Are you planning a website update, or has your digital agency recommended it’s time for a re-launch? The digital nature of websites mean they are infinitely variable, making it easy to update them. And it’s a good idea to keep your website up-to-date as your business changes or technology improves.
But in a busy organisation it is understandable that you may be tempted to leave the website details to your web design agency. However, depending on the level of skill of your web agency, it is easy for the unwary to fall into a trap. Such mistakes can severely set back your search engine rankings and cause a dramatic drop in traffic to your site.
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So, when a re-launch is in the works, it’s worth making a few simple checks personally, to monitor your site’s metrics. Of course, at Sushi Digital we have an experienced team and a comprehensive quality assurance process to ensure your updates always run smoothly.
And we hope that your digital agency doesn’t make any of these mistakes – but we believe it’s worth you taking the time to be sure.
Five easy ways to monitor your site:
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a powerful, free tool that provides you with a comprehensive range of statistics about the behavior of visitors to your site. (Find it at www.google.com.au/analytics.)
Familiarise yourself with the basics of Google Analytics and run your own reports each month.
Choose some metrics that are important to you – Sushi Digital recommends number of unique visitors, time on site and bounce rate – but each business will have its own key measurables.
Run your reports before and after your web revamp – and see what the statistics show.
2. Google Webmaster Tools
This is another great, free analysis and information tool from Google. (Find it at www.google.com/webmasters.)
While Analytics is concerned with who is coming to your site, where they are coming from and popular content, Webmaster Tools shows how the site is viewed by a search engine. They also provides important diagnostic information such as technical problems with your site (eg ‘not found’ errors), which negatively affect search ranking results.
Again, run your reports before and after the revamp – they will quickly highlight any problems.
3. Page URLs
Pages URLs (also known as page slugs) are important for the optimization of your page.
An example of a page URL is www.sushidigital.com.au/services/. The important thing about page URLs is that you don’t want these to be changed without a good reason.
Each page URL has a history that is recorded in the Google database (and is available to view in Webmaster Tools). Over time, pages gather ‘authority’ which means they are prioritized by Google in searches.
This authority needs to be protected by not making unnecessary changes – even a single letter change can be enough to lose a page’s authority.
Make sure your web agency understands this and then check the page URLs yourself before sending the site live.
4. Number of pages
Dramatic changes in the number of pages on your website can cause you to lose ranking and page authority. A big drop in page numbers can cause ‘not found’ errors, while a big jump in page numbers will make Google suspect manipulation.
Google Chrome Webrank can provide you with some statistics, and you need to monitor any changes in page numbers with your web design agency makes to ensure any negative effects are minimised.
5. Page speed statistics
While many factors that are used to rank websites in search results are kept secret, Google has publicly announced that site speed is a factor in ranking. Your web design agency should be ensuring your site loads as fast as possible. You can use www.gtmetrix.com to get your own website speed statistics before and after any changes. If the site has slowed dramatically, you need to take action.
Brought to you by the Sushi Digital Team in Perth, Australia. To find out more about how Sushi can help you update your website or maximize your search rankings, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1300 301 988.
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