How A Good Website Maintenance Plan Can Boost Your Search Rankings (SEO)
In a rapidly-changing world where the only choice is to adapt or die, companies are constantly reinventing themselves at an ever-increasing speed. With so many customers online these days, the internet provides the perfect platform for establishing and evolving brand identity. Whether you are a solo enterprise, a massive corporation, or anywhere in between, a top-quality website is essential.
But setting up a great website is not a one-and-done undertaking. In our ever-evolving cultural landscape, a website maintenance plan is imperative to keep your content current and your customers engaged over time.
Your website is the window to your business. When customers and search engine crawlers land on it, they are looking for relevant, valuable content that is a reflection of a thriving and reliable business. Content that is inaccurate or out-of-date is a red flag for prospective customers that the information they’re getting may be inconsistent or untrustworthy.
SEO shortcuts may give you a quick boost, but they will not help you in the long run and can even do more harm than good. To keep your website running smoothly and ranking highly in search engine results, investing in a sound website maintenance package will streamline the process of keeping your site up to date.
If you are wondering how website performance can help your business outrank the competition at SEO, here are a few suggestions to give you a better understanding of how website maintenance works and why it’s valuable to your business.
Yearly Website Maintenance Plan Tasks
Renew your website domain:
This task, while seemingly obvious, is one that should not be overlooked. To rank a website, you need to first make sure you still own the domain.
Update your website design:
It is a fact that humans are visually driven, which is why even the smallest design touch-ups can improve your corporate image and drive more users back to your website for the latest news. If your website is visually dated or unappealing, it will automatically read to customers as old and out-of-date, even if the content is being regularly updated. Make sure you’re giving your site a visual touch-up every now and then as well as managing the content.
Consider updating your best-performing blogs and content:
A quick analytics check-up will give you a clear idea of which blog entries and what content was most visited and had the highest conversion rates. This allows you to focus your efforts on the content that’s generating the most traffic and center your content on the most relevant topics to your user base.
Quarterly Website Maintenance Plan Tasks
Optimize your pictures and images:
Images bring content to life and help your website's SEO. Since people are visual creatures, a well-chosen picture will help readers understand your content better and increase the probability that they will return to your website.
Analysis shows that the right image can increase conversion rates on a website. However, before you upload a picture, make sure it's fully optimized (compressed, properly named). It's best practice to add alt text (alt tag) that contains a targeted SEO keyphrase to all your pictures. Also, keep in mind that the alt text should describe the image so people and search engines can make sense of it.
Keep your website mobile-friendly:
When it comes to website success, it's all about the user experience (UX). Make sure your website is rendering properly on various mobile devices and different types of browsers and operating systems. Good user experience increases the conversion rates on your website. Google reports that over 90% of people with smartphones in western countries use mobile devices to do local searches. In other words, the more mobile-friendly your website is, the more likely it is for the user to find the information they are looking for.
Monthly Website Maintenance Plan Tasks
Check your website loading speed:
This is one of the main ranking factors introduced by Google in 2010. The faster the website, the easier it is for users to browse the site and for search engines to index a page. A slow loading time can be detrimental to user experience.
What factors affect a website's loading speed? It can be a variety of factors like picture size and poorly designed CSS and HTML, but the most common limiting factor is your hosting provider. If you have been sharing server space with other companies, it may be time to invest in a dedicated hosting plan.
Analyze your local search visibility:
Any business with a physical location can benefit from local searches. As a small business, the people around you are your neighbors but also your customers. In other words, if you don't do proper local SEO, you are losing potential customers on a daily basis. With nearly one-third of all online searches tied to a location, it may be time to invest in a good website maintenance service that will make sure your conversion rates are improving.
Weekly Website Maintenance Plan Tasks
Check for 404 errors and broken links, and redirect them:
We may not have the clearest picture of what search engines really love, but we definitely know what they really, really hate, and that's broken links and 404 errors. Broken links, whether inbound or outbound, don't only create a bad user experience. They also hurt your website's precious relationship with Google (a.k.a your SEO rankings). You definitely don't want to be sending users or 'Googlebots' to non-existent pages.
Bring plugins and website software up to date:
One of the biggest mistakes website owners make is failing to perform regular website updates. Unfortunately, such practices leave your website vulnerable to responsiveness issues. This is a dealbreaker for big search engines, like Google and Bing, which are always trying to provide their users with the best and latest content on the web.
Post fresh and relevant content:
Publishing high-quality content and optimizing your on-page strategy are two foolproof ways to thrive as search engines evolve. Show your readers and customers that you value quality over quantity. Feel the pulse of your audience and keep it relevant.
When you update the website and content regularly, it gives a signal to both users and search engines that your site is alive and running properly.
Practice healthy SEO:
Keep in mind that most people scroll or click away when they see big blocks of text. Do your business a favor and organize your content so that it's eye-catching and inviting. Place your header tags carefully in a way that follows your content's natural flow. Use high-ranking keywords both within the header tags and in the body of the text itself.
With that said, don't forget you are writing for people and not just for search engines. Keep your language clear and authentic, and don't oversaturate the content with keywords.
Daily Website Maintenance Plan Tasks
Manage Website Downtime
As mentioned previously, search engine bots crawl your website to index the web pages. When your website experiences downtime, crawlers cannot reach it but keep coming back during the day to check if the website is up and running. In such circumstances, a slight drop in SEO rankings is normal. However, the longer the downtime, the bigger the drop.
Moreover, the biggest disadvantage is that your clients won't be able to access your web pages or use your services, which will take a toll on the bounce rate. A very high bounce rate will have a negative impact on where you rank in the search index. The best way to avoid this is to keep your web pages up and running as much as possible.
Website Maintenance — Your Best Chance to Grow
From choosing the right hosting plan to your website’s overall user experience, web maintenance is the #1 thing you can do to help your business grow and evolve. Website maintenance is not just a fancy addition to your marketing plan. It's an essential tool that can shape your business and ensure the future of your success.
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