It is undeniable that running your own company is a dream come true for many. After all, you get to be the true master of your own professional fate, able not only to finally get the little details right but also profit from it immensely. Sadly, what many forget is that with all the benefits also come the drawbacks. The modern free-market economy actively propagates a sort of “eat or be eaten” Darwinistic business model. To put it simply, either your business prospers, or it stagnates and gets overtaken by the vicious competition.
But to truly prosper, you need to do some things right – most notably, let the potential customers find your enterprise so that they may obtain your products and services. Apart from hiring a public relations firm, the best course of action in an Internet-dominated environment is to optimize your website to raise its ranking by performing actions such as increasing your website’s speed, making it mobile-friendly, focusing on internal linking, upgrading your website security, and using proper keywords in your image alt text. Read on and learn how to make the most optimized website out there.
Optimize Website Speed
It is a well-known fact that people’s attention span these days is relatively short. Some studies suggest that a significant number of Internet users close the website after only a few seconds of waiting for it to load. That means unless you want your webpage to be frequently skipped and eventually forgotten (as Google might detect that activity, correctly surmises that something is wrong, and eventually lower its rank, resulting in fewer visitors), you need to optimize it to be blindingly fast. How fast, you might ask? Let us just say that the bottleneck should always lie on the potential client’s side and not on your webpage.
However, do not forget that your website speed may be affected by a variety of things. For example, check if any plugins are slowing down if you are using the WordPress platform. If you are loading videos, consider using your own server or at least another hosting company. Also, if you use a lot of images, optimize them so that they load faster. After all, you don’t want your website to load quickly in its bare form but take considerable time to display the images correctly. To check your website speed and find ways to improve it, use potent tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights.
Organize Internal Links
Internal links are vital for any website looking to increase its ranking. Google’s algorithm uses them to determine what your website is about. After all, if your homepage, product pages, and blog are linked together, it means that they are somehow related, even if it is not always obvious. And since Google wants to provide relevant results for its users, it will consistently rank websites higher if they are more closely related to each other.
The easiest way to organize your internal links is to create a sitemap. This is an XML or HTML file that will automatically list all the pages on your website, their titles, and each location. Google recommends using the XML version as it provides more accurate results. While you can create the sitemap manually, software solutions will take care of it for you, such as Google Webmaster Tools and Microsoft SharePoint.
Use Image Alt Text Keywords
One of the ways to maximize the chances of being found first is by using keywords in your image alt text. For what purpose, you might ask? Well, it means that you should use relevant keywords in the alt text of all pictures on your website. Since Google can’t scan images, it uses alt text to determine what an image is about.
Thus, if the first picture on your website describes the product you are selling, use the keyword you would like to rank for when writing the alt text. You should also consider using relevant keywords in the title and description of every page, and apart from that, don’t forget about internal linking.
Improve Customer Security
Indeed, many know at least the basics of cybersecurity nowadays, but it is still astonishing how many websites leave their users vulnerable. For example, many websites still default to HTTP instead of HTTPS, which means that anyone with access to their network may be able to track what you are doing online. Even worse, most websites don’t bother implementing SSL Certificates at all. As a result, if one of these websites gets hacked and its database is leaked, all users will be at risk. This is especially true for online shops where credit card information is involved. To protect yourself against such hazards, you should look into improving your website security.
The easiest way to do so is by installing an SSL certificate (at least for the checkout process) and upgrading your WordPress hosting account by using something like the WP Engine or SiteGround. Another great way to protect your website is by regularly checking that your site has not been blocklisted. If you understand the reasoning behind such a step and know how to avoid such blocklists so that they don’t affect your rankings, you have already made a big step towards better optimization. If you have no idea how to go about it, don’t worry, many tools will do that for you.
Implement Mobile Layout
The modern world has gone mobile, which is also reflected in the online environment. It is now estimated that around 50% of all Google searches are performed on mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), which means that you need to make sure that your website is optimized for them. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to do so. Just use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to find out what needs to be done.
If you are using WordPress, you should also make sure that your theme is responsive and that there are no elements that might be a hassle to use on mobile devices, such as large images or unnecessary flash animations. The good news is that most themes these days are mobile-compatible by default.
There you have it, the five things you need to know about website optimization. Use them properly, and your ranking chances will improve significantly. In the end, what matters is that people can find you when they need you. And if you’ve made it to this point, you are already halfway there. After all, now that you know the theoretical, you need to implement the practical knowledge correctly. Good luck!