In the past two weeks, I have analysed over 52 Zimbabwean websites, this first started when I asked a few owners in a popular Facebook group to post their websites for me to critique.
I ended up receiving over 52 replies with people asking me to look at their websites, reviewing every single website I noticed a number of errors the websites had in common. Other industries make some of these mistakes in their SEO strategy but the ones I will list below are more prevalent when it comes to Zimbabwean business.
A lot of business owners opt not to get bespoke sites created and use companies that offer them template websites. The issue here is many do not know that they have template website. These template website make it difficult for owners who are not SEO specialists to optimise their site. Speed optimisation and A/B testing is difficult due to the rigid nature of template sites. But the worst thing is that your business which has it’s own unique identity has a website that looks like others.
Hosting lead gen tools on different URL’S.
A lot of website have valuation tools. mortgage calculators, and other lead generation tools that are usually hosted off their site and url, sometimes taking users to pages with no SSL certificates. Having too many of these tools that take users away from your website can actually prop up the domain authority of the url’s these tools are hosted on. Also, because these tools are not hosted on your site, this makes tracking data difficult as once users leave your site you can’t track their interactions to optimise the page for conversions. This is a issue with a lot of Zimbabwean estate agents.
Most sites I looked did not have a SEO strategy to target people searching in the area where the agency is based. For example an estate agent in Harare did not having Harare in their title tags and meta descriptions (These are the results you see on Google.) Broad keywords put you in competition with national competitors and it is harder to rank especially for site with very low domain authority. Of all the sites I reviewed, not one had a domain authority over 50 ( Domain authority of a website describes its relevance for a specific subject area or industry it is score 1-100.) Using broad keyword also lead to unqualified leads, you don’t want people on your site who are based in Bulawayo but your business only operates in Harare.
When I first started reviewing some of the 52 websites, I noticed a few did not have a sitemap, as I reviewed more this was an issue on over 50% of the sites I looked at. And most of the time it was the site that were hosted by companies who create template sites. Sitemaps are essentially a road map for the Google crawler bots that decipher what your site is about for ranking purposes. Missing sitemaps coupled with broad keywords for most sites was usually reflected in the low monthly traffic of the sites. If Google can’t decipher what your site is about, you will suffer in search rankings.
Slow Loading Speeds
A lot of sites I reviewed were not optimised for speed, this was the result of many mistakes, again the template website were the biggest culprits. Too many tools cause a lot of a website to load slowly because there are too many requests. The host you choose also plays a role, cheaper isn’t always better.
Missing SSL Certificate
An SSL certificate on your site is one of the fundamentals for good SEO practices, without one Google will not rank your site high on search. Or even worse, if you do somehow manage to rank high and receive visitors they will be greeted with a notification informing them that you site is not safe for them to enter their personal information. If you site exist to get leads this is a sure fire way to have an empty leads inbox.
These are just some of the most reoccurring errors I found on many sites I reviewed. There were many other errors I uncovered such as websites with all pages missing meta titles and descriptions, 404 erros, missing robot.txt files and many others. I recommend any business looking for a new website opts for a bespoke crafted site that is built with SEO in mind. Cheaper template site will cost more in the long-term as they impact SEO which needs to be fixed.
If you would like to know the current state of your website compared to others in Zimbabwe please provide your details below and we will send you a FREE Website SEO Report.