If your business has a website, then undoubtedly, you’re right across the importance of SEO which is all about setting your website up for success – getting to the premium position on page one of the Google rankings.
But did you know that SEO shouldn’t be a ‘set and forget’ position? Ideally, it’s important to conduct an SEO audit about every six-to-twelve months. When you’re a small business you don’t need to over-do it, but an audit is a good habit to get into on a regular basis because it keeps the website in top shape. It can however, be time consuming, although there are tools and tips and a variety of resources online that can help the process including automated software that will ‘crawl’ your site, conducting an SEO Audit in the process.
Why conduct an SEO Audit?
The nature of digital marketing, the cornerstone of which is your website, is dynamic and evolving. Your website is ‘live’ collateral. You’re constantly adding and updating to it. A regular SEO Audit will give you a good insight into your website and to see areas that need improvement. It’s a bit like a health check – a chance to make sure that the structure makes sense and that the pages are all neatly filed under the appropriate headings as they should be so that your web users can find their way around. It will help you identify broken links and make sure that both on-page and off-page elements are working to optimise your Search Engine visibility, the ‘usability’ of your website, and most importantly, convert ‘users’ into customers.
What is an SEO Audit?
Typically, an SEO audit will cover four key components:
- Technical analysis
- On-Page analysis
- Off-Page analysis
- Competitive analysis and keyword research
This is perhaps the most important part of the website. It’s mostly about ‘functionality’. A couple of examples of something you might want to review is HTTPS. The entire web is gradually leaving HTTP behind and switching to HTTPS. Does your website have the appropriate security certification? There are good reasons why it should. Voice search is also on the rise – is your website ‘voice search’ ready?
The technical part of your audit will also look over the ‘architecture’ of your site‘ and this really relates to how people find their way around your website. Content should be structured logically, and as a rule of thumb destination pages should be only be three clicks from the home page – closer if they are more critical.
In the technical part of your SEO audit, website speed and mobile friendliness are also important checks. Most web browsing, particularly searches for small business, are now conducted on a smartphone, people get frustrated if they cannot access what they want quickly and efficiently, and you’ll lose potential customers.
The next step in your SEO audit is analysing the individual pages on your website. Are they following best practice when it comes to on-page optimisation?
There main components that need reviewing are:
- Page title
- Meta Description
- Heading and image tags
- URL structure
- Page content – keywords
Each of these elements needs to be reviewed on every web page and you need to make sure that best practice is being followed. Google’s General Guidelines provide good information about this.
Domain authority (DA) is critical in SEO, it’s determined by the quality of links to your website and the ‘trustworthiness’ of these as determined by Google. To achieve a strong DA, amongst other things, you need quality backlinks. And you want a high percentage of these links to be from other high DA websites. This will improve your credibility with Google and therefore your rankings. Quality, engaging content is important in achieving a high DA, so make sure you get rid of old-outdated content, fix broken links and check old links to make sure they’re still appropriate. All of this ‘spring cleaning’ will hold you in good stead. Achieving DA doesn’t occur over night, but with patience, and a well-functioning website you can get there.
Competitor and Keyword Research
To complete an SEO audit and ensure that your SEO strategy is appropriate for your business, your audit should review your competition – make sure that what you are doing is as good as what they are doing, or better, and also make sure that you’re doing something a little different that will help you to ‘stand out’ from the pack.
Obviously, while you’re looking at the competition you need to understand how people are actually finding you. Do keyword research and find how you perform against these keyword searches. This can be a great way to identify new ways to grow traffic to your site.
And audit is not just about making sure that your website is working the way you want it too, it’s also an opportunity to review your website strategy and consider different ways of approaching how you grow traffic and make conversions.
If you need help conducting an SEO audit, then contact us.