How to develop high quality websites

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There is no doubt that the key to succeed in digital marketing is to improve, develop and maintain the quality of a website. Regardless of what industry you are in or how boring your niche is, optimizing a website for search engine and audiences’ benefit is what really matters at the end of the day, right? So developing a high quality website should be the top priority of every webmasters out there and not the rankings or links that can unfortunately trigger future problems.



Although it is widely known and practically given nowadays, it is still surprising that you will see websites out there that are not properly optimized and hope to rank higher in organic search for their target keywords. Obviously, that’s not how the game goes here in digital marketing. In order to compete in digital space, there are some essential implementations that webmasters need to cover deal with to compete with its competitors.

Prerequisites On site optimization



Page title and Descriptions

One of the basics but imperative aspects that webmasters must not overlook when optimizing a website is identifying each important pages of a website as descriptive as possible. This helps search engines and search users understand what a page is about just by looking at the snippets being showed in Google SERPs. 





Page title and descriptions are being used by search engines aside from context body of the page, as relevancy signal whenever a keyword related phrase searched by search users. So if your website pages don’t have descriptive page titles and descriptions, your pages may find it hard to rank in organic search.

Although there are some cases that webmasters purposely don’t provide title and descriptions on their important pages as Google sometimes choose the title and description of a page for search rich snippets, it is still recommended by most SEO practitioners to provide a descriptive title and description of your pages to make increase the ranking ability of your website.

Important tips in creating page title and description:

  • Limit your page title for only 65 characters and limit your description for only 150 characters. - To ensure that your page title and description characters will all fit and appear in search snippets.
  • Incorporate your main/important keywords in your page title and descriptions to give weigh on your important keywords being cited as title and descriptions.

Readable URL format

While page title and description help define a page straightforwardly, URL format plays a very vital role in helping a website rank in organic search as this helps users and search engines have a much clearer idea and understanding of what a particular page is about. Also, it has been proven that shorter, readable and descriptive URLs that are easier to remember tend to rank higher than URLs with longer URLs that are not human friendly. 




In digital marketing space, giving your audience a good experience is what really matters to build trust and increase their engagement on your website. So if your website has non-user friend URLs, this can impact your website as a whole negatively compare to your competitors that have their URLs formatted for their audience and search engines.


Important tips in customizing your URLs

  • Include your important keywords in your URLs 
  • Keep your URLs short and avoid using special characters
  • Keep static URLs
  • Make your URLs readable by human and easy to remember

Internal linking

To ensure that your audience to a website will have a better user experience, connecting all your page based on relevancy, importance and quality is a good way to make sure that not only your audience will discover your important pages but also search crawlers. Internal linking is also a good way to expand the flow of “link-juice” throughout the entire website and pass authority to its important pages which is vitally important in digital marketing.




To help your website increase its visitors’ engagement, inter linking your pages is a better way to increase the bounce rate of your website. Bounce rate will let you see if your visitors are exploring your website by going to one page to another or they just then leave right away after seeing or reading your website content. So if you will smartly connect your pages, the chances that your visitors will engage longer on your website will increase and can be used by search engines as positive indication of high quality website.

Important tips in implementation off internal linking 

  • Utilize your keywords when internal linking your pages to help increase the referring links to your important pages
  • Use your brand name as anchor text whenever possible to diversify your anchor text throughout your site
  • Incorporate the internal linking from your blog post or article post to interlink your important pages from your blog section
  • Use long tail and short tail keywords as anchor text to your important pages

URL Canonicalization

URL canonicalization usually causes trouble in search engines. They can lead to duplicate content that can affect a website performance in organic search and may also be hit by an algorithm of Google which is called “Panda or The Farmer”. While this can give you large amount of indexable pages in search engines, it won’t matter if they are all duplicated to your other pages as this can only trigger problem on your website.

Schema Markup

For most websites out there, having schema mark-up implemented on their website is definitely helpful in terms of providing essential information to be displayed as part of rich snippets in organic search. This is very helpful for e-commerce sites as they can use this feature to display the most relevant information in organic search such as; product reviews, user ratings, business operations etc. 

This may not be visible in onsite appearance of a website and in terms of creating quality website, but it helps improve your search appearance in organic search which makes your website quality and helpful to its organic viewers by displaying relevant and important information to its audience.

Page speed

The most essential factors that a webmaster need to focus on a website as part of the process in making a website quality is increasing the speed of their website loading time. Often times, this is always what search engines recommend to webmasters, to help give good user experience to their target audience. I’m sure as a webmaster and search user yourself, you’ll probably be annoyed whenever you visit a page that takes time to fully load the page. I know what it feels like and it does not satisfy me in any way at all. 




Important tips in reducing the page/file size on your website to increase its page speed

  • Minify Javascript
  • Minify CSS
  • Reduce images size

To check your website speed load time, visit the Google page speed test.

