Why Your Site’s Search Rank May Be Falling (And 4 Simple Ways to Fix it)

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This isn’t supposed to be happening.

Your 8-year old website with the domain registered 10 years out is getting outranked by websites less than a year old with auto-renewal on.

And you thought the age of your website meant authority.

But the problem is this: domain age alone doesn’t grant you authority, and your domain registration strategy doesn’t impact your search rankings quite like you think it might. Your site’s content and the links coming to those pages are what matters.

What’s that you say? You have quality content and quality links and you’re still dropping in search rankings?

Well then the reason is clear …

You are not making users happy.

User experience matters (a lot)

Seems odd, doesn’t it … user happiness impacting your search rankings?

But it’s exactly what Matt Cutts said in this recent video. (Don’t worry, we still disagree with him about guest blogging.)

See, when you have a site with a stale design, sluggish load times, bloated code, and crappy mobile experience, you are going to get outranked by newer sites with a fresh, contemporary design, blazing fast speeds, and orderly, clean code.

In other words, those newer sites are going to have a better user experience … which makes visitors happy.

Let’s see how we can fix these mistakes.

1. Stale design

For some sites, outdated design is a badge of distinction. It’s like you know you are gaudy — and proud of it.

A hipster might be able to get by with that, but not a business owner. At least not a business owner who wants to make a profit.

A user wants to land on your site and feel like they can trust you. An outdated design is going to raise an eyebrow and probably drive a visitor away.

So, here are the essentials of web design that works.

2. Sluggish load times

People will abandon your site if it takes longer than four seconds to load. How fast does it take your site to load? Test it with these six tools.

And get this: a website built on our Genesis framework measures load times in milliseconds.

And let’s not forget how hosting plays a huge part in fast load times.

3. Bloated code

The number of SEO changes in the last couple of years are legion. So, an older website that hasn’t been updated is probably sporting a chaotic mess of old code, not to mention missing out on the benefits of HTML5 and Schema.

Instead, present search engine crawlers with an orderly, squeaky-clean page of code, and you’ll be well on your way to a solid ranking for your chosen words.

4. Crappy mobile experience

People will not tolerate bad mobile experiences. And with more phones than people, it pays to have a superb mobile site.

But that doesn’t mean you have to design a separate site for mobile users. You just need to get mobile responsive. Here’s a beginner’s guide to get you started.

The good news about redesigning your site

Ten years ago updating your website was a pain in the neck.

You needed to know how to code, work your way through PHP files without blanking your site, and dish out a few hundred dollars.

Not today.

It’s almost as easy as pushing a button. Take it from this writer (who I know for a fact can’t code his way out of a wet paper bag).

Yes, even I updated two personal blogs in eight hours over two days. Most of that time was spent fussing over the position of buttons or rewriting the tagline to make it snap on the page.

And on a scale of one to 10, my anxiety level while messing with this “technology” was about a … one. I get more anxious trying to request a book from my library.

So, long story short, there really are no more excuses not to update your website … right?

Flickr Creative Commons Image by Ben Salter

Demian Farnworth is Copyblogger Media’s Chief Copywriter. Follow him on Twitter or Google+.

The post Why Your Site’s Search Rank May Be Falling (And 4 Simple Ways to Fix it) appeared first on Copyblogger.

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