Search Engines

When a new client with an established website hires us, first we thoroughly test that Google is able to see and understand the website. Problems we find here may have serious consequences for the website's performance.

Here are some problems we find far too often.

Our process discovers and fixes these and other problems.

Private, Keep Out sign

Google Go Away!

Web designers typically insert special instructions into the website during development to block Google and other search engines. This is good.

Web designers don't always remember to remove all those instructions once the website goes live. This is bad. It ensures some or all of your website will never be visible on Google.

Tablet with no text

No Text

The difference between text and pictures and video on a website is often unnoticed by a person, but is significant to a search engine. A search engine understands text. Pictures and video are mostly ignored. Text that is part of a picture or video is completely ignored.

Some web designers create beautiful websites with lots of pictures and movement. But most of the text is actually contained within pictures and video. Great for people with 20/20 vision, but invisible to search engines (and many people without 20/20 vision).

Lots of eggs, all the same

Duplication

Thanks to the actions of spammers, Google is now likely to consider multiple copies of the same content as spamming. Google penalises spammers. You may think this doesn't apply to you, but there are simple ways it can happen accidentally.

Are you using a CMS such as WordPress or Drupal? Do you have multiple domain names that point to your website? Does your website have a secure section (using https) and an insecure section (using http)? If you said yes to any of these, your website may have duplicate content you are unaware of.

Confusion

Think of the times you've visited a website and found it confusing. You don't want that for your website. Confusion is bad for both search engines and visitors.

There are many ways you might be confusing visitors without realising it. Of course, confused visitors usually leave and look at your competitor instead.

A confusion of options

Confusing Menus

Ever been to a website and not understood which menu option will lead you to where you want to go?

The most common reason for this is that the person who designed the menus already knows their way around the website. They already know what all the words mean. But the words are either meaningless to visitors or, more commonly, there are several words the visitor thinks have the same meaning.

Of course, to someone who understands the subject well (the website owner), there is no problem. They know exactly where everything is.

A tangle of chain links

Confusing Links

Links between pages on your website frequently confuse visitors. We often see website visitors scrolling up and down a page, obviously looking for the link that is right under their nose. But they don't realise that's the link they want. There are several potential causes.

The simplest is “banner blindness”, where people have been “trained” by ads to not look at certain parts of a page.

The link might not look like a link. Perhaps it's the wrong colour, or the image looks too much like a picture and not enough like a button.

For text links, the problem is usually that the link words do not suggest to the visitor what they'll actually see when they click. The linking text is very important, both for visitors and for Google, but it is often ignored.

Often a link goes to a page that does not exist. That is a problem that will instantly drive away most visitors. We can detect and eliminate dead links.

Confusing answers

Confusing Search

Visitors who are confused might use your site's search facility, if you have one. Does it work the way they want?

If your website is confusing, this is your last chance to keep the visitor. But many websites just “turn on the search” and leave it at that.

We can help you track track what people search for, and whether they find it. Armed with this information, we can alter your website to reduce confusion, give people what they are looking for, and turn them into customers. Improving search is very cost-effective on most websites.