I’d like to start today’s piece with a very simple question. When’s the last time you audited your search engine optimization tactics? When’s the last time you checked your site for SEO issues?
Given that you’re reading this article, I’d imagine your answer is probably “never.”
Don’t worry. Running an audit to check for search engine optimization mistakes is actually very simple. But first, check to make sure that only a single, core domain of your website is browseable.
What I mean is that there shouldn’t be multiple versions of your site online, each accessible at a slightly different URL. Everything should be linked to the canonical site through 301 redirects. Here’s how.
Even for larger websites, this shouldn’t take a ton of time. The purpose of these crawlers is to track down the obvious stuff: Broken links, unlinked pages, excessive redirects, page title issues, duplicate content, and bad keywords and images.
Now, here’s where the difficult part comes in. You’re going to need to manually fix each and every one of the issues that crop up here. To help you along, you can use a keyword research tool in combination with a utility such as SEO Site Checkup.
I’d also advise looking in the Google Search Console.
While it may not paint as extensive a picture as a crawler, it does provide you with a huge list of valuable tips for improving your performance on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It also shows any indexing issues that a crawler may have missed. Finally, the analytics data found there can give you deep insight into how people search for, browse, and engage with the content on your website.
Once you’ve examined the Google console, you’ll next want to search for:
- Your brand name
- Your industry
- Keywords and key-phrases you’ve identified as targetable.
Make sure you rank for at least the first and the last one. If you rank for the second, that’s awesome. Your SEO is on-point.
With all that taken care of, you’ll next want to do a few manual checks. For each major page on your site, check for the following:
- A good title tag that captures the page’s primary keyword in natural language.
- A single, well-crafted H1 tag that achieves the same goal as the title tag.
- Any other issues with content, including scripts, image tags, etc.
Once you’ve done those manual checks and addressed all the problems found by the crawlers, the only thing left to do is beef up any thin content that doesn’t really add value to the audience, such as low word counts or unnatural language.Last but certainly not least, use Google’s structured data testing tool to check that data such as reviews, product information, and event information is all properly formatted on your site. Make sure to run a new audit every few months or so, and you should be golden.