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PPC SEO

SEO and PPC: Together In Perfect Harmony

When most people hear the words SEO or PPC, they assume they are the same thing. Many job applications for marketing executives outline a requirement for “extensive knowledge of both SEO and PPC”, as if the two are so closely related, that if you know one, you must know the other…right?

In this article, I want to highlight the key differences between SEO and PPC, but also explore ways the two can be used in tandem to benefit your business, because they definitely can.

seo vs ppc image

What’s the difference between SEO and PPC?

SEO and PPC campaigns tend to have the same goal – to get you more sales or conversions, but their methodology is differs.

The main difference is that PPC (Pay Per Click) doesn’t benefit your site’s organic ranking on search engines. It is simply a form of advertising used to drive traffic to your site.

Some campaigns are purely reactive and need the word spread quickly, PPC is great for these kind of campaigns as implementation is instant. If your company is new, PPC is a great way of getting your name out before dedicating time to crafting great organic content – this is where SEO steps up.

To achieve organic greatness, you must put in the work – there’s no quick fix. A combination of great, relevant content, solid website UX, trustworthy backlinks and much more can only be nurtured over time. A great SEO campaign can last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years, results measured over this time will show consistent, steady growth.

Think of PPC like renting a house – you pay monthly for the benefit of living there, but once you stop paying, it disappears.

Compare this to purchasing and renovating a house (SEO). Over time, your continued investments increase its value. Once the house is paid off, it’s yours – (and it looks great.)

Combining SEO and PPC

Below, I’ve added some awesome tips that I’ve utilised in the past that give you the best of both worlds. As an SEO, I’ve considered PPC “another world” in the past, but learning and utilising it made me realise how useful it can actually be.

Share Valuable Keyword Data

More often than not, you will have PPC campaigns running alongside your SEO. Using Adwords (PPC) and Google Search Console (SEO), track and measure your keyword Click Through Rate for both campaigns and integrate the high-converters into your overall strategy.

This can be an effective way to create fantastic, engaging meta titles and descriptions for your pages. Nowadays, an effective meta title is more of a call to action than anything else, so knowing which words/phrases generate a buzz is a quick way to get more people clicking onto your site.

Remarketing Campaigns

As an example – let’s say your website sells custom made slippers. Your SEO campaign is going well and you have a high volume of traffic coming to your site, but purchases aren’t quite what you expected them to be.

This can be down to a number of on-site factors, but another to consider is that people are fickle. It might take them 4 visits, some research and a long chat with their partner before they pull the trigger on some sweet custom slippers. Some people might forget that you even existed!

This is where remarketing comes in..

With remarketing, you are able to purchase ad space in Google’s network to remind them about their love of felt-lined slippers. Do you ever find yourself browsing the web, when you see an advert appear for a product you checked out a few weeks ago?

By combining SEO and PPC, you can reach these visitors and encourage them to come back to complete their purchase.

Block Competing Brands

Let’s say your custom slipper company has started to gain traction, you have a recognisable brand name and appear in 1st position organically for this name.

On a desktop, this is great, you can clearly see you are front and centre for Fluffy Slipper Co, but what about on your mobile?

On a mobile, search results look entirely different – paid listings will take up the majority of your phone’s viewport, leaving little room for the top organic result. A sneaky tactic that many companies use via their PPC is to advertise in their competitors brand name results.

A great way to combat this kind of dickery is to set your PPC ads to display for your own brand name – let’s look at SEMRush as an example of how to do this correctly.

See how much of the page is taken up by PPC on mobile? Imagine if this was your brand name and the top result was your competitor? Savvy people would see through this, but there’s a chance that potential customers were just exploring their options – and your competitor has just provided them with a new one.

Quickly Combat Negative PR

Sometimes businesses screw-up, sometimes they’re constantly screwing up, combining SEO and PPC can be a great method of controlling the damage caused by said screw-up.

During a negative PR crisis, the key is to be visible, not invisible. Ensure you match your customers search intent and be present there to answer any questions or dispel any rumours.

Target keywords such as “Your Company Oil Spill”, “Your Company Your Employee” or “Your Company Product Defective” depending on the issue at hand. Then present the user with your response, the facts and your way of making things right, this could be a survey, an offer or simply an admission of guilt.

