Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a crucial element of our inbound strategies. It’s likely one of your main online priorities, right? Many people say this, or at least think this, but few treat their online assets like it is. How long has it been since you performed an SEO audit, if ever?
This should be a standard procedure, quarterly, so you understand the current state of your website. It helps improve your overall performance and allows you to ensure that you are keeping up with Google’s many algorithm changes. So, let’s look at how best to do this.
Just like in life, start with a crawl
Begin your SEO audit with a crawl tool which will detect any errors such as:
● Duplicate content
● Bad keywords
● Unlinked pages
● Broken links
The crawl looks at all of the elements of SEO and lets you know which ones aren’t helping you; once you have this information, you can fix them.
Before we get to the on and off page stuff, let’s look at the nuts and bolts of your website. You’ll need to run a health check on the following things:
☞ XML sitemaps list every URL on your site, and this is how search engines find your pages
☞ The robots.txt file is the plain text files that tell crawlers what they can access; you want to ensure this isn’t blocking searching engines from crawling your site
☞ Take all of the underscores out of your URLs as they will affect will your performance because search engines don’t recognize underscores
☞ Flash content, frames or frames aren’t great either, get rid of them if you can
☞ Make sure your domain is registered and readable (tip: if you register for an extended period, Google will trust you a little bit more)
Blogs are great; you really need to ensure you have them on your site and that they are of high quality. They drive traffic to your site, increase engagement and improve your authority in your field. They also help with backlinks, which we’ll delve into further down.
Do you have a mobile friendly website? If the answer is no, you really need to get one, if it’s yes, make sure it is well optimized. Plenty of internet users are mobile only, so mobile UX is a vital element for any business.
To help out, Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test which is very easy to use. Just enter your URL, and the tool will assess how mobile-friendly your website is. It will also give you an idea about what your site looks across different devices.
HTML validation check
You can perform an HTML validation check for free, and this makes sure the HTML coding on your site is correct. The various tools that run this check for you will generate a report that either you or your web developer, can use to make the necessary corrections. If anything on the report is listed as a “Fatal Error” give that your attention first.
The rule book for on-page SEO
Let’s have a quick run-down of the essential elements for your on-page SEO to be correctly optimized:
1) – Headers and title tags
Headers and title tags need to be optimized, within sixty characters with no duplicate content and pages and title tags should relate to their corresponding content.
2) – Meta descriptions
While this won’t affect your ranking, it’s crucial to draw the user in. So as far as optimization is concerned, they can’t be “wrong” – though they should involve your main keyword and be compelling.
3) – Hierarchy
Ask Dr. Jordan Peterson about the importance of hierarchy! Your content needs to be well organized with a clear hierarchy. This helps Google analyze your website and index it for search. Keep your subs and main sections within a few clicks from your homepage and ensure everything links.
4) – Keywords
Ensure your main keyword is in the first paragraph of your content and use it more than once throughout. Don’t overuse it though! Keyword stuffing is bad, bad, bad and you will be penalized.
The rule book for off-page
Off-page SEO determines the level of trust Google has in your website and is vital to how high you rank.
The rule of thumb to make sure this goes well is simple: produce high-quality content that offers value. You might have heard it a million times, but it’s true.
Backlinks from other websites are the best way to build up Google’s trust. It’s like online positive word-of-mouth. There is a tool you can use to perform a backlink audit that will show you the number of backlinks you have and their quality.
Your business performance on social media relates to off-page analysis as your engagement across social media channels is an excellent indicator of your online profile. If your content is being shared a lot you can easily tell the demographics of your audience based on who is sharing it and where.
This not only helps you to create better-quality content but also creates more opportunity for backlinks. Analytics on social media like brand mentions, which Google crawls for as well, can be very useful.
Does your website work?
Bounce rate will kill your ranking, so you need to make sure your website is working. What you are wanting to confirm is how easy is it for people to access your website? Sure, this incorporates your site design, but the main thing you are looking for is load times if your pages take too long to load, bye bye user.
Accessibility issues can be discovered via robots meta tags and the robots.txt file which need to be checked manually. Also, check your XML sitemaps and site architecture. Think about how many clicks you are pushing on your user between the homepage and destination page.
Indelibility issues mean your pages aren’t being seen. A pretty big problem. If there is an issue here, it’s usually got something to do with a Google penalty, and there are various reasons why this can happen.
From duplicate content to PageRank, you should assess all the possible penalties. There should be messages indicating any penalties in your webmasters tool account. Once you have rectified the issue, you can ask Google to re-index your page.
Let’s finish off with the big one: content. Evaluating your content regularly is vital. You don’t want to be producing the wrong content!
A big reason why this happens is that businesses fail to look at the content they are creating from a user or Google perspective. The amount of time users are sharing or engaging with the content is an excellent indicator of how effective it is. If these numbers are low, even if you love the material, get rid of it. It’s not helping you. Create content that creates value for you.
Old content may no longer be relevant, especially if you are writing about tech. Hell, this article may be irrelevant soon if Google changes all of the algorithms drastically! Most businesses will have a content strategy in place to ensure that these issues are not ones they need to deal with. You should have one as well as content is one of the main things that will improve your SEO and your position in the SERPs.
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