We were recently contacted by a local firm looking for some help with their site’s SEO. Before our initial meeting, we went to great efforts to examine their content, their site architecture, their links, their social properties and the use of keywords on their site. Despite the fact that the site was pretty old and had some good quality links, it just wasn’t ranking….for anything.
So we dug a little deeper. Turns out there are more things going on under the hood, so to speak, that are preventing this site from ranking. The first is a sitemap that is full of pages that do nothing but confuse the search engines as to what this site is actually about. When your site has ten good content pages and 60 pages of nonsense, it’s understandable that the site won’t rank for what you want it to rank for. No way could an algorithm discern what to crawl, index and rank.
The second problem is load speed. Flash and cool graphics are great, but if they impact load speed, then you have a problem. The slower the load speed, the less likely a visitor is going to wait for your site to get to the point. The search engines keep track of these mis-fires and if your site is consistently slow, then no way are you going to get a prime spot on the first page.
Finally, and this dovetails with the concern above, is bounce rate. If people are arriving at your site, determining within nano seconds that you don’t have what they want, and they leave right away, that’s a bounce. If your bounce rate is high, your rankings will be conversely lower. Why should search engines reward a site with a good rank if their customers (searchers) don’t find enough of value on the page to keep them there?
Fortunately, there are fixes to all of these issues and fortunately, ours is a company that digs deep enough to find the root cause of problems instead of grazing the surface.
Here is the tutorial from Google Analytics on bounce rate.