WHAT IS A WEBSITE AUDIT?
We have many clients where they have attempted SEO themselves and get so deep into it, that they begin to create a spiderweb of a mess on their website while attempting to implement some SEO strategies on their site, but losing value to the human visitor. What value would ranking high be worth on search engines if the human visitor has no interest when they reach your site because it now looks ugly and unorganized because it’s focused on SEO, and only SEO.
WEBSITE AUDIT NEEDS TO IMPRESS HUMANS AND SEARCH ENGINES
There are ways to accomplish both of these areas without sacrificing one for the other. Achieving high rankings on search engines without losing the cosmetic appeal to your visitors is crucial and that’s where a SEO website audit will help.
WEBSITE AUDIT CHECKLIST
Many website have hundreds and even thousands of pages and posts within their website. Regardless of how many pages your website has, it’s important to start your website audit with the high priority landing pages. These are the pages that have the most relevancy to what keyword that you’re trying to rank for, pages with the most links, etc.
The first thing you should do when do an SEO website audit it to actually check out your online presence and to see which pages are indexed and which are not. Unless you are an SEO company who has invested in the tools to automate a lot of this process, you can do a Google search to find out simply by searching site:search. Once you do this, take note of how many of your pages are actually indexed and make sure your homepage is showing up first. If it isn’t, it’s a good indication that it’s not optimized correctly such as poor site architecture or bad internal linking to other pages within the site.
If your website is showing all the navigation links in Google’s cache, then the structure of your linking is on target as it should be.
Now let’s look at your actual homepage since this tends to be the most prominent landing page for SEO rankings. Start off by checking the obvious. Check the title of the page and make sure it’s under 70 characters. It’s also important to make sure your meta description is a real description of the actual page and page only as well as the meta keywords. Keyword stuffing, the act of flooding your page with keywords that you want to rank for will only get you in trouble with the latest search engine algorithms and get penalized. Once you’ve checked the meta tags, it’s time to move onto the actual homepage content. Make sure the pages has at least 1-3 well written paragraphs. When I say ‘well-written’, I’m referring to human visitors, not just search engines. Don’t keyword stuff your pages in hopes to rank higher. A very important thing related to the latest Google Panda change, for all of your pages is to make sure the content is yours and not copied from any other website or competitor. Make the content as valuable as possible by providing as much detail and research as you can in the page. Make it easy on the users eyes and to the point. We see many site owners try to write as much as possible in hopes to trick search engines with sneaky keyword stuffing. Make sure H tags are used and you associate relevant alt tags with the images on your page.
Another major update with the Panda release is advertisements on your website. If you have a lot of ads with little text to support it, you will get penalized by Google very quickly. As we discussed already about having duplicate content on other sites on the web, it’s just as important to make sure there is not duplicate content with your pages within your site. Each one of your pages should be as unique as possible including the title and other meta tags.
Another very important part of a SEO website audit is checking the robots.txt file. This has actually become more important than ever with so many algorithm changes. A robots.txt gives search engines a roadmap of what pages to crawl and which ones not to. Some people actually find out that their entire website is blocked and cannot be crawled because of their robots.txt file. It’s important to block irrelevant pages such as login pages, thank you confirmation pages, etc.
Make sure you have a sitemap and that it it setup correctly and updated often. This is the key to search engines and a very important part to your SEO website audit and tells them very easily and quickly where your pages are. You should always submit it to search engines as well once it’s been updated. After a while, they will start crawling them automatically and very often if done correctly.
I highly recommend also setting up webmaster accounts. This will literally inform you of exactly what the search engines see when crawling your site. It will tell you if you have any broken links, load time and much more that is all important to search engine rankings.
The most important thing is to keep your website clean. Get out of the mindset that more is better because that is surely not the case anymore. While there are over 100+ different things you could do with your website to help you out with rankings, these are the most important ones.
Is it time for your website to get an SEO website audit?