This article is about a 26-minute read. You will learn the importance of technical website optimization in 2020 and how it can transform your business overnight while saving you a ton of money in the long run.
We all know that increasing targeted traffic for your website from organic search results is probably the best thing you can do if you are trying to grow your business online. However, one of the most common concerns that we hear from companies today is that they just don’t get the same quality and number of website visitors that they did in the past. Years ago, a website could quickly get their website ranking on page #1 of Google simply by adding as many keywords as possible and purchasing or building backlinks to their pages. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case today.
Google has introduced many algorithm changes over the last several years, all intending to improve the quality of search and display the correct content to the user to provide them with the best response possible on the web. These changes are significant for the public, but they make it challenging for marketers and business owners to keep up and achieve high rankings like we used to be able to.
Critical Website Ranking Factors
There are several crucial website ranking factors that you must address to not only get your website up to industry standards but to secure your position among the top search results and increase your organic traffic. How your website performs in terms of speed, the information it provides, and the overall user experience it delivers will determine where your website will be shown in search results and how much traffic it will receive. But before anything, you need to understand how mobile-first indexing impacts how your website ranks.
What Is Mobile-First Indexing?
The most significant change seen by Google was a few years ago when they announced what is known as mobile-first indexing. They announced in early 2020 that about 80% of the internet was now entirely switched over to the new mobile-first search engine. This means that Google now ranks your site based on your mobile version first, and desktop version second. This is very different from the days of mobile-responsive websites and mobile-friendly updates. Most do not understand this fundamental difference. If your site has not been optimized for mobile-first indexing in the last 12 months, then your website is unfortunately already out of date.
Load Speed and User Experience
Technical Website Optimization requires expert knowledge and deep insight into Google’s algorithm and ranking factors, so you know what exactly to optimize your website for. Once your website is running at top speeds, your site and content are indexed correctly, and your pages are showing in Google’s search results, it’s essential in 2020 and beyond to maintain a well-optimized and fast-loading website on a monthly basis. If your site is not well maintained, you will be penalized and gain much lower search results. We will explain the new normal for your business online and outline what now needs to be taken seriously if you run a business website online.
Only a very small percentage of agencies in the world have the knowledge and resources to implement these new modern standards correctly!
Some of you reading this may already be optimizing and caring for your website correctly. Still, most of you are likely running sites that aren’t fast enough for mobile devices, not designed correctly, and probably not optimized to even 50% of what’s needed to get results in 2020. We will outline what this is all about and why it’s essential to maintain and optimize your website each month.
What Is Technical Website Maintenance & Optimization?
Technical website optimization involves constant monitoring and testing a range of factors to make sure that your website stays in optimal condition both technically and visually per visitor journey. When your website falls below a specific score or new Google ranking standard, there are many actions you must take to correct issues to improve your website and its condition as quickly as possible. Fail to do so and your content starts to lose positions in the search results.
Monthly website optimization and maintenance is considered to be one of the most important things you can do for your business at the moment. If your website is running in prime conditions at all times, then all of your content and everyone who visits your website will have a much better experience. Google will reward you with more organic traffic over your competitors for functioning and offering a better experience.
Various algorithm updates have made it incredibly challenging to make sure that your site is properly built, indexed, and optimized to be compatible with the latest specifications. These constant updates, especially from Google, who has more than a 90% market share of all online searches, have resulted in the birth of a new industry that is wholly centered around WEBSITE OPTIMIZATION AND MANAGED HOSTING SOLUTIONS, which follow the latest ranking factors and adjust your websites to fit these parameters.
What Are The Benefits of an Optimized Website
In short, the main benefit of a properly optimized website is more organic traffic from search results, better quality traffic, and more time spent on your website. I’ve mentioned these things dozens of times already, and more organic traffic is one of the biggest challenges that businesses and SEO agencies have been trying to solve over the last five years.
