Search engine optimization has so many elements at work, but they’re all necessary for your site to be found by the right individuals. What will help your website have the best chance of ranking well is starting with fixing your site’s SEO problems. For business owners, the hardest part is finding where to get started as numerous websites dive deep into the technicals of an SEO site audit but don’t give you a practical plan to fix what’s broken.
We aim to give you something different and that you can understand readily. In this guide, we’ll give you some pointers on what matters most out of the SEO website audit you will run. You’ll learn about the most common problems you’ll see and how to fix each one in 10 simple steps. The steps outlined here will give your business many advantages and stop you from wasting time looking at the wrong things in the site audit.
1. Internal Links
Internal links are straightforward to understand. These links point to different, relevant pages on your site and help site visitors find your content more accessible. They are also useful for letting Google, Bing, and other search engines analyze your website structure. These search engines can see what pages are related to each other through internal links. To fix the problem of not having enough internal links, try creating more content, especially on your blog. You’ll naturally get into the habit of linking to related pages in your posts.
2. Thin Content
Look for what’s called thin content – content that either provides little to no value for customers, or there’s very little content at all on the page. Be careful when creating blank pages in WordPress with titles and making them public. That’s an example of thin content that Google will index. When you’re in the process of developing your website, always check the option to discourage search engines from indexing your site until you have everything you need.
If you already have a website live, go back and browse through each page or run a site audit using SEMRush. In SEMRush, you can now crawl up to 20,000 pages on the website and see which pages are lacking in content.
3. Duplicate Content
Similar to thin content, duplicate content will also pose a massive problem for your website if left unchecked. Google wages heavy penalties against websites that have duplicate content copied from other sites. In this situation, you can use a tool like Copyscape to find duplicate text on the offending pages. Screaming Frog is also another tool that can be used to detect duplicate content on your site. However you decide to find these problems, it’s most likely that much of your duplicate content will be in the same places where you found thin content.
4. Missing Meta Tags
You could be missing out on many SEO opportunities by not having meta tags or meta descriptions on each page. Without these, Google will crawl through the page and display a snippet of content in the search engine result. It’s not a very good way to attract new customers because there’s far less incentive to click on the link. With meta tags and meta descriptions, you can optimize both for keywords relevant to your topic and add call-to-actions.
5. 404 Errors and Broken Links
404 errors always lead to a poor website experience, causing your bounce rates to increase. With a site audit, you need to look for these problems and add appropriate 301 redirects to active pages. We also recommend reading our guide on permalink structure and 301 redirects, which addresses how to prevent this problem when changing any site URL.
6. Not Running HTTPs
Another big problem you need to look for in a site audit is an expired SSL certificate. It’s important to have the latest SSL certificate enabled so your domain will remain secure. Websites running on HTTPs usually rank higher because the website experience is protected from all sorts of cyber attacks and threats.
7. Uncompressed Files
The site audit will tell you how many of the files on your website need to be compressed. This will include images and files containing bloated code, all working to slow down the page speed of your site. Slower page speeds cause people to leave your site faster and increase your bounce rates. SEO is just as much about engagement and user analytics as it is about good content, PR, and backlinks.
8. New Keywords
To see how effective your SEO is, always look at the position tracking, which can be very easy to forget and make a mistake on. It will tell you by how much your keywords have gone up or down. You should see continual growth in your number of keywords, although there will be short periods where this number will decline because of updates to Google’s algorithm and other factors. There’s also a difference between tracking keywords on a national or local level. Another mistake people make is not setting up the position tracking to include your local area.
9. Traffic Levels
Traffic is also an important factor to look at in your SEO site audit. If your traffic is low compared to your competitors, there are lots of ways you can remedy the situation. Consider promoting your website more on social media or finding a top influencer who will give your business a plug.
10. Spam Backlinks
Another mistake that catches many people off guard when conducting an SEO site audit is not understanding how spam backlinks can ruin your SEO. Make sure you look at which sites have been linking to yours. Try going into Google Search Console and disavowing the harmful backlinks. You’ll tell Google that these websites are a problem, and they will take it from there.
Anyone can run an SEO site audit, but where many go wrong is not knowing which things to look at first. People get bogged down in too much information and still have no idea where to start fixing problems and finding better opportunities. We hope that this article has cleared up some of that confusion. You can call us at 470-440-3434 or email [email protected], and we’ll run a free SEO site audit and analysis for you!