Putting the copyright date in the footer of a website came about as a way of protecting site content and design from being copied. Over time, the copyright date has come to be seen by people (search engines don’t, as far as we know, consider or even look at copyright dates) as a proxy for “last updated on.” For example, when I see a website with a copyright date of 2010, I assume that’s the last time any new content was added. Make your site look more current and more inviting by updating the copyright date to the current year or updating the range of years to end at the current year. Next, make a note on your calendar to update the copyright each January 1. If you prefer automation, there are several tools available that can do this for you, depending on how your existing site is built.
The favicon is the tiny image that appears in the browser tab when someone is on your site. It looks like this:
If you don’t add one in, people will either see something like an empty rectangle or the icon of the platform you built your site on (for example, SquareSpace sites have a default gray cube). While a missing favicon isn’t the end of the world, adding one lets people know that you consider your website to be complete and that they didn’t end up on an in-progress or defunct site. Favicons are tiny squares (16 pixels x 16 pixels, or 32 pixels x 32 pixels), so make sure what you select looks good at that scale.
Meta descriptions are what populate the description of your site when it appears in Google search results. Here’s an example:
Meta descriptions should be accurate, true, and helpful to search engines and assistive devices in figuring out what your site’s about. If you don’t specify what they should be, Google will either take the first couple of lines from the site copy, or will display a message along the lines of “no site description available.”
Put yourself in the shoes of the person looking at the search results. “No site description” doesn’t inspire confidence. Having a default description that’s the first few lines may not seem so bad, until you think about what the actual first 1-2 lines of copy are on any given page of your site. It’s unlikely that those 1-2 lines do a great job of completely summarizing the content, because that’s not how good site copy is written, and in some cases those 1-2 default sentences may be completely unrelated to what you do or offer. Search engines know this, which is why they created meta descriptions. Use them. If you have a large site, start with the home page and add in as you have time.
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