1. "Legacy" Issues
There are some recommendations that we have been making for several years which have now become imperative. We will therefore assume that your website is mobile-friendly and that it is secured using an SSL certificate. If you have not implemented these yet then you will suffer from ever poorer search engine rankings and your users will find it more and more difficult to use your website.
2. User Experience
Google has been evaluating the quality of your visitors' experience of your website on mobile devices since May 2021 and on desktop devices since early 2022. It does this using a set of "Core Web Vitals" to identify issues with usability - for example when a part of a web page (usually one we have just clicked on) shifts some moments after page load. You need to start considering such factors before your search engine rankings begin to suffer, and if you are really serious about optimising your visitors' experience, you should strongly consider using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
3. Publish Original, High-Quality Content
To Google, content is still king and recent algorithm updates that help discern between content designed for higher search engine rankings and content written for people re-enforce that view. If that's not a good enough reason, here are some more reasons to regularly produce quality content:
- High quality content earns repeat visitors. The more visitors you have and the more regularly they visit, the higher your chances of turning them into customers, or retaining their custom.
- Links to your website are still one of the most important ways in which Google ranks your website, so giving your visitors a reason to link to your website is of vital importance.
- If you have use social media or email marketing, regularly producing new, quality content gives you a great excuse to send a marketing email or post a link to your social media accounts.
- If you produce your own content for your website, doing so on a regular schedule will ensure that you keep up-to-date with current trends in your industry.
4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Despite many changes in the industry in recent years, particularly Google's ability to identify spammy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques, SEO is not dead. In fact, it's nearly always the most important and one of the most cost-effective of all the marketing methods available to you. Here are some ways you can relatively easily yield more traffic (and customers) from search engine results in 2023:
- Make sure you are using Google's Search Console to receive straightforward recommendations about improving your website and it's appearance in search results from Google themselves. Acting on these suggestions can often result in a change of a few ranking positions, which can have a surprising effect on your business.
- If your website is for a business with a physical office location that serves your local community, you cannot afford to ignore Local Search Engine Optimization. As increasing numbers of searches are carried out on mobile devices and have a localized element (such as "plumber in London"),any business that relies on local customers must ensure that they are doing everything they can to appear in localized search results.
- Based on the premise that people "want to be able to find answers to their questions as fast as possible", particularly on mobile, the speed with which a web page loads has been a consideration when Google ranks pages for any given search term since July 2018. Even if you think your website loads quickly, you should use a quantitative tool such as Google's own PageSpeed Insights tool to ensure that you meet expected standards.
- The number and type of links to your website is still one of the most important ways in which Google ranks your website. It is therefore important to periodically perform an audit of all the links to your website to identify any potentially damaging links (which you can instruct Google to ignore or "disavow", using Google's Search Console) and have a plan for improving your website's link profile.
Why not start the year by giving your business a marketing boost? Make sure that none of the legacy issues above apply to you, and then come up with a content-publishing strategy and start engaging in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You will be amazed at what a difference a few small changes can make to your search engine rankings and therefore the traffic your website enjoys.