There was perhaps a time when you could have a website created for you and then just kind of forget about it... but that time has gone. If it is more than a few months since you last looked at the technical elements of your site, it is probably time that you did it again!
If your website does not perform in the way you would like it to or you have found that you are losing position in search engine results, a website audit will help to identify the problems with your site and what you can do to improve things, both on and off page.
What does an SEO audit look for?
Indexing issues - making sure that Google can crawl your site and index your content is important. An SEO audit will reveal crawl errors and pages which Google cannot index.
Page speed - The speed of your website has been cited as one of the main SEO ranking factors for some time. Google wants to provide users with the best possible experience of the web - slow-loading websites have high abandonment rates and are frustrating for users. A slow loading site will be penalised by Google.
Mobile friendliness - As more searches are now carried out on mobile devices than desktop computers, Google has changed the way it provides search results to prioritise mobile. The mobile-first index means Google is now prioritising results from mobile-optimised sites first, in favour of sites geared to desktop computers. If your website isn’t optimised for mobile, you have a problem in SEO terms.
Domain authority - Domain age is something which adds to your site authority, as well as the way that other sites link to you. Sites with high authority themselves add to your authority if they have linked to you.
Technical SEO - Making sure that you are using the right kind of title tags, header tags, meta descriptions and structured data content in your website is essential. Simply having headings which are well key-worded and using question based headings are areas where many websites could be improved.
Optimised website content - It is now impossible to talk about SEO without talking about content - so much so that we have many other blog posts on the subject! Your site content needs to be well optimised with relevant keywords, useful information, answers to common questions etc. The way that Google provides search results to users is based around the keywords and phrases that they use in search. In order to be considered content worthy of displaying, Google wants to make sure it is highly relevant to the search performed. If it does not find enough keywords in your site content - this will not happen. Of course, there are caveats to this - duplicated content is a no-no - this is a negative ranking factor so do not be tempted to short-cut content creation by borrowing it from somehwere else. Also, content which is clumsily stuffed full of keywords, but not useful will do you no favours. So, make sure that when you think about content, you are always focusing on content which is high quality, useful and relevant.
User Experience - Google uses RankBrain which is a set of signals to determine how well your website content serves your visitors and this will influence your search engine ranking. The main factors which RankBrain will look at to determine this are Click-through, dwell time and bounce. A website therefore which uses spammy tactics to pull people in, only for them to realise that the site they have landed on is not what they want will likely have a high click-through rate but also a high bounce rate and a low dwell time. On the other hand a website which has a high click-through rate, a low bounce rate and a longer dwell time shows that the users clicking through to the site have found the content useful and relevant - a positive ranking signal which will improve your ranking over time.
There are of course other factors which will affect how well your website performs once the SEO elements are taken care of - how persuasive your site content is, ease of site navigation, how well you target and therefore, understand your audience will also be important areas to look at once the SEO factors are dealt with - but that is for another blog post!
If you are interested to find out how you can improve the performace of your website, click below to arrange your free SEO audit and recommendations.