These are just a few of the many benefits of technical website optimization:
- A faster, more functional website
- Improved user experience
- Higher rankings from Google for your pages and content
- Increased speed, which will bring more traffic to your website
- Lower bounce rate
- More time visitors spend on your site
- An increased number of visitors filling out contact forms
- Increased number of visitors subscribing to your newsletter
- Better security and less chance of getting hacked
- Better brand visibility
- Your website is shown correctly in search results with proper titles and meta descriptions
- Consistency for customers
- Reduction in lost business
- Less downtime when you make updates
- Less reliance on SEO service providers
- Financial saving in long-term maintenance costs
These benefits only scratch the surface of website optimization. Still, you get the idea of how an optimization and maintenance plan can save you a lot of downtimes, financial loss, and constant website fixes in the future. If you hire an expert team to handle your website for you each month, you will never need to worry about your site again. You will even get monthly reports showing you everything that was fixed or improved every single month.
What Are the Real Search Ranking Factors
In 2019, new ranking factors were implemented by Google, and we can tell you that the #2 overall page ranking factor at the moment is technical optimization and page load speed. This means that your website needs to be free from internal technical errors that slow it down, and your website pages need to open within a specific time period. We can tell you that your site needs to load between 1 to 3 seconds for desktop and less than 4 seconds on mobile devices. If your site is running any slower than this, then it certainly needs some work. Keeping your website technically optimized each month can take anywhere from a few hours to a day or two, depending on what is required.
Google plans to penalize websites. They may even go as far as flagging your site in search results, and people will end up seeing that it is not optimized. Google will then suggest another site for searchers. They publicly stated this late last year, and this has the potential to be harmful for businesses, causing you to lose even more traffic. If you want to be on top, you need to optimize.
The #1 ranking factor is the quality and depth of your content. It needs to be well-researched and include a lot of related keywords which help make the article the most complete piece of content on the web. #2, as we stated, was the speed and optimization levels. If you have both in place correctly and optimize your content using Artificial Intelligence software, you can gain incredible content ranking on page one in no time at all.
Most people are still building backlinks to an ordinary piece of content with a technically poor website and trying to reach page #1. This is now a failing strategy, and we can confidently tell you that building backlinks as an SEO strategy will not help you rank your content anymore. Google has placed backlinks so far down the list that they are not even in the top ten most important things anymore.
Through research, testing, and studying the latest data from Google and following their guidelines, we have reached the #1 rank position for a wide range of topics inside Google search – achieving this in less than a minute in some cases.
Here is a screenshot of a #2 ranking we got in less than a minute after posting, no backlinks and SEO or other strategies. We simply wrote the content, optimized it using our AI process, and then made sure the website was in top condition:
Below is an example of how your blog should be optimized for speed and technical condition. This is our blog page optimized so that every piece of content we post is on page one within 24 hours.
How We Optimize Websites for Top Scores
In order to optimize your website like the screenshot above, you first need to run several tests to find out what’s wrong. We offer completely free website audits to show you what needs to be fixed before you can get the results you want. Second, you need a plan of action to fix everything that is broken on your website. And third, you need an ongoing monthly plan to keep your site optimized.
It’s necessary to have a continuous plan because every time you add new content or something on the web changes, your website will need to be updated. As new technology emerges, and Search Engines continue to make updates and changes, your website will also change. As we analyze sites each month, we typically see a 5% drop in optimization. And after two or three months, unless some action is taken, your website will fall below the minimum standards of your website and blog content ranking. This is what most websites usually look like when they first come to us for help.
All these red arrows are the things that need drastic improvement. If you compare ours to the screenshot above, you can see the load time of less than just a second. This site with a 10.2 -second load time will never rank on mobile. And at the far right, you’ll see the amount of requests is up to 230 and ours just 0.9s. The lower the number of requests means fewer files and scripts to open until your page shows up. These are all the things that usually need to be fixed.
Since Google is extremely critical of the mobile user experience, you need an experienced team that can usually point out 10 to 20 things on your mobile site that need to be optimized or changed in addition to these scores. Fixing these issues will make your site run better, so you don’t get penalized, or it can help you out of penalization and get your rankings back. Google announced in March 2020 that the switch to mobile-first indexing was 80% complete, which means that it is now more important than ever to keep your mobile site up to date and up to speed.
We analyze more than 50 points on each mobile website to make sure it is in line with Google’s new standards and private information we obtain every few months. These points tell us precisely what you need to do to maintain an excellent mobile site in Google’s eyes.