Use this negative as an oppourtinity to create a positive and put things right, not to block out any criticism – this only leads to more criticism.

Use the tips above to help your business navigate the trials and tribulations of the online world. It’s not easy, but mastering the art of balancing SEO and PPC will make it a hell of a lot less stressful.

Categories
SEO

Google’s Latest Coronavirus Update

As I write this piece from my desk that I fashioned entirely from toilet paper, panic is sweeping the country as we prepare for what looks to be a very quiet Summer due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For some businesses, the first thing to be culled is their marketing budget, but it’s important to note that there are now more people are at home on their devices than ever. For online businesses, this is a massive opportunity to flex their digital muscles and think creatively. For offline businesses, maybe now is the time to think about upping your online presence.

Marketing is all about pivoting, what is in the best interest of your end-user? How can you modify your business to help them through this?

I’ve attached some tips below that I am following for my own clients to help turn this very big negative into a positive.

#1 – Digitise Your Services

For those who rely on footfall to keep their business afloat, it’s imperative to bring your services online. At a time when people are isolating at home, bring your business to them rather than the other way round.

For some, this could mean taking advantage of e-commerce and turn to shipping/delivering their goods. Amazon are absolutely rolling in it since this epidemic started, so providing a local alternative could be the answer you’re looking for.

Hairdressers, beauticians, masseuses, set up an account on Booksy and come directly to your customers. Just bring hand sanitiser!

Butchers and greengrocers, take the Tesco route and deliver your customers food directly to their door using an online booking system.

Psychiatrists, music teachers, life coaches and personal trainers – use the power of video to deal with your clients via live-chat or pre-recording. Providing one-to-one coaching via Skype or set up a subscription service where users can download a series of lessons if they don’t require individualised tutoring.

#2 – Gift Vouchers

If you’re currently unable to provide a service to your customers, offering them a reduced-cost gift voucher that can be redeemed at a later date is a great method of ensuring you maintain a steady income when footfall is low.

Create a landing page on your website where gift vouchers can be purchased, then make sure you e-mail them all once you’re back open so they can redeem them!

Alternatively, if your service requires a monthly membership fee, offer a reduced rate for those who (kindly) continue to pay for your service, even if they aren’t able to use it. This reduced fee could entitle them to 2 free months at the end of the billing period, leaving everyone happy.

#3 – 2021 Offers

Venues will be taking a huge hit, with large gatherings set to be banned until further notice. Weddings, concerts and festivals are all set to be cancelled, which will see many big events postponed until 2021.

If you’re a festival, wedding or music venue, make a big push with your 2021 offers. Many people book these events months in advance, so offer a discount for an “extra-early” discount.

For those cancelling their PPC and SEO services, consider that 2021 bookings will now begin to get very competitive across a range of industries. Leveraging SEO and PPC to gain a first page ranking for your area of business could be more important than ever.

#4 – Look Inward

If business is still ticking along, albeit slightly quieter than usual, then now is a better time than ever to tackle your maintenance checklist. Does your site need an overhaul? Can internal processes be improved?

Search engines love a technically-sound website. Is your site as fast as it can be? Does your URL structure make sense?

Use this time to cast an eye across your business and spot major holes that could easily be exposed once the masses start flocking in. Why do you think road maintenance happens at night time?

#5 – Be Resourceful

Literally!

For whatever profession you are in, there will be someone who wants to learn how to do it. Spend some time creating some awesome content to help others on their journey to not sucking at something.

Resourceful training videos, guides and blog posts are all loved by Google, because they are loved by people! Use your free time to show off your smarts and help others in the process. Win-win!

#6 – Start Giving a Shit

The tips above won’t help everybody, some businesses are going to seriously struggle in this climate, so will a lot of people.

Amongst the panic buying, hoarding and fighting, there is some good in all of us. Everyone’s immediate reaction is to self-preserve, but what about those who aren’t able to?

Reaching out to local businesses who are struggling, charities lacking resource or people who are unable to leave their homes will be critical over the next few months.

