Are you thinking of redesigning your website? I can’t tell you how many times people feel like they need to rebuild their website. But before you pull the trigger on spending $5,000 for someone to do the redesigning of your website, consider what I am about to tell you as I hear a lot of times the reasoning, “I need to redesign the website because it’s old”, “I need a fresh website”.
Websites don’t get old or anything like that. Some people confuse redesigning the website to make it look fresh however the design of the website, like the logos and the colors are different from actually the content which is actually different than making it load fast.
So most people confuse those and just decide on redesigning.
Re-designing the whole website when really design versus hosting versus the content are all separate things. And most of the time, when you go to a web designer and you ask them, should I redesign my website? You know that the answer would be YES but it should be NO.
That web developer should check what really is the issue on the website and provide solutions instead of suggesting a redesign because most of the time, the problem is not the website per se but the content and speed and that usually can fix those issues with very simple things like hosting and site-wide SSL and getting more contents up.
Below are some of the things you can do to improve your website and your SEO:
1. Get to a hundred pages.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but one of the things we like to look for is a domain.
So this is me coming from me as a search engine engineer. So when I worked at Yahoo, we saw trustworthy domains if you have at least a hundred web pages.
Because if the website has only one webpage, then it’s like, okay, it’s just a landing page. It’s not actually a website. So we’d like to see a hundred and then we’d like to see an aged domain.
So what happens is if I’m the search engine and if you just put up your website last week, I’m like, oh, I don’t know you. I’m going to sandbox you. I’m going to not exactly trust you until I start to see results basically like a credit score such as:
- a steady pattern of traffic coming to your site of mentions.
- content is dripping out over time.
- links growing over time
Because if your website is an aging website, say 10 years old but then like all the links came in one particular day, I, as the search engine will say, “ I don’t know that doesn’t look legit. Looks like maybe you bought a bunch of leaks or maybe some weird thing happened.”
What I want to see though is a healthy sign of what’s occurring in your sites.
So every podcast episode you have, turn it into its own URL with a transcription. It’s the thoughts that count here? Don’t just put the link. Don’t just put a YouTube.
Actually, write up something on what the highlights are of that Podcast– Show notes as what some people call it.
Share those show notes or snippets of articles that you write from that podcast as a guest post that you put on their site, which will give you a link back for site-wide SSL. So whatever your hosts, they will allow you to get an SSL certificate to go across the entire site.
That’ll make your analytics work properly.
2. Make sure your Search Console is integrated with Google Analytics and Ads
Make sure you integrate your search console with your Google analytics and your Google ads because Google’s going to tell you when there are problems.
And if you want to rank in Google, then you need to use Google’s tools.
Google literally will tell you what’s going on. They will tell you:
- Pages that have a problem that needs fixing
- A website not loading fast.
- Crappy links attached to your website
- Bloated code and you’re on a shared server
The tool that everyone should start with is the Search Console. And this is something that most people are not even aware of. Google has dozens of tools but most people think Google’s just a search engine.
Google gives you this incredible SEO tool and it’s for FREE. It’s considered the best SEO tool because it’s actually from Google.
Remember this is not the same thing as Google analytics, although you can tie your Google search console with the Google analytics by just asking your web person or whoever’s in charge of your website to verify that you own the site, and then Google is going to give you all the information like:
- Where your traffic is coming from
- problems with your webpages
- web pages are loading slow.
- problems because of core web vitals.
- what keywords you’re ranking on
- which websites are giving you the most SEO power
Another tool that I find helpful is Semrush. This is my favorite, however, it’s a little expensive. It’s a couple of thousand bucks a month and what it does is it allows you to see the kind of things that we’d like to look at.
What are the things that you rank on in the first a hundred search results? And just like an old joke we know, “Where do you hide a dead body? –On the second page of Google?”
Meaning if you’re not on the first page, it doesn’t matter. And there are different types of results such as universal search that includes news, images, videos, shopping, movies, and other kinds of categorized information.
Want some help on how you can dominate in Google? Check out this Office Hour Episode on How to Dominate in Google that will teach you just that.
3. Rank on other people’s names by Building Relationships.
Building relationships is the name of the game.
Try to think of Internet rankings or Google rankings as a popularity contest. And so you want to get the most votes. But sometimes you treat, try to fool Google by giving them a bunch of fake votes. So you want as many votes as possible, obviously, but you want votes from people that are credible, a vote from someone who’s popular, who’s an influencer who’s well known in the insurance space or whatnot.
So the content is clearly of high authority.
How do we know which content is high Authority?
Those are the content that gets more votes because people are sharing the article, sharing links, tweeting about it and that’s all the signals that Google’s looking for. So when these signals appear, you rank up.
