How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

How Search Engine Crawlers (Bots) Work 

(And What They Look For In A Good Website)

You probably might have asked how Google search results are determined or how the search engines work. With over 1.8 billion websites on the web, one would wonder how Google, Bing, Baidu, and the other search engines manage to rank all of the billions of web pages emanating from these websites. 

Search engines deploy crawlers (bots) to scour the internet for web pages and rank them accordingly to generate search results. While this is not as simple as it seems,  in this post, we’ll shed some light on how these search engine crawlers (bots) work behind the scenes to generate search results for users.

 

How Search Engines Work

There are three key steps involved in how search engines work – crawling, indexing, and ranking/serving. The first step involves the search engines deploying bots referred to as crawlers or spiders to scour the internet for new and updated web pages via URLs. 

These spiders/crawlers then try to analyze each of the pages crawled to discover what each page is all about as well as determine how relevant the pages are to online searches. The results are then indexed based on relevancy, using a set of ranking factors that are dependent on the algorithm of the search engine in question, and then served up to users searching online.

how search engine crawlers work - black tusk web

How search engines work.

Image Credit: Black Tusk Web, Instagram

 

What Search Engine Crawlers Look For On Websites

Google doesn’t accept payments to rank your websites high on search engine results pages (SERPs). So, how do you get your website pages to rank high on SERPs? 

The answer, in this case, is knowing how to optimize your website for high ranking. 

This in turn can only be successful when you have a good grasp of what search engine crawlers want to see on your web pages. Here are some of the most important things crawlers want to see on your web pages;

1. HTML

Google wants to see your website’s HTML codes properly formatted. And aside from the fact that building your website on HTML helps you avoid slow website rendering and better experience for visitors, Google, as one of the most prominent search engines, finds it easier to crawl HTML, compared to other protocols like JavaScript, Flash, DHTML, Ajax, etc. 

2. Internal links

Internal links on website pages make them easily navigable and crawlable for search engine crawlers. 

3. Content structure

Site and content structure plays a role in how search engines crawl your website. Content on your website should therefore be organized in a way that should make it easy for both human users and search engines. 

Along with these three (3) things, others such as the actual content quality as well as the searcher’s location, search history, search medium (desktop or mobile), can also influence what content they are served as well as how the content is ranked.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know how search engines work, it’s important to translate this knowledge into creating an easily crawlable and indexable website. 

From getting your site structure right to properly formatting your website’s HTML codes, proper use of internal links, and a commitment to high content quality, it will become much easier to get your web pages to rank well on searches that are relevant to your brand and business. 

In doing this, your website’s lead generation and conversion will also get a significant boost. 

 

Top Reasons Your Website Is Too Slow

Top Reasons Your Website Is Too Slow

No one can stand a slow website. Not me or any of the 90% of other internet users with attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish who are more likely to bounce if your website pages don’t load up within the first five (5) seconds. (Google)

Slow website loading speed decreases your chances of generating leads and making sales from your share of web traffic. In this post, we’ll uncover five of the common culprits responsible for the reasons why your website loads at a snail pace. We’ll also shed the light on how you can turn up the speed so it loads as fast as possible. 

 

1. Low-quality hosting 

hosting quality affects website speed

Instagram: Black Tusk Web

The problem with hosting is that it can doom your website to perpetually slow loading times even before you have an actual website.

So, before writing the first line of code, you want to make sure your website is hosted on a high-quality hosting service provider. Doing this will help you avoid slow loading, low SEO ranking chances, and the poor user experience that comes with browsing on slow websites.

 

2. Heavy and unclean codes

Are the source codes on your website absurdly heavy, messy, or unclear? All of these can significantly impact how fast your website loads. So, you know your website deserves better than some poorly written codes.

Any web design or development expert worth their weight will appreciate the importance of having clean and user-focused codes on a website’s speed and performance.

 

3. Not using good caching techniques

Caching techniques help make content readily and easily available to read for users. 

The key basis of this involves storing the data on the computer that needs to read the information rather than having to read such information directly from the original source. Caching, when done right, will significantly help boost your website speed. 

 

4. Unoptimized images and media content

Unoptimized media content can take a toll on your website speed, especially if you own an image-heavy website. 