The actual steps taken to technically optimize a website differ from site to site, and we could write volumes about what these include. Generally, unless you have an inhouse IT team or a very knowledgeable person to keep your website up to standards, reaching scores of 90+ percent and staying there each month is pretty much impossible. And 95% of web designers at the moment have been focusing on design for so many years that they lack the skills to optimize a website fully. The design and look of your website in 2020 is crucial to your success, but technical optimization and maintenance is even more critical if you want any traffic to your excellent new website.
What Should a Website Maintenance Service Include?
Maintenance plans include several services that are important for your business. We have already mentioned a few of them, but we will go into some more detail here.
WordPress websites need to undergo regular maintenance to ensure that they are up-to-date with the latest version of WordPress. Keep in mind that WordPress regularly improves its software to be compatible with emerging technologies. So, if you fail to update WordPress to its latest version, other third-party plugins and APIs on your site will eventually stop functioning, leading to annoying error messages that will drive customers away.
Another critical aspect of website maintenance is site security. Without regular website updates, hackers can potentially find and exploit vulnerabilities within your site’s structure. This can be a costly ordeal for businesses, especially if customers’ data is stolen. In recent years, companies have paid out millions of dollars in settlements to customers who were affected by data breaches.
Website maintenance will also give you access to web developers who will make changes and improvements at your request. You will be given a certain number of hours per month to work with these individuals who are equipped with the necessary skills and training to keep your site looking modern and fresh. A website gives a business owner the ability to portray themselves to the world in a way that reflects their values and goals to consumers, and having the opportunity to work with a skilled web developer will make this possible.
Search Engine Optimization
As we stated previously, the most crucial aspect of website maintenance is search engine optimization. A professional website maintenance team will perform regular site monitoring, and SEO audits on Google Analytics to see what parts of your website are working and which ones aren’t. Google Analytics will give you all of the necessary data to continue developing your digital marketing strategies. Unfortunately, this information can sometimes be difficult to interpret and implement into a viable strategy. With your website maintenance plan, you will receive a monthly report that includes all of the most relevant information for your future marketing goals.
Even the most popular website maintenance services are doing the bare minimum to maintain websites, doing more harm than good. They don’t take the time to deeply research what needs to be fixed on your website or how to fix them to meet these new website standards.
How to Find the Best Website Optimization Agency
If you are looking to hire a website optimization company, you’ll likely start by going to Google and typing “best website optimization agencies” or “best website development companies.” When you choose to go this route, you will come across sites like Clutch and GoodFirms, which rate agencies based on their experience and customer service. These types of websites are a good place to start because they give you real feedback from other businesses who have worked with them.
The top five choices from these trustworthy review sites will often be the best to choose from, and we recommend that you take the time to compare the agencies to one another. We also recommend to stick to sites like Clutch that have verified reviews. Clutch, especially, is highly respected because they actually place a personal call to each reviewer on their website, meaning that every review is vetted and, therefore, fully authentic.
Check the Quality of the Agency’s Site
Another practical way to appraise the candidates you are considering is to take a look at their site. There, you will learn more about their company, but you’ll also have the chance to look at the quality of their website.
Take a look at their staff and their experience. You want to work with an agency that has real experts with at least five to ten years of experience in the industry. You want to be sure that their staff is located in an area where there is a universal language spoken in which you will be able to communicate with them. If the team is remote, be sure that they are bilingual and can communicate effectively to provide you with the services you need.
Ask for Samples of Their Work
When you decide to communicate with the agency, ask for samples of their work. You will want to see some examples of websites they have improved and optimized. Also, check to see if they have case studies and white papers published on their website. These are excellent indicators of whether or not they are able to produce the results they promise, as these materials can only be provided from practicing what they preach.
Go Through Their Content
Take plenty of time to go through the blog section on the site, as well. Read through their content to see if the information is well-written and of high quality. Remember that these are critical factors for on-page optimization, so you want to be sure that the agency takes these issues seriously for their own business before you hire them.
