Why do some websites use www and does mine need to?
A question that arises a lot is whether to use the www or not in a website domain name. We also get asked what the implications of using www or not are for SEO. So, let’s look at what is important and the issues to be aware of to get the best outcome.
Understanding how search engines treat sites that use www or not
Search engines view sites that use www and those that don’t as different subdomains. This is the same for sites using HTTP or HTTPS. HTTPS is simply an indication that an SSL certificate exists.
Search engines also treat subdomains as completely separate properties. So, for example, www.foundonline.com.au and foundonline.com.au have little relationship to each other. Likewise, if a site uses HTTP or HTTPS they are not the same. i.e. http://foundonline.com.au shares no data with https://foundonline.com.au from a search engines point of view.
The most important thing is to ensure that there is only one active property online. You can do this by redirecting with a 301 redirect to the canonical version. i.e. Redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.
Should you use www or not?
The truth is, it doesn’t matter, so long as only one property is active.
Additionally, SSL certificates are now free through LetsEncrypt. Most hosting providers also support the auto-renewal of certificates through them. So, there is no excuse to not be using HTTPS. This means you can pick either the www or non-www version so all traffic goes to one property only.
With the basic scenario out of the way, let’s have a look at some of the more interesting cases.
What about other site areas?
One technology (probably WordPress) typically manages a website. However, you may have a new area of the site where it just doesn’t provide the functionality you need. This could be a documentation area, projects portal, journals, maybe even a new blog engine.
Typically, it is fairly straightforward to set these up on a different sub-domain such as blog.foundonline.com.au or projects.foundonline.com.au. However, this is where the search engines will see them as separate properties. In this instance, you run the risk of diluting the ranking of your site.
Ideally, you want to get these working as a sub-folder on the main site e.g. /journals. Especially where the content and links are related to the main site content. The solution to this is to implement a reverse proxy.
What is a reverse proxy?
A reverse proxy is where the server receives a request to /docs and then proxies that request to the platform handling that part of the site.
This way the customer (and search engines) will see the single top-level domain, but really there will be multiple servers and technology stacks delivering different parts of the website.
Admittedly, this is not trivial to set up. There can also be lots of technical implications that need to be worked through as a result. But you should be aware that it is possible and that it should be considered functionality as on a site.
If this is something that you are needing to do to maximise your search results, we recommend getting in touch with a qualified agency or hosting provider that can help you with this.
SEO mistakes could be harming your business without even knowing it.
With 90% of all purchases starting with an online search, being found in search results is critical to any business success. However, 90% of all clicks happen on listings that return on page one, 90% on positions 1 and 2. So there’s no doubt as to the importance of good SEO to generating company revenue.
But with ever-increasing businesses moving online, selling their goods and services to the same customers you’re targeting, the competition to claim the top spot in search engine results pages (SERPs) is heating up.
Unfortunately, many businesses just can’t measure up when it comes to getting improved search rankings no matter their SEO efforts. The reason normally boils down to 9 simple marketing mistakes that are commonly made. These mistakes waste your time, money, and resource. No matter how good you think your SEO strategies maybe if you don’t have the right foundation and keep making these mistakes, you’re going to fail.
Here are the top 9 SEO mistakes you need to avoid
12 SEO Mistakes to avoid
1. Failing to understand your audience and their buyer journey
Understanding who your audience is should be the first step in developing your SEO strategy.
What is your audience searching for online? Are they asking specific questions online that are going unanswered? What problems do they have with current product and service offerings? Without understanding these things, you will miss the best keyword opportunities that drive traffic, and you’ll fail to create relevant content.
Buyer Journey is the process a buyer goes through on their path to purchase. It includes four stages – unaware, pain/problem, solution, decision – in which the customer becomes aware of a problem or need state, the research various solutions to their problem, evaluate their options, and then decide which solution to purchase.
Mapping a buyer journey is simply defining and mapping out the process that the buyer goes through on their path to purchase. Sales, marketing and SEO efforts build an understanding of needs, problems and behaviour throughout the entire journey to create appropriate content for each stage.
2. Not Having a proper plan
An SEO strategy should include your keywords, content plans, social media activity and content, as well as how you will build backlinks, maximise your local SEO efforts and other media online you want to appear in. In addition to this, who will be managing all of this, how will you generate quality content consistently and what is your budget?
First and foremost, in creating your SEO plan is understanding what you want to achieve. What are your KPIs and how will you measure your return on investment against them? This will help direct your SEO strategy and all your plans. Once you have set your KPIs and you know your audience, conduct proper keyword research, and study your competitor’s activity. This will help you identify the right way to stand out online.
Found Online offer results-driven SEO Strategy to help businesses win in SERPs. Get in touch to find out how we can support your digital marketing campaigns.
3. Holistic SEO mistakes
When decision-makers lack a clear understanding of our SEO works, they fail to understand that SEO is impacted by everything you do online. Content, on-page SEO, technical SEO, backlinks, social media, local SEO and more, all impact your search visibility. Each plays a vital role in how well your website ranks for various search queries as well as the performance of all other online profiles such as Google business listings, social media profiles and other online directories for example.
