Do You Have a Healthy Website?
Posted on 07/06/2022 at 10:00 AM
Is your website fully optimized for both search engines and users? A fully optimized (aka healthy) website is more than just having the right keywords and great web design. Technical SEO is the foundation for ranking your website higher in search engines and creating a user-friendly experience.
What is Website Health?
Website health includes a broad range of technical SEO aspects that impact how search engines are able to crawl, understand, and rank your website and its content. There are many technical SEO audit tools that can scan your website, identify issues, and assign a health percentage based on the number and severity of the problems.
According to SEMRush, the top 10% of websites average out at a site health percentage of 92%. The average website health score varies by industry, but higher is always better. Some problems have a greater impact on website performance, so they factor more heavily into your website health score. Want to know your website’s health score percentage? Submit your URL at the end of this post!
Why is Website Health Important?
All of the aspects of website health come down to two factors.
Search Engine Optimization: Technical SEO problems identified in a website health audit can hinder a search engine's ability to crawl and rank your website. You could have a beautiful website design and tons of high-volume keywords but if you don’t have a healthy website, you’ll never climb to the first page of search engine results.
User Experience: Technical SEO also contributes to the user’s ability to find, interact with, and enjoy your website content.
There are a lot of factors that go into your website's health percentage. Some are quick and easy fixes, while others may require website development experience. In this blog, we will touch on a few of the most important (and easiest to fix) website health factors.
Your page titles and meta descriptions let search engines know what the purpose and topic of each page are. This data helps them determine if your content is relevant enough to display in search engine results.
Missing titles and meta descriptions can not only hurt your website's ability to rank higher but also make it difficult for users to understand what a page is about. Having this metadata present is just the first step. Optimized metadata includes:
Focus: Your page title should be concise and focused on the primary topic of the page. Ideally, your page title includes at least one core keyword relevant to that page. Your meta description should also include keywords and be focused on convincing the viewer to read more.
Length: Page titles should be as close to 60 characters as possible without going over, and meta descriptions should be around 160. If your metadata is too long, it does not fully display in search engine results, creating a choppy and cut-off look to your content.
Call To Action (CTA): From a user standpoint, you want your meta description to invite the reader to visit the page. Ending your meta description with a strong, clear call to action can help achieve this goal. Common CTAs include “Shop now”, “Learn more”, “Find out today”, etc.
Unique: Every page title and meta description on your website should be unique, even if the page content is similar. As we will discuss next, duplicate content is another common technical SEO issue.
Having the same content on multiple website pages can confuse search engines and cause that content to rank lower. Since search engines can not tell the difference between the content, they don’t know which page is more relevant to display, so they may not display it. This applies to metadata as well as the actual page content.
Content that is not exactly the same can still be flagged for duplicate content. Simply switching up a sentence or two on a page or adding an extra word to a page title is not necessarily enough. Try and keep each page on your website completely unique. If two extremely similar web pages are unavoidable, switch up the order, wording, and length of one page, so they are not flagged as duplicates.
As with any form of SEO, content is king. Keyword-rich, easy-to-understand, engaging page content is always important, but there are technical factors to consider as well. When analyzing the text content on a page from a technical SEO standpoint, keep these factors in mind.
Word Count: A minimum of 200 meaningful words is standard SEO best practice for website pages. More words not only give you the opportunity to add more keywords but also helps search engine crawlers better understand and rank your website pages. Note: “meaningful” content means not just blindly adding random or non-relevant text. Content should be relevant, interesting, and worthwhile to include on the page.
Text to HTML Ratio: According to SEMRush, “Your text to HTML ratio indicates the amount of actual text you have on your webpage compared to the amount of code. This issue is triggered when your text to HTML is 10% or less.” This issue is related to word count but includes more page factors. Images, videos, interactive content, and more all make a website page heavier and load slower. Adding more text is always a great start towards resolving this error, but it’s not always enough. Check out other ways to fix this error in our blog “5 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2022”!
Heading Hierarchy: Having a clear and logical flow of heading types throughout a page helps crawlers better understand the topic and purpose of a page. If a page has both a title and an H1, crawlers can’t identify the core topic of the page. If a core section of a page and the call to action at the bottom of the page are both H2s, they are both assigned the same relevance, even though one is more important than the other.
Links can have a big impact on both the ranking of your website pages and the user's experience with your website. From a technical search engine optimization perspective, three important linking factors include:
Internal Linking: Having links on one page of your website that lead to another helps both users and search engines find important pages on your website easier. Standard SEO best practice includes having at least two incoming internal links to important pages on your website. Diversify your internal linking by making sure to link to more pages than just contact us and/or your website's homepage.
Link Quality: Making sure that there are no broken links on your website is a simple concept but a common issue. Ensuring that any external links do not lead to a spammy website is also an essential factor when it comes to linking.
Anchor Text: Anchor text is another extremely common issue that is very easy to solve. Having anchor text on your links is not only important for SEO but also for WCAG compliance. Not only should the link have anchor text, but the anchor text should also be descriptive. Common examples of non-descriptive anchor text include “here”, “learn more”, “click here”, etc.
Instead of: “Learn more about web development services here: https://www.globalreach.com/services/web-development! Use: Learn more about web development services!
Page Load Speed
Not only does a slow-loading web page frustrate users and likely hurt your bounce rate, it also negatively impacts SEO. Heavy code, lots of media files, bad website hosting, and much more can all impact your website’s load speed. Learn more about the importance of page load speed and how to make your web pages load faster in the page speed priority section of our blog, “5 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2022”.
Many of the previously mentioned website health factors play into the crawlability of your website, but there are other, more technical, factors to consider as well.
Crawlable Links: There are many factors that can prevent search engine bots from properly crawling the links on your website. Incorrectly formatted URLs, blocked external resources, links with a no-follow attribute, and more can negatively impact website health.
Robots.txt File: A robots.txt file is a great way to guide search engine bots to properly and efficiently crawl your website. Note: one mistake in your robots.txt can seriously harm your website, so it’s best to employ the help of a web design and development company.
XML Sitemap: A XML sitemap serves a similar purpose to a robots.txt file, helping guide search engine bots to crawl important website content. An XML sitemap is a bit easier to set up than a robots.txt file and is especially helpful if your website doesn't have a strong internal linking structure.
Structured Data: Improperly structured/invalid structured data items can hurt the crawlability of your website and drop your website health percentage. Properly structured data, also known as schema markup, can drastically improve your website's crawlability. Schema markup tells search engines precise and descriptive information about your business that helps bots crawl, understand, and display your website faster and better. Specific information on the type of business, location/service area, and product/service details are commonly included data in schema markup.
Website Health Doesn't End There
There are many other aspects that contribute to the health of your website and in turn, inform your technical SEO strategy. The examples discussed in this blog are some of the most common issues that can be resolved relatively easily. Having a healthy website is vital to the success of your website, so it’s important not to neglect proper website maintenance. Picking one issue to focus on and correcting it throughout your website is a great first step towards a healthier website.
Improve Your Website Health the Easy Way
Global Reach utilizes advanced website scanning software to give an accurate and specific report on the health of your website. We can provide you with a detailed monthly site audit report so you can identify and solve technical SEO issues. We also offer website maintenance services, so your website health will be continually monitored and improved by our expert team!
What's Your Website Health Percentage?
Submit your website URL below, and we will send you your health percentage report for FREE!