Why Isn't My Website Ranking?

Why Isn’t My Website Ranking?

In How Things Workby Josh Gamble

For a business owner, the world of SEO can be confusing and frustrating. Especially when you’ve just dropped cash on a slick new website and it isn’t showing up in Google search results. The good news is that there are things you can do right now (!!) to get on the right track. Let’s remove some of the smoke and mirrors of SEO and talk about practical steps we can take to make our websites better.

1. Optimize Images (Here’s How)

I’ve read a fair amount of articles with advice on SEO, and all of them urge you to “optimize all your images,” but most provide virtually zero advice for how to go about it. Many people end up simply adjusting the dimensions of the image to get the file size down and then serve blurry small images on their website. Don’t settle for blurry images! Even if your website ranks highly, when a user clicks and only sees pixelated images, your credibility as a quality company is immediately brought into question.

I use a few tools to minimize image file size and maximize quality on my sites. The first one is Adobe Photoshop Image Processor.

Photoshop has a built-in image compression script that is fast and wonderfully effective.

Here are the steps:

  • Put all of the images you want to compress in one folder and give it a nice title. (I usually title mine “compress.” pretty original, I know.)
  • Open Photoshop
  • Select File>Scripts>Image Processor
  • Select your folder of images
  • Set quality to 8
  • Select the appropriate dimensions
  • Hit Run!

How do we decide what dimensions to make the images? As more and more devices have high-res displays with upwards of 150 pixels per inch, sites are needing to serve larger images to maintain that laser-sharp look. In general, for images that you will use to stretch full-width for headers, sliders, big galleries, and section backgrounds, you will want them to be 2400px wide to support desktop screens. For smaller images that will be served in containers but still large, 1920px wide is safe. For others that might only appear in 1/2-screen-wide columns, you could get away with 1080px. The more you can plan ahead by knowing exactly how big an images home will be, the better off you will be.

Start writing or type / to choose a block

2. Optimize Text (Here’s How)

Mobile-friendliness doesn’t matter anymore. That’s right kids. These days it’s “every device-friendliness.” There is no telling what size device your website will be viewed on. One of the biggest enemies to a responsive site is poorly sized text. ‘Too small to read’ and ‘too big for the screen’ must be avoided at all costs. We want our users to view text at a reasonable size no matter what size phone, tablet, or computer they have.

CSS is incredibly powerful and has a perfect solution for this in the form of dynamically scaling text. Using the Calc function for font-size lets your text scale dynamically rather than at specific break-points. For example, the CSS on this blog post looks like this:

.single-post .entry-title{
font-size:calc(2vw + 30px);
}

.single-post h2{
font-size:calc(2vw + 20px);
}

.single-post .entry-content p{
font-size:calc(.5vw + 15px);
}

The “vw” stands for “viewport width.” This is the width of the user’s device or browser window if it is not full screen. So in this example, the post title is 30px plus 2% of the browser’s width. That means on a cell phone the text will about 32px and on a large desktop, it could be closer to 40 or 50px, while sizing dynamically on all screen sizes in between. You can see it in action if you grab the edge of your browser and shrink it down. Watch the text gradually adjust and get smaller. The calc function also proves to be extremely useful for sizing all types of HTML elements. Note: always make sure to have a space on either side of the ‘+’

3. Pay attention to your search console

If you haven’t already, get set up on Google Search Console. This is a simple and helpful tool to understand how people find your site in organic search results. When deciding what kind of content you need to be creating on your site, you can use the insights from Search Console to guide you.

For example, out of all people who found our website on a list of Google search results, a big chunk of them searched “types of advertising agencies” or something similar. As it turns out our blog post about types of agencies is drawing a significant amount of organic search traffic. Armed with this knowledge, we can tailor our content to appeal to the same audience that is curious about the different types of agencies.

4. Use clean page structures

  • Use exactly one H1 per page and have it be the page title or similar
  • Use H2 for subheads and p for body text
  • Give all your pages a meta title and meta description. If you are on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin is wonderful for this and lets you set up a default meta title template so that all pages follow the same format
  • Add alt text to all your images. If you are in WordPress you can do this all at once directly from the media editor. Think about how you would quickly describe the image to a blind person. Specificity and conciseness are key.

5. Make it helpful to real actual people

At the end of the day, Google elevates websites that it perceives are of high quality and helpful to its users. (People use Google because it gives good search results, the more people that use Google, the more money it can make serving them ads). Luckily for everyone, Google’s robots are getting smarter and smarter all the time at recognizing helpful websites, so the SEO game is becoming much less about tricking the system and much more about creating quality content in an organized manner that loads in a decent time. As their systems keep improving, pleasing the bots and pleasing the people will be the same.

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