It’s a given at this point: for businesses looking to compete for buyers online, a high-performing website is no longer an advantage – it’s a requirement.
This has been the case for years, but it’s become even more crucial after Google rolled out their recent page experience algorithm update. Since then, business websites must be clean, mobile-friendly and deliver a great user experience to have a real shot at ranking in organic search.
How to Know If Your Website Makes the Grade
Say your website hasn’t been updated in years. If you haven’t had any complaints, you might be tempted to think it’s fine as it is.
Unfortunately, the adage doesn’t apply here – just because your website isn’t broken doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fix it. If your site isn’t up to their standards, your potential customers won’t take the time to tell you; they’ll be too busy giving their business to your competitors.
The good news is that you don’t have to guess as to whether your site is optimized; there are several quantitative factors that will tell you whether you’re in good shape or not.
One of our favorite tools for uncovering this is the Website Grader. In a few seconds and with just your URL, this tool will deliver your scores – and recommendations – related to your site’s:
These areas are directly related to how Google and other search engines are assessing your site. Reviewing these scores provides a roadmap for how to improve your website’s chances of ranking in online searches (or assurance that you’re already well-optimized if you get a good grade).
Will Getting a Good Grade Alone Help Your Site Rank?
While an optimized site will make it more likely that your site will rank in search, it doesn’t guarantee it – and it definitely doesn’t negate the importance of having great content.
It’s one thing if your website’s content happens to be so trusted and authoritative that no other businesses can compete. In this scenario, the nitty-gritty technical issues are less critical because you already own that space.
However, if you’re reading this post, I’ll assume this isn’t the case. This means you’ll need both quality content and an optimized website to have a competitive advantage.
“While all of the components of page experience are important, we will rank pages with the best information overall, even if some aspects of page experience are subpar. A good page experience doesn’t override having great, relevant content. However, in cases where there are multiple pages that have similar content, page experience becomes much more important for visibility in Search.”
Do You Need a Perfect Website Grade to Rank Better?
Short answer? No.
In most cases, when we’re helping clients optimize their sites, there are some relatively quick updates we make that result in major gains in their grade. These changes also often correlate with a boost in organic search visibility. From there, we’ll usually plot out a few additional rounds of updates to continue optimizing the site.
At a certain stage, we’ll hit a point of diminishing returns. That’s a signal that getting from a near-perfect to a perfect grade is no longer a “problem” worth solving.
For example, say your page is already loading within a few seconds and you’ve covered the basics like compressing images, enabling caching and minimizing unneeded plugins. At that point, paying a developer for hours of work to get your page to load a fraction of a second faster likely isn’t the best use of time and resources.
Do the work to get a strong grade – but don’t get bogged down chasing perfection.
How Hard Is It To Get a Good Grade?
If your grade is considered low, it’s a sign that your website needs significant improvements. But keep in mind, boosting your grade will require some expertise with web design, development and SEO strategy.
In many cases, website optimization can be a hefty undertaking. Between ensuring the site is responsive for mobile users, minimizing redirects, enabling browser caching and giving each page unique, descriptive link text, there’s a fair amount of technical work that’s required.
Don’t have the in-house resources to optimize your website? Give us a shout! As an agency with years of experience in B2B web design and SEO services, we know how to turn business websites into high-performing lead generation machines.
Charlie is the Chief Strategy Officer at Simple Machines Marketing. When he's not doing the marketing, he likes playing guitar, hanging with his family in Chicago and lots of other stuff too but this seems like a good amount for a blog bio.