Website Problems? Time For An SEO Audit!
Learn why conducting an SEO audit is like exploring an iceberg!
A website and an iceberg have a lot in common. What you see "above the surface" is only a smaller part of the entire structure!
When you look at a website through a conventional browser like Chrome or Firefox you see a website's design, words, images and maybe some rich media like video. That's the "user interface". But the parts of your website that you don't see in your browser are often more important than what's visible "on the surface".
The Stuff You Don't See Matters!
External Factors Matter Too!
An iceberg is affected by external elements such as the wind, current and water temperature. Your website is affected by external factors such as Internet connection speed, browser choice, the device being used by website visitors and web hosting performance.
An Online Audit Looks Above the Surface, Below the Surface and Understands Prevailing External Conditions
To determine the real "health" of your website you need to understand and document what's above and below the "surface" and evaluate external factors including your competition. An online audit, conducted properly, will provide you with a clear picture of your website's true health status and accurately benchmark your website versus your competition. Once an audit is conducted, you will have a clear plan as to what you need to do to increase the performance of your website!
What's in involved with an SEO audit?
When I conduct a search engine optimization audit here are the main components I review.
How well are HTML pages, images and other website components indexed by search engines? I document the results with numbers including what is indexed and when.
Is your website set up in a manner that search engines might construe some of your website content as "duplicate". Having duplicate content on your website makes your website vulnerable for penalties. Trust me... you never want to have to deal with a Google penalty. Personally I'd rather have a dozen root canals than deal with a major Google penalty!
How well does your website perform? How quickly does your website overall and individual web pages load? How do they load for desktop computers compared to mobile devices? A fast loading website is critical to achieving strong search engine visibility.
What is the overall quality of your content? Are you using on-page SEO best practices to help with the indexing of your website for specific keywords? Are text, images and other rich media such as interactive maps or videos optimized properly?
Is your site layout (think "site map") optimized both for a great user experience and search engine indexing? Can it be improved?
How well are your website and off-site components such as social media optimized when people search within geographical constraints? Think searches that include "places" like "Whistler hotels" or searches for the nearest pizza joint on a smartphone.
VIDEOS & IMAGES
Are these optimized and setup properly to be indexed? Did you know that YouTube is the world's second largest search engine? It's important that you rank well for these types of searches.
Providing website users using mobile devices with a positive experience is critical these days. Is your website set up to provide a great user experience for people using a mobile device? Is your website responsive?
For example, do your forms work? Is your domain registration optimized properly with information publicly available? Are analytic applications setup properly to measure clickstream traffic, goals, and qualitative results?
LET'S REVIEW "INDEXING" IN OUR NEXT POST
In future blog posts, I'll review each of these sections in more detail starting with what you should evaluate when looking at how your website is "indexed" by search engines.
So now your turn?
Have you ever had an online audit conducted for your website? If yes, please feel free to share your experience and results! Leave your comments below.