Not every action needs to recoup some profit, but working together might be our only chance of saving some local businesses that may not survive otherwise. Paying a larger tip, going out of your way to use their services (even if they may cost a bit more) and helping to promote them on your own social media/website takes very little effort – but can make a big change.

If you’re off work, find a Facebook group that helps deliver food/medicine to those who are quarantined and do your part. Raise some money for charity by doing something stupid. Call your Mum! All these things can help bring positive change in this negative situation

Categories
SEO

Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Sucks

In the world of SEO, content marketing plays a pivotal role in attracting traffic to your website and broadening your search presence beyond your standard landing pages. Some companies absolutely nail their strategy, while some are stuck in an endless cycle of crapping out poor-quality content in an attempt to appease the almighty search engines.

Below I’ve covered some reasons why your content marketing strategy might suck, and if it does – what to do about it.

1. You’re not considering your format.

Before moving on to search intent, look at search engine intent. You want to write a great piece for your hair & beauty company about cutting your own hair. Easy right?

Create a step by step guide, add some pictures, BOOM. The perfect piece of content. Google’s going to bloody love this.

This could be the most awesome, in-depth, mesmerising list ever written, but does it match search engine intent?

A quick search will show you that Google instantly serves you video tutorials for this query, Google will always attempt to provide the most relevant answer (and format) for your query.

how to cut your own hair video screenshot - content marketing

But what’s that below? A LIST? A LIST!

Trimming natural hair, video screenshot - content marketing

A list of videos.

See what I’m getting at?

Whenever you’re brainstorming a new content piece, scan the first page, which format are you being served? Videos? A list? A long-form piece?

If you don’t match this format, you won’t perform – Google won’t let you.

When planning out your content for your copywriter/videographer/designer, add a column labelled “format” to ensure you’re always matching search engine intent.

2. You’re writing content for search engines, not people.

Simple enough – write your content for people, not for Search Engines. Spending 12 hours researching the perfect long-tail keywords to stuff into your 300 word post might help a little, but are you forgetting to actually make your content useful?

Spend some time getting into the head of your customer or target demographic, what do they want to know? How can you provide the answer to this?

I like to use Answer The Public – it gives you great insights into queries relating to your content topic that people are actually asking.

Lets say you sell scented candles, really nice ones. Are you going to write 30 posts about how great your candles are? How will people who don’t know you exist…find out that you exist? Let’s have a look at some candle related queries you can use for your next content piece.

  • How are candles made?
  • Will candles put themselves out?
  • Who wrote candle in the wind? (Joking)
  • Why candles flicker?

Your job as a candle expert should be to provide the most accurate and relevant answer to these questions. Ensuring you match search engine intent (Video? List? Long-form?).

Answer these questions in the best way possible and Google will give you the nod – look at competing pieces and one-up them, more on this later.

3. You’re using multiple tones of voice.

Most brands will spend thousands upon thousands of pounds ensuring that their branding is on point, with strict guidelines to suit. However most forget to ensure that their brand’s tone maintains consistency throughout.

If your homepage and top-level pages are formal and corporate, but your blog sounds like an Instagram influencer✨, it’s sending your customers some seriously dodgy messages. Is this a life insurance company or are they going to try and sell me some weight-loss tea the moment I drop my guard?

Teamwork is key here. It makes the dream work. Some companies may use a singular copywriter for all their written content, but for those who use freelancers or distribute work to a team – everyone needs to ensure that they are on the same page when it comes to tone of voice.

4. Your content isn’t better than what already exists.

If you’re not sitting down to write a piece with the intent to make it the best in its class, what’s the point?

Kind of like the parallel universe theory – for every amazing content marketing idea that you could ever think of, someone has probably already had a go at writing it.

Brian Dean of Backlinko has a terrific piece on this and is commonly known as the Skyscraper Technique. It involves taking a content idea relating to your business, analysing the top result and doing a better job – simple as that!

Let’s use another example, I’m going to use the scented candle company again because I can’t stop thinking about them. Take the second query listed in section 2 – “Will candles put themselves out?”

Here’s the featured snippet – nicely done, Blaizen Candles (love the name).

