You’ve spent a lot of time perfecting your websites content, fine tuning your colour scheme and graphics. Plus you’ve optimised for mobile devices. So, don’t let your site fall victim to poor SEO strategy. Here’s our checklist to help audit your site to increase your search rankings.
1) Ensure your Pages Can Be Indexed – Be #1
Having your pages indexed by Google can drive up organic traffic to your site through search engine placement. You can ensure they’re indexed by:
Check your index status
Index status report is a useful way to see how many pages Google has crawled from your domain. A steady incline in the number over time is a good indicator you’re going about this the right way.
Review Site and URL errors
Errors can easily go unnoticed, however the URL errors report in the Google console can check this for you and report back any problems.
Check Your Robot.TXT files
Another easily overlooked problem are your robot.txt files. Be rigorous and check each file by adding robot.txt to them. If they come back disallowed take measures to correct this as soon as possible.
Search Your Website
If you’re still unsure then you can retrieve a full list of your indexed pages from Google by typing in – Search:yourdomain.com
2) Secure Your Website
It is important to constantly update your websites security. If you’re guilty of overlooking this factor you are potentially compromising your customer relationships and your integrity as a company. Keeping up to date with security gives your customers confidence and keeps them coming back.
Google now favours HTTPS encryptions – Switch to this using SSL.
HTTPS provides encrypted communication with your web server.
3) Check Your Meta Data
Meta data provides information about other datas. By not regularly checking this you’re leaving yourself open to a domino effect of problems. Here are a couple of things to look out for:
Check Source Code
On pages that you DO want indexed check for the code. Do this to check that the code DOES NOT exist.
Run Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is easy to operate and free to use. It is an auditing tool that allows you to check the status of all meta data on your site.
4) Audit Your Link Profile
Backlinks are very important to your sites traffic and SEO. Once again, a steady incline is a good indicator that your content is of a high quality and hitting the right audiences.
Conduct a complete backlink audit.
Use the tools with google search console, Ahrefs and SEMrush to complete your audit and get a clearer picture of where your links are coming from and monitor your progress over time.
5) Optimise Site Speed
It is ideal for your site to load in under three seconds. Search engines use your load time as another indicator toward your SEO ranking. If your site is slow loading then visitors are more likely to leave and look elsewhere.
Use Speed Testing Tools
There are an abundance of free and easily available tools to test your sites speed on line. Remember, don’t neglect your mobile site. There are tools available to check the speed here too.
Evaluate WordPress Plugins
Multiple plugins can slow your load time. So if they aren’t completely necessary – REMOVE THEM.
Reduce Image File Size, Redirect Chains & Speed Up Your Java Script
All 3 are easily fixed features that are regularly overlooked. Improve them and they will save you precious seconds on your load speed.
6) Ditch Duplicate Content
Duplicate content dilutes your authenticity as a website. It looks clumsy and sloppy and should not be ignored. Google also views duplicated content this way so it’s a significant, but avoidable, threat to your SEO rankings.
Use Canonical Link Tags
Search rankings are negatively affected by duplicated or similar content which are published under different URLs. Use Canonical tags to let google know which your primary URL is, so as not to affect this one.
7) Remove Low Value Pages
High value content is, as I’m sure you know, the single most important factor of your site. Keeping the content consistent, on topic and aimed at your audience is the best way to ensure repeat and organic visitors.
De Index Low Value Pages
If you find Google has indexed a page you feel is low quality or no longer relevant it is beneficial to remove it and redirect to content-rich URL’s
8) Create Useful Links
Your search rankings will benefit from a well-planned internal link structure.
Use Descriptive Anchor text
Anchor text is the visible, clickable text within a link. Make these links descriptive so they show the reader exactly what they’ll find by clicking there. Keep them short, clear and to the point.
9) Optimise For Mobile
Google uses a ‘mobile first’ indexing approach, although it is one complete database of mobile and desktop websites, Google’s algorithm prioritises sites available in a mobile format, so it is essential to your SEO that you have one.
Use Responsive Design
Responsive design tailors your site to each users’ device, giving them the optimum display and navigation system for any screen size. This is useful given the vast amount of device specifications available.
Use Google Testing Tool
Googles console offers this tool which feeds back a report on your site. It will rate you on mobile friendliness and point out any problems there may be.
10) Master The Basics
Optimisation is key to progressing your SEO. By optimising and continually updating your site for usability you’re offering a pleasant experience. This turns organic visitors into repeat visitors and gives you a stable audience basis from which you can grow.
Use Unique Title Tags
You can now use up to 75 characters in your title length. Google measures your titles in pixels so make the most of this expanded length by being very descriptive with your titles. There are free tools online that will measure your title length.
Emphasise Key words
Identify your keywords and use them effectively within your headers, title and sub headers, as well as the body of your text.
Write Meta Descriptions
Give descriptions of what a user could find on your site by clicking through the pages and links. This gives them a better understanding of what your site is all about and encourages them to navigate it even if they don’t find what they’re looking for on the first page.
We’ve outlined the main and most important reasons auditing and monitoring your site is essential to your search rankings. Hopefully you’ll have found this information useful and concise. If there’s anything you think we may have missed off that you feel belongs in our top ten then leave us a message in the comments section or contact us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you.
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