SEO AUDIT REPORT: YOUR SOLAR SYSTEM EXPLAINED
Learn What Your SEO Audit Report Is Saying About Your Digital Presence
Have you ever taken your car to the shop?
The mechanic starts throwing out costs of repairs, parts you need, and in minutes you’re overwhelmed and have unknowingly agreed to install a new engine, new headlights, and probably a new minty air freshener. Yikes! Maybe you should have done your homework beforehand?
Being a small business owner can sometimes feel like that, especially when the conversation turns to your website. Technical SEO terms like bounce rates, search volumes, and error codes like 302s and 404s start flying around…it’s a lot for any business owner. The conversation can quickly escalate, and may end up with you hiring an expensive agency and agreeing to changes without really understanding what your site needs.
Well, here at webSMART, we think it’s important to equip business owners with the knowledge they need when it comes to conversations about their digital presence and the health of their site. This is where an SEO audit of your website comes in handy. Your SEO audit acts as a general health check for your website, as well as your company’s web visibility. It examines key SEO factors including those that affect your site’s ranking on search engines.
If you haven’t done so yet, take five minutes to run your Free Local SEO Audit report now and when you’re ready we’ll walk through it step by step. Even though it’s a short report, there is a lot to navigate, so here are the seven takeaways we want you to look out for.
So go ahead. It’ll only take a few minutes and we’ll be right here.
- Before beginning your review, we suggest save your report as a PDF. It will be an asset kept as a historical reference.
- In regards to this article, laptops displaying images of a sample audit can be clicked on for a larger view.
- Before beginning your review, we suggest save your report as a PDF. It will be an asset kept as a historical reference.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR DIGITAL PRESENCE
You ready? Let’s get started. The top of the report has icons that’ll help you navigate to different parts of your SEO audit. The report starts with a section called “Links & Website Authority.” This section covers some key indicators about your site and are connected to the following takeaways:
1. Review Your Top Keywords.
The expressions “keyword”, “keyword phrase”, “search term”, and “search query” all refer to the words or phrases that an internet user may enter into a search engine like Google. So in order to direct customers to your site, it’s important to use the relevant keywords that they’re searching for within your site’s content.
For example, if your customers are searching for “hats for the winter” and nowhere in your content do you use the phrase “hats for the winter” but instead use “funky fur trimmed beanie,” chances are they won’t find you, even if winter hats are your specialty. In short, words are important.
Search Rankings in SEO refers to a website’s position in the search engine results page [SERP]. It’s kind of like golf, you’re aiming for a lower number. There are many different ranking signals, or characteristics of a website, that determine the position in the search engines, such as the relevance of content to the search term, page speeds, and the quality of backlinks [links from other websites] pointing to the webpage.
In the Search Rankings section, you will find your site’s rank for your important keywords. If you are using that keyword more than once on your website, then you will see multiple results in the table. If you don’t appear in the top 50 you will see a result of >50.
The goal is to get to position 1,2,3 or at least to the first page of the results page. So if you’re not on the first page yet, there’s still a lot of work to do. But don’t worry, we got you!
[Looks like Johnson Space Center could use some help, but they are probably busy crafting more space suits.]
The “Top Keywords” displayed in the On-site SEO section of your audit tells you what keywords your site is focusing on, allowing you to see if you are right on track when it comes to if your content is focusing on the right keywords for your business and location. Or if you’re not.
Check and see if the top keywords displayed are aligned with what users are actually looking for in search engines.
2. Check Out the Competition.
Do you know who you’re up against online?
Your Search Audit provides you with insights into who your competitors are online. Using this information can be incredibly beneficial because you can scope out their website, social profiles, GMB profile, and other sites, to figure out how to beat them at their own game. Competitor information can be found in a couple of sections, including the sections on Links & Website Authority, Rank Checker, and Google My Business.
This section of the audit analyzes your GMB optimization. It reports on a number of important criteria for your site against the top 10 ranked businesses in your area.
GMB is Google’s local listing and search tool, featuring listings of local businesses, organizations, and places. Listings from GMB appear in organic search results and Google Maps on both desktop and mobile devices. This is why GMB is a hugely powerful marketing opportunity for local businesses. Getting your optimization correct here is critical to attracting new, local customers.
Use the Google My Business section of the audit to see what your competition is doing. Here are a few items to look for when scoping out the local competition:
Read their reviews to see what makes their clients happy.
See what type of images they are using.
Is all of their contact information correct?
Are there any options to book or perform another action?
When you do a search on Google Maps do they show up before you?
Now take the information and use it to improve your own GMB listing. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just do it better than your competitors, so that you stand out among the stars.
3. Audit Your Page Load Speeds.
“I feel the need, the need for speed.”
Tom Cruise’s character may not have had the internet in mind when he said this in Top Gun, but it’s a statement any business owner can relate to when it comes to their website.
Search engines penalize sites that load slowly, but more importantly, so do users. They stop visiting your site, bounce, or don’t buy. The faster a webpage loads, the better the experience for your site’s visitors. And the better their experience, the better chance you have in them coming back and sticking around. And that’s what we want right?
Your audit will show you the page load speed of your website when viewed on both a desktop and a mobile device. This data is displayed for desktop in the Technical SEO section and for mobile devices in the Mobile SEO section of the Search Audit. Scores range from 0 to 100 points. You should also check out the page load speeds of your top competitors’ sites as well.