Blaizen Candles feature snippet - content marketing

Now, let’s check the stats:

Words: 1531
Images: 1
Internal Links: 0
Videos: 0
Infographics: 0

Throwing ourselves back to the first point on our list – Google deems this article informative enough to rank as a feature snippet.

How can we improve upon this?

It’s not simply a case of adding more words and images, but more detail. If this detail requires a video to explain, then add a video, the same with images/infographics/interactive elements.

Google wants the best possible answer – try adding some statistics, a quote from a candle company, conduct a test to see if certain brands burn out quicker?

Simply put, can you answer this question better? I think so. So, for any scented candle makers out there, you can have that one for free.

5. You’re not a copywriter

I always save the best until last, but it’s the most obvious one. Let’s rephrase it – if you’ve never touched a website in your life, would you prefer to build your own site instead of hiring a developer? Would you do your own company branding rather than hiring a skilled graphic designer?

If the answer is yes, your website probably sucks, so will your branding, if you write your own content instead of using a copywriter, that’s a hat-trick of sucks right there.

Copywriters are often undervalued, but hiring the right one can make an astronomical difference to your business. They don’t just write words, they create engaging content that regular joes can only dream of. They can make difficult topics digestible and boring topics interesting. Let’s be honest, most businesses don’t sell fun products, so get a copywriter in to turn those bi-fold doors into a bloody adventure.

Follow these rules and you’ll be piping out some spellbinding content marketing that your customers (and therefore search engines) will love.

If you haven’t got the time to sort your content out, I can help – so get in touch if all hope is lost and we can discuss your goals.

Categories
SEO

How To Dominate Your Local SEO in 2020

Over the last few years, Google has clearly stated its intent to start prioritising Local SEO. 46% of all searches are now local, which has prompted many business owners and SEO’s to revisit their strategy to match this shift. 

What is Local SEO?

Local SEO, or Local Search Marketing, is the practice of marketing to customers in your area at the precise point that they are online. Compared to organic search terms such as “garden landscaping”, which show a small level of intent, local search terms such as “best garden landscaper near me” or “garden landscaping brighton” show much more. This is why your site must be optimised for local search, especially if your service area can be searched for. 

What is a SERP?

A SERP, or Search Engine Results Page is a web page produced by search engines when a user enters a query, each result is different depending on the content of the query. Local SERPS will appear above organic results, usually presented in a ‘snack pack’, a list of the top 3 local results for the searched term. 

Local SERP’s will show much more information than organic SERPS, usually containing reviews, opening times, contact details and more. This is because search engines will pick up on a users intent (“garden landscaping New York”) and present the user with what it deems to be the best information available (a list of garden landscapers in New York).

Each of the local SERPS above will have been generated using Google My Business, a tool that allows you to input crucial business information and receive reviews through Google.

What is Google My Business?

Formerly Google Local, Google My Business is an online profile for your business or company. If someone searches for your company, your GBM profile will more than likely appear on the right hand side of the SERPs.

This is your knowledge panel and can include information such as contact details, business category and opening times. It will also contain user-submitted sections such as reviews and questions & answers. This gives businesses a level of responsibility and transparency, if you get bad reviews or fail to answer users questions, your online reputation will suffer!

How Can I Dominate My Local SEO Rankings?

Whether beginner or expert, the tips below can be implemented to help you dominate your local SEO rankings in 2020. 

Ask for reviews

SEOOne of the easiest ways to improve your local SEO performance is to gather as many 5 star reviews as possible. This tells search engines that your company is high-quality and reputable.  Social proof is as key in the online world for businesses as it is in real life.

The simplest method to gain reviews is to email previous or existing customers a link to your Google My Business page or add a link to your website. 

If reviews are negative, ensure you are replying to them in an understanding and helpful manner, use these bad reviews as an opportunity to present yourself as a company that rectifies issues and listens to their customers.

Schema Markup

This may be a job for the developers if you’re not not competent with coding, but schema markup (or structured data) is more prominent than ever and can give you a huge advantage over businesses not implementing it. 

Schema markup wraps around key parts of your website (reviews, FAQ’s, contact details) which then allows search engines to show this data directly in the SERPS. This means important FAQ’s and non-Google reviews will begin to appear in Google’s search results under your website, more information provided means an easier decision for a customer to make. 

