Run a Website Audit to improve your SEO and UX in 2021
Author: Saman Tabai
digital marketing specialist
Here's why we start with Technical SEO
The primary objective is to identify any errors your website may have. The in-depth audit will assess the quality of your website by looking at various data points - including inbound links, titles, content depth sales from organic traffic and keyword rankings.
The Technical SEO audit will look at all the URLs on your website and crosswalk them against vital SEO data sources. This allows us to make decisions about the value of every page on your website and which SEO action requires improvement.
In conclusion - We will audit key data points, analyse the data, identify what is needed and get rid of everything that isn’t.
The result will give you a tracking SEO progress, Improved Technical Performance and an SEO Roadmap.
#1 Discoverability: in other words how easy can website visitors and search engines find you.
Indexation status - How many pages on your website are indexed. The algorithms are favouring content-rich websites with more than 5 pages. The days of 1 or 2 landing pages are over if you want to stay competitive.
Server uptime - How long and how often your hosting can keep your website up without reduced downtime. The stability of your website is crucial if you want to be indexed by search engines and not lose your credibility.
Meta Robot tag - This HTML tag is placed in between <head> code on a page and gives search engines instructions about a webpage. It's crucial from a web development point of view to ensure the most important pages on your site are indexed.</head>
Robot.txt - An instruction file letting search engines know how to access your website. Making sure this is done properly is vital, so you can control which bots can and can't access your website.
40X errors - Errors take place when the request sent to the web servers fails. You have probably seen a 404 error on someone's site before, that is one of the more common site errors. 404 errors are bad for your SEO when you move or delete a page, you want to make sure it's done properly for a better UX (user experience) for the visitor.
50X errors - Similar to the 404 errors, but this indicates a massive problem from your hosting site that it cannot manage the requirements of your website. This can affect your downtime in a negative way.
Video and Image XML sitemap - It helps search engines identify video content and index it for the user. As video has become more popular and should be part of your content strategy, you want to make sure your awesome videos are being indexed and ranked properly. An image XML sitemap helps search engines to quickly identify image content and index it in image searches. Getting your images ranked and indexed for image searches can increase your organic growth substantially.
XML Sitemap - An XML file is an extensible markup language file, and it used to structure data for storage and transport. When a user is looking for something that your website offers, the web spider crawls on your website to determine what it prefers. It is important to set a 'crawl budget' on your website (especially if it is large) which in return will determine what pages should be prioritised. The XML site map also protects from duplicated content.
Subdomain - It is important to have your subdomains in your SEO strategy - They are the extension of your root domain and should have their own directives for proper SEO indexation.
Pagination - This helps If you are writing a blog or have content that will run over to multiple pages, but needs to be treated as one page. These tags can help reduce duplicate content penalties and low indexation.
#2 URL Analysis - Optimising URLs on your website is vital. We use Sitebulb to do the analysis and we dive into the following:
Using hyphens in the URL - We don't want to use these symbols _ or, in our URLs as this can cause search engines reading URLs incorrectly. When we use a hyphen - search engines read them as spaces. Here's an example for of hyphen being used properly: www.mihdigitalmarketing.com/casestudy-swooshenglish
Friendly URLs - Short, clean readable URLs are crucial for when driving SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) results.
Absolute & Relative URLs - An absolute URL contains the full URL string whereas a relative URL doesn't. It's important to know that relative URLs are marginally better for loading times and normally used by web developers when coding
#3 Website Architecture - With the in-depth website audit we will dive in deeper to see how your website is structured. We'll look at the following:
Website breadcrumbs - are trails visible to your users to help them navigate your website. They enforce page hierarchy and navigation for search engines.
TNL analysis - It identifies how your navigation and menu is structured. It's a crucial part for your user as it impacts both indexation and the UX. You want to ensure a logical and easy way to navigate through your website. Your main pages should be linked to the TNL.
Footer - Analysing the footer is a major component in ensuring good UX overall on your website. It gives the user a chance to look at the most important pages on your website.
Site Depth Check - How many clicks do users need to get to your page? Search engines and users shouldn't have to click many times to get to the important parts of your website. They should be accessible from top-level navigation and footer.
#4 On-Page Optimisation Checks - We analyse individual pages in bulk to find issues with your site. These are the 17 most important key components in this audit.
Page Headings (H1) - <h1> tags are generally found at the top of the page as the page's heading. There should only be 1 H1 tag on each page and is considered as the most important tag.</h1>
Visible title tags per page - They explain the titles of your page. Google recommends keeping the title tags under 65 characters.
Page Source Meta Tags - The key information that is displayed by the search engines and SERP when a user finds your site or page. Google recommends your meta description to be less than 156 characters. They tell the user what they expect to find when they click on your page. This is extremely important with Google's new algorithm changes being implemented in May 2021 to exercise best UX practises.
