How To Overhaul Website To Make It Error-Free and Attractive To Both Visitors and Search Engines

If you are the website owner who is not techy or you maybe someone who already spent long hours or lot of money in promoting your website and still end up struggling to make constant flow of loyal visitors, you might miss checking your website status from the eyes of visitors and search engines.

Your website might load too slow that no one can dare to wait. Or else, your website has critical errors that search engine has difficulty understanding what your website is all about, that’s why you have limited number of pages visible in search results.

Or it might be your bounce rate is too high, where first-time visitors could not take long to stay in your site because of its poor accessibility and usability.

Whatever reasons behind your problem of getting quality traffic, you should not neglect the first step of successful internet marketing campaign, which is optimizing your website. Your website should attract not only human visitors but as well as search engine robots.

We people search the web because we like the best answer or solution to our wants or needs. We don’t like to browse a little long for websites that load slow or have crappy design and looks. Search engines too don’t like to put on top of the list, the websites that people don’t like to visit or else people will stop using their search engine service and they could be out of the business.

Now, you know the importance of optimizing your website that looks good to both human eyes and search engine robots. Also, it’s now time for you to go through the free step-by-step guide on how to overhaul your website even if you are not an internet marketing specialist, seo specialist or webmaster.

At Dongmatic, we do website analysis based on the following criteria and metrics :

Accessibility

Nowadays people are impatient to look for another option if they have hard times accessing your information or the things they wanted to. It’s important to make sure your website is viewable in various browsers and computers. You should remove the friction in your site that push visitors away.

Broken Links – This can cause disappointment of visitors upon clicking your link texts and found out the page is not anymore available. You have no control of your external or outbound links. Your link partners might change or deleted their page urls that you have used in your site.

Cross-browser Compatibility – Check your website from all major browsers people are using. Make sure they display correctly as you expected without distorted images of layout. Also, you can check Analytics to find out what browsers your visitors are using.

Adequate text-to-background contrast – Green forecolor with darkgreen background is not readable to the eyes. Make sure the contrast is good to not push your visitors exit due to eye strain of reading your content.

Font Size/Spacing Is Easy To Read – Use normal font size like 16 pixels and proper spacing between sentences and paragraphs in order for reader to easily digest.

Custom Not-Found/404 Page – Use a customized 404 page for those pages not existed in your site. It’s awful your customers see the 404 techy error page.

Analytics

Website Analytics such as Google Analytics will all the traffic statistics of your website. If you pay close attention to it you can learn several aspects of your site from the location, browser, keywords, bounce rate, average time spent and other essential metrics of your visitors.

Installation & Setup of Universal Google Analytics – The best move to measure the performance of the site in terms of traffic and conversion and its available for free.

Only one GA Property Element Exists Per Page – Make sure each important pages of your site that you want to track should have analytics code. Double check that you don’t place more than one GA Property element to avoid problem and dilute tracking results.

Analytics is Correctly Tracking – You should make sure your Analytics is recording correctly or else you will be getting false business information.

Demographics and Interest Reports / Tracking are Correctly Coded – Checking if the Analytics report is tracking correctly.

Referral Spam Filtering – Finding referral spams in your analytics and filter them in order not to give false data for your site analysis.

Internal IP Addresses are Excluded – You should exclude your IP address and the people working with you in order not to be included in the tracking except you really need it.

Unnecessary Meta refresh and JavaScript For Accurate Bounce Rate – Refreshing your page frequently could increase bounce rate where it’s a bad signal to search engines. It entails that the visitors don’t like the content your site and exit too early.

Set Analytics Goals – You can measure success if you can measure or track it. Analytics can track number of conversions of your site by setting up goals.

Linking to Google Search Console – Using Google Webmaster tool or the new term Google Search Console is a wise decision. It is primarily used to diagnose your site from any errors Google has detected.

Architecture

Organization of your site files is significant both for search engines and human visitors. It is just like a library where you can find groupings of books and other information in order for anyone to find it quickly and easily.

Flat Site Structure – A few only dare to click more than five times to just find the right information they are hurriedly looking for. Some sites need to click ten links first before viewing the information needed. This problem is due to the poor organization of the site. There are too many subfolders created.

Hierarchical Category Structure – This type of setup can make visitors find the right information quickly even your site has thousands of content pages.

Horizontal Linking Structure – This structure is suitable for linking relevant information of your sites from one category to another.