You can even implement schema markup on your website search box, which allows customers to search for pages within your website without initially entering it. 

Check your competitors key service category

Competitor research is key in SEO, it’s no different when you go local. If you want to outrank your high-performing competitors, make sure you ensure you have the same key service category. If they are performing well, your competitors key service category has either:

  1. Already been identified by their SEO agency 
  2. Is purely coincidental and happens to be performing well regardless

Your key service category will influence where you show up for search terms, so make sure you’re not missing out. 

Local backlinks and link building

As with competitor research, backlinks are a cornerstone to any SEO campaign. Your aim should be to gain high quality backlinks from local companies and news, this can be attained through sponsorships, partnerships or collaboration. 

Examples of this could be a partner company, a local newspaper or a business partnership. You could also show your charitable side and reach out to charities by offering your services for free in exchange for a partner link on their website.

Having sites with a high domain authority linking back to you will provide an immediate boost in your Local SEO ranking. Think of a backlink as a handshake – this website trusts your website enough to link to it, search engines will see this and boost your credibility via association. 

Social media

In 2020, it’s rare to meet someone who doesn’t utilise social media in their day to day lives. Businesses especially have jumped on the bandwagon and actively post/interact throughout the day, however, most fail to take advantage of the benefits it brings. 

Whether you have Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter or all four, utilise these sites to gain visits back to your website through engaging content. Running a local competition that requires a visit to the website is a low-investment way of gaining valuable traffic, combined with a lead-capture form for maximum effectiveness. 

Case studies

If you offer a service to customers, then there’s a good chance you’re able to produce a series of case studies. For local businesses, creating a series of case studies showing work you’ve completed (or provided) in your service area and another way to gain social proof. 

As an added bonus, it’s more engaging content for your website, something to shout about on social media and a great way to show off your work. 

Citations

Another key part of any Local SEO campaign is citations. Are you on all the business listings relevant to your service industry? And if not…why not?

Firstly, clean up your existing citations, is your address correct? Website address? Inconsistent citations can confuse search engines and impact the trust between them and your business. 

Secondly, get adding! Find every directory relating to your service industry and update it with your company logo, name, address, opening hours, website address and contact details. The more information here the better, just make sure it’s consistent across the board. 

Dominating Local SEO

Follow the tips above and you will be well on your way to Local SEO stardom! Making all these changes isn’t easy and will require some maintenance, but the results will certainly speak for themselves.

If you haven’t got the time to implement these changes yourself, visit our SEO page to see how we can help you establish your business as the best in your area.

Categories
SEO

SEO In 2020: What Will It Look Like?

SEO in 2020: What Will It Look Like?

The end of the year is upon us and we have began to kick our 2020 SEO strategies into action, but what will be different next year? We’ve compiled a list of things we’ll be focusing on for SEO in 2020 that we think you should be doing too.

SEO 2020 article - vector drawing representing website content

High Quality Content

An SEO staple, albeit one that is becoming more and more prominent as the years fly by. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing, with search engine algorithms focusing more on the quality of the content, rather than how many times you can fit “cookware” into a short form article.

For SEO in 2020, take a step back from keywords. Focus on topics instead.

 “Content will truly have to be written to user intent rather than just …. “The goal of switching the mentality to more of a topic-focus is to create content that addresses an entire conversation holistically as opposed to just worrying about the single keyword a page should be targeting,”

Jesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist, IBM

Instead – the focus should be on adopting a methodical and deliberate library of content that categorically answers user queries and aligns with the businesses overall objectives.

Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • Understand how your audience thinks
  • Provide answers/solutions in a high-quality, long-form format that they’d be happy to digest
  • Create before and after steps in this journey, produce relevant articles they can skip forward or back towards to help cultivate a bigger picture knowledge of the subject.
SEO in 2020 - An image depicting the SERPS and a magnifying glass

Structured Data

Firstly…What is Structured Data?

Structured data, or Schema Markup is a method of making your website’s information more visible digestible for Google.

Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content; for example, on a recipe page, what are the ingredients, the cooking time and temperature, the calories, and so on.

Google

Without structured data, a website appears disorganised to Google – this makes it a time consuming and often inconsistent process for Google’s web crawlers to identify important information on your website.

What Will Implementing Structured Data Do?

Once implemented, key information about your website will begin to appear in search results, before users have even clicked on your website.

This is extremely advantageous, as it gives users a sneak peak into your site’s offerings without the commitment of clicking.

What Kind of Structured Data Can I Add?

Organisation Schema Markup

Organisation Schema Markup helps to improve your Knowledge Graph entry and snippet information. This involves populating company information such as your  logosocial profile links and corporate contact information.

Website Schema Markup

WebSite schema markup helps to generate a SiteLinks Search Box inside your search snippet. You must already have a search function on your website to implement this.

SEO in 2020: SiteLinks Search example using Pinterest
What About The Rest?

There are many different types of Schema Markup that you can implement on your site. In the future, we plan on producing an in-depth guide to these, so for now we will provide the resources below.

If any of the above have some relevancy to your website, get stuck in to take your SEO in 2020 to new, structured heights!

SEO in 2020: A graphic of a mobile phone showing optimisation graphs

Optimise Your Site For Mobile

This may sound like a stuck record – but this suggestion differs slightly from previous years recommendations.

Beforehand – the focus was on ensuring that your website was mobile-responsive, this means it’s viewable and usable on a mobile device, but doesn’t focus entirely on accommodating mobile users.

31% of smartphone users use voice technology every week, did you know that? If your website isn’t mobile optimised, do you think Google will direct users to your bakery website when they ask where the nearest one is?

Try Google’s mobile friendly test here to see if you’re up to scratch.

SEO in 2020 - A screenshot of Google's page speed tester
How Do I Make My Site Mobile Friendly?

Good question! Luckily, Google have provided us with guidelines to help with this – here are some ways you can make your website mobile-friendly in 2020.

  • Switch to a responsive theme if you are using a CMS such as WordPress
  • Keep paragraphs under 3 sentences for readability
  • Use bullets and lists (like this one!) to ensure information is easily digestible
  • Try breaking test up with separate headings to help split content up into chunks.
You Mentioned Voice Search – How Do I Optimise My Website For It?

To optimise your website for Voice Search, you simply need to ensure that your content is the best. This is the first key SEO principle and one that will never change. Search engines will provide users to the best answer to their question, not the longest.

When writing your content, think how your user thinks – what would they like to know more about? Then provide it.

A graphic showing google's EAT score

EAT!

What Is E-A-T?

An SEO favourite – E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

In 2015, Google officially released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and which gives us an insight into what Google believes to be a good or bad website.

Since then, many algorithm updates and tweaks have helped them hone this down in an attempt to provide searchers with only the best websites to answer their queries.

Websites with high E-A-T scores are those that portray expertise on topics that require accuracy through credibility and high quality content.

How Do I Improve My E-A-T Score?

To improve your E-A-T score in 2020, take a look at some of the suggestions below.

Every Page Must Have a Purpose

Each page must be user-entered (not designed specifically to please the search engine overlords) and fulfil it’s intended purpose. Whether this is selling to users, making them laugh or simply informing them on a topic.

Don’t Be a Clickbait Fiend

As easy as it is to do – don’t lure users in with clickbait titles, especially when the content in the page is contrary to the title itself.

“Exaggerated or shocking titles can entice users to click on pages in search results. If pages do not live up to the exaggerated or shocking title or images, the experience leaves users feeling surprised and confused. Pages with exaggerated or shocking titles that do not describe the content well should be rated Low.”

Google
Get Experts to Write Your Content

For content to come from a position of expertise, authoritativeness or trustworthiness. Your best bet is to get it written by someone who eludes these values. For example, if your website is centred around medicine, having a qualified health practitioner on hand to write or curate this content will go a long way.

Additional SEO tip – Create an author bio page for these people. Fill it with information about their credentials and back them up. Make sure that this author bio is linked from each piece of content for maximum E-A-T points.

“The reputation and E-A-T of the creators of the MC [main content] is extremely important when a website has different authors or content creators on different pages.”

