Michael Dobson, SEO Specialist at Consumer Focus Marketing shares his expertise on search engine optimization:
Have you noticed that your website pages are not appearing as high up in Google search results as you would like? Maybe your website used to be featured more prominently in search, but lately, you have noticed that you’ve dropped? If this is the case, you’re likely trying to figure out why and what can be done to help your company’s website get back to where it once was. There could be some quick fixes, but did you know that often the main culprit is the website itself?
Your website is a major part of your search engine optimization (SEO). This includes what the website is built on, how it is programmed, the content on the website, and much more. SEO starts with how your website is structured and designed. The programming languages that are used on websites, much like other technologies, evolve rapidly. What was once the best programming code for a website may not be the best practice a couple of years later. So, after a few years, the programming of your website can start to get outdated. This all affects the way that search engines see your website.
A website is considered “old” when it was produced 5 years ago or longer. An old website can start to have both technical issues and SEO problems once it hits that 5-year mark. This includes issues with content and WordPress/plugin updates, browser compatibility, and security. While a website can certainly still function at that age, it is far from its optimal performance level and companies should begin to budget for the inevitability of a new website redesign.
As your website ages beyond 5 years, there a few things you will want to keep an eye on. If you start to notice these problems, it might be time for a new website.
One of the biggest problems with an older website is its page speed—often much slower than newer websites. That’s because outdated websites have outdated programming code. And old programming code is slower. This isn’t good for the SEO of your website because search engines don’t like slow sites. One of Google’s big ranking factors now is user experience. The platform rewards websites with better experiences for their users. Upgrade to a new website and you will have the fastest speeds available with today’s programming code.
As your website gets up there in age, if it is left unaddressed, there can be problems with updating the content on the site. This includes both the web pages and any updates required by the website. For example, if you have a WordPress website, there are regular updates for WordPress that need to be done, as well as updates to common plugins. If the site gets too old, these updates can become problematic. There are cases where a website can become so fragile that any updates will crash the website. Upgrading to a new website will remove this concern.
As mentioned earlier, programming codes are changing and evolving on a regular basis. The code used on your website when it was built in 2017 or earlier, is no longer the best way to program a website. At the time it was programmed, it was the best practice, but not anymore.
For even older sites, there are programming codes that are no longer being supported by the software companies who created them. Obviously, if you move forward with a website redesign, you will upgrade to the latest and greatest programming code available.
As a website ages, browser compatibility becomes an issue that you need to consider. Just like programming codes evolve over time, so do the browsers available to find your website. This includes Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and many others. If you let your website age well past 5 years, you could run into a disastrous issue where your website may not work correctly (or at all) on one of these popular browsers. New websites, on the other hand, will work seamlessly with all browsers across the Internet.
As a website owner, you may eventually experience cybersecurity issues as your site ages. This includes hacks and spam attacks, such as form fills from bots and things like that. You will get more of these as the site gets older because it is easier for nefarious individuals to use technology against you. With a newer website, the security is better and can help prevent a lot of these problems.
One of the most important things you need to optimize on your website is users’ mobile experience. Google and other search engines look at your mobile experience first and foremost when deciding how to rank your site. Some older websites are not as mobile friendly as they should be. It’s crucial that you ensure that your mobile web version offers a good user experience.
If your website starts to get older than 5 years and you start running into one or more of these issues, there will be a negative impact on your website’s SEO and how you appear in search results. But you can do something it. After 5 years of a website’s existence, should start planning for a new website. At the very least, should start planning to invest in updated programming code. However, it can often be a great time to consider doing a complete redesign of your website. There are probably updates you can make to the look of the website, and to the content, that are much needed. — Michael Dobson