How do you know if you need an SEO Audit? If less than 75% of your traffic is acquired from organic search, there’s room for improvement. Conducting an SEO Audit, whether you do it yourself or you hire a professional, will provide valuable insights about what’s going on in your website (good and bad) and how you can improve. If you’ve invested both your valuable time and hard earned money to build a website, it’s imperative you make that investment work as efficiently and effectively as it possibly can for you.
Ensure your sitemap is accessible
Your website’s sitemap is a file for web crawlers that assists them in reading your list of web pages. Although the majority of crawlers can search your website and figure out which pages should be indexed, using a site map makes the process easier, provides metadata and other details that are easy for crawlers to understand. Crawlers don’t see all website information (like pictures, for example) like we do, so we need to translate the data into a language they can understand.
Running an SEO Audit will also tell you if your sitemap is working properly. There are several errors that may occur, and this list is only a few of them:
- URL not followed: this means crawlers can’t process the sitemap in its entirety because there are too many redirects to follow
- URL not allowed: the sitemap that has been submitted may contain URL’s that are at a different domain, or a higher level than the sitemap file
- Empty sitemap: there aren’t enough URL’s in your sitemap
- Compression error: your sitemap needs to be recompressed, uploaded to your website, and resubmitted
- Invalid URL: one or more URL’s that have been submitted aren’t valid
Know if areas of your website need to be optimized
Once your website crawl has been exported it’s easy to see all the different areas of your website that need to be optimized. For example, opportunities for optimization can be found through content, images, or even PDF’s. It’s suggested that every web page needs to have 400 words or more, in order to be properly optimized. However, some top ranking pages in search engines have well-over 1000-1500 words, so it’s really all about sharing information your visitors truly need. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, search engine spiders can’t crawl images- they just don’t see images like we do. In order to give search engines more information about your images, they can be saved with a descriptive name and the “alt” attribute option should also be utilized. Additionally, if an image decides it doesn’t feel like loading properly, this alternative text will show in its place, increasing user experience at the same time you’re helping search engines. Two birds.
Understand your website traffic
Once you’ve taken a detailed look at your website you’ll be able to not only see exactly who is visiting your website but where they came from, why they arrived on a specific page, what they did while they were there and how long they spent on your website. These are just the first of many insights that can be uncovered from an SEO audit, and they’re all imperative to understanding your customers and their behaviors. Without this information, you’re simply guessing that the content you’ve provided is valuable to your customers. In fact, can you be sure they’ve even found it?
SEO Audits provide a breadth of information. As we outlined in a few previous blog posts, SEO Audits can alert you to issues such as duplicate titles, tags and meta descriptions, pages with low word count, broken links and images, broken pages, improper redirects and slow page response time. SEO Audits can even tell you what your competition is doing, or where they’re lacking, if you want to get that granular.
Why does all of this matter? Well, that entire explanation is probably better left for another blog post. But, I can make this analogy: You’ve purchased a brand new car and you’re so excited to drive it. You take it to work, go on trips, drive friends around, go to dinner, visit the gym- you love your car! After a while though, you need gas. You need to change the oil. Every now and then you need to take it in to the mechanic for a check up, and (ugh!) you need to buy new tires. It’s the exact same thing here. Regardless of your website’s size, you’ve purchased a pretty nice “car” that everyone is excited to see, and that you’re excited to use. You need to make sure it’s running properly, that it’s loading like it should, and that nothing “under the hood” is broken! Protect your investment and it’ll keep working harder for you!
If an audit is right for you, please visit our SEO Audit page and shoot us your information. Or, you can call us directly at (248)582.8210! We’re always excited to help!