Think twice before deciding you want your website for free

Think twice before deciding you want your website for free

Despite the fact that a website is the "digital display" for mortar & brick businesses I see websites on a daily basis that are not up-to-date or not optimized for search engines and I think I know why.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is no rocket science

Optimizing a website is no rocket science. Well, it is for a website like Amazon.com which has more than 130.000.000 (!) pages. But for small local businesses it is relatively simple. So how come a lot of businesses launch websites that are not optimized? It's probably because they asked a "tech savvy" friend / relative / co-worker to make the site for free and this helper does not have all the required skills to make a website. Setting up a website and filling it with content is just one phase of the process.

Mobile friendly websites

Since last year more websites are visited on mobile devices than on desktop and most sites that go live today are optimized for mobile but still improvements can be spotted on many sites. Here are some examples:

  • Big images that make the mobile site slow and generate unnecessary data usage.
  • Not all content that is on the desktop version can be found on the mobile version, so the website is not responsive but two different versions are indexed by Google. Less "mobile content" results in less visitors coming from organic mobile search. It can lead to problems like lower conversions when people share a link from the desktop site with someone that opens the link on mobile.
  • Links to close to each other making the navigation poor.

Structured data

We all know those stars on Google that make a site stand out in a list with search results. But how do they get there? It's done via so called "Structured Data" in the HTML code.

Ratings in Google search results

With this technique you can for example also make events stand out:

Ratings in Google search results

Old content

Ok, but why are a lot of websites outdated then? Probably because the business owner doesn't have the time/knowledge to do it and it feels awkward to keep on asking the friend that made the site to do it for free. I hear you thinking: “Why does it matter that a site of for example a bar has old content? Just put some nice pictures on it, opening hours and a couple of lines of text and you're done right?” Well, websites with frequent updates rank higher on Google.

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PS for SEO-ers: I know the link of this page is not optimized for Google ;-)