Several digital marketers and website owners say that their website is optimized for Google. Are you one of them? When was the last time you visited your SEO strategies and compared them to the 2018 guidelines? To think of SEO as a one-time practice is a cardinal sin for digital marketing experts. Revisiting optimization strategies and tactics require us to locate the different factors that act as ranking signals for Google. Considering 200 individual factors contribute to SEO and page ranks, it would be a Sisyphean task to compare and weigh our SEO techniques each time.
The first question we face is "how frequently should we test and change our website SEO." Honestly speaking, there is no standard frequency for SEO audits, but you should try to run one every 2 to 3 months at least. Determining each page, URL, image and schema that might be lowering the page rank in the Google SERPs is not only labor-intensive, it is also close to impossible for large business websites, e-commerce sites, and active blogs. The nature of the elements that contribute to the popularity and success of a website is highly heterogeneous. There is little way to predict how a particular change in the URL structure or a new snippet in the structured markup of a page will perform, even though your competitors tested it out months ago.
That is the reason you need to audit your website from time to time. Regular audits can make a marked difference in the performance of your website. Auditing is like using a sieve only to let the "good" parts of your site pass through. You have the leftover features on the sieve, and you take the opportunity to either put them to use in a form or discard them altogether. Much like the screening process we use from time to time in the kitchen, a website audit helps in –
- Determining the usability of site elements
- It helps us how much traffic and ROI we can expect from the effort (measurability of the KPIs)
- It reinforces the mechanism that determines who passes through and who does not (strengthens privacy)
- An audit decides how much your potential users and the Google bots will like the final brew (confirms the findability of your site)
Some audit guides will tell you it is mandatory for all websites to run complete audits every two months or so. However, unless you introduce CSS changes or theme changes to your site, there is no reason to run a mobile responsiveness test. In fact, if you use WordPress or HubSpot for content management, it should be able to preserve the style and structure of the pages across the same domain.
The on-page SEO factors, meta tags, title tags and content description do not change over time unless you have made particular changes. Therefore, it is enough to check them on the new pages only. Keeping track of the factors that contribute to SEO and page ranking becomes a lot easier with the maintenance of an SEO audit worksheet. That will tell you when was the last time you checked a particular page and if it is time for you to re-evaluate the changes once again. Several free tools let you get your website audit free every couple of months. Although the toolset is complimentary, the reports are genuine, and they can help you understand the performance of your site better.
Right now, your website might be performing better than you had expected and you might have no complaints about the traffic. However, the traction of a site is not smooth or predictable. Organic traffic depends upon the ranking, and that depends upon the interaction between several indicators. Therefore, a smart webmaster never discounts the utility of a site audit in the near future. Errors on your domain can send the wrong signals to the search engines and compromise the ranking of your site. Here are a few reasons we always have the budget for an audit –
- Running a timely review helps us eliminate errors that search engines dislike.
- They can enhance the different webpage elements that serve as ranking signals for Google.
- You should be able to see the same technical problems only search engines can locate on your site.
- It is a wholesome way to evaluate the URL structures, content quality, and page structures before the next crawl.
A complete website SEO audit can help your brand become visible online. It will help you with your rankings, click through rate (CTR), conversion and better sales.
What are some of the biggest mistakes website audits reveal?
First-time website audits don't take hours. They sometimes take days. That is due to the abundance of errors across a new website that is yet to experience optimization for any search engines. However, new sites going in for SEO audits have a significant advantage – they have a lesser volume of content that requires editing and correction. More prominent websites with a more substantial content bulk needs more attention and more work.
Irrespective of the purpose and nature of a website, there are a few mistakes that are common for a majority of the audits –
- No CTA
Most sites that go through inspections do not have enough high-quality, noticeable CTAs. Call-to-Action is very important since it is equivalent to a guidance system that tells the visitors what to do and where to go next. Even when you are not working with an e-commerce site or an online shop, it is imperative to reinforce the CTAs.
The “Subscribe” options or “Notify Me” buttons are forms of CTA that tell the visitors what to do once they are on your site. Implementing CTAs in the right places can help your dwell time and conversion rate significantly.
- A variety of content
Any website will see several stages of a customer journey. Therefore, it is necessary for it to foster a wide range of content that supports each step of the consumer's journey. To do this, you must understand where in the sales funnel each page belongs. Each sales funnel has several stages including driving awareness, consideration, purchase and customer retention.
However, not all sites pay equal attention to each stage of the funnel. It is typical for newer sites to emphasize sales pitches and purchase-driven content more than other content formats. To divide the importance and customer attention equally among all stages, you must mix up the content type a little bit. Include blog posts, e-books and infographics to drive awareness.Use case studies and product comparisons for consideration. Leverage blogs, long-form articles, newsletters and social media content to encourage retention. Finally, utilize trial offers, coupons, subscription offers and product descriptions to improve sales.
- Not enough emphasis on local SEO
No SEO strategy is complete without having local SEO measures. There are thousands of restaurants, car dealerships, retail stores and holiday booking places across the USA. How do you expect the local people to find your store and services unless you optimize your SEO for local searches?
The current shift of Google SERP design from the ten result SRL to the Google Local Pack (3 results) has made the local landscape even more competitive for small businesses. Investing in a regional strategy not only helps a website find its niche visitors, but it also boosts its sales by directing more relevant crowds to the domain. Proper optimization of a site for the Google Local SEO will increase your ranking, CTR and conversion rates significantly in the near future.
- Not enough details about products, services, and prices
Did you know? Google loves websites that have complete information about their services and products. There are times when people bounce back from a well-designed, responsive webpage because the entrepreneur does not display the prices of the products.
Displaying a transparent and honest pricing list is very important for you as well as for your customers. The visitors will find actionable information, they will stay longer on your site, and this shall send a positive signal to Google. Optimizing content for viewers and potential customers will help you climb the ladders of the SRL.
- Multiple location issues and page structure problems
Sadly, we have seen this all too often. Businesses with more than one location believe that creating more than one site will be beneficial for them. However, Google considers this as duplicate content and bad SEO practice. Search engines push these “duplicate” sites down.
Instead, you should be focusing on creating several subdomains or subdirectories for each location. Once you have updated unique content to each page, it is time to update your structured markup. Site architecture is essential for SEO since it decides how the spiders will crawl your site.
In short, SEO audit for a website is not optional. No matter how big or how busy your site is you need to conduct audits periodically for experiencing the best of your search engine optimization efforts.