How To Perform A Professional SEO Audit On Your Business Website
By Don Seckler of Peak Inbound Marketing
Don Seckler is the CEO & Chief Strategist at Peak Inbound Marketing. Peak helps their clients attract their ideal prospects and convert them into customers using SEO and strategic content marketing.
If you want your business website to be found by your ideal prospect, you need to be visible when that prospect is searching for you. Unfortunately, there is a lot of competition for the 10 organic search results spots on page 1 of Google. So you need to do everything possible to make sure you are giving your business a fighting chance.
An SEO (Search Engine Optimization) audit can identify and uncover issues with your website that are making it less visible in organic search results. But where do you start? Here are the key factors that you should be looking at to properly gauge your website’s search engine friendliness.
Where your website is hosted can make a big difference in Google’s eyes. If your site is hosted at one of the big name web hosting companies that advertise on TV you may want to rethink that strategy. Often the big name hosting companies overload their servers by crowding far too many websites on them. If your website is on a server where other sites are doing bad things like spamming, that can reflect poorly on your site in Google’s eyes. It’s like if you had a house in a crime-ridden neighborhood. People might suspect you are up to no good as well just because of where you lived.
You should make sure your website has a unique IP address or Virtual Private Server (VPS). This ensures that Google will judge your site on its own merits.
Every website likely has some errors like 404 (page not found), broken links to external pages and missing or duplicate HTML tags. Minimizing and correcting these errors is crucial to your site’s health.
The URLs, Title tags, Desc tags, H1 tags are also very important factors for search visibility. Make sure that they all utilize the keywords for which you want to show up in search results. These tags should also reflect the content on that particular page. Google will evaluate these tags along with the content on the page to see how well it answers the search query that the user has made. Screaming Frog is a great tool that allows you to gather all of the URLs, Title tags, Desc tags and H1 tags for your site so you can do an analysis.
Page load speed is another key factor in how well your website will rank in Google. Google wants the user to have an excellent experience and find what they were looking for when they click search results listings. So if it takes forever for your website to load, that’s bad user experience. Keep in mind that you can’t just eyeball the website to see how fast it loads. Google is looking at speed in computer time not human time. So a website that looks quick to you, may not look quick to Google.
Is your website mobile friendly? Again, Google has an easy to use tool to test for mobile friendliness. Now that over half of all searches are done on phones, mobile friendliness is a must have.
Are you using Schema on your website? Schema is a structured data format that makes it easy for Google to better understand your website. For small businesses, a common Schema is the Local Business Schema. This tells Google information about your business and its location including map coordinates. It’s a great way to reinforce your business’ presence for local searches. Google has a structured data testing tool located here where you can test your schema to see if it is setup correctly.
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP are Google’s latest effort to make the mobile experience for people lightning fast. AMP are stripped down versions of your pages that load super fast on a phone. Google is now showing these pages at the very top of the search results on a phone. It’s worth it to add this functionality to your business website.
Your Inbound Link Profile
One of the key factors of search visibility is the Inbound link profile of your website. Your Inbound link profile is a combination of the number and the quality of the links that point to your website.
More links is better, but if you have links from websites with very high authority like The New York Times, those links are much more valuable than an unknown blog.
You also want to make sure that you don’t have spam links that point to your site. People used to add these links to increase their rankings but now Google is wise to that tactic and penalizes your site if you have spammy links pointing to it.
Which search keywords do your site and your competitors’ websites currently rank for in Google? Are they the keywords that your prospects would type into Google when they are trying to find someone who does what you do?
You can check your and your competitors’ rankings using SEM Rush, Moz and Ahrefs.
User Friendliness And Conversion Optimization
Finally, when someone does find your website, are they able to quickly and easily find what they are looking for. Also how easy is it for them to contact you? Make sure you have a phone number and a form at the top of your website in a very visible position. Make it easy for them to become a lead. If you make them work to do so, they won’t.
So there you have it. That’s exactly the process that we use when we audit a website for SEO friendliness. Getting these factors right is more than half the battle to being more visible in the search engines. It’s like building a great foundation on a new house.