Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a powerful marketing medium to drive more targeted traffic and increase sales for website. If your pages are not ranking well for its target keywords, your market will be less likely to discover your business.
By optimising your website for relevant keywords, you stand a much better chance of ranking well and attracting a new audience. But the process can be overwhelming as there are numerous factors involved that determine search engine rankings. So where do you even start?
With an SEO audit.
An audit is absolutely necessary to assess how optimised your pages are and where improvements can be made. A large portion of websites are still poorly optimised which is directly affecting traffic levels.
The following is a guide on how to conduct an SEO audit of your website.
1. Conduct a Screaming Frog Crawl
Screaming Frog is a free software program that allows you to quickly analyse and review your website. It looks at the following in detail:
The data can then be exported to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
2. Register With Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics
Google Webmaster Tools is invaluable to gain a deeper understanding of your website in relation to the search engines.
It allows you to view data including:
Search appearance overview
Google index status
And much more.
If you are not already registered with Google Webmaster Tools, it’s a good idea to especially if your pages are nowhere to be found in the index. A crawl error could be causing your pages to be penalised in the search results.
3. Identify Relevant Keywords
Optimising your pages for relevant keywords is important. It tells Google what your pages are about. If your pages are not properly optimised, they may not rank as high as they should be for those keywords.
Using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics together will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of what keywords users are typing in to find your pages.
Always keep the following in mind:
Focus on local searches: If your business is based locally, it makes sense to target keywords that also include the city you are based in.
Target long tail keywords: Shorter keywords tend to generate more traffic but they are also a lot more competitive. Targeting long tail keywords will allow you to generate targeted traffic quicker.
4. Analyse Onsite Factors
Screaming Frog is an invaluable tool as it allows you to view all the onpage SEO factors for your website including the title tags, meta descriptions, headings, images, and more.
Keep the following in mind for page titles:
Avoid duplicated titles
Keep titles between 50 to 65 characters in length
Make sure titles are relevant to that page
Include a geo-qualifier where necessary
Using the data in the earlier step will allow you to assess which keywords to focus on.
The next step is to look at meta descriptions. These are the short snippet of text that go directly beneath the titles in the search results. These should be written to describe the page but also in a way to entice visitors to click through to your pages.
Follow these guidelines when writing meta descriptions:
Make all descriptions relevant
Keep them under 160 characters
Include the main keyword
Write a call to action
Where to Go From Here
Reviewing your website is only the first step. SEO audits are invaluable to assess how optimised your pages are. It involves identifying relevant keywords for your pages and using tools to analyse onpage SEO factors from title tags to meta descriptions.
Optimising these factors alone will help improve the visibility of your pages but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Taking the time to do these steps may be time consuming but is well worth the effort as it means generating more search engine traffic to your website.