A healthy website is like a healthy body: it needs a regular checkup.
Over 60% of marketers say improving SEO is among their top priorities – the rest haven’t caught on yet. But great SEO isn’t static. As search engines tweak their algorithms, websites need to change with them. To keep up, you’ll need to audit your site.
Below, we’ve put together the ultimate website audit checklist for business owners.
Check Your Keywords
Yes, keywords are still important in 2018.
The keyword game has changed as Google’s algorithms have grown more sophisticated. Keyword stuffing won’t get you far with today’s search engines.
The good news is that great keyword technique is easy to remember. Keywords should be relevant, specific to your niche, and organic to your content. Longtail keywords with low competition remain the most profitable targets.
Perform a full keyword analysis to figure out what’s working. Double down on your best performing keywords and tweak those that aren’t doing well.
There’s a sweet spot to find between over-saturated keywords and obscure ones. Use your analytics to find underexploited keywords in your niche and drive up your rankings.
If It’s Broke, Fix It
It’s too easy to break parts of a website without ever knowing it. Changing the name of a page can break links and lead visitors to 404 errors. Your outbound links could lead to nothing if the target site disappears or restructures their URLs.
Google takes a close look at your site’s functionality to measure the user experience. If broken links have crept into your site, then they’ll hurt your ranking. No one wants to visit a half-dead site, after all.
Examine Inbound Links
Inbound links remain an important and fundamental part of an SEO website audit. Work out how many inbound links you’re using and find places where you could use more.
With a million sites to choose between, search engines need to know how to rank some sites as a more worthwhile stop than others. Inbound links are proof of your credibility. If someone links to your content, it suggests that content is useful to someone.
Think of your inbound links in similar terms as your keywords. Work with your partners to make anchor text relevant to both of you. Relevant content will help visitor retention at your site, which in turn will help your SEO.
Read Your URLs
This one’s a quick win in your SEO website analysis.
Check your site’s URLs. Are they readable and relevant to your content? Sites with nonsense URLs rank lower as search engines aren’t able to make sense of them.
Choose a strong URL for your domain and ensure your URLs match the page content. Don’t make the mistake of stuffing your URLs with keywords, as search engines will see right through the practice.
Peer Into Your Site Code
Not every aspect of SEO is visible on the page. Search engine robots can’t “read” your content in a meaningful sense, so they’ll peer into your site’s code to analyze it.
That’s why it’s important to ensure your site’s SEO is fit for behind the scenes purposes. You can use an online tool to help you run a check-up. This’ll help you get your meta description, meta keywords, and other invisible elements up to scratch.
This is one of the more complex parts of an SEO audit. If you’re not confident going behind the scenes, then working with an SEO partner like Long Media can help you get it straightened out.
Check that you have a sitemap so search engines know how to access and index your content. You’ll also need to ensure the sitemap doesn’t conflict with your robots.txt file, or you risk confounding a search engine’s crawl.
How’s Your Supporting Content?
It might sound like a no-brainer, but a lack of supporting content will kill your SEO.
Search engines are smart to sites whose only purpose is to farm hits. If your site doesn’t have meaty content, it won’t rank at the top of a search. Fill out your site with a relevant set of pages, and support those with articles and blog posts of interest to your niche.
A strong array of supporting content will also drive visits to your site, which will help you become a cynosure in a sea of similar websites.
Analyze the content you’ve already produced. Creating more of your most attractive content will add value for your visitors and improve your SEO.
Is Your Site a Slowpoke?
Like we said earlier, a website is like a body – and it grows old, too.
As sites age, they go creaky. Not because they’re breaking down, but because they can’t keep up. Compatibility issues with new technologies can slow them to a crawl.
Sites might also be slow to load due to poor optimization or inadequate bandwidth. Whatever the cause, slow loading times can hold back your ranking. Poor visitor retention will damage your site’s credibility. Most users will give up if a page takes too long to load, so it won’t matter how good your content is.
Does It Work – For Everyone?
The reign of the desktop computer is over. More than half of all website visits now come from mobile devices.
To put it another way: is your website unusable for half of your potential customers? Mobile compatibility is one of the most vital factors affecting not only your SEO, but also your visitor retention.
If your site has been around for a while, there’s a good chance it’s not up to the standards of modern devices. A full mobile compatibility audit will secure a larger audience.
Your Website Audit Checklist
A website audit might sound like an arduous process, but our website audit checklist shows how straightforward it can be. With a little knowledge and a methodical mindset, you can keep your SEO up to date – giving you an edge over your competitors.
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