4. Find Errors.
We’ve all seen them, those annoying error messages that pop up on your screen when you try to go to a webpage that is no longer there or has been moved. Maybe you ended up on a page with “404” prominently displayed prominently with a message that says, “Page Not Found.” But do you know what these errors really mean and that you could do something about them?
Here are the more common codes you’ll run into:
2XX: Success—No Issue
3XX: Redirection—No Issue
4XX: Client Error—Problem
5XX: Server Error—Problem
It’s important to resolve these errors so that customers don’t go to these broken or missing pages, and then end up abandoning your site completely. Google can also reduce the authority of your site if your error count is high. And that can have an impact on your ranking on search engines.
The Errors section of the Technical SEO area of your audit shows you pages [URLs] on your site that return an error because they don’t exist anymore or they have a problem. Page-specific error information can be found in the Appendix. You can use this section as a checklist of things to fix on your site.
5. Detect Presence of Technical Elements.
The word “technical” can sound scary, but these SEO elements simply help search engines find your content and help your site rank for relevant keywords, which is a good thing for you.
Your Search Audit detects the presence of technical elements, such as robots.txt, Google Analytics, responsive design, alt tags…pretty much everything Google looks for as a ranking signal that isn’t seen by the average user.
Robots.txt is a file that sits in the code of your website. It looks a little intimidating, but essentially it tells Google which pages on your site to look at and which to ignore. It’s important to have a robots.txt file to help Google index the pages on your site. The Technical SEO section lets you know if your site contains a robots.txt file.
It may also be a good idea to examine your robots.txt file. Look for “Disallow: /” This tells the search engines not to crawl a page, or maybe even your entire website. Make sure none of your relevant pages are being accidentally disallowed in your robots.txt file.
It’s important to note that the Noindex directive that can appear in robots.txt is no longer supported by Google. It previously told Google not to index the pages that were specified, but this is no longer recognized. Make sure, if you do want to block Google from certain pages, to use other methods, such as the Disallow directive.
A sitemap is a visual layout of the structure and content of your website, sort of like a “table of contents.” Submitting your sitemap is an integral part of any SEO strategy, as you are literally alerting search engines to your presence rather than waiting to be discovered. The Technical SEO section lets you know if your site contains an XML sitemap. If you don’t, the easiest way to create a sitemap is with the help of a sitemap generator.
IMAGE ALT TAGS
Alt Text is a method for adding a text description to an image. With an audience that includes those that are visually impaired, screen readers will be able to read an alt attribute to better understand an on-page image. Search engines also can’t currently read images to determine their relevance to your content, so alt text is your opportunity to add keywords to your images to reveal their significance. The SEO section of your audit provides information about whether or not the images on your site have alt text through “Image Alt Tags.”
The importance of having a mobile-friendly website cannot be stressed enough. Having a “responsive” website means the page width and content of each page auto-adjusts depending on the screen size of the device being used to view it. This is better for your users’ experience and will encourage them to stick around and visit more pages.
Plus a mobile-friendly, responsive website design will positively impact your search rankings. Look for the Mobile section under On-Site SEO to see how mobile-friendly your site is or isn’t.
The Analytics Tag, which is found in the Analytics section of your Search Audit checks your site to see which website analytics solution you use [e.g. Google Analytics]. Having the Google Analytics tag means you can discover valuable insights about your site through analytics tracking.
6. Read Your Site’s Metadata Overview.
Metadata is like a file cabinet to your website. Keep it nice and relevant, and search engines like Google [and in turn your audience] will find the nuggets they are looking for when searching for your products and/or services. When reviewing your metadata information on your Search Audit, it’s important to look for errors and duplicates. Insights into your site’s metadata can be found in the On-Site SEO section of your Search Audit.
Titles are prime SEO real estate and so should be carefully considered and optimized. They appear in the search results and on browser tabs, telling Google and users what the webpage is about. Page Titles should be unique to each page and contain keywords that are being searched.
Imagine if this blog was written without headers or any indication of what each section was about, would you still read it?
Headers through H Tags help ensure that a page is easy to read and is well-structured for both readers and by search engines. Although there are six types of headers, it is the first few that are the most important for SEO purposes. It highlights to Google what the important keywords are and what topics the page covers. H1 tags—of which there should be only one per page—have a higher SEO value than H2 tags. H2 tags have a higher SEO value than H3 tags, and so on.
7. Review a Breakdown of the Top 200 Pages.
The Appendix section of the Search Audit is a brief overview of key information about the pages of your site [up to 200 pages]. Take a look at the data in the Appendix to see how each of your pages holds up with several SEO factors, such as missing titles, number of heading tags, page load time, broken links, and more.
Get Ready to Stop Floating + Take Control of Your Mission
Boosting your search rankings online and gaining new customers in the ever-growing digital realm can seem overwhelming. But like any great mission, it’s important to come prepared, do your homework, and understand and review the data. With so much cyberspace to cover, don’t be discouraged if you see a few red flags flying over your ship.
Fortunately, webSMART is here to help you navigate your website through the ever-changing, fast paced online world and improve your web visibility. If you haven’t done so yet, run and review your free SEO audit report and let’s have a SMART conversation on where to go next.