Do-It-Yourself Website Audit – Improve SEO
If you were building a house, would your first step be to break ground? Of course not, a detailed blueprint (or audit) is always where you begin. However, many people are not thinking to apply the same principles to their business when crafting a marketing strategy. This post will increase your understanding of the importance of auditing your website, as well as provide a detailed list of the steps you can take to put together a beneficial audit.
Top Reasons For An SEO Audit
Our research uncovered 2 fundamental reasons businesses should immediately look into having their digital marketing efforts audited:
- To provide a complete picture
- To save money
Complete Marketing Picture
Sometimes the best thing a business owner can do is take steps back and see the big picture. An audit allows you to do this. A thorough digital marketing audit informs you on how all search engine ranking factors affect your website.
If you are looking to have an audit professionally done, you should ensure that you are receiving a report containing information regarding on-page, off-page and social media at a minimum. An in-depth audit will also contain a competitor analysis; together these aspects provide realistic goals when developing your own strategy.
Save Your Business Money
Everyone has been sold on something they don’t necessarily want or need. In digital marketing it is very easy (especially if unfamiliar with the industry) to have a service sound like a ‘must’ purchase.
We get it; you want to do whatever possible to have the greatest advantage online. In 2012 Fleishman-Hillard reported that 89% of consumers began their search online; we can safely assume that number has grown as more people have access to the Internet, especially from smartphones. However, and more importantly, you want a high ROI. An audit will ensure you are focusing on the areas that need focused on first.
DIY SEO Audit
We do not expect you to be audit-creating masters after reading this, but we do anticipate that you to be able to avoid getting ‘sold’ and begin seeking services that will have the greatest impact on your business.
The do-it-yourself audit section covers 4 of the major digital marketing SEO elements, providing you with simple step-by-step instructions.
- Responsive Design
- On-Page SEO
- Local Search
- Off-Page SEO
Importance Of Responsive Website Design
As of May 2015, Google released that the amount of mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches. Algorithms have adjusted for this trend, and if your website is designed to adapt to these devices, search engines, such as Google, reward you by appearing higher in the rankings.
Other notable reasons for a responsive website are:
- Staying ahead of your competition
- Keeping people on your website
- Having a fresh online presence
Responsive Test: Step-By-Step
- Go to – https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
- Enter your website’s URL
This is an example of a mobile-friendly (responsive) website.
This is an example of a NON-mobile-friendly (responsive) website.
The difference is easy to see.
Importance Of On-Page SEO
Search engines use robots per se to look at specific elements embedded in your websites code. This information lets search engines know what your website is about. The more focused the elements are toward one topic, the higher the likelihood of a search engine ranking that website for a particular search phrase.
We are going to show you how to audit your own website for the following major on-page elements:
(We provided short videos below each addressed element for further explanation)
On-Page Elements: Step-By-Step
The below steps are only designed for a per page analysis not for the entire website. You need to take notes on steps 3-5.
- Go to – http://www.seocentro.com/tools/seo/seo-analyzer.html
- Type in your web address and the access code. The screen you should see is pictured below.
- You should see a screen with an SEO ‘score’ and can scroll down to the bottom of that page to find your heading tags.
- Next click on the ‘server’ button, located below the score.
- If you scroll down on this page you will be able to determine the Title tag and Meta tag. The page title is labeled ‘title’ and the Meta tag is labeled ‘x-meta-description.’
Meta Tag Location:
Title Tag Location:
After looking at your notes there are three possibilities. We have created a next best step for each.
(1) You will be missing an element. Next step – prioritize fixing on-page SEO.
(2) You will have the all elements present, but not targeted towards anything specific. Next step – fix focus of on-page SEO.
(3) All 3 elements will be directed at the same keyword(s). Next step – further optimization is optional.
You do not want to oversaturate elements with desired keywords. Search engines will pick up on this on penalize you.
Importance Of Local SEO
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to show up locally (depending on where the search is made OR if a specific location is included in the search query) for targeted keywords or phrases on search engines.
Below provides a visual of local search results:
For a well-rounded local SEO audit we are going to focus on two factors:
- Directory submissions
- Current positioning
Listing Directories: Step-By-Step
- Go to – https://moz.com/local
- Enter your business name and zip code.
- Select the most accurate listing.
- Take notes on the following:
The information Moz provides gives a general understanding of how consistent your business is appearing across various directories. Consistency is key to reap the benefits of listing directories; specifically, business name, address, phone and website (NAPw).
Current Position: Step-By-Step
This also provides you with insight on your competition.
- Search – ‘(Your City) (Your Service or Desired Keyword[s])’
(Latrobe) (Machine Shop)
Below shows the local search results.
- Record where your business is currently positioned in the results.
Importance Of Off-Page SEO
Off-Page SEO encompasses all digital marketing signals that take place outside of your website. These signals build credibility in search engine algorithms. Signals with high credibility pointing back to your website boost your own website’s credibility, our example below will clear up any confusion.
Two websites contain links to your website. One link is from a local band’s website, while the other is from CNN. The CNN link will have a greater impact on your SEO.
Similarly to the local SEO section above, we selected two factors to provide a well-rounded audit:
- Social Media
- Go to – https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/
- Type in your website’s URL and click search.
- SEE IMAGE BELOW – record data in notes.
If your domain or page authority is a ‘1’ and you have no links, you would want to consider implementing a backlink strategy.
Social Media Signals: Step-By-Step
These do not have as strong of an effect as backlinks, but they do provide search result benefits.
- Go to – http://www.seocentro.com/tools/search-engines/link-popularity.html
- Enter your website’s URL and access code.
- SEE IMAGE BELOW – record data in notes.
