When it comes to SEO, there is a long, possibly endless list of things to consider. From keyword research to social shares; content strategies and backlinks; images and H tags – there’s always more you can do to boost your SEO rankings. But what about site functionality?
In a race to get to the top of page 1 on Google, most business owners embark on intensive SEO campaigns. However, they tend to focus on things like content, outreach, local citations and social media activity. While these elements are all critical to successful SEO, there is one important area that gets overlooked: site functionality.
What is Site Functionality?
Site functionality simply refers to what your website is capable of and how well it works. If your site’s secure, easy to navigate and free of errors, chances are it’s got good functionality. A website that’s full of broken links and delivers a poor UX, on the other hand, definitely has poor functionality.
Your website is the centrepiece of your online presence, so it’s vital that it impresses visitors and transitions them through your sales funnel. Whatever goal you’re working on – whether it’s increasing brand awareness, optimising conversion rates or cultivating customer loyalty – good site functionality is critical to your success.
However, site functionality doesn’t just have a direct impact on sales and user satisfaction; it affects your SEO too. In fact, site functionality is one of the key areas that Google assesses when ranking your webpages.
By overlooking site functionality when planning your SEO strategy, you’re ignoring one of the most basic elements. Good rankings rely on optimum website functionality. Make this the basis for your SEO activity and you’ll be off to a great start.
Improving Your Website’s Functionality
Optimising site functionality doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. You might find that you’ve already got some of these points covered and, if not, you’ll have the insight you need to turn things around. To find out what changes you need to make, take a look at some of the aspects of site functionality that impact your SEO rankings:
1. Mobile usability
An increasing number of people are accessing the internet via mobile devices. Advances in technology, Wi-Fi and 4G/5G mean it’s easier than ever to get online using a tablet or smartphone. Of course, the reduced cost of data and widespread availability of public hotspots has helped the mobile trend to flourish too.
In fact, mobile internet use has increased so much that Google has switched to mobile-first indexing. Essentially, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re not going to get the top rankings you’re after. While businesses used to rely on two separate sites – desktop and mobile – this approach limits your SEO success and requires twice the work.
By using responsive web design, you can satisfy Google’s mobile-first indexing algorithm and ensure users have a positive UX, regardless of what device they’re using.
2. Site speed
10 seconds might not sound like a long time but sit behind a screen and set your stopwatch. It sure feels like a long time now, right?!
If your webpages take anywhere near to 10 seconds to load, then you have serious functionality problems. In fact, Google has confirmed that a very slow loading speed is a negative ranking factor. This means you could actually harm your rankings by failing to address this issue.
On mobile devices, your site really needs to load in under 3 seconds. However, even loading speeds of 2.9 seconds will only put you ahead of 50% of sites on the internet. Upgrading to a better server or hosting provider is essential if you aren’t getting the speeds you need to rank highly.
If you’re still not convinced, monitor your bounce rate at existing site speeds and check them again when your loading speeds are reduced. Users are impatient when it comes to waiting for a webpage to load and you could be losing a substantial part of your audience simply because your site’s too slow.
3. Website Security
People like to engage with businesses they trust. No matter what industry you operate in, chances are you’ll be asking users to part with information when they visit your website. Whether you’re collecting email addresses for a newsletter subscription or processing sensitive financial information via online sales; users won’t give up their details if they don’t trust your brand.
Most users are aware of the difference between http:// and https:// in a URL, so make sure your security certificates are in order. However, users won’t generally spend time investigating a site to determine its authenticity or assess its security measures. Instead, they’ll rely on the overall aesthetic, functionality and security indicators.
Whatever security measures you take to safeguard your business and your customers, make sure you advertise them! Badges, graphics and imagery are widely available when you implement site security, so ensure they’re displayed clearly. This is particularly important on sites that offer online transactions but, even if you don’t process purchases online, be sure to let your users know just how seriously you take their online safety.
Boost Your Rankings with the Right SEO Strategy
These are just three site functionality issues that have an impact on your SEO rankings. There are plenty more functionality elements that affect your rankings too, so it’s important to take a comprehensive approach when you’re evaluating your site’s current performance.
Once you’ve covered the basics of site functionality, it’s time to begin working on other areas. Both on-page and off-page SEO is critical to overall success, so you’ll need to consider your site layout, content strategy, outreach, PPC campaigns, social media performance, influencer links and much, much more.
If you don’t have an in-house SEO team, chances are you won’t have the time or the resources to implement a sure-fire SEO strategy. Fortunately, you don’t need to worry. At ClickSlice, we specialise in creating, implementing and delivering successful SEO campaigns. To find out how we can transform your business, contact us today on 020 3287 3638 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.