Recent studies have shown that organic search accounts for 64% of a website’s traffic. Yet, many businesses are chasing strategies like paid search that bring in just 6% of their prospects. Completing an SEO audit is a smart move early in the year. Before you can hammer out an effective digital marketing strategy, you need to understand how your top buyers are finding your site, and identify missed opportunities to bring in (or convert) more traffic.
Image: “Audit” by LendingMemo, on Flickr
Understanding Types of SEO Audits
Here at Mod Girl Marketing, there are three basic types of search engine optimization audits we do for our clients:
– Organic SEO Audit: “Organic” SEO refers to natural ways of attracting people to your website through content and branding. We look at upswings in traffic volume, top-converting keywords, and referral websites to identify your strengths. To determine your site’s weaknesses, we look at where people are going once they leave a page on your site, what part of the purchase process causes people to abandon their carts, and what your competition is doing.
– On-Page SEO Audit: Often, increased traffic can arrive literally overnight with just a few minor tweaks. Our “on-page” SEO audits cover the more technical aspects — title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, indexing, sitemaps, mobile optimization, and factors affecting website load time.
– Backlink Audit: As you know, links to your page from third party sites serve as valuable testimonials to your website’s credibility. They let search engines know, “Hey, this site has value, so promote it in your listings!” Yet, as you also probably know: all links are not created equal! Our backlink audit lets clients know which links are hurting their sites and also which links are earning them the most money so they can pursue more fruitful relationships.
Should You Do Your Own SEO Audit?
If you have the time and desire, you can complete your own SEO audit using checklists and tools. MOZ has a great 2015 SEO Audit Checklist that you can access here. In a nutshell, the steps you’ll be taking include:
1. Conduct a thorough on-page optimization of all title tags, meta descriptions, keywords, URLs, and images.
2. Optimize content for keywords, formatting, length, accessibility, and duplication.
3. Optimize images for keywords in title tags and alt tags, size, compression and responsiveness.
4. Fix indexation issues like dysfunctional links, accidental noindex tags, and site errors.
5. Improve linking in terms of number, anchor text, quality, and functionality.
6. Repair technical issues like bad 404 re-directs, use of Java Script or Flash, and inaccessible pages.
7. Look for speed issues with your host, file compression, disabled caching, and poorly optimized images.
8. Review the mobile experience for ease of navigation, proper re-directs, and analytics tracking.
9. Install Google analytics and Google webmaster tracking codes, and make sure Adwords/Adsense are functioning properly.
10. Use Google Webmaster Tools to look for any problems and to discover additional data.
We like to use helpful resources like RavenTools for our SEO audits.
This helpful infographic details what SEO is now, in 2015, vs the old SEO.
Image Source: Quicksprout.com
Should You Perform Canonicalization or Set Up 301 Redirects?
Everyone knows that site-mapping is one of the most important “SEO best practices.” Just as important – but less commonly discussed – is the use of canonicalization. Basically, this rather clunky word is a Google way of selecting and organizing URLs so that the search engines understand how to rank similarly named internal pages.
According to Google, “In the world of content management and online shopping systems, it’s common for the same content to be accessed through multiple URLs. With content syndication, it’s also easy for content to be distributed to different URLs and domains entirely…. While these systems make it more convenient to develop and distribute content, they cause some challenges when people use search engines to reach your page.”
For instance, you might have an ecommerce site with the same product page accessible by multiple search queries, such as: example.com/products?category=dresses&color=green, example.com/dresses/cocktail?gclid=ABCD and example.com/dresses/green/greendress.html.
You may also have a blog system that saves multiple URLs, depending on the categories:
Internally, adding canonical tags is an easy way to boost your page ranking, traffic and relevancy. You don’t have to worry about tinkering with anything server-related; instead, you just edit the <head> tag on a page to make your adjustment. For the most part, canonicalization is the simplest way to reduce duplicate content indexing issues but still track individual page performance metrics accurately.
There is still a place for 301 redirects, however. Consider the following situations:
1. You’re an owner of multiple similar domains and sub-sites. A 301 redirect is a stronger signal that multiple pages have a single source.
2. You’re permanently moving pages to a new URL or site and you don’t want users to see the old site.
3. You have expired content or irrelevant pages of products no longer offered, but you want to salvage some of the traffic by directing users to similar offerings.
It’s not always easy to choose which method of search engine optimization works best for your site. When mistakes are made, traffic suffers. You can invest time and energy into testing on a small scale before implementing site-wide changes – or, if you’ve got a lot on your plate, you can outsource the task to Mod Girl Marketing to make life a whole lot easier!
Image Source: MOZ.com
Reasons To Outsource Your SEO Audit
Most people outsource their search engine optimization audit to Mod Girl’s SEO team because they dislike the work and they don’t have the proper knowledge to perform an efficient SEO audit. For many business owners, it’s easier to make sense of our summary of findings, rather than all the data that bubbles to the surface in a typical audit. In our experience, many of the audit steps recommended in DIY assessments have you tinkering around on all sorts of time-consuming projects, rather than focusing on the bottom line. These SEO audit guides are actionable and informative, but they can lead to lots of confusion if you’re new to search engine optimization. Mod Girl’s SEO audits are informative, to-the-point, easy to digest, and they offer a clear picture of your current SEO presence and where you need to improve.
“Recent studies have shown that organic search accounts for 64% of a website’s traffic. Yet, many companies throw most of their money after paid search opportunities that bring in 6% of their traffic. Our SEO audit helps you get more leverage from your marketing dollars and gives your business the building blocks it needs to devise effective, strategic SEO campaigns and fix current site issues. With a few simple tweaks, your site can move from virtual obscurity to top prominence in search engines – sometimes overnight!”
– Mandy McEwen, Founder of Mod Girl Marketing
To help businesses start 2015 off right, Mod Girl is offering limited businesses a FREE SEO audit!
Contact Mod Girl Marketing to see if your site qualifies for a FREE SEO audit.
Tags: DIY seo audit, outsource seo audit, Search Engine Optimization, Search Engines, Seo, SEO audit