Run Tests on the Agency’s Website
Once you have taken a look at the onpage quality of the company’s website, check their site for technical optimization. You can do this by using tools such as GTmetrix or Pingdom. You want to be sure that their site has at least a 90% score on GTmetrix and loading in one to two seconds. Also, check their load times in various locations (West Coast, East Coast, London) to make sure that it is optimized for various locations around the world.
If you take the time to do everything that we mentioned above, you will be able to tell who has a well-optimized site, what they’re good at, and what their clients say about them. The next thing you want to know about them is the hosting they offer. Almost every website maintenance plan will include hosting, but many website maintenance companies provide hosting on cheap servers like GoDaddy, HostGator, or Bluehost. High-quality maintenance providers should never use a poor hosting service.
The best companies will either have their own servers and data centers, or they use optimized WordPress solutions like WP engine, Kinsta, Flywheel, and Strong Digital. Having a strong hosting solution is critical to the success of your business because the hosting service is the backbone of your optimization efforts. Without a fast and reliable host, your site is more prone to slow speeds and downtime.
Strong Digital’s private hosting server and data center provides fast, reliable hosting for businesses. Our customized servers run anywhere from 30% to 50% faster than other top hosting servers, so you can rest assured that your site will be backed by the best hosting solution available.
Our hosting is included for free with our website maintenance plan, and it allows unlimited traffic, as well. Other comparable services will charge an overage for traffic exceeding your plan’s limits, and you can end up paying anywhere from $60 to $80 per month for hosting alone. Once you exceed your plan’s limits, you end up paying for every visitor that comes to your site, including crawlers and bots. Strong Digital’s hosting solution not only allows unlimited traffic to your website, but it has security measures and filters set in place to filter out unwanted traffic. This keeps your site running smoothly by reducing the amount of processing power needed, and it provides more realistic data when analyzing traffic going to your site.
Whichever company you choose, you want to make sure that they will provide you with a monthly report on how your site is performing. The report should be concise and easy to understand, showing what issues have been diagnosed and resolved. In your report, you always want to see a score of at least 90% on GTmetrix, along with optimal load times and page speed for both mobile and desktop.
How Much Should a Website Maintenance Plan Cost?
A monthly maintenance plan’s cost will depend on the value it provides, but the all-in monthly cost for medium to large-sized businesses can be anywhere from $100 – $300 per month. However, this typically does not include web development work, suggestions for improvement, analytics, and several other things that come with all of our website maintenance plans.
Most website maintenance plans typically include basic services, such as updating plugins, making sure your site is secure, performing small design changes, and posting some blogs. These types of website management services are geared toward making sure that your website functions properly, but they don’t address the much-needed care that websites require in the evolving world of search engines.
Websites today need a higher level of care, with a particular focus on technical optimization. A correct maintenance plan will ensure that your website is technically sound each month while keeping it up to the most current search engine standards for Google and others.
With this level of care for your website, you can expect to see increased traffic and improved user experience, while also reaping the benefits of basic web management services. Technical optimization is what truly sets a website maintenance company like Strong Digital, apart from a basic web management service. We are among the best in the world when it comes to technical optimization, and we offer our service at a price similar to those providing only basic management.
We have put together the most advanced full-service plan currently available on the market, and we offer our plan for the best price, as well. Similar services do not come as a package, and you can expect to pay at least $600 per month to receive all the same benefits.
With Strong Digital, you will only pay $299 for this all-inclusive maintenance plan, and with it, you will benefit from the fastest hosting solution in the world. We can offer these competitive prices because we have allocated our resources responsibly. We also leverage the use of AI to streamline the process. With us, you will receive the best, most technologically advanced services, and you’ll get everything for the best price you can find.
We have used all of the latest technology, resources, and data to create a well-rounded website maintenance plan, all with you in mind. For your website to rank in 2020, your website must be optimized to the latest search engine standards, and maintenance plans are the new normal to achieve these ends.
Many small and medium-sized businesses who have not given this enough attention often end up with websites that are in extremely poor condition. To get these websites up to speed, they have to pay an agency to perform a one-time in-depth optimization, which can cost anywhere from $1000 to $2000. However, the problem with this is that every time you add a new piece of content or Google changes its algorithm, your site’s speed will begin to decrease again. One day after your site’s optimization, you might have a score of up to 95%, but as it starts to decrease over time, you will also see a decrease in traffic.
