Website Audit Report for a Diagnostic SEO Health Check
Gone are the days a website could get long lasting, high rankings in Google using spammy techniques. The algorithms have been improved and are now more optimized and updated daily. A few years ago some techniques were seen as acceptable in the SEO community, but nowadays they are considered to be pure spam. A thorough review and analysis (SEO website audit report) of your website is absolutely essential nowadays to be able to judge the state of your website. This will then help you to make improvements to the site and eventually in the rankings.
What is an SEO website audit report?
Every sector has its own unique set of characteristics, requirements, strengths and weaknesses. This is especially true for websites, which is why a readymade and standard SEO solution can produce a less than perfect result. Search engines search through more than 200 items on a website and assess these to allocate a position based on the keywords used. During an SEO audit, as many factors as possible are looked at which influence the quality of the website in relation to these rankings. Based on this website review, with additional information such as analysis of competitors, a tailor-made search engine optimization strategy can be created.
Sounds interesting, could you give an example of an SEO website analysis?
A local pizzeria that has existed for years noticed that the mopeds of his new competitor are always driving around delivering pizza’s all across town using paid ads. At the same time his moped is never out delivering pizzas. He asks himself what the reason is, as his pizzas are much tastier of course. That’s what his customers tell him at least. It turns out that his competitors used an online marketing agency to attract more visitors to their new website and they then ordered the pizza via the site. The website of the existing pizzeria is already five years old, when a friend of his created it, allowing customers to find the phone number and address of the pizzeria easier. Advertising by word of mouth always worked well for him, so why would he spend a lot of money on the services of an expensive marketing agency?
This may be a very simple example, but this is an everyday reality. Word of mouth advertising is pretty important, but a lot of this advertising is now done using social media and via search engines like Google. Perhaps it happens a lot more than businesses appreciate. By not having a decent online presence there is a high chance that you could lose a lot of your yearly sales potential.
No prizes for guessing what is missing in this situation, a good website which allows customers to easily choose and order delicious pizzas. All this means is that the On-Page SEO needs to be looked at. For example, adding a unique catchy text explaining why your pizzas are the best, with good photos or a video. By ensuring that the right words are in the right place the search engine can value your website well and rank it higher. Furthermore, it is handy if the online community is talking about your company a lot and positively. You could see this as Off Page SEO. You could encourage people to share your website on various forms of social media or other platforms. People write reviews about your site, so make sure your happy customers do this and not just the unhappy customers.
What are On Page factors?
With On Page SEO, all the factors on the page itself are meant to influence the ranking in a search engine. A number of examples which are important for every website are explained here.
Text is important
An example of one of these factors is the text. Quite a lot of text gets copied and pasted on the internet. Besides the fact this breaches copyright law, an unoriginal text is unlikely to score highly in the rankings on Google. It is often the case that a website has duplicate content without people realizing it. Duplicate content is therefore looked at in detail during an SEO audit and it’s not always easy to spot by the untrained eye. Another example is the lack of or limited amount of text on a page. This is something that is not appreciated by search engines as they can’t find your site. Here too it seems that many websites, without realizing it, have several pages with minimal content and this is sometimes hard for a layman to check.
In addition to the two issues mentioned above (duplicate text/too little text), it is also important to tell search engines what is important on your page. The visitor might, for example, be looking for a solution to a problem or information about a famous person. Search engines try to find relevant results based on the search query to meet the expectations of the visitor. This is after all their main goal! One thing you can do is enter relevant words in the title and description per page. However, it is important to make sure that the information gives a good impression of what can be found on the relevant page. If a website is about selling pizzas then don’t give it the title saying that you can win a million by clicking on the link…Of course, there are more advanced techniques to provide search engines with relevant information about your website. The example given is probably enough to understand the moral of the story.
How fast is your website?
It’s really annoying to get to a webpage that takes half a day to finally load, don’t you agree? Nowadays most people have just a few seconds of ‘online patience’. Search engines know this and therefore provide you with sites that are quicker, which are bonus points compared to a slower website. Improving your websites speed is an art in itself. Sometimes a simple technical trick can help or use a good website hosting company saves you a lot of issues and creates speedy sites.
Adding ‘Alt Text’ to Images
A really simple, but often forgotten, method of providing a search engine with information about the content of your page is by using images properly. For example, you can use the title of the image to help the search engine by making sure the most important keywords or a synonym of this is in the title. The same applies to Alt Text (alternative text), which is the text shown when a picture has not fully loaded yet, or can’t be loaded. These descriptions can be used by people with a visual impairment and provide information in a voice browser. Search engines use Alt Text to know what is shown in an image and therefore also on the webpage.
URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator, which is the web address of a website or a page on a website, for example, https://thisismyurl.com/website/. Search engines are constantly looking for changes on your website. Sometimes they find something which they can’t properly place and this is then indicated as a URL error. This type of error is sometimes less important than others, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that something needs to be corrected. However, it is important to regularly check the URL errors on your website, to be sure that there are no major issues.
