You’re almost certainly aware by now that Google has been rolling out a series of updates throughout 2011 which have been significantly affecting the ranking of almost all websites in the search results. One of the many issues which they’re now looking at is how users interact with your website, as this gives a much better clue as to the relevancy, authority, reliability and quality of your website than simply analysing keywords and content alone.
If you create a website that’s hurried and slapdash this is likely to reflect badly and put off visitors. Content geared almost exclusively for the search engines, packed full of keywords and not much else will also put off visitors, as will confusing layouts, pages packed full of adverts and content squeezed into awkward places. If your website is badly designed then visitors may well leave after only a very short while, and this ‘bouncing’ behaviour gives the search engines a pretty clear idea of just how good your website really is, in spite of all those keywords.
Here’s a quick list of 10 ways you can put off your visitors without even realising it, and through them, put off the search engines too.
1. Cluttered homepage with different items competing for attention
2. No contact information
3. Videos or audio starts playing automatically upon entry, with no way to stop or pause.
4. It isn’t obvious what is a hyperlink, and what isn’t!
5. Registration is required before the user is given what they came for
6. Font style is poor, either the size, style or colour
7. The ‘About’ page looks like an afterthought with little useful information
8. An intrusive pop-up window is displayed as you navigate to each page
9. Links open pages in new browser tab or window (with the exception of external websites/popups)
10. No search facility (unless your navigation is red hot or you operate a small site)
That’s what puts me off anyway, what about you? Please leave a comment below and let me know.