Carry out an SEO Audit occasionally
Regularly conducting an audit of your website is essential to ensuring its performance is as good as possible, highlighting areas for development and refining key factors for its success in search engines. Of course, a thorough SEO audit is a lengthy and time-consuming process, requiring an investment in resources that may not always be available on a regular basis.
Being able to quickly undertake a quick and simple SEO audit to analyse the health and key SEO features of your site, therefore, enables you to cast an eye over performance quickly and effectively. Below we take a look at ten basic elements from an SEO audit that can help you determine the performance of your website.
For even an SEO novice, knowing that the meta title of your webpage should contain the relevant keyword is clear. As the years pass, however, and sites become larger and larger, it can be easy to overlook such a simple task. Furthermore, keeping all meta titles optimised for search engines takes a little effort; for example, most search engines only show up to 55 characters, so keeping meta titles concise and relevant is vital. Some of the common mistakes are having too long a meta title, or not having one at all.
Like the meta title, a meta description should be present for every page, should be relevant, unique, feature the target keyword, and be kept within a certain length. The optimum length for a meta description varies between 155-160 characters, so use of the main keyword as early as possible is imperative.
Redirects and canonical URLs
Both 301 redirects and the rel=canonical tag provide a means of directing web traffic to the correct URL of a webpage. For example, you may have a www and a non-www version of a webpage; in such a case, this should redirect to the primary source of the content to avoid duplication issue. What’s more, if a page no longer exists or has expired (usually returning a 404 error), setting up your 301 redirects to send traffic to a relevant area of your website will help SEO performance and improve the experience enjoyed by users. Check in Google Search Console (Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools) to identify your 404 pages as recorded by Google, and fix them.
A clean and efficient URL structure is vital to SEO performance. Using URLs that include the main keyword for a page, are as readable as possible for people (and thus, search engines), limit the use of dynamic parameters, and are as short as possible are all good for SEO and play an important role in your website’s performance. Are your URLs SEO friendly? When you next do a major overhaul of your site, it will be worthwhile creating your URL architecture first.
Lose meta keywords
You’re probably thinking that meta keywords are one of the cornerstones of SEO. And, if we were still living in 1998, you might be correct. Today, however, there is no advantage to using meta keywords and, in some instances, they can be harmful to SEO performance, marking your website down as spam. In addition, using meta keywords also enables your competitors to identify those keywords you’re targeting as part of your SEO strategy. Whilst this is not strictly a technical element for an SEO audit, it should still be adhered to as a piece of good practice.
Rich snippets represents a form of structured data mark-up that enables you to present small snippets of information to be displayed on search engine results pages. From product reviews and information to event details, rich snippets attract attention of users through intelligent display of information. Incorporate into your website today to capture added traffic. To see if your online product or other webpage has rich snippets correctly implemented, test it quickly with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.
Sitemaps are like roadmaps, making it easier for both real viewers and search engines alike to quickly find the information they want. We’ve looked before at the importance of sitemaps for any SEO activity, as well as the benefits for users. By including an HTML sitemap on your website, you can help users navigate your site with the minimum of fuss. An XML sitemap submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, meanwhile, will alert the major search engines to any updates as an when they occur, increasing the regularity your website is crawled and indexed by search engines. If your sitemap is missing, make one and submit it now.
Remove temporary redirects
When it comes to redirecting users away from dead pages, always ensure that you are using 301 redirects in preference to temporary 302 redirects. A 302 passes no link juice onto the page forwarded to, whereas a 301 does. Ensure that you follow best practice to avoid harming your SEO strategy.
Duplicate content remains an issue for many websites. If you’re printing and hosting articles from elsewhere (which, of course, we strongly discourage), ensure that you noindex those pages. By doing so, they will still appear on your website but will be ignored by search engines, thereby not harming your rankings.
404 error pages
A 404 error page is a standard HTTP response code for when a page is not found on a web server. It is good practice to ensure that, should a user find itself on a 404 error page, the page has been customised to benefit the experience. For example, many SEO experts recommend the use of an HTML sitemap to appear on the page, enabling users to then navigate to the area they were looking for. Refer back to the step of creating a 301 redirect, when handling 404 error notices.
Contact Whitefish Marketing to conduct an SEO audit quickly with our software
For more details on how to conduct either a quick or a comprehensive SEO audit of your website, call Kent SEO agency - Whitefish Marketing - today. Alternatively, why not try our free SEO auditing software? Simply enter your details and, in a few moments, you’ll have an appraisal of your website’s performance.