Technical SEO audits give you critical insights. They show you how your website is performing and highlight areas that can be improved in order to rank higher in search engine results.
But before you dive into the deep, deep pool that is a technical SEO audit, get the basics right first. This guide shows you how to ready your website to rank. You need to get the foundations laid before you perform a technical SEO audit.
Accessibility and speed
The first SEO audit check you should perform is to ensure people can access your website across multiple platforms. Key points to concentrate on are load speeds and how user-friendly your website is. If either metric fails, visitors will not hang around, thus negatively affecting your page rank.
Free tools you can use to do this are:
Accessibility – Site 24×7
Page Speed – Google Pagespeed Insights
Mobile-Friendly Test – Test My Site
Search engines rank websites that provide visitors with a good user experience. In the majority of cases, all you need to do is make a few tweaks. However, if you have an outdated website, you may need to overhaul your design.
Manually test how user friendly your website is to use. Does it explain to visitors what your business is about and what your products do for them? If not, change your web copy. Your website should also be:
- Easy to navigate
- Enjoyable to use
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Have a clean design that is not busy and confusing
- Highlight your most important product and services
- Showcase you are a trustworthy and reliable business
Publish high-quality content
Consumers demand information. And they would like a little entertainment whilst reading. The content you publish on your website has to offer something of value. To run a successful online business, you have to connect with readers on an emotional level.
Your content should:
- Clearly introduce who you are and what you do
- Talk to a reader using plain, simple English they understand
- Provide descriptions that highlight the benefits of your products and service
- Establish why you are a better choice than your rivals (value proposition)
- List each of your services on a separate page (search engines rank pages against keywords)
- Use target keywords for each page
- Provide an address and contact number if you have one
- Publish opening hours
- Name your location (for local search)
- Provide a contact form
When publishing content, it is important to remember that users will be accessing your website from desktop computers and mobile devices. You should therefore present content in a way that is accessible across a variety of screen sizes.
- Including high-quality images
- Use H2, H3 and H4 tags to resize important points and make text stand out
- Include detailed product descriptions
- Include information customers find useful, i.e shipping costs
- Publish a variety of content; native ads, promotional videos
Maintain a blog
You need to publish high-quality content. This can make blogging can be time-consuming or expensive. But because content is the main driving force behind consistently high search engine rankings, reputable and ambitious online businesses cannot afford to ignore maintaining a blog.
Keeping a blog is important on a number of levels:
- Attracts more site visits from end-users and search engine crawlers
- Blogging is a strong indication you are a reputable and active business
- Drives traffic and link juice to product pages (when you include relevant internal links)
- Provides more information about your products and services
- Establishes you as an expert in your field
- Helps to improve SEO ranking
If you are on a tight budget and/or struggling for time, you have two options; hire a professional SEO copywriter that offers a flexible deal that meets your budget, or write your own content.
You don’t have to be a poet laureate to publish good content. If you can communicate ideas to an audience, the content you publish will probably be sufficient. Here’s what it takes:
- Provide in-depth information and prove you are an expert
- Publish one post a week (spend two hours on the content)
- Include high-quality images from free websites (pexels, pixabay)
Get socially active
If you are not ranking in search engines, the best way to reach customers is through social media networks. This is difficult to do if you are short on time. But spending 30 minutes a day to like, share and add comments gradually build up your social profile.
Social platforms also enable you to publish content and drive traffic to your website. It is therefore worth the effort – especially if you are publishing great content and have a product customers love!
Before running a technical audit on your website, make sure you are maintaining an online business that is worthy of ranking in the top spots of search engines. If you haven’t met the criteria above, you won’t improve SEO and thus waste your time running a technical SEO audit in the first place.