While it makes sense to complement your written content with enough images, audio, video, etc, not properly optimizing these media files as far as sizes are concerned can slow down your website loading speed. 

5. Not using a content delivery network (CDN)

CDN helps cache content in multiple locations around the world.

By storing these caches closer to website users, the time it takes to render on their device is significantly cut short. While having this set up can help supercharge your website speed, not having one in place can mean slow loading times. 

 

6. Too many plugins

Plugins help improve the functionality of websites. 

But like every good thing, too much of it can impact your website speed. Along with slow website loading speeds, having too many plugins installed on your website can put your website at risk of website crashes, and security breaches, among others. So, it’s always better to stick to the few you really need.

 

7. Code bloated WordPress themes

One of the best things about WordPress is how easy it can be set up. There are thousands of both free and paid themes that you can consider when building your website. The problem with some of these themes, however, is that they might be poorly built. WordPress themes with bloated codes can mean slow-loading pages and poor user experience for your users, among other things. 

 

Conclusion

There are a million and one reasons why you need to take your website loading speed more seriously. Aside from the obvious poor user experience on your website that could significantly impact your website’s lead generation and sales conversion chances, website speed is also a key SEO ranking factor that could impact your website’s visibility on search engines. 

From choosing the right hosting provider to ensuring clean and clear codes, among other things, getting your website to load as fast as possible (great if it loads under 3 seconds!) can help make a world of difference on how well your website can support your business’s strategic digital goals. 

 

3 Reasons Your Website is Loading Too Slowly & How It’s Destroying SEO & UX

3 Reasons Your Website is Loading Too Slowly & How It’s Destroying SEO & UX

Slow websites loading speed kills conversion.

And this is not just an assertion. It’s a statement backed by enough stats and evidence. According to KissMetrics, the average website visitor expects your website to load in less than two seconds. If it’s taking more than three, as much as 40% may abandon the process!

You’ve not spent all of that money on building a website to let prospective customers leave even before they’ve transacted with your business. Here are three reasons your website is loading too slowly, with recommendations for tremendous improvements;

 

Web hosting plan or provider may affect site speed

Everything from the type of hard drive your hosting provider offers (SSD or HDD) to the available RAM and bandwidth can impact how fast your website loads. GoDaddy website hosting, for instance, has a reputation for being slow. SiteGround, on the other hand, is believed to be much faster, as well.

The same also plays out with the type of hosting plan your website uses. Shared web hosting plans are known for their low-cost prices. But since you have to share server resources with a lot of other websites, your website may experience occasional slowdowns at times.

A dedicated server, on the other hand, gives you better control of resource allocation. If you’re committed to genuinely improving your website speed, this type of hosting plan guarantees the best balance between performance and affordability.

 

Image sizing and page speed

Images are a double-edged sword. They can make or break your website.

If served properly, they could help convey your idea, support your story, and even make your brand more relatable. But serving up improperly sized images may have less desirable results.

Reducing image file sizes to fit the space where the picture will be on your website can help immensely. Light images, compared to heavy image file sizes, will take up less space on your website. Consequently, this will reduce the amount of data that needs to be transferred when customers visit your website.

The benefits extend beyond just making your website lighter. This guarantees better website speed performance and better user experience, all while still improving SEO.

 

Plugins and website loading speed

Plugins help enhance the functionality of WordPress websites.

While too many plugins might end up slowing down your website speed, some of the best plugins are well-built enough that you won’t experience any significant lag in speed. Still, there are some plugins purposely designed to help websites boost their page loading speeds.

WordPress plugins like SG optimizer, WP Rocket, and more are some of the best WordPress caching plugins you might want to consider for speed optimization.

 

Why improve website speed?

Wondering why you need to improve your website speed?

More visitors will keep on abandoning your website if it’s taking forever before they can find what they need or do what they want. This will end up reducing the average time spent on your website while significantly increasing your bounce rate.

For Google, as well as your users, a seamless website user experience is non-negotiable. The more users leave your site, the stronger the signal this sends to Google that your website does not offer enough value and relevance to visitors. This will consequently, send your website page rankings further down the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

If you want to build a wicked fast website, your website hosting and design processes need to tick all of the boxes at the right places. And if there’s anyone you can trust to help you achieve this, the professionals here at Black Tusk Web are more than capable.