Vertical Linking Structure – This structure is designed to link closely related information like for example Cebu City linked to Philippines.

Backlink

If you have already started promoting your website, you might have already backlinks earned. Analyzing your backlink profile can help you aware if your backlinks are negative to the eyes of search engines that may cause long term penalty. Spammy backlinks or massive backlinking can make site hit by Google Penguin.

Unnatural Inbound Links – Making sure your site’s backlink or inbound profile is clean and free from any spammy linkbuilding strategies or else your site is a good candidate for serious search engine penalty.

Low-quality backlinks – Spammy or irrelevant backlinks are considered low quality such as link farms and those backlinks with excessive ads. Most of the backlink providers use robots to submit to thousands of identified spammy sites, so better to stay from this type of strategies.

C-Class IP – Backlinks with the same C-Class IP or neighborhood IP is considered some sort of backlinking manipulation especially if you target wider audience and you’ve got several the same C-Class IP. It’s easy to solicit backlinks from your neighbors or use several computers you own to build backlinks.

Link Types Variations – If you’ve got more backlinks of the same type is not helpful. For example, you’ve got most of your backlinks from article submission only.Backlinks should be diversified as expected.

Anchor Text Over Optimization – In real situation, it’s impossible to get the same anchor text from websites you’ve got linked to , just like always using “Click Here” 90% of the time. If you have this then this is red signal to search engines that you owned those links and not from other people.

Referring IP Diversification – The same referring IP is a sign of manipulative works from someone who wanted to get good rankings in search engines. Because in real scenario from millions of websites on the net, IP should be in random order too.

Anchor URL Diversifcation – The same thing with anchort text, anchor url should be diversified to observe randomness. Actually, this is not a problem if you don’t do any dirty tricks of acquiring backlinks. This diversification will happen naturally then.

Content

Thin or duplicate contents may signal bad to search engines for low quality site. Also content is the best way to tell search engines if you deserve high rankings and also a determining factor if the visitors will be keep coming to your site.

Block of Footer Links – Footer Links are not bad but if you overdo it to the extent that your footer links section has more content than your body content then this is toxic in SEO. Especially if these footer links appeared across all other pages, in this case this can make several duplicate content pages.

Blog and News Section – Blog or news section is the best way to regularly add new content pages to your site.The more pages your site has the more army of pages will be helping to drive traffic to your website. It’s just like building an empire one at a time. Also, it’s best strategy to cover most of the keywords your target audience are using.

Bolding and Italics – These are some of the ways to emphasize the important part of your content. People’s eyes and search engines can easily noticed the bolding or italicizing of words.
Duplicate Content – Google alone has created a spefecic robot or algorithm to find or catch those sites with duplicate pages. They won’t allow those duplicate pages to appear on their search engine or else people will start driving away to Yahoo and other competitors.

Grammatical and Punctuation Errors – There are free tools available on the net to avoid overlooking grammatical and punctuation errors. This should be taken care of because it gives bad impression to first-time visitor. Search engines also consider this in their algorithm because they want to give the best search results that the searchers are most satisfied to.

Header Tags – H1 to H6 header tags are useful to inform visitors and search engines what your page or site is all about. It’s the best place to put your target keywords too.

Image Filenames and Alt text – Making your image filename and alt text relevant to the image can give you great chance to rank in image search and also reinforce your content in informing search engines the page theme or topic. It’s a hidden resource that most of the website owners overlooked.

Keyword Cannibalization – Stuffing keywords to your site contents is a form of over-optimization that could bring much more harm. Make your keyword density as low as 1%. Make sure you content appears natural to human eyes. If not, you have a high probability of being penalized. Google Panda is constantly fighting on this type of blackhat strategy.

Meta Description Optimized – Most of the search engines will make use of meta description to appear in search results. If you’ve managed to make an attention-grabbing description you have the greater chance your page be clicked even if you are only in top 3 position.

Microdata Schema – Search engines are using microdata to understand more about the content and also serve as good way to put in other keywords you want to target on.

Number of Pages or Posts – Huge sites get high domain authority due to thousands of pages helping to boost its authority. Also, it signals that the site will stay for long-term compared to squeeze or landing pages where the purpose is short-term and have only small number of pages.

Proper Keyword targeting – Keyword research should be done properly to identify what phrases your target audience are using. Long-tailed keywords convert well than broad or generic keywords and it takes a good strategy to find these type of keywords that are relevant to your site pages.

