Okay, so we’re being deliberately facetious with the headline of this post (obviously nobody wants to kill their site), but just in case you were curious about what not to do, here is a list of 5 things that could potentially hurt the success of your site.

1. Ignore Mobile

It’s old news that having a mobile site (or at least a responsive site) is crucial to businesses. People are browsing the internet 24/7 shopping, checking for deals, and researching questions with the intention to buy.

What often turns people off, though, is when a website does not display properly on their mobile device.

You can bet that if your website is not at least responsive people will be tapping the back arrow faster than Usain Bolt after a couple Red Bulls.

If you have a larger website or an ecommerce website you may want to look into building a mobile site. At the very least you should check that your website is responsive. Try using Responsinator, it allows you to see how your website looks on mobile devices in one step.

2. Limit Testimonials

Although Google continues to take customer testimonials into serious consideration when assigning search rankings, some businesses still shy away from testimonials because they fear negative reprisal from customers. Testimonial-phobia is common, but our advice is to just let it go. Every business at some time or another is going to deal with negative feedback. It is much better to have an outlet where you can at least manage feedback, and publicly demonstrate your ability to handle complaints rather than try to suppress feedback.

Suppressing testimonials won’t do any good because, one way or another, people are going to share their opinion about you.

3. Ignore Social

The beauty of social media is that it can help you uncover powerful insights into your customers, staff, competitors, online reputation and industry trends. At any given moment somebody somewhere could be extolling your virtues over a positive shopping experience or cursing your brand over a failure in customer service, however, if you don’t have social media you have no chance of hearing what they’re saying.

With social media, you can tune in to these conversations, and deal with them when they’re negative or amplify them when they are positive.

Our advice? Select the networks that you are most comfortable with (and where you know your target audience is), and start sharing content that embodies your company’s values, mission and work. Follow people that are part of your target audience and interact with them by liking, sharing and commenting on their activity. The keys to being good on social media are the same as real life: listen more than you talk, be social and generous.

4. Forget About Content

There are a lot of conversations going on right now about how audiences are reaching content exhaustion. While it may be true that it is now more difficult to reach and capture attention than it was 5-10 years ago, it is certainly no reason to stop creating great content.

What we need to focus on is creating shareable content that wins over a specific audience.

Whether it is a blog post about the 12 surprising things you can do with your product or a fun video of your staff dancing to Katy Perry, if it makes people laugh, solves a problem or gives them something to think about, chances are you will succeed with your content. And best of all, you’ll likely boost your rankings in the process because search engines love fresh content. If search engines are Hungry Hippos, your pieces of content are the marbles.

And optimizing your content is not as hard as you think. With Google’s evolution towards conversational search, we are much more concerned with optimizing content in a natural, user-friendly way. Write on your topic in an engaging way and don’t insert a key phrase just because you want to rank for it. Google will understand what you are writing about, and will probably rank you higher than someone who has saturated an article with keywords. Include a strong call to action or finish with a question that will encourage your audience to discuss your topic. Google is most concerned with serving the best results, so if people are browsing your site, engaging with your content, and linking to it later on, Google will know that you are creating content that people find useful and will rank you higher than others who aren’t doing the same.

5. Don’t Use Schema.org markup

On-page markup allows you to control how search engines read the information on your website. However, since there are so many different varieties of markup, major search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have gotten together to create a shared markup vocabulary called Schema.org.

This type of markup makes your website more digestible for major search engines, and can also lead to better CTR rates.

Since schema.org allows for information-rich snippets to appear in SERPs, people are more likely to click on your listing versus a listing that communicates very little information.

In Summary

  1. Check the responsiveness of your site, and make sure it displays properly on mobile devices.
  2. Allow customers to write testimonials about you. Share raving reviews with your audience and deal with negative feedback promptly.
  3. Choose a few social networks, find your people, and start interacting with them. Always keep in mind your audience, brand and tone.
  4. Create content that is useful/funny/thought-provoking. Promote this content on your site and social networks…multiple times.
  5. Employ Schema.org markup to give your website an edge over the competition in SERPs.

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