 

Black Tusk Web website design

Black Tusk Web offer website design services for businesses in Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver, and beyond. We use SiteGround dedicated hosting services to ensure your website has all it needs to maintain functioning at incredible speed. We also use reliable plugins from reputable outlets, such as the SG optimizer plugin, among other things.

The expert web design professionals at Black Tusk Web will help you build a high-speed, high-converting business website. With our services, you can easily avoid the pain of slow loading website pages while being sure that your website won’t constantly be crashing down.

Contact Black Tusk Web today to get started!

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

5 Compelling Reasons You Need a Better Website Now!

A professional website gives your business instant global and local presence which can help you build social proof and boost your brand credibility. According to reliable data from Google, as much as 63% of shopping occasions now start online.

If we’re being honest, then having a business website is a non-negotiable necessity for any growth-driven business in this age. However, there are a million and one reasons why you need a better than an average website. Below are five such reasons;

1. Take advantage of the coronavirus-induced shift in shopping behaviour

Since the first identified cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, the novel coronavirus has spread across different continents leaving nothing but chaos behind. Despite the huge health and economic impact of the COVID-19, the crisis has triggered a major shift in human behaviour.

Everything has changed and social distancing is now the new normal. Here a few statistics that explain the situation better.

There’s a mindset shift currently happening concerning consumer behaviour.

Countries around the world are imposing different lockdown measures to curtail the coronavirus. Therefore, Health agencies have recommended social distancing, among other measures to reduce the spread. More people are now shopping online than ever.

Having a professional website is fundamental to maintaining a solid internet presence. Businesses that want to maintain resilience and drive growth in these challenging times need to be positioned right where the audience can find them.

2. Being ‘searchable’ helps you reach your target audience more easily

Having a beautiful website is good. What’s also important is ensuring your website gets found easily by your customers and prospective customers. In our post on what makes a great website design, we emphasized the critical role of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

In the same way, Proper SEO should be at the core of your website design strategy to help you get found easily by searchers. When your website is able to garner higher SERP rankings (search engine results pages), you can rest assured that your business’s credibility, visibility, and marketing will also benefit significantly.

3. Your business website reflects your brand

Are you proud of your business website?

Does it do a great job of reflecting your company’s brand identity?

These are important questions because most people are going to equate your website to your business. About 88% of B2B customers referenced high-quality information in regards to their recent purchase decisions, according to a recent Gartner survey.

So, regardless of your industry, your business website should tick the boxes in the right places. In many cases, it will be your best chance to make a first impression.

You can’t afford to lose potential customers if you want to sustain business growth.

Everything from aesthetics to layout, website colour tones, information, and more, should, therefore, be top-notch and up to date. This is important to create a positive brand perception, that builds trust with prospects, converts acquired leads, and ultimately impact your business’s bottom line.

4. Your business website must be functional

You need more than just fancy web design. Your business website should be crisp, highly functional, and fully responsive to get customers on board.

This can mean navigating UI and UX in web design to ensure optimal functionality. It could also mean incorporating website features to greatly improve functionality. These features could include sophisticated web forms to boost conversions, online payment systems for products, services, and subscriptions, as well as proper booking systems as more customers want to take care of these processes online instead of in person.

All of these and more will be needed to make it easy for current clients and prospective customers to transact with your business on your website.

5. User experience impacts sales

Are customers enjoying the experience on your website?

You need to deliver a frictionless user experience for customers on your website as this can impact sales and conversion. Things such as minimizing clicks, for instance, can help to reduce user frustration. This can help with navigation and reduce the amount of time and effort it takes the average user to find information or get things done.

There’s also the DISC personality analysis as well, which should also be factored into your web design to help you design a better website for your audience (clients) based on their different personality traits. The DISC tool helps identify differences in personality by considering your audience (clients) as one of the four possible personality profiles.

Who’s your audience?

Dominance

Clients that fall into this audience class just want results and are straight to the point. They can be quite blunt and not shy to take on challenges.

Influence

This audience class prioritizes relationships and more likely to influence others. They’re quite enthusiastic and optimistic but hate to be ignored.