A business that develops a holistic SEO strategy that coordinates all online marketing efforts will appear higher in search and get more traffic, more leads, and more sales.
Found Online focuses on holistic SEO to get you higher in SERPs. Get in touch to find out how we can support your digital marketing campaigns.
4. Ignoring Your Competitors
Why reinvent the wheel if someone has already worked out the best strategy to maximise their search results? Obviously, we’re not saying to copy directly from them, you will need to differentiate your brand and positioning. But by looking at what your competitors are doing online, you can learn from their success and from their mistakes.
Generate insights about your customers’ behaviour online by how they interact with your competitors. What are the keywords that generate the most traffic, how have your competitors optimised for them and are there any gaps in meaningful keywords they’ve missed.
Review your competitor’s content to generate ideas on what to write about and what content to produce. There are many tools online to help you see which topics generate the most traffic. You should also investigate how your competitors share their content online to drive reach and traffic. Where are they sharing it, what platforms and how regularly are they posting their content.
Your competitors can also help you build your approach to link building. Backlinks to your competitors’ sites are easy to find with various backlink spying tools available to use free online.
5. Failing to differentiate / Pay too much attention to your competitors
Your competitors can give you good insights to help you build your SEO strategy and plans but if you want to beat the competition, you must do it better than them. There may be things they aren’t doing well that would waste your budget and undermine your efforts. Identify these and exclude them from your strategy and capitalise on missed opportunities. Furthermore, it is critical that you can differentiate from your competitors in order to stand out.
Businesses should be able to differentiate their products and services and brand positioning from competitors. They can also differentiate with what content they create, and the topics covered, or the platforms leveraged to get content out there. Whatever it is, to take advantage of new opportunities, reach more of your audience and maximise their ROI, businesses must do more or do it better to appear higher in search than competitors do.
6. Poor Content Relevance, consistency, and quality
Google likes informative, meaty, and unique content that connects users to business. Most of all, your content needs to be relevant to your audience.
The best way to do that is to understand what your customers are looking for online and what websites and information they interact with. Refer to step one above. You need to know who your audience is to create content for them.
Avoid wasting time and effort creating content that is irrelevant to your target industry and your target audience. There are only so many hours in a day so ensure they are spent where it matters most. Also, by being targeted in your approach, what your business and website are about will become clear to customers and search engines alike.
Technical SEO is the process of making your website more visible to search engines and helping them read and understand your website content. This helps search engines to crawl, index and then serve your website for better search rankings.
Technical SEO focuses on things like structured data markup, meta tags, alt tags, URL structure, and robots.txt to name a few. It is important to ensure each of these are properly optimised to help search engines read your website and understand what your content and your business are about.
8. Link-Building Strategy
Link-Building is essential to SEO. Backlinks help search engines find your website and to understand what your website is about. By doing so, search engines can index your website and serve it in SERPs for relevant search queries. Backlinks also build your domain authority by telling search engines that your content is worth linking to, this is a great way to get listed higher in search results.
It’s important to understand, however, that there are a lot of link building strategies that can hurt your business. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of not so reputable businesses selling link building services like these.
Never purchase backlinks. Rather, build them with quality content people want to link to. Share your content to get it seen by more people to generate backlinks. You can also request backlinks from relevant websites with high domain authority to relevant content on your website.
You want your customers to stick around once they have visited your website right? Then ensure your user experience makes users do so.
Websites are the new face of the business, the silent salesman, and aligned with brand image. As such, websites should be beautifully designedhttps://foundonline.com.au/content/ as well as informative and conversion rate optimised to encourage users to act – click, call, buy, hire, contact, etc.
More than that, your website needs to be fast to load and easy to use across all devices. This is now a ranking factor that helps determine the position in SERPs. As such, ensure your website is mobile responsive, easy to read and easy to navigate. User’s experience should be a priority, in addition to the content, a website contains. Keep an eye on your core web vitals via Google Search Console to prioritise website development and improvement work to improve your website usability.
Website development most often requires a unique set of skills. Work with website developers who know how to design and build websites for SEO. See Found Online Website Development Services.
10. Local SEO mistakes and lack of local SEO
Local SEO is like normal SEO except that it optimises for local and “near me” search queries.
Search Engines provide personalised search results to customers based on the customers’ location when the search takes place. Therefore, if your website is not optimized for Local SEO, you will not be found by local audiences. This will make it hard for customers to find your physical location too.
Local SEO can even help you compete with big national brands and businesses with unlimited resources and spending power. Proven Local SEO techniques like listing your website on Google My Business, creating locality-based content etc, will help you rank higher for local keywords and locality-based search.
Many businesses have internal marketing teams. Unfortunately, they are often stretched with competing priorities or lack the right skill set to manage all elements of SEO. Some or all SEO efforts can be easily outsourced which enables businesses to grow rapidly and adds flexibility to business making decisions.
SEO takes time and effort, as well as a unique skill set from content writing to website design and development, as well as all elements of good SEO – eg. Keyword research, technical SEO and link building. By properly supporting your marketing teams efforts and allocating an appropriate budget to outsource key SEO functions to experts, it is impossible to fully optimise your search rankings.