User-Generated Spam – A good example for this is blog commenting, where spammers are putting irrelevant comments with their links and most of them are just copy and paste.

Title Tags Optimized with Brand Name – Your brand name is the most important keyword to optimize. One way to do this is putting in your title tags.

Use of iFrames – Most search engines won’t crawl content inside iframes. You could miss good rankings from your quality content because of not being seen by search engine robots.

Most Content Must Above-The-Fold – Your most important content should be placed above the fold. You should grab the attention of the visitor in a few seconds before they consider leaving your site. Remember, people generally start reading from top to bottom.

Copyright Violations – Copying images or contents protected by copyrights not only illegal but it could harm your site rankings especially someone reporting you.

Hidden Texts and Links – Setting foreground and backcolor the same can make hidden hidden texts and links. Even human eyes may not see these but search engine robot’s can see these clearly and will penalize you quickly.

Conversion

Conversion comes in various ways. It may be successful optin subscribers, ebook downloads, product purchases and others that the site owner considered as the goals he wanted to achieve when someone visiting his site. It’s not easy as you think to get higher conversion rate if your website is not design or align to convert well. No one will give his email address if he sense no much higher value he will get in return.

Call to Actions – This the most important part of your site with regards to conversion. Call to action must be clear and enticing to invite your target audience to take action as you expected to.

Clearly State The Benefits Of Your Product Or Services – Put upfront the benefits or advantages of your services or products to your target customers. Don’t put focus more on features. Always consider , how you products or services could help your customers? And this can be stated through clear and easy to read benefits.

Conversion elements above the fold – Generally, people will read from left to right and top to bottom. So, strategically, it’s wise to put your important conversion elements including call to action above the page fold in order to have greater chance to be seen by your target audience.

Good Headlines on blog posts – The first thing we see if we gonna read an article is the headline, so why not put the best words you can to magnetize people to read the rest of your content.
Include Customer Reviews or Testimonials – This is a social proof that can back-up your claim about the benefits of your products or services. This can help improve your conversion rate. Make sure to solicit real customer reviews and avoid any fake ones. Because it’s easy to spot fake ones from real ones. If you can provide link in testimonial towards the person personal page much better.

Include Privacy Statement On Opt-in Forms – We don’t want to get spam in our inbox especially for our primary email. Thus, normally, we would be in hesitation to give our emails. Privacy statement can break this barrier.

Include subscriber or social media follower counts – This is another social proof that you should show to your audience to build quick trust and confidence to believe in you because of your great numbers of subscribers or social media followers.

Offer Various Payment Options – Not all have credit cards, you should consider other payment options available like wire transfer, Paypal, and other local payments. The more options you have the more chances of getting conversions.

Use Call To Action Buttons rather than links – Your call to action buttons should be attractive. Don’t only use text links that may blend from the rest of your page content. It should spark interest to click such button.

Use of High Quality Images – Blurred or pixilated images give bad first impression that the site is crap. Make sure to use high quality images which are pleasing to the eyes.

Use Video To Humanize Your Brand – Putting your best video in front or landing page can help skyrocket your conversion rate. People by nature loves moving objects or videos. That’s the reason Youtube is widely used.

Local

Websites that are targeting on specific area can be optimized using local strategy. Search engines will favor to give good rankings for local websites for those local search queries. People too would prefer to purchase products near from them too.

Google Business Listing (for local) – Google Business listing is gaining traction in dominating local search listing. Aside from this, there are increasing number of people using Google Map Search to find local businesses.

NAP Consistency (for local) – Name, Address, and Phone number of business must be the same across any citation sites or local directories. Because search engines like Google will take into consideration about consistency of NAP information.

Mobile

Almost everyone has mobile on the go. And the market of purchasing online via mobile phones is growing too fast. If you’r website is poorly optimized in mobile then you missed this great opportunity.

Mobile Compliance – There are more people searching on mobile to find product and services that they badly need to avail such as car mechanic service or locked door service. This is indeed a huge market that should not be neglected. Make sure your site is mobile compliance to attract interest of mobile users.

Proper Mobile Configuration – Mobile design is different from desktop design. It should be configured properly that would detect if the person is using mobile or desktop.If the searcher using mobile then the mobile design should be displayed or else the desktop one.

Mobile Analytics – This is essential to measure if your site is performing good in mobile. Also, this is important to identify things to improve your site to convert really good.

