Google is one of the most recognized brand names across the globe, and it’s the largest search engine out there by far. Among many other things, we use Google to find recipes, car repair shops, daycares, and images of terrifying deep-sea creatures. It usually displays the best relevant websites when we use a search term, like “24/7 gym memberships”. It’s amazing how this works.
After you hit the search button, these websites are judged by Google’s algorithm on a number of criteria, including content, loading speed, navigation, and additional items. The more your site is optimized, the higher your site appears on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). This means you’ll statistically get more traffic to your site – which means more potential conversions.
Here are 3 ways that you can increase and retain your organic website traffic with search engine optimization (SEO).
Decrease Page Load Time
- Slow-loading websites cost retailers $2.6 billion in lost sales each year (SWEOR).
- 47% of users expect a maximum of 2 seconds loading time for an average website (SWEOR).
- A 1-second delay in page load time means 11% loss of page views (Hubspot).
With an average attention span around 8 seconds, people don’t have the capacity to wait. Unsurprisingly, our desire to hold out for a loading website is even lower. Improve your site’s SEO by decreasing page loading time by resizing images, reducing server response time, and limiting the number of website plugins you use.
Improve User Experience (UX Design)
Once your site has loaded, your prospect is on their own; however, you have the power to influence their user experience. Considering user experience is important for keeping users on your site to take action (signing up for a gym membership, calling for more information, purchasing a product). Some of the things that influence user experience are page layout and design, content, and mobile responsiveness.
Layout & Design
According to CrazyEgg, 94% of first-impressions are design driven. It typically takes less than 1 second to judge a website’s credibility based on layout and design alone, regardless of the quality of your content or products. And when a website’s layout is confusing or messy, users immediately jump ship. This increases your bounce rate – which is bad. Use white space, relevant high-quality images, and other tactics to increase your user retention.
Making information easy to find is important for user experience. CrazyEgg also states that 76% of consumers want a website that makes information easy to find.
- Organize your content well
- Include only relevant information on your respective pages
- Name your headlines appropriately
- Use bullets and numbering to highlight important information
- Be concise
- Make content readable
Finally, one of the most important ways to increase your user experience is by making your website mobile-friendly. When building a website, make sure you optimize it for mobile as well. If you don’t, 66% will immediately leave and 1/3 will never return.
Optimize for User Intent
What is someone’s intent when they use Google to search for “24/7 gym memberships”? Easy. They want to join a 24/7 gym in the area. They’ll want to explore every gym’s amenities, memberships, contact info, and possibly their ratings or reviews. When you’re building a website for your business, it’s up to you to create a navigable site with relevant content that takes user intent into consideration.
Topic Clusters & Keywords
Keywords and phrases are what people search for when they’re looking for a product or service, like “24/7 gym memberships”. These keywords should be strategically scattered throughout your website to increase its ranking on Google. Before you focus on keywords, you’ll need to group your content into topic clusters, which consists of pillars (broad topics) and clusters (specific content). Pillar content for a gym might include:
- Free Weights
- Cardio Equipment
- Group Fitness
- Personal Training
- Contact Info
The pillar content page (ex: Memberships) would contain links to cluster content pages (ex: Single Memberships, Couples Memberships, Family Memberships, etc.). The idea is to simplify your site. Each cluster content page will contain a group of specific keywords instead of creating several pillar content pages that will ultimately congest and clutter your website. This is a new concept, but search engines rank higher for pages that dominate a group of related keywords.
Once your have your topics figured out, you must organize your content into a navigation pane. Which page goes where? How do we show where information is stored? Orbit Media has outlined some tactics to optimize your navigation.
- Be descriptive: Avoid page titles like “What We Do” and “Services”. Only include a “Services” or “Products” page if it links to individual pages with specific content about each service or product.
- Avoid format-based navigation: Don’t use page titles like “Media,” “Videos,” or “Photos”.
- Consider using a mega drop-down menu: Basic drop down menus might be useful for small businesses with not a bunch of content, but companies with a lot of content should make it easier for their users to find the specific product or service they’re looking for right away.
- Limit the number of menu items to 7: Too many links on the home page makes it harder for your content pages to rank on Google.
- Strategically order your navigation: Your first and last items are the most important.
- Analyze it: See how it’s going with Google Analytics or another analytics tool.
- Mobile responsiveness: Make your website available to mobile users with an appropriate navigation for mobile devices.