The question you should ask then is– why do you think that your name is ranked the way it is now? and why would Google think that all other results deserve to be higher?
So how do they decide then?
Understand why LinkedIn deserves to be number one versus your website versus your Facebook?
Because LinkedIn has the most in-depth information if you search for a name such as Trevor compared with other alternative results that might pop up.
Why not his Website then?
Usually, with a business website, the only mention is on the About Page and nowhere else.
And in this case, LinkedIn is an authoritative search for names. So if you search on someone’s name, LinkedIn is usually going to be in the top three and the rest may be their podcast, personal brand site, Facebook, or Twitter
LinkedIn is super powerful and has a domain rating of 98 on a 100-point scale.
Typically at this point, many will argue the importance of a Domain Rating, though that is true but as a general sense of how much link juice you’re collecting. It’s pretty good to look at.
4. Make variations of your content
So you want to have a lot of these images and video snippets and you want to cross-post them.
Honor your podcast guest on Twitter or post little highlights, soundbites, and blog posts.
We find that actually influences search rankings. Why?
Because when you search on Google, Google will show you a mix of things, it’s called universal search, but they’re going to show you all these other kinds of things to maybe your office and maps. All of these things can help you. The search is not just a text game. Search is now a social and a video and shopping and looks at all these other things.
So if you want to rank, try to show up in as many search results.
So it’s not just web pages.
5. Do everything possible to send a good signal.
Did you know that a brand can be screwed over without the brand knowing just by buying a bunch of really crappy links? How?
Someone can just buy links for you. And you can do that for competitors. And basically what it does is it holds the brand name and your competitor will not even know what’s hitting him.
So it used to be even as recent as three or four years ago, that if you wanted it to rank on something on Google, you would just go out to these link farms and buy these crappy links. You spent 50 bucks and then you would move up in the rankings, right? And literally, that’s the job of an SEO and a lot of them still do it, but they don’t realize times have changed.
Before, a client says I’m going to rank on whatever keyword, and what these SEO people do is they just go to these links places, directories, third-party link networks, or any other ways to find links by different words and then purchase a bunch of crappy links and then see that the client moves up to the rankings because Google, Yahoo! and MSN would just literally calculate the amount of link juice that the brand is collecting and whoever has the most link juice and the right keywords linking to them would result in moving up to the ranks.
Before, the search engine is kind of dumb. So that’s what it takes to rank but now, what Google does is it is starting to penalize people over the last seven or eight years about it and now when they catch you buying crappy links, they then penalize you.
So now, for those who are in really tight competition (not that this process is ethical), what the competitor does is buy crappy links for their competitor so the competitor gets flagged for those crappy links.
So what do you need to do to find these crappy link?
Run a link analysis to determine which of your links are toxic. Configure an audit and it’ll take 24 hours for the audit report to come out. But basically, what’s going to come out are all the links that you have and your job is to determine which of them are garbage links that you need to submit a disavowal request, which is telling Google through Google webmaster tools/Search Console.
Now submit a report to Google saying that these links are from coupon sale and has nothing to do with your company. It’s free and it’s easy to do.
They are made strictly to try to fool search engines and they have no power.
Do you want to know the number one way to assassinate somebody besides buying garbage links?
When people are searching and once they click on one of the results, look at it and say, “Oh, this website’s taking too long.” or “I don’t like it” or whatever the reason is for these people to abandon the site and click to the next search result.
This is what we call the Click Back and this signals to the search engine that the user didn’t like and thus doesn’t even read the thing from your site.
So if people are clicking on this and clicking on number two and number three, that means they’re not getting what they’re looking for. So we’re giving them a bad experience. So we actually want to get them away from the site as fast as possible, and then have them not come back until they search for something completely different.
Another thing is if your website is a little slow. And so if your website’s slow, that leads to another bad user experience, which then signals Google to not put your site high up in the search results.
What hurts the site is if it’s a signal of a bad experience such as what I mentioned.
6. Be on WordPress.
This is just my personal views but I highly think that if you were on WordPress, most of the issues can be instantly fixed.
So let’s just say we were to come out with a WordPress version of our website. Would that do any damage to us? If we switched to WordPress, do we get dinged for doubt?
The content management system doesn’t matter to Google, but here’s the deal. If you do switch and anyone who wants to switch between any of the content management systems, you can, but just make sure you don’t lose any of the existing pages that you have indexed.
But often when you switch over, you might lose some of the pages, category pages, or tag pages. WordPress tends to be without getting too geeky. WordPress tends to be just a little smarter when it comes to managing tags and link juice flowing between different sites. So what I mean is just for anyone who is not doing this professionally, just know that if you use WordPress, you’re already 90% of the way there with your SEO.
So before you jump ship and have someone redesign your website, ask, Do you really need to?
About the Author
You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.
You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.