Mobile Version Canonical – Your desktop site version should not appear duplicate from your mobile version or else search engines could penalize the duplicate one and you may lost rankings.
Flash Video – This type of video could make search engine robots difficult to crawl your entire page content and you could miss the opportunity to rank high. Avoid using flash videos instead use other alternatives.

Navigation

Seamless navigation is important to decrease bounce rate. If your website has good navigation then you have a great chance to hold your visitors to stay long on your site. Proper navigation will help your visitors find quickly the information they wanted to. Also, this is a good signal to search engines that your site is relevant and quality.

Unnatural Outbound Links – If your site is flooded with outbound or outgoing links , this is just like you’re making several leaks of your Page Authority. The worst thing your site might flag as link farm or spammy site and could get serious penalty by search engines.

Structured Internal Linking – Setting up a well organized or structured internal linking across your relevant pages or posts , not only can boost Page Authority of weaker pages but also could decrease bounce rate.

Text Navigation – This is preferred compared to image navigation buttons. Because it can help to optimize a certain keyword phrase you are targeting. And it’s easy to load than an image navigation bar.

Site Search Is Easy To Access – This should be placed above the fold to be noticed easily by visitors. Also, this serves as shortcut to find information in your site especially if you have already hundreds of site pages.

Company Logo Is Linked To Homepage – A well-designed and attractive company logo could receive a mouseover on it. Why not make it clickable going to your homepage to understand more about your company . It will serve as door for your customers to get to know your best offer you’ve put on your homepage.

Social

Social signals are important for branding purposes and for search engine rankings. It’s also the best way to get referral traffic via the shares of your visitors to their social media accounts. Your website should have the ability to allow visitors share your content easily and quickly to their friends or network. This is an avenue to create viral traffic as well.

Social Share buttons – Each post or page that you wanted to get more readers must have social share buttons for easy and quick way of sharing your information to their network of friends.

Social Signals– This becomes important to search engines for their ranking algorithm. This doesn’t mean you have to purchase fake social signals. Search engines are expert in knowing which fake or not. Social media accounts should be a supporting assets to get quality and real social signals of your site.

Speed

Search engines like humans don’t like to wait too long for the website to load. They are protecting their brand like Google. Google exists to provide the best search results people are querying for. Fast loading websites rank better than slow loading websites.

Compression Enable – Compression can help speed up your page loading which is significant in ranking. This can make your file size smaller and load faster over you competitors.

Enable Caching – A good strategy to prevent your site to access your server everytime the same user viewing your site. This can saves time fetching data from your server. Thus, increasing the page loading by accessing the saved data in your browser cache.

Good Quality Hosting Used – Reliable hosting should be considered to make sure your site is accessible all the time , in order not to miss visits. Don’t ever be captivated only because the price is too cheap like $0.99 offer and the service is cheap too.

Minify CSS/JS/HTML – A technique to minimize file size in CSS, JSS or HTML in order to improve the speed of the site.

Optimize images for the web – Images can make the site to load slow especially large images. But there’s a way to optimize images in order to load faster.
Page Loading Speed for Key Pages – Improving loading speed for important pages of your site can increase rankings and also decrease bounce rate. We love fast loading pages and we have greater chance to stick to it for long.

Use of Flash – Avoid flash generated content , because flash codes can prevent search spiders of crawling your other contents.

Technical

Technical errors can prevent your site to be appealing to the eyes of both search engines and humans. Broken links are completely annoying to someone navigating your site. Canonical issue can be treated a content duplicate that may have great chance of being penalized by search engines too.

404 Errors – These type of errors are annoying to see. It’s a form of building disappointment and bad mood if not handled properly. This can also push visitors away from your site.

Bad Redirects – This can be considered as spammy strategy where you redirect visitors to different site which is irrelevant to visitor’s initial intent. This is rampant in free resource sites like movie or software downloads.

CSS Errors – Removing these errors can improve search engine’s robot to crawl the page entire content without problem.

Domain Registration – It is advisable to register your domain at least 5 years, a good signal that your site is apt for long term. Unlike most promotional sites registered only at most 1 year and even one month only.

HTML Errors – Getting rid from these errors can make the site improve site loading speed and always crawable by search engine’s robots.

Sneaky Redirects – This kind of redirect is one form of deception. It’s annoying for visitors to be redirected to irrelevant content for just promoting something.

Indexed Pages – The higher the number of indexed pages your site has, the greater the number of pages that could serve as armies to help your site traffic increased as well as increased your domain authority which is significant for high rankings.

