Site Audit

Have you done an audit of your website recently?  If your answer isn’t “yes,” you need to get it done.  Google has been busy over the last few months, moving their SEO algorithm at light-speed.    What worked for search last year, may not be helping this year.  Worse, Google is starting to penalize websites that don’t meet their criteria, so staying up to date is critical.   A site audit will help identify issues and can improve your search ranking.

What is a site audit?

You may already know, but just like any other kind of audit, a website audit looks for errors – in detail.    A complete site audit should address technical issues about site function and should identify areas for SEO improvement.  Everything that makes it more difficult for Google to crawl your site, should be cleaned up and streamlined.  We are talking broken links, slow page load-times, and difficult navigation.  Google is also looking closely at other issues like duplicate content, keyword stuffing, and other black hat SEO tactics that used to be “ok” but have now been outlawed and can negatively impact your rank.

Why do a site audit?

Aside from the fact that Google changes its search engine rules more often than you change your clothes, things break – including your website.   Content gets moved or taken down so your links go nowhere, updates get missed so your buttons quit working, and your images take longer than ever to load.  If broken links, slow page loads and bad navigation means your website can’t be crawled easily, Google won’t crawl it as often and it won’t rank well.  A site audit is the easiest way to find out where your problems are, all at once.

It is important to put mobile-first.

Google’s focus on mobile has made a lot of website designs obsolete – but it isn’t just Google that makes “mobile-first” important.  It’s your customer.  Over half of all Internet use is now done on smart devices and mobile users are impatient.  They don’t want to search your site for information and they won’t wait for your products to load.  If the margins don’t work, buttons are out of place or images are slow to load, you could be losing half of your business.  If your website wasn’t designed for mobile devices, it probably needs an overhaul, but a site audit will tell you what needs to be fixed first.

Google’s “Mobilegeddon” SEO changes have focused on speed – and local search.  If you have a local business, you need to optimize for local search – which means more than just listing your address.  It means keywords, tags and titles may need a re-do and all of your inbound links need to be evaluated.  A site audit can help you make sure that you are optimized for local and your referral traffic isn’t coming from “questionable” sites.  

Content goes stale or expires.  

Depending on your industry, new developments can turn what was good content into bad information.  If that isn’t the case, you still need fresh content for your customers – and for Google.  Your content also needs to be easy to find and not buried seven pages deep.  A site audit will help you determine what needs to come down, what needs to be updated and what is still good – and where everything is.

When do you need a site audit?

Think of a site audit like taking your website to the doctor.  You should be doing a site audit every 6 to 12 months as a “well-check.”  Every time something big changes inside or outside of your business, you need a site audit as preventative medicine.

More than 90% of Internet users will never look beyond the first page of search results so you can’t afford for your website to fall in rank.  Websites get ranked poorly by Google for two reasons – not enough “good” SEO or too much “bad” SEO.  Either Google doesn’t think the site is “valuable” because of website issues or the site was penalized for black hat SEO tactics which are against the rules.

A site audit is necessary

A site audit will help you solve either problem but improving search engine rank can take several months.  Site audits get put off because most small business owners don’t have time to comb through every page of their website themselves.  For a lot of businesses, hiring an SEO expert is the way to get a site audit done right and done right now.  

 

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