- 69% Of Responsive Websites Take An
- Benefits Of Responsive Websites
- How Important Is User Experience For Businesses?
- Mistakes To Look Out For When Adopting Responsive Web Design
- Why Responsive Design Matters
Published on July 27, 2012
You will no doubt remember when Google released its major algorithm update towards the start of last year: the Panda update (sometimes referred to as the Farmer update) impacted on around 12% of searches at the time, and web designers and others working in the industry spent considerable time making sure websites were up to standard.
The aim of the Panda update was to help weed out sites considered to be less reputable, such as those that took part in the practice of keyword stuffing or otherwise employing low-quality content – yet that still managed to do well in the search results prior to Panda. The impact of this algorithm change was significant, and since then there have been multiple updates and refreshes to the Panda algorithm to help perfect what it was intended to do.
Fairly recently - on June 25th to be precise - a further refresh of Panda was released. It is thought that this has only had an impact on around 1% of searches, but it still makes sense to take this opportunity to review your site and make sure it won't fall foul of the algorithm designed to find low quality sites and bump them down the search results. After all, there are billions of Google searches done every day, so even though 1% might not sound like a huge amount, it is still something that cannot be ignored (if you want to be amazed by the number of Google searches per day, this link is somewhat eye-opening: click the 'start' button and watch the numbers flick by faster than you can see).
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at the different things you can do to ensure your site falls into the ‘high quality content’ category and will not fall foul of the most recent or any future Panda algorithm updates that might be released.
‘High quality content’ is something that can be hard to define, but it’s what all sites need to achieve if they want to rank well in relevant search results. Last year, Google released a list of interesting questions that can help web designers work out whether a particular site is high quality. For example, trustworthiness is one issue that comes up quite a lot: is your website trustworthy? If it is an ecommerce site, would you be willing to input your credit card details? These questions can seem rather subjective, but most of us have a pretty good idea about the answer we would give when looking at a particular website.
However, there are also some very practical things we can do to make sure our websites are high quality and filled with useful information for web users. For instance, making sure there is no duplicate content on your site is one obvious way of improving your site, particularly as this is one of the things Panda can penalise you for.
Sites that make use of a considerable amount of advertising can also take action to make sure they don’t fall foul of Panda. This is a particularly relevant issue since part of the aim of the most recent Panda update was to weed out sites that trick users into believing an ad is trustworthy when it isn’t necessarily the case. Websites that take part in link-building should also ensure that all of their links are reputable and genuine.
One of the big things that all websites can do – and that they should probably be doing anyway even if it weren’t for updates such as Panda – is to think about things from the point of view of the web user. After all, one of the aims of any website is to make sure the user has a good experience of that site, whether it’s in navigating the different pages to find what they’re looking for, making a purchase or reading about a topic of interest to them.
It might sound a little inconclusive to say that the main thing you can do to deal with the implications of Google Panda is to take care over all of the content on your site and make sure it is all engaging and well-written, but it’s true. We can all take action to make sure our websites aren’t negatively affected by algorithm changes, but ultimately our focus needs to be on creating a good web environment and a positive experience for web users – all of the time, not just whenever a new algorithm update is released.
Published on July 27, 2012
There are plenty of factors that have an impact on our search rankings. How well the website is optimised, for instance, or how good the content is. But could a slow website also affect our search rankings? One thing is for certain: we all want to make our websites as quick and efficient as possible. It isn’t just SEO specialists who are interested in this; arguably, web designers have just as much if not more of an interest in making sure our websites are fast and responsive. Here are some of the main reasons why it matters.
Web users don’t like slow sites
It is a truth widely acknowledged in the world of web design that web users tend not to like slow websites. While users naturally have varying degrees of patience when faced with a slow-loading site, many will walk away if it takes too long to load a page. According to some research, if a site takes more than four seconds to load, 1 in 4 people will abandon the site.
One of our main roles as web designers is to give the people who use our websites the best possible experience. How long it takes the page to load might be only one of the factors that influence this, but it certainly doesn’t get us off to a good start when they are stuck waiting for something to load – and it could cost us their attention altogether.
Growing smartphone usage
We have looked before on this blog at issues of growing smartphone usage and why we need to take account of it in web design, but the speed of websites is definitely one of the key issues to consider. Even though there have been massive improvements in recent years in terms of how long it takes mobile websites to load, we cannot deny that they are usually still significantly slower to load than desktop sites.
With this in mind, if a website were to take five seconds to load on a desktop, how much longer would that same site take to load on a mobile device? The difference can be considerable, and research from America suggests that if a mobile site doesn’t load within 10 seconds, half of users will abandon that site.
This is one of the reasons why web design techniques such as responsive design are becoming more popular; it helps to make mobile sites more reactive and efficient, as well as providing a better visual display and practical experience to web users.
Search rankings could be affected
Another reason to care about a slow-loading webpage is that it could end up having an impact on your search engine results. According to Google, only 1 per cent of searches are impacted by the load time of websites, but we shouldn’t assume that our own websites are safe and so it makes sense to ensure they’re as efficient as possible so we don’t get penalised.
This means that even though other issues such as the relevance and quality of the site have more impact on how well your website does in search results, the speed can also have an effect.
It could identify other issues
Also, if your website is loading slowly, it could be a sign that there are other issues you need to address in order to help it run properly. For example, has the site been properly optimised? Could the size of the graphics perhaps be slowing the site down? Are there any bugs that you might have missed that need to be fixed to speed it up? Is there anything you could do to reduce the size of your style sheets? Can you reduce the size of the webpage in any other way to help it load faster?
If we want our websites to run as efficiently as possible, we need to make sure we have analysed it properly and perfected the design so there is nothing on the site that could possibly lead to it being slower than it should be. If we do this, it won’t just be the speed of the load time that improves; the overall quality and experience of the site should improve too, so it is definitely an issue that deserves our attention whenever we are worried that a site isn’t loading quickly enough.
Published on July 13, 2012
Published on July 13, 2012
Tags: Web Design London
There are plenty of different factors to think about when decided on your company’s web design – but don’t forget that you need to keep your brand in mind. For example, if your company is quite well-known, it makes sense to ensure your website is designed in such a way that your brand will be familiar to the people who use your website. Here are a few things you might like to think about when looking to build your brand through web design.
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