Publisher markup - Connects the entire website to the publisher. It's an important factor when it comes to branding and the user finding your logo, number, address, reviews etc. It showcases a summary of the company Google My Business.
Authorship - Shows a snippet of the author in SERP. It creates a digital signature so the author of that page can be seen.
Meta hreflang Tag - It creates signals to Google If you have multiple languages on your website when a user lands on your page. The result will be based on location. Making sure the appropriate page appears is good On-page optimisation practise.
Structured Data Markup - This helps with reviews on SERP which helps with click rate.
Key content location - A place where important topic related content appears. Maintaining your topics at top of the page will serve you best as search engines read content from top to bottom.
Editorial strength - How good is the quality of your content? We look at length, information and authority. Any content that is well written will optimise and rank better in search. This can help with link-building (getting other websites to link to your website).
Thin content pages - No rich media, very little text will make your page be considered as thin. It will be seen as adding no value to the end-user.
Missing title - Not showing a clear indication of what the page is about will cost you. Especially with Google's new algorithm being introduced in May 2021 - where the search engines won't even display your page if it believes it has no clear indication to the end-user. A UX web page with the right meta titles is a must going forward.
Image Location - Images on a page are hosted. When someone finds your image online you want an easy path back to your website.
Image Size - Mobile optimisation in website design is crucial, having large images can slow down your page and take up a lot of space on your server. Remember, site speed is key in 2021.
ALT tags - Sometimes images fail to render. Alt tags give the image another chance with a keyword describing the image which results in better ranking.
Duplicate title tags - When 2 pages or more have the same title, this will confuse the search engines. Each page should have its own unique title tag as this is important when users do a google search.
Missing Meta Descriptions - If you fail to enter your own meta description, Google will determine what it believes it will be the most descriptive. It's a good opportunity to make sure that you determine how you want the snippet to look like with the keywords best suited to your page.
Duplicate Meta Description - When 2 pages or more have the same description. It's better to have a unique meta description or no meta description than duplicating it.
#5 Google Search Console Audit - formerly known as 'The Webmaster Tools' this is critical to your SEO campaign.
Google Analytics - A tool provided by Google to monitor and collect data about your website's performance. It informs you of important issues that your website may be facing. Data points are being collected to help you optimise for better conversions.
Internal Links - Links that point to other pages within your website, making user experience smoother.
Page Not Found Errors - A 404 page is shown to the user. You want to either redirect the user or remove the page completely to ensure a good user experience.
Manual Actions - A Google Review penalising a website for spam. This can affect your website negatively and is something you should address ASAP. You can request reconsideration to Google to take the penalty down.
Site links - Links to pages on your site below the meta-description. Site links have been proven to help with click-through rates. It allows the user to find the relative page easier based on their search query.
Pages Blocked by Robots.txt - These are pages Google is not crawling due to directives the robot.txt file. You simply do not want to block the wrong pages as it can affect your website's ranking.
Check Pages Indexed - The number of pages that are eligible to rank in Google's search result.
Sitemap Indexation - The number of pages indexed on your website. It will flag any Robot.txt blocking your URLs.
#6 SEO Equity - Is a search engine ranking factor based on the idea that certain links pass value and authority from one page to another. The result affects Google and other search engines SERP.
302 Redirect - A page has been moved temporarily. A 302 page has not passed the SEO equity test.
Broken Redirects - A link that takes you to an error page. This can affect your SERP negatively.
Redirect Chains - Multiple redirects from one location to another. This can make the Google bot stop following the chain.
"No Follow" - A signal telling Google bot not to pass the equity test for that link.
#7 Link issues - Issues with internal links can damage your SEO process
Broken Links - A HTTP response code that indicates the server which the website is hosted could not find the page requested. This can cause a loss of traffic and bad UX.
Anchor text link - A hyperlink relevant to the content it’s linked to and works as an SEO checker that helps Google understand the relevancy of that page.
Logo Link - A hyperlink in the logo of the website - by clicking it you normally go back to the homepage of the website.
External Links - It can help the user find additional information that may not be included on your website e.g. social media posts.
Malicious Links - Spam Links from spam websites. They can contribute to spam penalties and you should avoid them at all times.
#8 Social Media Analytics - Setting up your Social Media Platforms is essential and we do technical checks to ensure this is done properly.
Google My Business - Is your Google online business centre, without it, you can't rank in Google's local search results. A crucial element as many users may find you in local search terms.
Facebook snippet - A meta tag that is used to help populate Facebook status box when someone shares your link.
There are many factors that play a role when it comes to optimising your SEO and it always starts with a site audit. Each component makes a difference and we don't want to miss any of them out, hence why we have listed them all for you.
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