We all know that your website is essential to your business. It not only allows your potential customers all the information they need to decide to work with you or purchase your products and services, it also enables them to find you online. If someone is searching for a product or service in your area and you’re not on the first couple of search results pages, they may never reach your website. Luckily, there are a few ways you can help move your website up in those search results. Here are three:
1. Go responsive
In April 2015, Google announced that it was making a significant change in it’s mobile-friendly algorithm by giving a boost to mobile-friendly pages in it’s mobile search results. This means that they are giving priority to those websites in mobile searches that are responsive or adapt to the device it’s being viewed on. With internet traffic ever increasing over smartphones and tablets, Google is looking for websites that are easily viewed from any device. How can you tell if your website is responsive? You can find out by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Enter your website’s url and hit “Run Test” and it will let you know. As you can see from the screenshot below, blueturtlegraphics.com is mobile-friendly.
If your website hasn’t been updated or redesigned in over 5 years, chances are it isn’t responsive and it may be time for an update. If you are interested in making your website mobile-responsive or have any questions about it, contact us today.
2. Optimize your site for speed
Not only does Google want your website to be mobile-friendly, it also wants it to load fast. In 2010, Google announced that it would take site speed into account in their search rankings. Not only do we want to appease Google, we also want to make our website load a quickly as possible for our visitors. Website pages that take along time to load have a higher bounce rate—no one wants to sit and wait for a website to load. You want to shoot for a 3-4 second loading time. 5-6 seconds maximum. How do you find out how fast your website it? There are several tools you can use such as Pingdom Website Speed Test or PageSpeed Insights.
If your site is loading slow, there are many ways to optimize your site for speed but it can be fairly technical. Blue Turtle Graphics can offer assistance with this and get your site loading super speedy.
3. Make your site secure
Once again, Google seems to be calling the shots here. With website security being a huge issue these days, Google has been making a push for all websites to be secure (i.e. HTTPS). They announced that security would play a part in how they rank sites in search results and starting in 2017, Google Chrome (the most popular browser in the world) will start showing a warning in red if your website is not secured via HTTPS.
It used to be that only ecommerce websites or websites accepting credit cards payments needed to be secured with an SSL Certificate. An SSL certificate encrypts any data or sensitive information that is processed on your website making it a secure connection. HTTPS (or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is basically a fancy way of showing that you have a secure connection. When your website is secure, you will see a green padlock next to the url in the browser bar.
http://www.yourwebsite.com (NOT secure)
Google now wants all websites to be secure via HTTPS, even if all you have is a contact form on your website. Seems like overkill for some sites, but they are simply wanting a more secure web.
How do I go about securing my website?
Don’t despair, you can convert your existing website to HTTPS by having your developer install an SSL certificate. Once the SSL certificate is installed, all urls within the website will need to be changed over from HTTP to HTTPS. Usually a commercial SSL certificate (like one needed for ecommerce credit card transactions) start at around $39/year and go up. For a non-ecommerce website that doesn’t process any credit card or sensitive data, there’s Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt offers free SSL certificates for websites. We highly recommend having a developer install and convert to HTTPS for you as it can be a bit technical. If you need assistance with this, please contact us.