As a digital marketer, attracting traffic is the name of the game – and many industries believe that good content and popularity are the secret weapon to achieving this. However, what they do not know is that the most important thing to do in order to gain significant traffic in your website starts with performing a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit.
An SEO Audit is done to check how your website is performing. In doing so, you will have a deeper understanding of what is working in your campaigns or not, and can use this data to shift how you do your marketing.
An SEO auditor will basically provide you with three things, namely
1. The overall performance of your campaign in terms of traffic flow
2. The factors not working in your campaign, and
3. The necessary steps to be taken that are available in the market
When Should You Perform an SEO Audit
According to gotchseo.com, there are only two instances to perform an SEO audit – before starting a new project and at the beginning of a new quarter. Additionally, if you are a small website, you do not necessarily need to perform these audits all the time. Instead, you can do this once a year. If you are, however, a medium to large company there is a need to do perform an SEO audit during the periods mentioned. On the other hand, reliablesoft.net suggests that an SEO audit is needed at least twice a year so you will have a clear understanding of your website’s performance.
Regardless of when you do an SEO audit, it is clear that it is an important step to help you gain the traffic you desire.
Checklist to Guide You in an SEO Audit
An SEO audit begins with analyzing the technicalities in your website. According to searchenginewatch.com, this cover two main points – the accessibility and the indexability. A well-written content will not matter if these two are not properly programmed. Take note that these two are not for users but for your search engines, i.e Google, Bing, etc.
In terms of accessibility, you can program contents that you want to make available for search engines. Using robots.txt files, you can restrict Google’s access to certain parts or your website. However, you need to be certain that you are not hiding any important file from Google, otherwise there might be a chance your page will not be visible in Search Engine Result Pages (SERP). Although there is a way for these search engine crawlers to locate you. With the use of robot meta tags, you can instruct these search engine crawlers how they should handle the page. This means that you have control which page these crawlers should focus on. You can also apply what we call an XML Sitemap. An XML Sitemap provides a roadmap which the search engine’s crawler will use to navigate through your website. Doing this will ensure that your page will be visible in SERPs.
After Google “checks” your website, it will decide whether or not your site is worth a spot on the SERPs. In case your page cannot be found on the SERPs, this means that there was a problem with your website – these can range from content duplication and use of keywords among many others. What you need to do is to run your website using Sitemaps to double check what needs fixing.
Your website is the next thing you need to consider – its aesthetics and functionality. One of the reasons why users press the back button once a website is opened is because the website is not functioning properly.
As for its function, there should only be one browseable link. For example, your website should not be opened using different links like the following
- • http://www.XYZ.com
- • https://XYZ.com
- • https://www.XYZ.com
Only one link should be accessible. It would be best to use https:// links since there is a slight ranking boost for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) enabled sites.
A website needs SSL for security reasons. This is the backbone to having a secured internet connection. The purpose of SSL is to encrypt pertinent information like credit card details. When you send information using the internet, the information will go from computer A and will pass through to computer B. If there is no SSL, any computer between computers A and B can read the information. However, if there is an SSL, only computers A and B can read the information making the information unreadable to the rest.
How your website looks is important in its overall impact. You should check if your website is structurally sound. This includes the placement of tabs on your website, even how a user will be navigating through it. Check if it is easy to navigate your website – the number of clicks from other tabs to your homepage, the content, the graphics, and the ads, because all of that affects the overall look and performance of your website.
To do this, study your website’s heatmap. The heatmap will indicate which part of your website page individuals click on. Normally, this has the F pattern. Understanding where your web visitors click on or pan will help you know where to properly place tabs and call to action buttons.
The performance of your website is dependent on its speed. You need to make sure that you have a fast working website and pages that can load quickly in both desktop and mobile devices.
Another thing to consider is the responsiveness of your website. With so many people preferring the use of mobile devices over desktop computers, it is important that you have a website that can translate from desktop to mobile accurately.
Choosing which keyword to use is very important. You need to have an idea of the kind of keywords individuals use when searching for information regarding your business. The ideal kind of keywords are those that have medium difficulty and medium traffic.
The thing you want to avoid when optimizing your keywords is called Keyword Cannibalism. This is the use of duplicating keywords which makes it difficult for Google search to prioritize which one to optimize. It is best to optimize one page (say your web page) and unoptimize any competing page because if you don’t, both your pages will end up competing with each other.
Due to the outpour of fake news seen in the previous year, search engines like Google are more stringent in scanning a website’s content. As a result, it is important that you make sure your content is solid.
For a sound content, it has to be original. Creating new, fresh, and up-to-date articles is everybody’s top priority. In fact, there are many free plagiarism check platforms online you can use to check your content. Google hates the same or similar content, additionally, they have upped its game in searching for similar content so you need to stay away from that.
These kinds of analyses mainly focus on your website’s connections. Your connections help build your website’s reputation so it is important to check who you are connected with and how these networks affect your website ranking.
Popularity (including engagement and social mentions)
As much as you hate it, most people search for a website because of its mainstream popularity. Popularity is a huge factor in gaining that coveted SERP spot, therefore, you should check if you are getting any social mentions, or if your hashtag (if you have one) is also used by other people.
If you are not getting those mentions, do something about your engagement with your audience, or better yet collaborate with other bloggers or business owners so you will have more opportunity to market your brand.
Link building is probably one of the most basic to-dos in SEO yet is proven to be the most effective. Backlinks are those websites you are connected to. Networking is important in building your website’s reputation, especially if you are connected to websites that correlate to your branding.
These backlinks will also ensure your website’s trustworthiness. A lot of people tend to visit popular websites because it is established that it is a trusted brand (just like choosing soap where you prefer buying from big named brands regardless of its price because you know it has been proven and tested by a lot of people).
Due to the increasing amount of people using social media, it has increasingly become a great platform for marketing. Several people now use social media accounts to spread the word about their business but do not necessarily give you the guarantee of having high traffic on your website. You still need to ensure that you are sharing your posts correctly and targeting the proper audience for your social media marketing to become effective.
The Share Button
It is important that you have a share button within your website which will allow visitors to share to different platforms the things that they find interesting on your website. Doing this will allow others to know about your business and would result to organic searches on your website.
As you can see, there are several things to consider in doing the SEO audit and it can get a bit overwhelming. However, it is something you should face and check off of your list in order to ensure the improvement in your website traffic.