Responsive design

For most webmasters out there, it is imperative that they know for every websites as part of making them high quality, is be responsive for every technology or devices being used to access their page. Meaning, the website pages has to fit for every screen of the devices being used to view their web pages. 



Things to consider when creating a responsive website:

  • Make sure that your website should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.
  • Make sure your pages load faster

Navigation

As a part of making a website quality, customizing a website’s navigation to make it easier for users to navigate and find the information they are looking for holds the keys in making a website quality. Although that’s not all there is to it as far as quality of a website is concern, it is imperative for websites to have a clear navigation for their benefits.

There are several types of navigation that a webmaster can implement on a website such as:
  • Top navigation
  • Side navigation
  • Footer navigation

However, while navigation is an imperative part of a website, utilizing the side, footer and top section of a website for navigation purposes may cause trouble to a website especially if they are all pointing to the same page which is why you have to ensure that the links will be included in the navigation are important pages of your website.

Breadcrumb

One of the main responsibilities of a webmaster to a website is to help its audience have a better user experience – UX whenever a visitor comes to your website. To make this possible, implementing breadcrumb navigation for the benefits of your users can help them track their location on your website. 



Now that you have covered the most essential onsite SEO factors to help make a website SEO friendly and quality, this might be the right time for you to evaluate you’re the quality of your content as part of making a website quality .

Content quality

Aside from technical aspect of a website, content also plays an important role in developing high quality websites that can standout on its on base on its quality. While technical aspects of on-page SEO helps websites rank higher in organic search, quality of the content being hosted on a website is what really matters as this is what search users are looking for and it what really matters at the end of the day.

In digital marketing space, quality of content holds the key to establish a website authority, earn editorial inbound links and build exposure within its industry as well as building brand awareness. Hence, developing an eye catching and informative content also matters in developing quality website.

There are some basic ways to help you create and identify quality content such as:



Uniqueness of content

As part of developing quality content for a website, uniqueness is one of the main factors to consider. It helps build authority and increase returning visitors rate to a website whenever there is something new content that has never been posted elsewhere online  which is an indication of a quality website that search engine recognize in a positive way.

Freshness

Along with unique information, freshness of information being displayed or stated on a website adds up when determining quality of a website. Regardless of technical aspect of a website, if the information being presented on a website isn’t something new, this might affect a website as far as quality is concern.

Hence, in digital marketing, fresh information is what recognized and often gets click through rates – CTR so freshness of content and information may help a website compete in organic search.
Length of content

Content length of a website is also an important factor to look at as far as quality development is being practiced on a website. In 2011, Google has released their “Panda” algorithm which targets thin and duplicate content on a website, which means, search engines don’t give value to websites with thin and duplicate content so it’s not recommended to have shortly written content posted on a website. Also, short content does not stand a chance to compete with longer content and it does not also deserve to earn editorial links especially if it does not cover the most important information about the topic.


Guidelines in determining high quality site

There are some ways to help visitors and webmasters out there determine if a website is quality and trustworthy on its own without having to purposely create links to their website to build its reputation. For some, they may consider a website high quality by using SEO metrics tool out there such domain authority or page rank. However, Google posted on webmaster blog a list of questions on how an individual can define himself if a website is quality on its own regardless of having extensive SEO knowledge in mind.

Here’s the list:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it shallow in nature?
  • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
  • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
  • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • How much quality control is done on content?
  • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
  • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
  • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don't get as much attention or care?
  • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
  • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
  • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Is this the sort of page you'd want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
  • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopaedia or book?
  • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
  • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
  • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?

While this list of questions is to justify whether a site is trustworthy and authoritative on its own, building reputation and authority within its industry can also give huge positive impact to its target audience and can help ranking in organic search.

Final word

By making your website quality, useful and easy to navigate can help you build trust with your online visitors and search engines. Since having a quality website holds a key to success in digital space, having a website only for the sole of online presence is not enough to compete in digital marketing. It’s only a one part of the game you have to play with along with your competitors.

Also, the demand of digital marketing for enterprise and small businesses has been definitely crucial regardless of what industry you are in as this can help your business grow, build reputation and awareness within your target geographic location and audience. This can also help you attract more potential clients and customers for your business that are looking for your services or products through your digital marketing strategy.

It’s just everything starts with your own website, make it quality through technical aspects, content aspects and off-site aspects will help your business and website quality in your industry.





Joseph Gojo Cruz is the author of RankingElite, a Philippine-based Online Marketing blog. Joseph has been working in SEO industry for over 3 years from website audit, link and content development, social media and search engine optimization. Connect with Joseph on Google+Twitter, and Facebook. Joseph is also a contributor on SEJ and Ahrefs.