Once you have set up your own website, it is only the first step. Don’t think your job is done! Unless your site is optimized for search engines and is designed keeping in mind SEO, it’s guaranteed to fall behind its competitors. So we’re going to show you how you can perform the best SEO audit to know where you stand in Google’s search results, and how to improve even further on that!
How to do a Website Audit
This is the most important part of configuring your website so that the site itself is optimized for search engines. In order to do this, you need to keep the following in mind:
You need to make sure that the title for each page is unique, and within the specific size of 50-65 characters, and the description between 150-160 characters, and contain the keyword, but aren’t stuffed with it. You also need to make sure that the title, as well as the description, give a clear idea of what the page or website is about, without making it too complicated.
The URLs for each page also need to be short, unique, and properly formatted, containing the keyword, but not excessively stuffed with it.
You need to make sure that the text on your website isn’t just plain, unformatted text, but properly constructed, with H1 for the main title and H2 for the main headings and so on, along with words or phrases in Bold or Italics, wherever necessary.
The content is one of the most important parts of optimizing your website, and as such, needs to be unique, free of grammatical or spelling errors, properly formatted, and contains an appropriate number of keywords. You should also keep in mind the optimum length that your content should be within, make a schedule for checking the content from time to time for freshness, and update it regularly.
Linking similar or relevant pages together is useful for both Search Engines as well as your users. Make sure that:
a) The internal links do not only use the keyword anchor text, but rather, both the full page title as well as the non-keyword anchor text.
b) The pages which you want to rank higher in search results have more of internal links and are also linked to on your home page.
c) You have at the very least anything between 3 – 10 internal links on each page.
Images present on a page make it fun to read, but in order to work with SEO, you need to:
a) Make sure the image name describes what the image is about. Using keywords in the image name is alright, but it should not be overdone.
b) All of the images need to have the keyword as the ALT tag.
c) The images are compressed and do not cause the page to have a slow loading speed.
You need to make sure that your pages do not have any “broken links” as they can be extremely detrimental to search engine optimization. You can use tools like Xenu’s Link Sleuth, as well as the ‘Crawl errors’ report of webmaster tools like Google and Bing, to find any broken links on your website. You can then fix them by either correcting the links, removing them completely, or using 301 redirects to redirect them to valid URLs.
Google heavily penalizes websites which have too many ads placed improperly on the pages. You could use this guide from Google Adsense to get an idea of whether your ad implementation follows the recommended standards, and if not you need to either change the placement of the ads or remove them completely.
The user-friendliness of a website is a very vague and difficult thing to ensure, but if you use your common sense and think from one of your visitors’ point of views, you can take care of the following:
a) Make sure the Error 404 page is friendly.
b) Make it easy to find what one wants is less than 3 clicks.
c) Make sure the website has a clearly defined main menu.
Page speed is probably the most important factor that determines the performance of your website. If a page takes too long to load, you can be sure your viewers will not have the patience to wait for it. In this aspect, it is best to hire a developer or an SEO expert with proper technical knowledge who will be able to optimize it for you.
Unless you know the basic information about your website, as the state it’s currently at, and any potential problems that may arise, you will not be able to move on to the rest of this audit. You can use a number of extremely useful tools to properly control your website. For example, you should always register your website with Google webmaster tools, and make sure that the search engines’ bots can access your website smoothly, without difficulties. If any of these is lacking, you should fix them first, if your site is to perform well.
If you want your website to perform well, you cannot simply focus on search marketing, as social media is one of the most important factors which affect your site’s viewership. So you need to ensure that you have a solid social media presence in the top few important channels like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. You should also check if it’s easy for users to find and follow you, and whether your social media profile is Search Engine Optimised.
Off-Site SEO is extremely important as they also affect your rating and rank in search results. Google webmaster tools provide a ‘Links to your site’ report, using which, you can easily find out who is linking to your website. Once you have the report, you need to check the following things:
I. Find out how many unique domains have linked to your website.
II. Find out which among them are trusted domains.
III. Find out the number of links pointing to your homepage and those to your internal pages.
IV. Find out which of the pages have the highest number of incoming links.
V. Find out the percentage of the links which are keyword based.
Depending on what you find, you might need to get more trusted domains to know about you and link to you, make sure you get links to both your homepage and internal pages, and make sure that not all of the links are keyword based, or you might risk a penalty from Google.
Finally, you also need to go beyond SEO and conduct proper internet marketing of your website as well, by having a mobile version of your website for smartphones and tablets, have some presence on YouTube, as well as keep finding more and more ways to promote your website not just on search engines, but on the internet as a whole.
When you take into account all the steps mentioned above, your SEO Audit will definitely bear fruitful results, providing you with suggestions for discovering any missed opportunities, where to find your prospective clients, and also recommendations on how to make them your viewers, or even better, your clients!