Many factors affect a website’s performance. Statistics, data, and analytics are helpful but can also be misleading and provide frequent fodder for aggressive salespeople. Some basics aren’t objectively measurable. These play a significant role in your website’s effectiveness, which is a better measure of its success than simply performance numbers. Fortunately, these factors also help a site appear high on search engine results.
While Google and other providers are quick to provide website owners with statistics about their site’s performance, the actual algorithms that measure a site are contained within a mysterious black box and are not readily shared. After all, they want to sell ads, right?
Below are a few factors that affect website performance:
1. Established, yet Fresh
One measure of a website’s performance is its search engine optimization (SEO) credibility. Age has a bearing on this measure of credibility. While you cannot roll the clock back on a website, you don’t have to throw out the domain with the website. You can hang on to an established domain even though the website located there had a lackluster performance. A brand-new, high-performance website can exist with that domain. Likewise, you don’t have to discard domains that were created years ago (with boring abbreviations that no one can remember) for that fancy new one. You can have your cake and eat it, too.
Once your new domain is secured, a web designer can have searches that land there redirect to your old one. Your points or SEO score will take a little ding, but that’s better than tossing out a 10-year-old domain. At the same time, the content of the website must be fresh. Search engines look for new content as they hope to provide their users with up-to-date information, which is what they want.
2. Substantive Content
The sophistication and capabilities of the ever-improving artificial intelligence built into the Google algorithms can effectively measure the relevant substantive content within a website’s text. Keywords or search terms are still important but cannot be strung together with fluff. The search engines are looking for substantive content. Why? Because users of the search engines are. Your website must be giving people what they are looking for.
The website itself must be engaging. It is important to catch the visitor's attention and hold it. How? With substantive content as discussed above but also presented engagingly. It must be easy to read, and the website must be easy to navigate. If you have great, engaging content which is what someone is looking for, but they cannot easily find it (and the search engines know what is easy to find), then you haven’t done all that you can to increase your chances of holding the visitor’s interest. The measurable (and reported) statistics on a website’s visitors’ engagement has a strong influence on where that site will appear in search results. If your efforts drive many people to your site (which digital ads will do), that measure is helpful but even more important is the number of people who engage – who spend some time there. It can be a few seconds but that is better than a bounce right off. You don’t have long for the visitor to size you up.