This is a great straightforward tool that simply lays everything out. You can see exactly where signals are coming from, as well as the areas that need improvement. If you have all 0’s or single digit numbers, you should consider putting together a social media strategy. This can be beneficial to SEO even if your industry does not conduct business through social media.
The social media post needs to have the webpage URL in order to count as a signal.
After going through the steps, this process will provide you with a solid general website audit. You will know which direction to head with your digital marketing efforts.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comment area below and we will answer them as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read our post, we always want to hear your feedback and greatly appreciate when share our post with friend and co-workers.
Placing your business in front of local customers looking to buy your product or service is the goal of every business. Local SEO is how you can achieve this goal. The next ten minutes spent reading this post will inform you on what Local SEO is, the top reasons you need it and educate you on simple strategies you can implement today that will show results.
What Is Local SEO?
Local SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your website to show up locally (depending on where the search is made) for targeted keywords or phrases on search engines.
If you use Google, you are likely familiar with the image below, which shows local search results.
The letters next to the businesses name are also points on Google’s map; other search engines have a similar service. If you wish to view for yourself, simply Google “Local Law Firms” and you will see a map for yourself listing law firms in your area.
As a business owner I am sure that you can already see the benefits of being at the top of the local list. After researching we compiled a list of the top reasons you need local SEO covered in detail below.
Top Reasons You Need Local SEO
Chances are you have a smartphone, even if you do not, your customers do. People are utilizing search engines more and more from their phones. These searches are based on the current GPS location of the mobile device, in turn; delivering search results from the local surrounding area. You can see from the picture below how local SEO plays a factor on a mobile device.
Potential customers have the ability to immediately call a business that appears at the top of the local search results. We are certain that you want your business to be in that position, making mobile traffic one of the top reasons to focus on local SEO.
On a side note, Google and other search engines factor whether or not your website is mobile-friendly (responsive) when determining local search engine rankings. Visit our post on responsive web design.
Local Consumers Switching To The Internet
Bright Local states, “64% of local customers use online search engines and directories as their main way to find local business; only 28% of people use old paper directories as their preferred source of local information.”
The online search trend will continue to grow; phone books are not making a comeback.
Bright Local also states in the same article that only 10% of businesses have claimed their local listing on Google. You have the opportunity to become one of the early adopters of local SEO. Take advantage of it while you can.
People believe that the results Google and other search engines provide are credible businesses. Having your business at the top of this list (not as a paid advertisement) showcases you as what search engines consider to be the best.
You can take this appearance to the next level by having a modern, professional and clean user-friendly website. Trust online is an extremely valuable asset, combining local SEO with a premier website places your business leaps and bounds past your competition.
As stated previously only 10% of businesses have claimed their free Google local listing. Like the Google local listing, many other local SEO strategies can be completed for free, costing only a time commitment, which we will be covering shortly.
You should be realizing local SEO is something your business needs to be focusing on. We provided a video below that covers even more reasons to get started.
We are going to transition this post into gaining an understanding of the factors that play a role on local SEO and the steps you can take now for free that will begin improving your local search position.
Local SEO Ranking Factors
Having knowledge of the factors that count toward local SEO will help in making sense of the upcoming do-it-yourself strategies. Moz, one of the most reputable sources for SEO information, determined these ranking factors; clicking provides the full top 50 list. Many of the items on the list may seem confusing, we would be more than happy to clear up any questions, by clicking here.
Our strategies are going to focus on the two aspects that require no technical skill: NAPw (name, address, phone and website) and social media.
Strategies You Can Use To Boost Local SEO
The strategies below are completely free, no gimmicks or hidden charges, however, some of the steps will lead to calls asking you to pay for ‘premium services’. Out of all of the clients we helped, we were able to achieve the top spot on local searches without having to pay. Our suggestion is to decline the offer.
Directory Listing Strategy
For this strategy you want to submit your business to as many applicable free directories that you can find. Applicable is the keyword, and we will address how to find these directories and how to properly submit your business to them.
Finding Listing Directories
We first want to touch on the listings you should set up before finding others, they are:
Google places for business, Bing places for business, Yahoo local listing, Yelp business listing, Merchant Circle, Yellow Pages, Manta, City Search and Local.com
These can all be found by searching “(listing directory) free business listing.” These will take some time, but the investment will be worth it. You can also click here for a list of 32 directories or here for a list of 100.
The next step will be to find directories that are specific to your area. The easiest way to do this is simply search “(your city name) free business listing.” The image below is a sample of what you will see.
Finding local free listings can take time and patience, but the work is worth it if you want to eventually reach the top spot for local SEO.
Some directories you find may not be free to join anymore. If you run into one of these directories simply exit the page and continue searching for free opportunities.
Proper Business Listing Submission
You need to ensure that all listing information is consistent. For example:
123 Penn Drive
San Diego, CA 92104
CANNOT ON ANOTHER LISTING BE:
123 Penn Drive
San Diego, CA 92104
Do you see the problem? The phone number is appearing different, as well as the website address. You need to ensure that even the spacing remains the same from directory to directory. This is crucial, or all of your work placing listings will go to waste.
Social Media Local SEO Strategy
Even if you are not planning to be active on social media, you should have accounts set up and thoroughly filled out for the major platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Creating these profiles alone provide the opportunity for placing your listing information on another source, boosting your local SEO visibility.
We do suggest becoming active on these accounts. More fans and activity on social media provide signals, which reflect on local SEO. You can find more information regarding getting started in social media from our previous post.
Understanding that you can control your position on search engines is an opportunity you must capitalize on. If you begin investing the time towards the above strategies you are going to see an improvement in your search result position.
The above information is a starting point. We are more than happy to answer any local SEO questions you may have. KriXis Consulting offers a full range of services, capable of meeting all digital marketing needs.
Thank you for taking the time to read our post, we encourage you to comment below and share this post with friends and co-workers.
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