Calmness

Personality traits for this audience include being calm in their approach, being more supportive, sincere, and cooperative but hates being rushed.

Conscientiousness

This audience emphasizes quality and competency above all else. They’re not scared to be wrong, prefer getting full details and reasons objectively.

You’ll have to weigh up your audience with the DISC assessment tool to discover your audience’s viability and uniqueness as well as improve your chance of success by designing a website that best suits your target audience.

Overall, a great website design strategy should have user experience as one of its major objectives. Along with DISC analysis and clicks minimization, a user-centred website should consider;

  • Using graphic elements, proper layout, text, and interactive elements in synergy to create memorable experiences; and
  • Leveraging design creativity and consistency to achieve optimal clarity and simplicity to make the website easy to use.

Finally

It’s clear that while you need a business website, a poorly-designed website won’t cut it. Not only can this be a waste of time, but it could also ruin your company’s chances when it comes to brand perception, building credibility, generating leads, and maximizing conversion.

If you’re contemplating building a website that perfectly fits and promotes your brand identity, then the experts at Black Tusk Web will be more than happy to help.

Our teams of web designers, brand design experts, content writing professionals, and SEO gurus are the right mix you need to build websites that clients will find useful, usable, and desirable. The Black Tusk Web team uses an effective project management system that helps us streamline communication, level up the performance of our web design team that effectively takes the burden of website design off our clients.

Want to build a robust online presence?

The Black Tusk web design team will help you build a professional business website that’s not just an interface between your brand and its customers, but one that will help foster the kind of interactions and experiences needed to make your business and its products or services hugely successful.

Get Your Website Quote Now!

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Battle of the Builders!

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Battle of the Builders!

You’ve decided you need to build an online presence for your company. Congrats!
It makes sense that you want to start with building a professional-looking website. You’ve realized just how much this can mean for your marketing as well as business sales & conversion. The only problem now is; your head is spinning with too many options & you just can’t decide which website builder to use. Should you stick to WordPress? Are you tempted to try what Squarespace or Wix might offer? We understand your dilemma & this guide on WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace has been compiled to help you make the best decision.

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Overview

These three are unarguably the biggest website builders out there.
All three have a lot of similarities as well as differences that account for their unique strengths & weaknesses. We’ll briefly touch the main points below;

*Let’s start with Squarespace;

Squarespace’s target audience is basically website builders without any coding skills.

The purpose of the platform is to make website building simple stupid such that anyone can build their own website without having to write a single letter of code. While this sounds great & truly quite great to an extent, the need for this level of simplicity has led to a ‘watered down’ & ‘walled garden’ approach to ensure the quality & functionality of Squarespace’s over 3.6 million websites.

*Then, there’s Wix also;

Another cloud-based website building platform for people who want to build websites without coding.

Wix holds 2.3% of the CMS market & powers 1.3% of all websites on the web. To begin with, you’ll want to use one or two of the main ways most people use to set up a Wix Website. Either you use the ‘Wix Editor’ mode where you pick a template & then add the content or you go the ‘Wix ADI’ mode route.

The ‘Wix ADI’ is the short form for Wix Artificial Design Intelligence.
This method builds your website with little to no input from you just by asking you a few questions & then using publicly-available information about your business. Both methods are aimed at people with no coding or web development skills. But there’s also a ‘Wix Corvid’ (this has nothing to do with COVID-19 lol!).

The Corvid mode offers the greatest functionality of all three methods but actually requires significant website coding skills.

*WordPress -the crowd favorite!

WordPress has got a tight grip on the website building niche of the digital industry.

This platform has the largest share (60.8%) of the CMS market, powering about 34% of all the websites in the world, including some of the biggest brands & corporations. While WordPress has two main forms, a hosted version, & another self-hosted version, the latter will be our reference for our comparison.

WordPress; much like Wix & Squarespace is aimed at users with little to no coding skills.

But unlike the others, it also allows room for users to make extensive customizations for more functionalities than either Wix or Squarespace. The WordPress platform can be used to build websites of all types from creating blogs to building ecommerce websites, portfolio websites, professional business websites, etc. There are also tons of plugins to help improve functionality, as well.

WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace: Who wins?

WordPress will come out on top in this battle of WordPress vs Wix vs Squarespace.

