5 reasons why an old website might be holding back your search engine rankings
The year is 2005. You have a web firm design a website for your business so you can dip your toe into the vast online world. You and your customers alike love the cutting-edge design and the convenience of having your business information online.
…But after over 10 years, you may be plummeting in Google search rankings, and a little embarrassed to send customers to that “cutting-edge” website. It’s obvious the world of online marketing has passed you by, but why can’t you just salvage your original investment with SEO strategies?
Google has been prioritizing mobile friendly, quick-loading websites with fresh content for some time now, and many older sites are simply not compatible with the new guidelines. Here are 5 reasons why you should ditch your old website to save your search engine rankings.
1. Gone in a Flash
Remember when Flash websites and entry pages were all the rage? We do too – we built some back in the day. But if your Flash site is still the online face of your business, you’re not doing yourself any favors. Text within a flash application is invisible to search engines, so they can’t determine what keywords you should rank for.
Additionally, device & browser support for Flash is waning, and Adobe (the company who owns Flash) has announced that they will stop distributing the Flash Player by 2020. Adobe Flash has never been supported on Apple iOS devices. So those users haven’t been able to natively view Flash ever. If you’re the owner of a Flash website, it’s definitely time to move on.
Redesigning your old Flash website can easily give you a boost in search rankings, and even a simple one-page design will do. The new site will allow search engines to crawl the text on your site and rank the site accordingly. We can’t guarantee page-one results simply due to a redesign, but it’s a necessary step in the right direction.
2. Mobile Un-Friendly Websites
Mobile devices are overtaking desktop computers as the most common device used to browse the internet, including people looking for services and products in their local area. Younger generations are even more likely to prefer their mobile device for browsing. So, if your site isn’t mobile responsive, you’re likely driving a significant portion of traffic away from your site.
Ever notice that Google search results differ when you search from a mobile phone rather than a desktop computer? That’s partially due to a Google update from 2015 which ranks mobile-friendly sites higher for users on a mobile device. If your site is stuck in the dial-up age, your visibility in mobile searches will likely suffer, leading to less traffic and fewer sales for you. A new, mobile-friendly site design is certainly worth the cost.
3. Ancient Content
Websites of the past were often difficult to update. It often required either an on-staff code whiz or costly regular payments to your web developer to ensure your site content was fresh and relevant. As a result, many site owners simply don’t update sites of this nature very often. This leads to things like “upcoming events” which happened months or years ago, and “recent news” from 2009, which naturally make users wary of the business being represented.
Avoiding updating your content can be harmful to your search presence as well as site engagement. Google’s algorithms do reward fresh content, though the effect is much more noticeable with regard to “hot topics” such as sports updates or news. However, there is a case to be made for making regular updates and additions to site content, even for local businesses.
A content management system (CMS) makes updating your site much easier, which in turn makes you more likely to update your site on a regular basis. A redesign using a CMS like WordPress or Shopify for ecommerce can give you the ability to update your site with confidence.
Users’ internet speeds have improved dramatically over the years, so when they encounter a site which takes too long to load, their patience is slim. Many users will return to search results in less than 10 seconds of loading time, and many users won’t even wait that long.
Older websites may have outdated or inefficient code, large images, or applications like Flash, which lead to long loading times, if they load at all. This leads to lost traffic across the board, but especially on mobile devices which may struggle to load your non-mobile-friendly, deprecated site over mobile data connections. Google has indicated that your site’s loading speed does affect rankings as well, though not as much as other factors.
A new website should load quickly enough for today’s internet users. However, be wary of adding too many bells and whistles, as even brand-new websites can be slow to load if not properly built.
5. Dated Designs
Just as dated upholstery on booths and out-of-style light fixtures can sully your perception of a restaurant, a dated web design can easily affect visitors’ opinion of your business. Failing to stay with the times design-wise can imply a lack of care about your business’ reputation, which may lead some to question the quality of your products and services.
While this aspect doesn’t directly affect your search rankings, visitors may back out of your site as soon they see your site’s out-of-date design. This gives your competitors a chance to shine, even though you may offer superior products or more affordable services.
Fortunately, this is a simple fix. A new design can hold the attention of modern internet users while still staying true to your established visual branding.
Welcome to the Future
Whether your old-school website was designed by us a decade ago, built by another developer, or coded by your nephew back in 2005, we can help with your old-school website woes. We can whip up a full-scale custom website, a simple one-page design, or even help you migrate to an off-the-shelf theme – let us bring you into the modern age without breaking your budget.