With Google set to adapt the way it ranks sites later this spring, ensuring your website performs effectively and provides a great user experience is crucial. V Formation shares more about the forthcoming changes and provides 10 things to consider when conducting an SEO review.
Now more than ever, it’s vital to ensure your website is content rich and effectively optimised for search engines; user experience and great content have always been important factors for Google when ranking websites. Google plans to enhance this focus on usability by placing an increased importance on page experience, and, in May, will place greater emphasis on Core Web Vitals when ranking websites.
What are Core Web Vitals?
Core Web Vitals focus’ on three key elements of page experience:
- Loading performance (how quickly the page loads)
- Responsiveness (how quickly you can interact with the page)
- Visual stability (how much things move around on the screen when the page loads)
In essence, Core Web Vitals places an increased importance on providing the user with an efficient and pleasant experience when visiting a website. We’ve all been there when a site takes forever to load and then you’re greeted by numerous pop ups and adverts – Core Web Vitals aims to reduce these experiences by ranking sites that provide a more efficient and positive experience higher.
How do you prepare for the forthcoming SEO changes?
Before the Google changes come into effect in May, it’s worth taking the time to review your existing website, ensuring it is optimised effectively – not just for the three elements of Core Web Vitals but to all the other factors Google takes into consideration when ranking websites. Note that the focus on Core Web Vitals is in addition to Google’s existing ranking factors, not a replacement.
SEO review: 10 things to consider
When conducting an SEO review of your website, it’s important to consider:
1. Your website (and marketing) objectives
What are you trying to achieve with your website and how does it fit into your wider marketing strategy? Are you trying to increase your website’s ranking, increase followers or generate more enquiries? It may be a combination of all three and it’s worth thinking this through before you start to look at other elements. Knowing what you’re trying to achieve will help you select the most relevant data to review and measure.
2. Your brand and key messages
What do you want your brand to be known for? What are the key messages you want to convey to your clients and potential clients? Being clear about what you stand for and want to be known for will allow you to effectively communicate through your website; help inform your content strategy and assist with the selection of relevant keywords that your users might use when searching for your product or service.
3. The user journey
What do you want your users to do when they visit your website? Do you want them to look at your services pages and then make an enquiry? Perhaps you want them to read your case studies and client testimonials? Having a clear idea of how you want users to interact with your website will allow you to review your existing data to see how they currently interact with your site, how long they spend there and what pages they visit. This information will allow you to identify where the gaps are and what changes need to be made to encourage users to use and interact with your site in a specific way.
Does your site rank effectively for the keywords that your potential clients might use? Is it ranking for the right keywords? Being aware of how your site currently ranks for those important keywords will provide a helpful guide as to what you need to do to make sure your site is seen by the right people.
Does your site include links to other relevant pages to encourage users to access more information? Do you provide links to credible sources? Do other websites link to your site? Google gives brownie points for those sites who encourage people to stay, who share other useful and trustworthy sources and those who have a number of links from other trusted websites.
6. Your content plan
Do you regularly share useful, relevant content that is based on the keywords you want your site to be found for? If you find that your site is a light on new content such as articles, blog posts, news stories, case studies, testimonials etc, it might be time to consider developing a content plan to ensure your site is regularly updated with fresh content.
7. The more technical elements
Is your website mobile responsive? Does it load quickly on all platforms? Does each page have a title and description that can be easily read by Google (metadata)? Is your site secure? The emphasis on Core Web Vitals means that site speed, how the page loads, image sizes, page layouts and various other technical elements are key areas to assess when carrying out an SEO review of your site.
8. Implementing the findings
Once you have carried out a review it’s important to ensure you consider what the findings mean and what you need to do to give your website an SEO boost. It’s important to act on what you’ve found and take steps to rectify any issues or make improvements. You may need some support to enable you to do this correctly.
9. The importance of measuring effectiveness
Now you have a starting point or benchmark, you can easily measure the effectiveness of any changes you make to the site now and in the future. Ideally this should be done on a regular basis. Changes to competitor websites and the way Google ranks sites can have an impact on your SEO, so it’s important to regularly check-in on how your site is performing.
10. Time and resource
Carrying out an SEO review, regularly adding fresh content to your website, building links and monitoring effectiveness takes time and resource. Ensuring, at the outset, you are able to dedicate time and resource to reviewing, updating and monitoring your website is crucial. There’s no point spending time conducting a review, if you then find you don’t have the time to implement the findings. If you are struggling with this then it’s worth working with an agency who can provide the relevant support.
Time to act
Taking the time to conduct an SEO review, particularly with Google’s Core Web Vitals in mind, and making any necessary changes will help to ensure that your website is visible, is achieving its objectives and reduces the risk of it slipping down the rankings come May.
V Formation can help you review and optimise your website’s SEO performance through creating a comprehensive and easy to understand SEO report tailored specifically to your business. We can also help to implement the findings and measure effectiveness on an ongoing basis. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling 0115 787 0206 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org