It’s great to add video to your website, but if it is set to autoplay as soon as a visitor hits your home page, go right now and disable that. Audio too, although that’s less common. And while you’re at it, give some thought to the multimedia items you have on your website. Are they relevant to your business? Engaging? Worth the time they take to view? If not, get rid of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I like cool special effects and videos as much as the next person, but there are several reasons to ditch the Flash.
First, if your site visitors are using an Apple device to visit your website, they’re not able to see anything created in Flash. So if mobile users are important to you, don’t put anything important in Flash. By the way, if it’s not important, why have it on your site in the first place?
Second, anything you have in Flash is invisible to the search engines. So again, if it’s important for people and search engines to find and view, don’t use Flash.
And third, if it takes a while to load (which happens a lot with Flash) it can cause your site visitor to bounce and make the search engines unhappy. Instant gratification audience.
Long Forms for Visitors to Fill Out
It would be awesome to find out all kinds of demographic info about the people who sign up for something on your website. Name, address, phone number, business, job title, gender, age, special interests, etc. etc. But what do you actually NEED from people who sign up?
If you’re selling something, and users have to fill out payment info, then stick to the basic info you have to have in order to process payment. If they’re just signing up for a newsletter, or signing up to leave a comment on your blog, don’t chase them off with a form asking them for all kinds of data. If all you actually need is an email address, then just ask for that. After you’ve established a relationship with them, you will have more opportunities to gather more info from them. Don’t be greedy and try to get it all in one shot on their first visit.
“Borrowed” Content (text or photos)
Don’t copy and paste stuff from other websites. It doesn’t help your site and it may hurt it. If you want to recap an article you’ve read somewhere else, write your opinion of it in your own words and link to the original. Feel free to take a quote or two from the original source as long as you put it in quotation marks and add the attribution. Only use photos and graphics that are clearly identified as available for public use, and be sure to add the attribution for those also. Check out these sources for public domain images and royalty free images.
If you have keywords stuffed into your meta tags or your titles and headings, your blog posts or articles, in the footer or side columns on your site, stop that. It’s 2015 and stuffing keywords into your website hasn’t helped since about 2001 and now it can actually hurt you. Use common sense and natural-sounding language in your titles, headings, URLs and meta tags and resist the urge to shove extra keywords in there.
We’re just talking about what’s actually ON your website, but I’ll take this opportunity to remind you NOT to be paying for inbound links or using any linking schemes to artificially grow the number of links that point to your website. Be mindful of the websites you link TO, and stay away from link farms or other link trading schemes.
Check the links on your site to see if any of them are broken, and fix or remove those. And if you’ve created a ton of links in your footer to identical pages for every city in your service area, remove those links and the corresponding duplicate pages. That’s a link tactic that not only doesn’t help you anymore, it can get you in trouble.
Low-Quality Guest Posts
If your website has a blog, you’ve undoubtedly been contacted by bloggers who offer to write guest blog posts for free. They just want a link back to their blog or website. If it’s a legitimate blogger with a blog or website that relates to the kind of business you’re in, have them submit a writing sample to you or send you links to their published work. If their writing is good quality and would be of interest to your site visitors, that’s great. However if it’s low-quality filler content, skip it. It’s better to have higher quality content in lesser quantity than to have a bunch of keyword-stuffed, irrelevant blog posts just to beef up your quantity.
Too Many Ads
Having too many ads not only irritates the human visitors to your site, but it’s a signal to Google. They actually measure how much useful information is “above the fold” on a web page, and if the top halves of your web pages are full of ads, your site is likely to be downgraded.
I already mentioned keyword stuffing and bad link practices, and here are some other tactics that maybe, sort of used to work, but now can hurt your site and have severe consequences:
- Hidden or invisible text on the page
- Cloaking (presenting different content to users and search engines)
- Doorway pages – spammy pages that the user doesn’t see and that redirect to other pages
- Thin content
- Content Automation
- Sneaky Redirects
Do your website a favor and remove the things that could be keeping you down. And then take some time to add the right things!
Dex Media provides complete marketing solutions to local business: website, email, customer relationship management software and more.