Google
Cut Out Low E-A-T Content

In most cases, any pages with low E-A-T content or minimal traffic should be removed from your website. While this may cause some damage in the short term, you are may suffer some reputation damage in the longer term by keeping them.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. A few useful tips to ensure that you nail your SEO in 2020. There are hundreds of factors to consider and it’s extremely time consuming keeping up with the ever changing world of SEO. If it all gets too much for you, get in touch with us to see how we can boost your business in 2020.

Categories
SEO

Improving Website Performance

Improving Your Website Performance

When building a new website (or re-evaluating your current one), it’s key to keep performance in mind. Seconds matter when it comes to user retention, and a slow-loading website can make the difference between a sale for you, or a win for one of your competitors. 

If you are looking to brush up on your knowledge, or are looking for some quick tips to boost your website performance, read on. You’ll find quick and easy ways to improve your site performance below.

Website performance, man typing on keyboard

How Do I Test My Website’s Performance?

As standard, you should be testing your website across as many devices as possible, the big three comprising of:

  • A desktop PC or laptop
  • A mobile device
  • A tablet

If you don’t have access to these, an emulator can produce a similar job. Testing on these devices will also help to test website UX ( user performance) and responsiveness, ensuring critical elements aren’t hidden or constrained by different device sizes.

Aside from this, GTMetrix and Google’s Lighthouse Pagespeed tool are fantastic for checking critical elements. 

Below I have outlined some of the most critical factors to improve your overall website performance. 

Move To a New Hosting Company

The simplest fix, move hosting companies! Some hosting companies just have slow servers, some of them have slow servers at peak times and some are great all around. Do some research or reach out to websites with rapid server response times to see what they recommend. 

Alternatively, if you feel like splashing out – hiring your own dedicated hosting server will ensure that your site speed will not be compromised by other high-traffic websites. 

Minimise HTTP Requests Where Possible

Imagine you’re in a restaurant, you’ve ordered your food and your waiter is on their way to your table to serve you your dinner. The food is your website and your browser is the waiter. Now, imagine every single table pulls the waiter aside to ask a question, complain about bad service or ask for the bill – these are your website’s scripts. 

Your aim is to reduce the number of customers bugging the waiter, so they can serve you your food as quickly as possible. Each time a script must be loaded, it’s called a request. 

HTML, CSS and Javascript files make up these requests, these are the scripts that determine the appearance, structure and actions of your website, so while they can’t be removed – they can be minified. 

Minifying a script means removing any unnecessary whitespace or bad formatting, to ensure that no space is wasted in the code. While these may seem like small changes, they can add up and save you seconds on your load time, which is a big change.

Website performance, MacBook on table

Conditional Statements

Another method of reducing your HTTP requests is to use queries or conditional statements. These will allow you to select which scripts (this includes images) load in specific environments. This could mean only running certain scripts on mobile or hiding certain images for individual viewports. 

This will prevent browsers from running unnecessary scripts that aren’t relevant, giving you a faster website. 

Reduce Your Plugin Reliance

My previous suggestion segues perfectly into this one. Not all the scripts you have are essential and some can definitely be removed. Users of CMS’s such as WordPress will know of plugins all too well. Plugins are essential pre-written scripts designed to perform actions on your website. Be it to add Social Media icons to your footer or help transform your site into an E-Commerce powerhouse, they can complete most tasks at the click of a button. 

However, some people find themselves becoming rather trigger happy with these plugins, using them for anything and everything, when more often or not, a simple piece of code could suffice. Using my previous example – Social Media Icons, these can be added with some HTML and a bit of CSS styling, this means one less script (or request) that needs to load before your website arrives. 

Rather than using a Google Maps plugin, embedding them directly into your website will produce the same effect and reduce requests again. When building your site, try to consider:

“Am I using a plugin for a problem that could be solved by something simpler?”

Keeping this in mind will help minimise your unnecessary plugin use, keeping your site clean, minimal and slick. 
Optimising your website speed can seem a never-ending task, but by following these quick fixes, you can soon see your web performance boost for all the right reasons.

Interested? Get in touch today to see how we can speed up your site.