The Perfect Technical SEO Audit
If You’re Not First, You’re Last
Here’s the simple scientific truth: If your website is not on the first page of relevant search results, the Google winners’ podium, then you instantly lose 90 percent of your online market. That’s right – 90 percent of users never go beyond the first page. The old adage is true: If you’re not first, you’re last.
Have you heard of Killdeer? It’s a small town occupying less than one square mile of grassland just north of Spring Creek, North Dakota. The town’s population, approximately 750, has flatlined since the 1940s, but by North Dakota standards, that’s doing pretty well. Werner, one of Killdeer’s nearest neighbors, is a ghost town where cattle graze on old church steps.
And that might be the general region where your website is hiding: in the boondocks, the outback, the dust bunnies of the World Wide Web. Just because you have a domain name, just because you own an acre of online real estate, doesn’t mean you’re on the map.
You may try to justify your website’s sluggish success. You may bulldoze ahead with a weekly blog and high-definition portfolio and customer testimonials, but until you know the root of your performance plateau, you’re just slugging wildly. Your website may not even meet the minimum technical standards required by search engine to be eligible for the front page, rendering all your valiant efforts fruitless.
What you need is a SEO audit and analysis to cover off the main elements in need of optimization for greater organic growth.
What Is an SEO Roadmap Audit?
Our SEO technical audit ensures that your website is in the headlines. That means that your website must cater not only to its human visitors but to visiting search engine “spiders,” those little digital emissaries that crawl through your site and index data for search engine libraries. You need to appease those spiders. A technical SEO audit scopes out your website, checks for standards compliance and effective website design, and then compiles its findings into a list of recommendations.
We analyze over 200 algorithm factors during the review process. Here are a few samples.
Google has a vendetta against copied content. Google might, therefore, have a vendetta against you. If you include parameter or tracking code in your URLs, or if you copy-and-place product descriptions, then you might be duplicating content, and Google will never forgive you for it.
Then again, the duplicate content might not be your fault. Parasitic posters swarm the Internet, scrounging for high-quality text and images. They steal it and repost it on their own sites. Some ne’er-do-wells even run articles through programs that replace keywords with synonyms to avoid indictment. Google calls this “scraping.” If a technical SEO audit uncovers scraped content from your website, then you can file a content removal request with Google and take back what’s yours.
Accessibility is all about considering the outlying user. Can users read the content and click the links without needing the latest software or hardware? Can the elderly read your text without a microscope? If your site is not accessible, then you are limiting the size of your consumer base.
Fast forward 10 years from now. The World Wide Web will have finally lived up its name. Even now, Internet users in South Korea enjoy an average Internet connection of 25.3 megabytes per second; users in the United States enjoy about half that. Compare China (38 megabytes per second) and India (2 megabytes per second). You might be tempted to ignore that latter pair, but remember: Between the two of them, China and India host more than a third of the world’s population. You wouldn’t shut the door on 2.5 billion people because they had slow Internet speeds, would you? If you want to capitalize on the forthcoming revolution, you have to prepare your website now.
Let’s say you operate an online e-commerce store that sells premium handmade fudge. Your magnum opus is an almond-encrusted milk chocolate bar stuffed with coconut shavings and raspberry fluff.
If a user searches Google or Bing for “almond chocolate candy bar,” you only get one chance to make your pitch. Usually, the search engine will only show one result from your site for any search query. So if Google picks your site home page instead of your oh-so-delicious candy bar, then you’ve probably lost the chance for a new customer.
This is called “keyword cannibalization.” It happens when you don’t have the appropriate linking structures or your page text is too nebulous. A technical SEO audit from our SEO Toronto specialists can help revamp your internal linking structures and rewrite your content to ensure that your site search results are not only popular, but accurate for data-driven queries.
To search engines, links are roads. A page without internal links (from one page to another) is like a dead-end cul-de-sac. A page without external links (from one website to another) is like Barrow, Alaska: unconnected by any other road.
How, where and what you link is a big factor in where Google ranks your site. You should strive for 100 links per page, some “horizontal,” such as one product page linking to an analogous product page, and some “vertical,” such as a product page linking to a category page.
Linking is more art than science. A technical SEO audit from us can address both: the art of how to place links, and the science of where to place them.
The third week of August 2014 was a red-letter week. It marked the first time that mobile devices brought more traffic to online stores than did computers. So in this brave new world, no website can survive without being optimized for mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and “phablets.”
Expert studies conducted in late 2014 discovered that 77 percent of mobile users blame a “poor” or “unsatisfying” navigation and viewing experience for their reticence to purchase a product online. So if you don’t have a dynamic, elastic or alternate mobile e-commerce website, then you might lose the lion’s share of your online customer base.
Technical SEO analysis can ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. If it isn’t, then why not? Are your font sizes too small? Page loading times too long? Are your mobile pages canonical? Do you have mobile-only 404 error pages? What is your advertisement-to-content space ratio?
Did you just say, “I can figure it out”? In a recent Google+ Hangout video chat, Google officials reported that more than 200 factors play into the mobile-friendliness of a web page. Any page that doesn’t make the cut either doesn’t show up or straggles in last, which is effectively the same.
Let’s be honest. You have better things to do than learn about 404 error pages and canonical XML sitemaps. Let a technical SEO audit do the slave labor for you.
The Golden Rule of search engine optimization (SEO) is this: Each page must have enough content to tell the search engine what the page is about. A list of links won’t do it. A list of images won’t do it. A 50-word paragraph won’t do it.
Here are some things we look for when auditing your website for page and content optimization:
• Heading and subheading length, placement and target keywords.
• Text content length and keyword density.
• Image captions, URL and “alt” text keyword targeting.
• Existing page titles, Meta descriptions and short, clean URLs.
Some of these tasks, like keyword density, are “front-end” client-side exercises. Others, like URL redirects, are “back-end” server-side tasks. Most companies won’t do both. But when you receive a technical SEO audit, we examine both sides so you can satisfy both your human clients and machine servers.
Yes, a technical SEO audit can measure specific quantities like indexed pages, organic landing pages, average click-throughs and optimal keyword character length. But it can also answer abstract questions like, “Is my online brand represented accurately?” or “Do visitors find my customer testimonials or how-to blog more interesting?”
After reading our audit report, you will know what parts of your website work – and which ones don’t. You will see your website through the eyes of yourself, your customer, your competition and the search engine. Think of it as omniscience.
If you’ll pardon the cliché, that’s why we call our service the SEO Roadmap audit. It provides you a roadmap for success. Even more, it gets you out of the region of Killdeer, North Dakota and puts you on the map – first.