Aileen Barron: Changes coming that will impact your website performance

By Aileen Barron, Green Acre Marketing

A website is a fundamental requirement for any business and with Google’s recent move to a new website ranking system, many agri-businesses need to start paying increased attention to how their website stacks up against this new ranking system.

Regardless of the inclusion of e-commerce functionality, your website’s primary objective is to funnel people to the point where they are informed and present themselves as a sales opportunity, and in light of the recent move by Google, developers and website owners are going to have to pay more attention to how they achieve this.

What does Google want from you?

Google has introduced a ranking signals called Core Web Vitals which now offers website owners a brief on how to build pages that users enjoy.

Ultimately, you want to fix poor user experience (UX) and improve web health which will then contribute to the website’s overall search ranking. These Core Web Vitals are centred around user experience including page loading, visual stability and interactivity.

The good news is that Google offers free tools for website owners to check how their website currently fits with Google’s new ranking system. These include Chrome User Experience Report, PageSpeed Insights and Search Console, among many others.

If your website is not paying attention to these page signals, along with other key ranking factors such as content relevance, content structure, appropriate keyword usage and mobile friendliness, etc, it may get excluded from the top search results.

If this isn’t the push needed to get agri-businesses to start seriously valuing the time and resources they put into their website development and functionality, I don’t know what is.

Too many times we hear of website development and updates as a tick the box exercise, where some websites are built for as little cost as possible just to sit off the end of a domain. This approach is completely counterproductive and, in some cases, leads to the need to start from scratch at a later date.

As previously highlighted, your website needs to be easy to navigate around; whether on mobile, desktop or tablet, easy to find content on, and most importantly, contain strong obvious call-to-actions – call, email, order, download, etc; whatever it is you want the visitor to do.

There are so many tools available to measure how your website currently stacks up against Google’s new ranking system and utilising these in conducting a UX audit is something that can be actioned straight away in order to formulate a plan in bringing your website up to standard.

Having a website is not a box-ticking exercise. It is something that should be given due consideration in terms of what it should offer visitors in order to be useful and to capture leads. It should be both functional and visually appealing which will often mean IT and marketing needing to work closely together to ensure web coding meets visual design and creative.

Again, the best advice I can give is to take on the project of website development as an investment, as a good website that contains all of the best practice protocols will pay dividends.

For any assistance on developing a new website or bringing an existing website in line with what is required heading into 2021, contact Green Acre Marketing at: [email protected].