Audit is a word that sends shivers down every business owner’s spine. But unlike a tax audit, an SEO audit is a process that brings benefits to your business. Read on to discover how Brightspark does technical SEO audits and why you should get one.
If you have a website, your goal is to attract as many visitors as possible, right? But having a website and publishing content regularly is no guarantee your audience will come your way – for that, you need search engine optimisation.
SEO is a technique that can do wonders for your website visibility and rankings. If your traffic is low, if you are not showing up in search results and if people leave your website within seconds, there must be something wrong and you need to fix it.
That’s where the SEO audit comes in to help you identify the elements of your site that leave much to be desired.
Here's what should be on your SEO audit checklist
Internal Link Structure and Anchor Text for Internal Links
Internal links lead from one page to another within the same domain. In other words, internal links point to another web page on the same website.
They’re practical for helping your visitors navigate through your content and easily find other pages which cover the same and similar topics. They are also great for directing traffic to your service pages.
Internal links are also used to establish information hierarchy and allow Google’s crawlers to figure out the relationships between different web pages, as well as determine the value of content.
What you should do is determine what your most important pieces of content are, and make sure to have many internal links pointing to them.
If your links don’t go deep, that is, if you mainly focus on linking to your homepage, the overall SEO of your website will be rather poor.
Another thing to pay attention to is the anchor text you use for internal links. In case you aren’t sure, anchor text is actually the clickable, hyperlinked text which takes you to another page.
If your anchor text isn’t
- to the point
- relevant to the page it links to
- as specific as possible
Then it’s not particularly SEO-friendly.
Title Tags and Meta Descriptions for Pages and Images
Title tags are an essential SEO element.
Title tags display the information that the person searching ses when in the search engine result pages. Your title tag could sway their decision as to which listing to select and click on.
The idea behind an effective title tag is to summarise the content of a particular web page succinctly and accurately.
It’s also important that your title tags are displayed in their entirety on both desktop and mobile displays, so make sure you double check how they show up on all platforms before hitting publish.
Meta descriptions play an important role in search optimisation as well. While the title tag grabs the attention, the description tag can be used to persuade them to click. These HTML elements, which show up as snippets of text under the page title in results pages, give searchers an idea about what they can find on a particular web page.
Write unique and accurate meta descriptions for each page. Try to include the keyword you are ranking the page for, but don’t push it. The main thing is to inspire users to visit your page.
When it comes to images, each needs to have alt and title tags. The former is actually a short description of what the image actually is, and is used if the image can’t be displayed or seen by the visitor, while the latter is used to provide additional information about the image.
Google crawlers also use alt tags to understand what the image is about, and this can affect your rankings.
Redirects, defined as automatic URL transfers, forward your visitors to another page, thus allowing them to explore your website in a more seamless fashion.
They are used when your website is moved to another domain, during website maintenance, in case the structure of your website has been changed, or when you change or update a URL. Now on its fifth incarnation, this site has loads of redirects in place!
Redirects automatically take your visitors to the right location, instead of displaying a 404 error.
Basically, redirects such as 301’s which are permanent redirects, and 302’s temporary redirects, protect your website’s integrity and ensure positive user experience.
If you fail to implement redirects properly, Google can penalise you for pointing your visitors to dead pages with a drop in rankings.
That’s why it’s crucial to check your redirects and see whether they’re working properly.
Just like dead-end pages, broken links can hurt your website’s SEO and user experience.
There are different reasons why they can occur:
- You delete old and redundant pages, but forget that there are links on other pages leading to them.
- You link to another website which undergoes a change later on – moves to a different domain altogether or rearranges its page structure – leaving you with a broken link.
Luckily, there are lots of different tools that can help you identify broken links. Google Analytics, which you most probably already use for tracking your website performance, is one of them.
Websites that load in five seconds or less have 70% longer average sessions.
If you want your visitors to stick around and explore your website, you need to shift it into higher gear. Otherwise, they will bounce off your website without giving your great content a chance.
In addition, website speed is one of the ranking signals Google uses, which means that a sluggish website that takes ages to load can’t expect to rank well.
Google’s Page Speed Insights will tell you how you stack up in the speed department.
Links Pointing to Your Website
Backlinks are links from other websites which point to yours, and they’re one of the most important ranking factors.
The more high-quality, unique backlinks you have, the better your rankings and website reputation will be.
Focus on the high-quality part of the equation, because shady or irrelevant backlinks can actually hurt your rankings.
That’s why you need to monitor the sources that are pointing to your website and remove harmful backlinks from spammy and untrustworthy sites.
Google Search Console is your friend, so use it to get to the bottom of your backlinking efforts.
A quick SEO audit can tell you where you’ve made a mistake and what you should fix in order to have a perfectly optimised, high-converting website. However, this is just the beginning of the optimisation process, because SEO is a complex strategy which requires a much deeper approach in order to be effective.