Getting a sense of where your company’s website stands in terms of SEO can be confusing.
Googling your company or field can return search result rankings, but that’s not the only way to measure SEO. And once you do see where you stand, how can you identify which website elements to change to increase your search engine rankings?
A thorough SEO audit will look at several factors to determine the SEO fitness of your website. If you’re curious about the process and want to see how your website ranks, here’s a brief overview of the process.
There are 3 main areas to assess during a website SEO audit: Site functionality and performance, content and inbound links.
1. Site Functionality/Performance
The software used to build your website can have a big impact on performance. If you’re thinking about building a new website down the line, be sure to ask your web designer how the following areas will be addressed.
- Is the website crawl-able and indexed by the major search engines?
- Is the site mobile friendly?
- Is the website easy to navigate? (menu and structure)
Ready? Let’s dive in.
- Is the website crawl-able and indexed by the major search engines? Making sure your website is properly set up for robots (bots for short) to crawl it is an SEO must. Search engine bots crawling the web will need to check through each page of your website to asses the quality of content. If there’s anything preventing that, then those pages will not get indexed and counted into search engine results. That’s no bueno. Google’s Search Console is one tool that SEO experts use to determine a site’s crawl-ability. By connecting your website to Google Search Console, you’ll be able to see right away if there are any crawl errors.
- Is the site mobile friendly? For several years, Google has been evaluating whether websites are mobile friendly and downgrading sites that are not. A mobile-friendly website will look good on laptop, tablet and smartphone. Elements like pictures should load quickly on mobile, and buttons should be large enough for a user to tap on a smartphone. Menus and navigation that are easy to access on large screens can often get fiddly on smaller ones, so that should be addressed, too. A good mobile website will take all these elements into account, making it a good browsing experience for users and web bots alike.
In the pictures below you can see two websites that were run through Google’s free Mobile-Friendly Test.
Feed Media’s website passes just fine. The next image is an older website (I don’t want to call out this locally-owned business so I’ve blurred the screen) where you can see a large block of tiny text on the homepage, and everything is too small to use on a phone. Google gave them a bad grade for those reasons.
Is the website easy to navigate? (menu and structure)
As mentioned above, menus should be easy to navigate no matter the screen size. The first part of the equation is common sense: do the menu titles and layout match the user’s expectations of what they’re looking for on that particular website? Once you’ve determined the correct menu items to include, it’s important for the menus to be easy to use. Unsure whether your menu is easy to use? Solicit some user feedback from your own clients and website visitors for the best intel.
For the sake of brevity (and sparing you a bunch of technical jargon) we’ve only covered these three areas, but there are MANY other factors to consider. Your SEO professional can assist you in making sure all the bases are covered.
Another important component of an SEO audit is to see if your website features the words and phrases that potential customers are searching for. With some keyword research and website search stats (if available), you can determine if your website has the right type and amount of information to attract people and keep them engaged with your content.
3. Inbound links
Inbound links are like an extended network for your website. When another website links back to your website, that’s an inbound link. If you place links on your website to another website, that’s an outbound link. When your website has many inbound links from reputable sources, it can give your website additional SEO juice. That’s why any SEO audit should include an analysis of inbound links.
There are several free and low-cost tools out there to show inbound links. A free one to try is Moz’s Open Site Explorer Review. Once you navigate to the page, enter the URL of your website and click Search.
Some numbers you’ll see on the Moz OSE dashboard are: Domain Authority and Page Authority. Those are scores on a 0-100 scale. The higher the number, the better. Below that, you’ll see a list of the inbound links.
After noting the results, it’s time to compare. Enter the URL’s of your top competitors’ to see their Domain and Page Authority numbers and how many backlinks they have. By assessing the others in your field, you’ll have a more accurate picture of where your website ranks.
If you want to learn even more about your SEO and how to improve it, get in touch. We’ll perform a detailed SEO audit on your site to identify problem areas and work closely with you to develop an actionable SEO strategy to fit your organization’s needs.