Optimization, vis-à-vis websites, is usually related to search engine optimization and more or less, it is a correct relationship. Every sort of optimization leads to better search engine rankings because search engines like Google want to encourage you to move towards a universally accessible web design so that both machines and humans can access your information without obstruction.
In the context of this blog post, I would like to associate the following attributes to the process of website optimization:
A scalable layout that seamlessly transitions back-and-forth to desktop and mobile layout.
A well-organized information architecture so that all important sections of your website can be accessed within maximum three clicks.
An accessible design according to W3C guidelines.
Source code that facilitates easy crawling and indexing for search engine crawlers.
Every serious business that does not want to leave any stone unturned aspires to get a completely optimized website.
Let’s now quickly go through the above-mentioned attributes that make your website optimized.
Liquid, scalable layout
Are you familiar with Alexa? No, not the Amazon Echo AI interface, but the website that ranks websites? Many people proudly say, “this is my Alexa ranking”.
Anyway, 80% of top Alexa websites are mobile adaptive. This means, these websites can be easily used on mobile phones. Why does it matter?
Somewhere in the fag end of 2016, the number of people accessing the Internet from mobile phones exceeded the number of people accessing the Internet from desktop browsers. In November 2016, 51.3% people accessed the web from mobile devices and 48.7% from traditional computers and laptops.
It was pretty much the same time when Google declared that it will be switching over to mobile-first indexing and ranking. It means, the search engine giant has gradually started ranking your website according to the mobile version of your website rather than the desktop version.
Since more and more people are accessing your website using their mobile phone, it makes sense that your website must be easily browsable on a smaller screen. Make sure your web designer either creates a scalable/liquid layout, or creates an alternative, mobile version of the website also.
Well-organized information architecture
Can people find the right product on your website as soon as possible? If they have a question before deciding to purchase from you, can they find the answer within a couple of clicks?
All that information that you are constantly publishing on your website isn’t just for search engine crawlers. It also helps people make decisions in your favour. Hence, make sure they’re able to find the right information without having to make much effort.
Accessible design is no longer optional
In the US you can be sued if your website is not accessible to people with different abilities and if not sued, then at least, penalized.
If the topic is totally alien to you, people with visual impairment need to use a computer and access the Internet as much as you do. Just because someone cannot see doesn’t mean he or she shouldn’t be able to shop at your website.
Is it possible? Yes, it is. This is why comprehensive W3C guidelines have been created with international consensus.
Do you think it is difficult and needless hassle? Well, what could be more complicated than running Amazon.com? You will be surprised to know that it is a fully accessible website.
So, although right now nobody is going to bother whether your website is accessible or not (our system isn’t as rigourous as the US system, as of now), the law is already there. It is just a matter of someone getting proactive and taking an action.
Besides, Google prefers accessible websites to those websites that are not accessible. A big part of Google algorithm takes into consideration whether your website design is accessible or not, according to W3C guidelines.
Making it easier for search engine crawlers to crawl and index your website content
It is after all for your content Google ranks your website. So, naturally, its crawlers should be able to access and index your important content as soon as possible.
Sometimes there is so much extra code in a website that the search engine crawlers leave the website without even reading the first sentence of your content. Typically, a search engine crawler should be able to reach your main content within two seconds and if it doesn’t, it moves on. Whose loss is it? Of course, yours.
Create a lean website. Even great looking websites can be lean websites so that search engine crawlers can quickly reach the main content.
Optimized design is less about design and more about decision. You can have a great -looking website without optimizing it and no one will even notice it (except for people and search engine crawlers who cannot help but notice). But, if you have an optimized website design, you will enjoy better search engine rankings as well as greater conversion rate.