There are currently more than 55,000 plugins in the WordPress directory with loads of features & benefits for WordPress websites. These serve a wide range of purposes from Search Engine Optimization to security & more.

While you may be tempted to take on the WordPress website building process. it would most likely require a bit or in some cases, extensive knowledge of web development. Even in cases where this demand might be minimal, it could take you like forever to get a grip on how to piece the most basic parts together.

You’ll have to decide whether all of this time & commitment are really worth it for you though.

But in most cases, you’ll be better off hiring a professional website designer to handle the process, regardless of whether you eventually go for WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace.

Need to design highly-converting websites for your business?

You can leverage our expertise & experience at the Black Tusk Web to help you build a website that’s fitting for your brand. Contact us to get started today?
We’ll be more than happy to help

Ecommerce: Selling Products and Services Online for the New World

Ecommerce: Selling Products and Services Online for the New World

Ecommerce: Selling Products and Services Online for the New World

Ecommerce has always been touted as the future of retail, and for obvious reasons

While it tends to make more products and service options available to consumers, it also comes with a certain level of convenience and could help both buyers and sellers save big on time and money. Ecommerce retail raked in $3.5 trillion in sales in 2019 and this is expected to see close to 100% growth by 2023.

Up until now, ecommerce adoption has been largely driven by the need for convenience.

The reality of today and more specifically, the global pandemic is fueling a new wave of ecommerce revolution that’s not just based on convenience but rather as a new, necessary way of life. If you’ve been contemplating it, right now is the best time for your business to take advantage of this revolution.

 

Jumping on the ecommerce bandwagon

Ecommerce has seen explosive growth over the years.

For your small business, this could represent a much easier way to sell goods & services, attract a larger customer base to grow your business beyond expectations. But while it seems easy, you’ll need to put a certain level of work into this to make it successful. If you’re keen on taking your piece of this trillion-dollar industry, here are a few things you should know;

 

Having the right ecommerce platform is important

Many people believe that ecommerce is one kind of fully automated business model that doesn’t really require much to become successful on its own. So they just build a website and find themselves struggling to make sales after months or years down the road.

Fortunately, you’ll have access to lots of ecommerce platforms from Woocommerce to Shopify, Bigcommerce, Magento, Squarespace, etc. But choosing the right one, depending on your business’s unique needs, will greatly impact the success of your ecommerce business. While many sellers prefer Woocommerce for its versatility & customizations, here are a few critical factors to consider when you have to choose a platform;

  • How scalable is the platform?
  • How’s it with SEO and mobile-friendliness?
  • Does it support multichannel integration?
  • What are the order, product, and return management like?

 

Knowing what to sell

Setting up an e-commerce website for your business will be much easier if you’re already in the retail business. If you’re however new to this, you might struggle with choosing the right products to sell. What are the best selling products online? How do you choose the best products to sell?

The best thing about ecommerce has to be the easy access to a wide audience.

While you can sell tangible products like apparel to household equipment, electronic gadgets, handcrafted products. you can also sell virtual products such as services & downloadables such as software applications, music or multimedia files, and eBooks, etc. It’s however important to know your target audience so you can customize your marketing & advertising efforts to them.

 

Developing your brand

This, right here, is also important for success in ecommerce.

You need to develop a brand that resonates with your audience so your product selection & marketing can be tailored to appeal to this audience. This should be evident in everything from your unique selling proposition to your website design and subsequent marketing and advertising efforts.

 

Taking your retail business online has a lot of advantages.

  • The opportunity to position your brand and business before a much wider audience
  • The ability to personalize your services and offerings so they can appeal more to your ideal audience.
  • Greater opportunity to scale and grow your business over time.
  • Opportunity to compete better, even as a small business.

But success here still requires as much work as you can.

You’ll need the expertise of an experienced web designer to help with a top-notch e-commerce site that will guarantee the best of SEO & user experience, while still portraying your brand in the best light.

At Black Tusk Web, we live and breathe design and can create custom ecommerce solutions to help drive your ecommerce business to success. If you’re contemplating building an ecommerce business in Squamish, Whistler, Vancouver and other parts of Canada. we’ll be more than happy to help set up your ecommerce business website for success!