All website owners need to have at least a cursory understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). Internet marketing has brought the incredible potential for exposure and leads for businesses but does so in an extremely competitive environment. Unfortunately, if your business doesn’t show up in search engines, this is wasted potential.
To find out how well your site shows up in paid and organic searches, you need to conduct a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit for your website. Because Google is continuously coming up with new ideas, and updating their search algorithms accordingly, it’s recommended to run an SEO audit on your website twice a year at the very least. If that sounds daunting, remember that an SEO audit doesn’t have to take weeks to complete and that a computer science degree isn’t needed. We have put together a quick list of SEO techniques that will give you ideas on what to update, fix and alter to enhance your SEO effectiveness.
Darke Creative also offers a free SEO audit to get you started.
1. Begin by listing all the ways someone can write your site address, and 301 redirect the others to that original version. This way, you’ll only be able to browse one version of your site.
2. Start a website crawl tool to uncover issues with structure and SEO setups.
3. Check Your Google Index. Your Google Index decides how much organic traffic you get. Cross-reference the number of indexed sites with the number of internal pages you found in the site crawl. If the numbers don’t add up, you want to look for pages that aren’t indexed (they have a noindex tag), or pages that are broken or redirects (HTTP status).
4. Search for your brand name in Google. Ideally, you should see your homepage as the first organic result. If this is not the case, you might have to do some work to build your brand and your links:
- like running a PR campaign
- building strong, branded links
- creating a site presence on the major social networks
- Google Business listing
- building citations on business directories.
If you aren’t in the SERPs at all, you’ll have to check Google Search Console for any penalties.
5. Ensure all your essential, traffic- Bringing pages have well-crafted, clickable title tags, custom meta descriptions, and click-through optimization. Ensure there is just one, optimized H1 tag, and that subheaders (H2, H3) are used correctly.
6. Fix all the on-page issues found in the site crawl. Start with Errors and continue with Warnings, Notices, before checking Social Tags, Content Quality, and Outgoing Links.
7. Look closely for duplicated content on your page, as well as other pages. Disclaimers will occasionally be flagged as repeated content. This isn’t a big issue since most websites use stock disclaimers. If, on the other hand, other websites publish content such as entire blog posts from your site, Google can get confused as to who the original author of the content is and rank the wrong page. If you spot this kind of syndicated content, make sure it links back to your original content.
8. Look for thin content. If you have very little written content, you might not rank because you have too little value. Use a website word counter tool to check the word count. Anything under 200 words should be added to or deleted.
9. Check your page speed with a tool such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool, Pingdom, Ahrefs’ Site Audit, or GTMetrix.
10. Use Google Structured Data Testing Tool to look for structured errors to fix. Reviews, product information, and events are all examples of content that would benefit from adding structured data.
11. Use Google Analytics for an overview of current organic search traffic. Find the pages that bring in the most search traffic (Landing Pages), and then look for the “Top Keyword” that sends the most organic traffic to the page. Go over traffic by years, months, and weeks.
12. Look at the pages ranking in positions 5–10 to find high-volume keywords. Focus on getting these keywords and content to the top spots by updating and relaunching the content, building fresh backlinks, adding internal links, and making sure the content is optimized for the keywords.
13. Fix broken links by replacing the content, redirecting the broken pages, or simply leaving them as 404s if they don’t have backlinks.
14. Find, and fix, content gaps. A content gap is a keyword your competition is ranked for, but you are not. In other words, you’re missing out on traffic you could be getting. Run a Competing Domains report to find these gaps. You can safely ignore marketplace sites such as Amazon or eBay. The same goes for sites like Quora or Forbes. Go back to your Competing Domains report and enter your competitors to find keywords to add to your search engine indexing.
15. Do a full content audit by weeding out under-performing pages that might drag your ranking down. If the page can be improved and relaunched, this is the best choice. But, if it’s not worth the trouble, get rid of it and 301 it to a better page. This way, you won’t lose your link equity.
Doing an SEO audit of your page may seem like a lot of work, but your Search Engine Ranking will be worth it!