The benefits of a website audit
A website audit is an examination of the client’s website performance. Knowing exactly what to improve on your website and how is not always easy. Our comprehensive website audit checklist includes more than 35+ on-page and off-page factors. We crawl the website exactly the same way search engine bots do.
Basically, almost every single website developed is going to have flaws that keep a website from reaching its full potential in search engines. These flaws can only be uncovered during a technical audit by an SEO services specialist. Most of these flaws are not visible to the end user.
Fixing these minor bugs and properly optimizing content for search engines will result in immediate improvement in rankings (we have seen improvements in less than 48 hrs)
If you spent a lot of time and money to develop your website, your site looks great and now you are wondering why your website is not driving visitors, phone calls, inquiries, and sales keep reading.
Conducting the website audit
Search engines keep evolving and so do we as SEO’s. A lot of clients come to us for help and here we are going to go over the most common issues we find when taking over client’s websites;
Search Engine Crawl Budget
THE ISSUE – With millions of web pages being published online on a daily basis, search engines now have what is called as crawl budget. Basically, search engines will start ignoring parts of your website if you have a lot of duplicate content or thin content.
Duplicate content issues are very common on e-commerce websites these days. Each product might have different specs like sizes and colors. The problem here is having the same product with the same content live over and over again on different pages. And if it’s a large e-commerce website then imagine having thousands of duplicate pages. We don’t want to annoy the Google bot 🙂
Another common issue is indexed tag pages. Most CMS (content management systems) like WordPress allow you to add tags to the content. Tag pages will be automatically created so each piece of content will now be listed on various other tag pages, which causes duplicate content. Why should search engines index that piece of content many times over, when it’s the same page? That is not valuable to people searching right? In fact, you will never see the same piece of content over and over again when you search for something into Google. All pages will be unique.
SOLUTION – Depending on the CMS you are using there are various ways to solve this. The easiest way is to canonicalize the duplicate pages to the main (parent page) So basically, we are showing search engines the main page and asking it to ignore the rest of the duplicate pages. Another quick solution is to no-index follow certain pages on your site like tag or category pages. If you have a WordPress site, this can easily be done with Yoast or all in one SEO plugin
A summary of our website audit
This one might sound simple but we find that a lot of people are still getting it wrong.
THE ISSUE – Search engines can only read. Failing to optimize the content of your website for specific search terms will not get you very far in terms of rankings. In 2018, we are seeing longer, in-depth content perform better over thin, generic content. Other common mistakes are; failure to include the main keywords into the H1, H2 and H3 tags, missing image Alt text, not having the main keywords in the meta title, under optimized meta descriptions and lack of keyword density.
SOLUTION – It all begins with proper keyword research. Compiling a list of target keywords for each page on the website. Then we optimize the meta title of the page, usually, the title will start with the main search term, the search term with the highest search volume. Next step is to come up with a powerful heading (H1). Then add a few H2’s and H3’s. These should have partial and exact match search terms. Google seems to be giving more weight to keywords in the H2’s and H3’s lately.
We recommend to include your main keywords at least twice in the content. A good strategy is to reverse engineer the content of your top 5 competitors ranking on the first page of Google. Keep in mind that these websites are already ranking on the first page so they satisfying Google’s ranking factors. “Success leaves clues right”. We use our website auditor to analyze the top 5 competitors and optimize the content accordingly. There are free website audit tools out there and you can also use a spreadsheet to list down the keywords your competitors are using.
Populating the image Alt text with relevant LSI phrases and long tail keywords will help add relevance to that page and will get you in Google images search as well. Internal linking also helps add relevance to specific pages and transfers power to those pages.
THE ISSUE – Because search engines can read normal text, having special characters in your URL is a drawback. Here’s an example of a non SEO friendly URL https://fashionwebsite.com/bbp?category=/womens&_ref_=bbp_bb_9ea285
SOLUTION: Instead a clean URL looks something like https://fashionwebsite.com/womens-swimwear This will be easier for search engines to understand
THE ISSUE – No website audit would be complete without user experience testing (CRO testing). People’s attention spans are very short these days and failing to capture the visitor’s attention immediately is going to hurt conversions, leads, and sales. Advertising costs money and if your website is not properly set up, you will keep bleeding out profits for lack of conversions.
Is your content written with a clear understanding of the customer in mind? Is your website menu structure easy to navigate. Does the home page has a call to action above the fold? Do content pages use personalization whenever possible? Are product or service pages helpful and easy to understand? Is your website mobile friendly? Does your website have trust badges? How is your overall website’s speed? A website is made of a lot of moving parts, and we know its not always easy for the web developer to come up with the perfect setup. Don’t worry our content audit checklist and CRO solutions will give you all the guidance you need.
SOLUTION – We find that optimizing the landing pages of a website can lead to an increase in leads and sales of up to 700%. The first thing we do is optimize the website architecture, so now the website is super easy to navigate and easy to understand by both the user and search engines. The most important pages should be closest to the home page.
For example, if your website is abcservices.com and you offer 5 different services in 2 different locations your website structure should be like so; abcservices.com/location1/ and abcservices.com/service1 then adding child pages… abcservices.com/location1/service1 for services in that particular location etc etc. Each location page should also have a list of services you offer in that location. The location and service pages should also be included in the main menu namely ‘areas served’ and ‘services’ respectively. Sounds complicated? – Our team of SEO specialists can help you implement the website structure and develop a functional website that works!
In 2018 every website should be mobile friendly. Fast loading websites convert better, remember, most of your visitors probably visit your site from a mobile phone. Hosting your website at a reliable hosting company and compressing images will increase your upload speed. The mobile index is now Google’s main index, so a mobile-friendly website is a must. You can check your website using the Google mobile friendly testing tool. Adding SSL certificate (HTTPS) will also add trust to your website.
Google Search Console
THE ISSUE – Still to this day we take projects over where the Google Console is neglected. The search console gives us a lot of valuable data, from Google themselves, so lack of knowledge in this regard will most probably hinder your website’s visibility. The 4 most common issues here are; failure to create Google Webmasters for your site, Console not connected to Google Analytics, ignoring the sitemap submission, failure to check crawl errors on a regular basis.
The first thing we do is submit ALL versions of the website, ie with the www and without the www, then set up the preferred version, this must be the version that you see in your browser. Submitting a sitemap is very important so Google can crawl the site and add it to their index.
Then we connect Google Console to Google analytics. Did you know that Google Console’s Search analytics gives us a lot of keyword data that is hidden in Google analytics? Next step is to set the target country, then we submit the website to desktop and mobile index. We go in a week later to check if there are any crawl errors and security issues.
It’s also a great idea to check the mobile usability and have a quick look at the blocked resources section. It’s not common, but it can happen and no matter how powerful your website is, if some of your pages are blocked (check your Robots.txt file) from search engines, these pages will never get indexed in Google.
There’s more to the website audit, but these are the common mistakes we find that hinders the visibility of a website in search engines. Technical SEO can be overwhelming for beginners, and that’s why we are here, to help businesses and marketing managers improve their online exposure
You can get in touch with us for a free consultation by filling out our contact form here.
To your success