An SEO Audit is a comprehensive review of the “digital health” of a web site to understand if it’s well ranked by search engines, drives traffic, can be easily accessed by the visitor, generates conversions: leads and incremental revenue.
Discrete Elements for an SEO Audit
- Baseline Web Site Analysis: Hosting and Server Provisioning, Domain Name Registration, Overall Design & User Interface, Menus, Global Navigation, Usability, Calls to Action, Load Times, Social Media Account Integration, Google Caching Dates, Number of Pages Indexed, Cross Browser Functionality (IE, Firefox, Safari,Chrome), URL Canonicalization, HTML Code check via W3C or similar service , Plugins working properly and updated.
- On Page SEO Analysis: Meta Tags, Image Optimization, H1/H2 Tags, Cross Linking Elements, Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Review, Outbound Links, Backlinks Review (Root Domains linking back, Sites, etc), Pages Indexed Analysis (content on site versus what is found by Search Engines).
- Web Site Content Analysis: Overall Content Quality: Length, Syntax, Word Analysis, Spellchecking, User Analysis (helpful, informative, engaging, etc.), cross linking pages, on page header usage, “white spaces” used to break up text.
- Content Syndication Functionality: this can be done using a simple plugin or with any number of content syndication platforms.
- Social Signals Analysis: Review of Social Media Accounts encompassing Facebobook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter,
- Link Tracking usage via Bit.ly for link shortening and analysis: simple registration provides more analysis.
- Social Profile Analysis via: Klout or PeerIndex.
- Sharing and Commenting functionality: using Disqus or ShareThis (our recommended apps) to drive engagement.
- Web site load times (time it takes the entire page to load) should be under three seconds. These have huge impact on SEO rankings, especially via Google: faster load times equate to better SEO rankings.
Responsive” design is critical for user experience for Mobile Visitors (minimizing bounce rates & improving SEO rankings)
How to Maximize Your SEO Strategy
- Think of Twitter as Google’s new SEO discovery engine – use Twitter to tell Google what new content has been added to your site, with hyperlinks embedded in your Tweets to the blog post or page.
- Build your site on WordPress with these page attributes to drive SEO: Title and Descriptions consistent with your copy.
- Use the Yoast plugin with any web site: it’s head and shoulders above other plugins and updated frequently.
- Make sure your page construction HTML “score” is correct – use the W3C Validator to check your code by pasting in a URL and checking.
- Write shareable copy; by “shareable” we mean with excellent, well writte copy that educates and informs your audience and use the ShareThis WordPress plugin so visitors can easily share your content across their social accounts.
- Don’t have a slow web site! Google penalizes sites with a negative ranking of 25% – checkout Pingdom’s site to understand your critical load times for a page. You want to be less than 2.5 seconds of load time per page.
Content Marketing is the Primary Accelerator for SEO Rankings
- Start slow: content marketing is a marathon process that is inherently iterative: you learn as you go.
- Establish benchmark measurements at the outset: social engagement, revenue, email subscription, eBook download.
- Keep moving forward: don’t get bogged down in the proverbial trenches.
- Align content marketing with other strategies.
- Involve your entire organization whether it’s five or fifty people: great content ideas come in all shapes and sizes: sales, customer service and/or exec staff.
- Great content marketers “newsjack” and “borrow” from others. Content curation (great research) is critical to success.
- Mix and match snackable short form (images, under 300 word blog post, videos) with long-form “evergreen” high value content.
- “Chunk” and repurpose and syndicate content to leverage costs. An image curated and sourced for your web site should be featured on your pinterest board, shared on Twitter and recycled via multiple blog posts.
- Great images help to make your brand stand out, which is increasingly important with today’s crowded markets.
- Used an Editorial Calendar (this link will take you to our blog post with an embedded Editorial Calendar sample): it imparts discipline to your ongoing content marketing and can be integrated with a site like Trello to drive collaboration via teams of people.
- Content syndication is critical to driving ROI in today’s smartphone driven noisy markets (our hyperlink will take you to our top 2t content syndication platforms and links to all).
- Don’t obsess about SEO! It’s an important part of your overall marketing strategy but it is not as important today as it was 3-5 years ago.
- The absolute best Keyword Optimization tool is Wordtracker (we have been using for ten plus years).
- Do an informal or formal SEO audit depending on your marketing staff and/or budget
- Create great snackable and long form content with embedded keyword phrases.
- Share and syndicate your content across the social web. Consumers and other businesses are ignoring search and increasingly relying on content accesses ed via social and/or smartphone apps, search is being bypassed.
- Three key integrated metrics your brand should be aware of today are: Search, Social and Mobile.
- Great web site design is still critical to driving search engine rankings: visitors should be able to easily access your web site and engage with your brand. Pay attention to time on site, bounce rates and the number of pages accessed via your site.
- Data is exploding with 10X growth with 44 Gigabytes of information online by 2020 - critical to create great content that helps your brand stand out from the crowd, with associated SEO rankings.
- All brands today are becoming publishers chasing a digital audience that is increasingly fragmented.
- Web Site Trust Factors are key determinants of “time on site” and “bounce rates” for your visitors and help to drive better SEO rankings.
- If you want low cost/high value training and much deeper insight into SEO we highly recommend Aaron Walls SEO Book (it’s really a cloud based paid service with a cost of $10. per day).
SEO marketing is still a critical part of your overall marketing strategy: but, much of the old school strategies are no longer relevant! Savvy marketers and brands realize an integrated marketing strategy drives SEO rankings.