Trust Flow and Domain Authority
There are various tools which can be used to assess the quality of a website. One of these tools is Trust Flow made by Majestic. This is a tool which gives the quality of the website a score between 0 and 100, with 0 being the lowest score and 100 the highest possible score. The same applies to Domain Authority made by MOZ. Both of these scores are calculated differently but within the world of Search Engine Optimization, these are valued parameters to allow you to be able to say something about the trust and authority of your website. Sites with a high score generally find it easier to gain high rankings on Google and other search engines.
Within online marketing, a lot is said about conversion. To avoid confusion, an explanation of this term is given first. In marketing language, this means achieving a predetermined goal. This doesn’t have to be meeting a sales target. Take the example of the pizzeria: the owner is offering discounts on pizzas. To get the discount, customers have to download a coupon. The number of downloads compared to the number of visitors to the website shows the conversion percentage of the downloaded coupons. Besides the relevant On Page factors that are important for your rankings, there are also aspects on your page that can be the cause of a higher or lower conversion of your websites visitors. These are items that are reviewed in the SEO website audit and will be tested at a later stage. The essence of a website review in this stage is that the requirements to get a decent ranking are clear. In other words, giving the right diagnosis to make the website healthy again, so that it can work at its best again. A higher conversion ratio is only important when you actually have visitors to your website because without visitors there is no conversion…
Off Page factors
Besides the many On Page items, there are also Off-Page factors that affect the rankings of your website in search engines. In other words, what do others think about your website? It’s important to get the right backlinks from other websites, getting traffic to your website and having social signals.
Backlinks and an anchor text
To understand what these Off-Page factors are about, the frequently used terms connected to them are explained. A backlink is a link to from another website to yours which you can click on. This sentence is an example of a backlink to Wikipedia with an explanation of backlinks. A term that has a close relationship with a link is anchor text. This is the clickable text in a link. For example, the anchor text of the backlink in this sentence is SEO.
Facts and myths about Off Page SEO
Search engines can assign a certain value to a website based on backlinks. The quality and relevance of a topic on referring sites play an important role. For example, a link from pizzahut.com is much more valuable for a pizzeria than a link from a reputable company in the metal industry.
Quality vs Quantity of Backlinks
Collecting as many links as possible doesn’t make sense if they are of low quality. Doing this could even have a negative impact on your rankings because Google can evaluate this as spam. Backlinks of high-quality domains are therefore preferred. Search engines also pay attention to the diversity of the links. Google understands millions of websites and their link structure. They are therefore well equipped to determine for each niche market what a natural link profile is. Backlinks can come from social media or informative websites for example. Some websites, about topics like hemorrhoids, are less likely to be shared via Facebook. Google knows that and takes this into account when assessing whether a link profile was created correctly. In most cases, a variety of backlink sources is an important key to getting high rankings in Google.
Anchor Text Variation
Just like backlinks, search engines also know about the use of anchor text used in a link. Having the correct percentage of anchor text is an important indicator for a search engine. By analyzing these factors it can be determined if links have been created correctly or using methods which are contrary to their guidelines and conditions. Imagine there is a pizzeria in Dyersville called ‘Mario’s Pizzas’. Many sites use the company name as anchor text. Less amount of links will use ‘order pizza in Dyersville’ as their anchor text. If the relationship between these two is disproportionate then the search engine can punish your website by giving it a lower ranking or removing it from the search results.
Social Media & Rankings
There has been a discussion going on about social signals from social media platforms and the large impact they have on your position in Google. Our own tests show that most of the social factors claim to influence ranking are hyped. Only a few platforms, if properly applied, can lead to fast improvement of your position in Google. This has been confirmed by a number of prominent and critical authorities in the SEO world. While other agencies may encourage you to be as active as possible on as many different social media platforms possible, Directional Preference can probably help you to limit this. It makes more sense to be active and responsive on just a couple of platforms than signing up for twenty platforms which are neglected. Your aim, budget, priorities and added value towards your customer play an important role in these choices. However, for branding purposes and a good link profile, you need backlinks from social media platforms. Do it isn’t just your link profile that will be improved, but it is also a method to present yourself or your business as an authority in your field. Of course, this will also attract more visitors to your website.
After the SEO Analysis
Besides the examples mentioned about On and Off Page factors in this article, more factors are assessed and analyzed in an SEO website audit. A detailed report of findings is made, which then will be discussed. This is an important phase because this is the only way you gain insights into the process. By giving you a look behind the scenes, sharing up to date information and being transparent, we want to create mutual trust. SEO is not a magic black box that will suddenly make you the number 1 ranked company in Google, it is a continuous process that must be carefully fine-tuned to create the best possible result (and to retain this). This means that good and close cooperation with all the parties involved is needed.