If you are at least a bit familiar with SEO, you probably know that search engines change their algorithms constantly and the way they judge a website.
Whether you are an SEO professional or a casual online business owner, you should know that a website audit is a method for identifying the site’s problems, areas that can be improved, and in general, it helps to stay ahead of the curve in the world of SEO.
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Today we will discuss several factors that you should keep in mind when performing an SEO audit. These tips will not talk about a type of software that you have to use, but rather, areas you should work on improving.
Stick around until the very end as I will give you a tip on how to get a professional SEO audit for free.
Factors to keep in mind when forming a website improvement strategy
1.Brand focus and design
Website colors – in order to make your brand stand out and be memorable for users, make sure that its color fits the overall color palette of your company as well as the logo. If you are creating a website from scratch, be prepared to invest time and money into the overall color palette. Trust me on this, visuals do matter and have an effect on website visitors.
Image and Video appeal – it doesn’t matter if the images are stock or your own, use them to, again, enhance the images of your brand, services or product. Use whatever fits best in your industry.
Tone of Voice – Whether you’re an individual or a company, you have your own unique voice. No matter if it’s the way you use sentences, or certain wording in general, you have to make sure that visitors easily recognize and understand your message.
Consistent Website Formatting – choosing an appropriate way for presenting your website’s content is very important as well. Make sure to use a consistent template for navigation, text sections, headers and so on. Also, remember that the most important information comes first, then it is followed by less important content. Distinguish clear call-to-actions in your sections as well, urging visitors to perform actions.
2. Technical issues
Proper use of Headers and Subheaders – your content has to make use of H1-H6 headers and subheaders in order to appeal to both users and be understood by search engine scanners. Limit yourself to one H1 tag per page, as it usually is the title of the page.
Use Sitemaps – XML sitemaps are website layouts that help search engines read your site’s content with ease. Make sure to use a dynamic sitemap so that updated pages and posts are discovered by the system easier.
Optimize for better performance – Speed matters to both website visitors and search engines alike. Make sure the coding is minimal, images are small and cache is integrated where possible.
Use HTML5 and Schema – Schema and HTML5 are the new standard for coders and SEOs alike, helping the search engine better understand it’s content. If your website is implementing both of these functions, it’s an indicator of a good overall SEO value.
Quality – In order to make people actually read your content, you have to create depth that actually makes it worth reading. Do your research before you publish your posts and back them up with facts. Showcase your knowledge on a topic for the website visitor.
Consistency – Even if your content is valuable and worth reading, you have to keep it up and publish it on a regular basis. If you create the expectation for new content for readers, they will come back to your website.
The best way to execute this is to set publishing goals for yourself and execute them. Let’s say, 3 articles per week? This will allow you to keep your audience engaged and interested.
Relevance – Research and cover the topics that are fitting for your niche. Keep up with the latest trends and think about a way that you may interest the readers. Remember, your writing for people and not the search engines.
Engagement – Use a light and engaging tone in your articles and encourage your readers to share it on social media. Perhaps a simple joke in the text just might make someone’s day? Don’t be boring and always keep it simple.
Freshness – Content freshness is also important. Search engines consider this fact when ranking web pages for certain queries. Those who publish more frequently have a higher chance of cracking the top than those who don’t.
Forget Keyword Stuffing – According to “Google” – “keyword stuffing” is a practice by SEOs and webmasters who purposefully spawn keywords on pages in order to manipulate a website’s SEO ranking. Not only this brings a negative user experience, it may also result in a huge penalty for your website since search engines are constantly learning how to cope with stuffed keywords. Remember, your keywords have to appear logically and in context.
Things and practices to avoid
Before we discuss what needs to be avoided, check out these website audit services if you want to make sure that your website is ready to crush the TOPs.
Duplicates – A search engine’s goal is to display unique and relevant search results. Duplicated content can harm your positions significantly.
Lackluster Content – This involves pages or website’s that have scarce, or no unique content whatsoever. It most definitely will lead to bad experiences from users and may result in a manual penalty from “Google”.
Stolen or Scraped Content – If you rely too much on scraped content from other website’s, this is a negative signal and may open up a site to a penalty as well. You should be considerate and not “fall in love” with the practice of copy and paste.
Too many Ads – Web pages that spam advertisements into visitor’s face’s before displaying actual content are downgraded and penalized by engines as well, since they create a bad experience for users. That stuff is important.
Content Cloaking – Cloaking in the language of SEO, refers to the practice of showing different content to users and search engines. This a serious penalty and your website may be completely banned from display by a search engine.
Link Farms – another serious offence which will lead to heavy penalties is the practice of link farms. Link farms are a group of websites who are created for sole purpose stashing extra links for your website. Imagine these websites hosting not only your links for others as well – the search engine results will get distorted.
Buying/Selling Links – Another bad practice in a similar way is link exchanging. This is of course done to distort results from the search engine and shift it in the favor of a certain website. Yet again, since this is a direct violation of “Google’s” policies it will result in severe punishment as well.
To sum it up
The world of SEO is tricky and it takes a lot of patience and effort for your website to reach the results that you want. Remember that there is no easy and fast way to get to the top, and if someone tells you so, they’re either lying, or involve their websites in bad practices.
I’ve only mentioned a few general ways that can help your website grow. If you want to learn more on how to perform an in-depth analysis of your site, or need an SEO audit right now, check out our SEO audit services.