Website forms are an obvious design element every site needs. But problems can arise with lead capture and contact forms that hurt your SEO ranking, not to mention your lead strategy. In today’s look at SEO best practices, we’ll take a look at where we catch forms breaking, and what you can do to make things right on your website.
Common Issues with Website Forms
Many clients come to us with great-looking websites and clear, easy-to-use forms. But when we looked into their CMS, we found those forms were connected to a company email checked only weekly, and sometimes less often than that.
Another place where website forms hit many snags is with third-party tools. They can create issues with forms being submitted or loading properly. Not to mention, they’re slowing down page speed, which kills your SEO and hurts your Google rankings.
And sometimes, your problem is less with your site architecture and more due to lacking a defined leads workflow. Get a sense from your sales and marketing teams of exactly who’s in charge of what when someone calls, emails, messages you, or fills out a website form.
Keep response times in mind if you're adding website forms and technologies to manage those forms. Automate as much as you can when it comes to processing and responding to website forms. But make sure it includes a personal touch.
Best Practices for Checking Website Forms
A lot of the best practices we’ve seen with forms involve regular oversight or due diligence. Here are some things you can start doing, or start to work on implementing, right away:
Frequent Form Checks: Check weekly or monthly to be sure forms are working. This is especially important after tech changes, plugin updates, hosting changes, any changes to the site architecture or content, CMS change, or content migration projects. Websites and content management systems can change rapidly, and it’s important to be sure your forms are keeping up.
Monitor How Forms Load: Even if forms are working and you’re receiving submissions, you may notice lags in responses compared to when you normally receive them. If that’s the case, your forms may be loading slower than normal. Caching and compressing content (especially larger files like pictures, graphics, and videos) can go a long way toward improving form load times.
Monitor Page Speed: We rely on the Google PageSpeed Tool as a performance marketing agency. If you’ve added or changed forms recently, or if you notice an unexpected decrease in form fills, check your page speed score for desktop and mobile. This is particularly important for "action" pages with forms and Calls to Action (CTAs), or with pages that include third-party tools like scheduling apps.
If forms are hurting page speed, check with your web developer to see how things might be simplified on the back end for a better user experience.
Don’t Forget Form Placement
Forms may be working in the sense that they’re functioning properly and loading well, but if they’re not placed strategically, leads are still falling through the cracks.
Placing forms above the fold is critical, especially for digital advertising campaign landing pages, home pages, and contact pages.
Keep forms as simple as possible, so you don’t overwhelm the user or crowd valuable page space with form fields. Remember, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to get more information, especially if you’re automating follow-up and staying on top of response times.