IP Canonicalization – This is often overlooked by webmasters that your IP and your domain name could be duplicates to the eyes of search engines. Proper configuration to inform search engines that they are not duplicate can avoid penalty coming.

Javascript Errors – These type of errors can prevent robots to crawl your whole site, to the extent you get poor rankings too.

No Cloaking – This is another form of deception that visitors will be annoyed of getting wrong content. If your site implemented this, you have greater chance getting banned or penalized.

Proper use of 301 – This redirection should be used only for those old urls you’ve changed to new ones for some good reasons. In order to avoid broken links , you implement 301 redirection to tell search engines about the changed of urls.

Rel Canonical Tag – Another way of informing search engines that a certain url is the same with the other. If done properly, then those urls with the same contents are free from content duplication penalty. Actually, this is an alternative way of 301 but you will change this in the page code rather than in .htaccess file.

Robots.txt configuration – The best place to inform search engines what pages should not and should be crawled. You can specify any other instructions to search engines the way they crawl to your site. If you have pages that you don’t want to be crawled because of thin content or duplicates, you can configure this in robots.txt.

Search Console Issues – This is formerly called as Google Webmaster Tools. It’s free to use to diagnose your site from any technical issues.It’s being designed to help optimize website.

Site Penalty Check – There are penalties especially from Google that are not found in Search Console because they are manual penalty. This can be analyzed using analytics tool.

Site Security – Normally, secured sites ranked higher than unsecured sites. Most site using https are known as authority and secured sites. You may check Paypal, Amazon, and the like , their security is hard to crack by hackers. Security should be on your top priority to avoid data loss.

Site Uptime – Using reliable hosting provider should be considered first before creating your site. Make sure your site is accessible 24/7 with no downtime and also can handle massive amount of traffic.

Sitemap.xml and Sitemap.html – XML sitemap is for search engines to guide crawling your site and never missed one important page not being crawled. While, html site is for visitors for easy access of your site contents. Basically, it serves as table of contents.

URLS Adhere to Less Than 200 Characters – Long urls is not readable and should be avoided. It’s also difficult to remember in behalf of your visitors.

URLS are Static and Keyword Relevant – Most ecommerce sites used dynamic urls, those urls with variables or after question mark(?). These type of urls can’t be indexed by robots and most of them are not keyword relevant too or seo-friendly.

Use of Absolute URLs – It is recommended to use absolute urls for ranking purpose. Also, this is to make sure the urls are working even someone copy or scrape your content. This can prevent broken links too.

Automated Queries – Avoid using automated queries that could slow down your site speed. These can also hurt your rankings in search results.

Website Age – Aged site ranked higher than new ones. Be just consistent of improving your website and making sure you can stay long that could give you edge then.

WWW and Non-WWW Redirection – These 2 versions of urls should be redirected to avoid content duplication. This can be handled by configuring your .htaccess file or search console.

Google Penalties– Google has several major penalties to keep track like Google Panda,designed to fight low quality contents and Google Penguin, designed to fight blackhat backlinking. You should be able to identify if your site being hit by any penalty, in order to take appropriate action to uplift it.

Rich Snippets – Codes added to your html files to help search engine understand more about your page and the best way to insert your other keywords too. Ecommerce sites can make use these to add more information about their products.

Usability

Excessive promotion in your website can surely drive away your visitors and also could be penalized by search engines because of low quality content. Make sure your visitors can easily get the information they wanted for and use your website without learning or studying deeply. It should be user-friendly and search-engine friendly as well.

Excessive Ads – This can push your visitors to exit early from your site. Also, excessive ads denote hard selling and people don’t want to be sold by nature. This can also lower your rankings.

Privacy Policy – It’s a good way to convince your visitors to give their personal info as long as you’ve stated clearly that you won’t sell or use in other means their personal details.

Site Bounce Rate – This number will tell if the visitors are interested of your site or not. If they don’t then you can see high bounce rate. It’s your responsibility to find ways to hold your visitors’ interest to stay long in your site in order to lower bounce rate.

Doorway Pages – These type of pages are bad to the eyes of search engines. Basically, these pages are created with thin content and for the purpose of selling something.

Link Schemes – This are considered manipulative or blackhat linking that could bring your site to penalty. Google Penguin is taking care of this. Avoid purchasing links and creating links that is somewhat manipulative.