The right SEO experts can help you develop an effective search strategy. Outsourcing the most time-consuming activities like content writing will ensure consistency. As will using professional developers for the more complex technical and coding needs for your website.
12. Not tracking and learning from results
SEO is not a set and forget strategy. Customers change, competitors hit back and the ever-evolving digital landscape means you have to stay ahead of the game to win with SEO.
Track your progress vs. KPIs and amend your strategy and SEO tactics accordingly. There are several tracking tools like Google Analytics and Search Console which are free to use and show the results of your SEO efforts. You will also want to keep an eye on your website load speeds. You can do this via Lighthouse Page Speed testing which is part of Googles web developer tools.
There are many other keyword popularity, backlink checker and competitive spying tools out there to help you keep an eye on your results. Or you could work with an agency like Found Online to track your performance and maximise your SEO strategy.
Have you made any of these SEO mistakes?
If you are failing to see page one results, get in touch with Found Online SEO agency. We take a holistic approach to our SEO Services. Offering 20 years of experience in SEO we know how to get you better search results.
Website performance is integral to your customer acquisition and retention strategy. A fast loading well-designed website will get you higher search rankings. A well-designed website will also improve user experience and drive more clicks, enquiries, bookings and buys. That means more revenue for you.
Paying for SEO and not getting the results you expected?
Things like page load speed and cumulative layout shift matter to your search rankings. However, many companies still treat these as separate from SEO. As do some SEO providers.
We take a holistic approach to SEO. We understand the relationship between all of your online communications efforts. With experts in both SEO and website development, we can ensure you get the results you need.
Why website performance matters;
1. Website performance impacts conversion rates
You may have the best products at the best price or offer the best service there is. But if your website takes too long to load your customer’s won’t wait to find out about them. Even worse is if your customers can’t find you online in the first place.
A study by Aberdeen looked at behaviour online and the impact of slow page loads. It found that conversion rates drop 7% and page views 11% for every second over two seconds a page took to load. According to Google Small Business Blog, for each additional second, it takes a mobile page to load, conversions can drop by up to 20%.
For a business that generates $10,000 a day, that results in around $2.5 million to $4.5 million in revenue annually.
2. Website performance impacts SEO
Core web vitals – Load speed and layout shift – are now key measures used by Google to determine site rankings on search engine page results (SERPS). That means, if your site performance is suffering, so will your SEO, making it harder for your customers to find you online.
This was a relatively recent algorithm change by Google. However, prior to that and still, just as important, website performance impacts user experience and therefore user engagement with your site and conversion rates.
When a customer engages with your content, staying on your site, Google determines this is because you have relevant content based on their search. Where content isn’t relevant, Google will drop rankings. So with that in mind, we need to consider what happens when your website performance isn’t up to scratch
The Aberdeen study demonstrates that improved load speed results in better conversions – for every second beyond the two-second mark that a site took to load, conversion rates drop 7% and page views drop by 11%. Similarly, bounce rates increase as users can’t be bothered sticking around to wait for the page to load.
With high rates of users bouncing out of your site, Google would attribute those high bounce rates and low engagement with poor keyword relevance. As a result, Google would drop your search ranking accordingly.
3. Brand Image and Reputation
Imagine if a tech giant had a poor-performing website. Would you feel confident in their capability?
Your website is the face of your business online. It is often the first and last experience a user or customer will have with you. Therefore the experience they have with your website will influence the way they view your products and your services.
Poor design and user experience, long load times and frustrating navigation where you can’t find what you need, are all going to impact users’ impressions of your business. On the flip side, a well-designed website that delivers the right message and brand image will impact the value users attribute to your products and/or services.
Better Performance Means Higher Conversions – More clicks, more sign-ups, enquiries, bookings, and buys.
If you want to win in highly competitive spaces online and in local markets, a business needs to start looking beyond the classic SEO principles. A holistic approach to digital, including website performance, user experience, and SEO, delivers better search rankings, more traffic, higher conversion rates, and more revenue.
Many businesses lack the internal resources necessary to properly optimise their website for search engines let alone the technical ability to improve their website performance for optimal results. That’s why so many oot to work with experienced agencies.
How Found Online SEO and website professionals can help you.
Found Online SEO agency Sydney can help improve your website performance. We take a holistic approach to your digital marketing. From SEO to website design and conversion rate optimisation to everything in between and beyond, our goal is to do the things online that you need to do to get more revenue.
We get businesses in highly competitive and local markets to the top of page one search results and then we help convert traffic to sales.
We’re so confident in our ability to help drive your business goals online, that, unlike other SEO providers, we have no lock-in contracts. We believe great service and great results will keep our clients coming back.
Mobile responsive website monitoring, development, and optimisation
Media compression and optimisation
Hosting with lightning-fast delivery and CDN management
Seamless website migrations to new domains and/or hosting providers
WordPress and Shopify Installation and plugin upgrades
WordPress and Shopify customisations
Programing logic review
Website design and development
Found Online delivers superior website performance
Found Online has a team of website designers and developers that can help you build a beautiful website with superior performance. From website design to website development and hosting, we deliver websites that load fast and convert more visitors to sales.