1. The Content is Weak
Website content should be unique, timely, and relevant. This kind of quality content entices people to return to your website in the future and also to share it with others via links or through social channels. This sharing not only gives your site more of a chance to be found by people using those sites or social platforms, but it can also help increase your search engine rankings and findability.
If your site’s content is boring or outdated, or not useful and unique, then it will not be very appealing to people or to search engines. In the end, any exploration of how a website can be improved for search engines should begin with a thorough review of that site’s content and a plan to update and improve it.
2. Lack of Support for Mobile Devices
Google now uses mobile friendliness as a ranking signal in their ranking algorithm.
This means that if your site is not optimized for mobile devices, likely with a responsive web design approach, then you are offering a less than ideal experience to some users and the search engines will take that into account.
Mobile friendliness is important for both Google rankings and for user experience, but this thinking should extend beyond just small screen mobile devices.
On today’s Web, sites should be developed to work well across a wide range of screen sizes and devices, including those small mobile screens but also giant screens and everything in between. If your site is still stuck with a “fixed width” layout and trying to deliver that layout to all devices, regardless of their screen dimensions, then it is unfriendly to both visitors and search engines.
3. Slow Download Speeds
Another key ranking signal that Google and other search engines have begun to weigh heavily is page speed and overall site performance. While the web as a whole is becoming more and more bloated (with webpages now averaging a whopping 2MB+ each), to achieve improved search engine rankings those webpages should be moving in the opposite direction from a page weight and download speed perspective.
If your site is weighed down with too-heavy images, dependencies on scripts and libraries, social feeds, or other elements causing unnecessary bloat, the time to reduce that page size is now. This will benefit your visitors. who will appreciate that faster download. The site itself will also benefit since search engines will look very favorably upon those speed improvements.
Not sure how your site stacks up in terms of performance?
There are many resources you can use to measure and monitor site performance right now.
4. Infrequent Updates
Search engines like it when sites are updated with some frequency. This shows that attention is being paid to the site and the content is likely timely and up to date. If your website suffers from the “launch it and leave it” problem, where it was current and fresh when it was first launched, but has been neglected ever since, then search engines will look unfavorably upon that fact.
In some cases, the bulk of a site’s content may be relevant long into the future, but you should also have a plan for adding content that lends itself to frequent additions or updates. Some example of this kind of content could be blog articles, news posts and press releases, or other kind of company updates.
5. Antiquated Code
Web standards and best practices change with some frequency. If your site was built many years ago and has not been updated, from a code standpoint, to reflect current best practices, then this is likely hurting your site.
While a website redesign and rebuild may be chore that you are not eager to undertake. The reality, however, is that sometimes the only way to bring a site up to date with current standards and to make it more appealing to search engines is to rebuild that site.