If the site is not maintained, it will eventually need another full optimization. Rather than pay upwards of $2000 every few months for an in-depth optimization, while also losing traffic and profits in the meantime, you need to make sure that your site is undergoing regular maintenance from an experienced and knowledgeable agency. You also need the best hosting to be sure that your site’s maintenance is worth the while. Without it, much of your effort will go to waste.
With that being said, it is important to note that many sites will need an in-depth optimization to get it up to search engine standards before starting its monthly maintenance. You should only consider contracting an agency for a monthly maintenance plan after your site is already scoring over 90% on GTmetrix.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $300 for your monthly service, but be sure that you compare several companies to determine who has the best expertise and who offers the most value for your money.
You can have peace of mind knowing that your website maintenance plan was developed and tested by a professional digital marketing agency. Our maintenance plan covers all of the most critical areas for your site’s visibility, optimization, and overall appearance. We have a team of highly skilled professionals who have collaborated in the creation of our unique process, and the results speak for themselves.
If you want to learn more about our website maintenance plans, you can download the PDF below and easily sign up at the bottom by submitting your details. If you would like to talk to a sales representative, click here.
Bonus: Fastest Hosting Solution In The USA!
In our effort to provide our customers with the best website speeds possible, we needed the best and most optimized servers for hosting. Since not one single company met our standards, we recently took on the task of building our own data center in the United States. We realized that other servers simply didn’t meet the requirements to have a fully optimized website, so we responded by introducing our own custom solution.
These are the benefits you will receive with our custom hosting solution:
- No Traffic Limits – We don’t charge you overages or per page view
- Automatic Backups – Don’t lose your data! We regularly backup of your site and store your data for you
- Staging Site – You’ll have the chance to see your website and give it the final approval before it goes live
- Our Own Data Center – We have all of your info securely stored and readily accessible
- Full Server Access – You’ll have unlimited access to the server where your site is hosted
- SSL Certificate – Every website we host will automatically get its own SSL
- Fastest Speeds – Our hosting service is built with the best technologies, giving you the fastest speeds on the internet
- 24 Hour Support – You can contact us any time to deal with problems relating to your site
- Fully Managed – We update WordPress and plugins for you, keeping your website up to date
- Developer Access – You will have the chance to talk to a developer each month to make changes to your site
Other managed hosting solutions, like WPengine and Kinsta, will help a business get its website set up with tools and one-click installs. They will also warn you when the plugins on your site are no longer up-to-date, but they don’t do any actual work on your site. They charge you for hosting and information on how to improve your website.
We have developed a hosting solution that we feel is superior to all other managed hosting solutions in terms of speed, security, support, expertise, and value. We designed this solution to operate in conjunction with our maintenance plan to run your website at its highest level of performance. These two symbiotic services create the optimal environment for your website, and our technical optimization will consistently produce speeds of less than one second for standard business websites.
We guarantee that our hosting alone will double the speed of your site, which means that its load time will be cut in half. We also guarantee that our technical optimization services will increase your website’s score on Google Pagespeed Insights.
While other services will charge you for hosting to be included in their website maintenance plan, we believe that hosting is such an integral part of this process that we include the world’s fastest hosting service for free with ours. Also, other companies often lack the same tools and knowledge that we have at Strong Digital. We can successfully rank any new blog post of any topic on page #1 on Google within hours of posting. We specialize in advanced content optimization, technical website optimization, and fully managed and optimized WordPress hosting. Our work is ultra-modern, unique, and perfectly designed to help your business get better results online and increase organic traffic faster than anyone else in the industry.
We have created what we feel is currently the best hosting solution in the United States in terms of performance and load times. And because we don’t put any traffic restrictions on our service, our cost is far less than our competitors’. With our world-class hosting and maintenance, we guarantee that you will see an immediate spike in organic traffic and not sites between 10 to 25% within weeks.
Send us an email to support@strong-digital for more information about our hosting and monthly maintenance plans, and we will help get your website set up and running perfectly in just a few days.