mobile searches and non-mobile sites will have a rank lower.
    • The four criteria that Google uses for mobile-friendliness are:
      1. Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like flash.
      2. Uses text that is readable without zooming.
      3. Sizes content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom.
      4. Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped.

A few easy changes can greatly impact the way people find and navigate your website and make your webpage visitors your new friends. The biggest change for 2015 has been the importance of mobile responsiveness which is continuing to evolve. Continue to update your webpage with trends, news, and goals to keep your visitors coming back for more.