As a business owner, you’re often juggling a multitude of things, to not only help your business run smoothly, but to be efficient and grow. From finances and marketing to overseeing your employees, it’s easy to let things slip between the cracks from time to time, writes Byron Redhead, Director and Head of Digital at First Page
Despite most now understanding the benefits that SEO can deliver your business – through traffic, clicks and conversions – it is an area that doesn’t always get the attention it needs. For instance, did you know that large companies require an SEO audit four to six times a year, while smaller businesses can get away with doing it once every four months?
With the start of this new financial year, I encourage business owners to start fresh and prepare for the year ahead by doing an SEO audit of your website to help boost your search rankings. In doing so, you can get a clear understanding of how your website is currently performing, any urgent problems you need to resolve quickly, and other more general areas to improve in the coming months.
But firstly, what exactly is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit consists of a series of tests that review how well your website is performing. It tells you how well your website is optimised for search engines and how well it will rank on result pages. It will also point out issues that are impacting your website’s ranking and traffic, including technical SEO issues, web design and build issues, issues with user experience, and potential off-site problems.
A thorough SEO audit takes two to six weeks to conduct, so don’t assume it is an immediate process. However, once all issues are identified and fixed, your website should be optimised for performance and help your business succeed online.
Key benefits of an audit
There are plenty of reasons why you should do an SEO audit of your website, and here are just five.
- Faster speeds = increased engagement and higher ranking. Super-fast websites tend to have a lower bounce rate; that is, the percentage of visitors who leave your site without taking an action. This is because users are less likely to be frustrated and leave. To improve your website speed, run a speed test through a trustworthy website, check your website’s HTML code, and make sure the size of your images and content aren’t too large. The faster your site loads, the higher Google will rank it.
- Capture the huge user base using mobile devices to search. About 60 per cent of all Google searches take place on a mobile device, and users now expect all sites to be optimised for mobile. To check if your website is mobile-optimised, review the layout and design of your web page to ensure it provides a great user experience on every device. By not doing so, you could be missing a huge amount of potential web traffic and conversions.
- Gain insight into your competition. It’s a good idea to do competitor analysis as part of your SEO audit to compare your online strategy and approach against businesses you are up against. This involves viewing their content with the highest engagement, their organic traffic rates, and viewing their top-performing pages. Knowing your point of difference can help set your business apart in the competitive online marketplace and help you find new opportunities.
- Identify and repair broken links. As a user, there’s nothing more off-putting than clicking a link that is broken and no longer exists. It results in poor user experience, decreases your authority and increases your bounce rate. An SEO audit will highlight any broken links on your page – there are various tools you can use to do this to locate broken and internal links – so you can repair these quickly.
- Find and remove ‘Zombie’ pages. Web pages that don’t gain traffic are called ‘zombie’ pages and are the result of technical problems or poor-quality content. If you type “site:yourwebsite.com“, Google will show your total number of URLs. If it’s on the high side, you’ll need to get rid of them as leaving it is hurting your page ranking.
Should I use a professional to do my audit?
Sure, there are many free tools for businesses to review issues on their website and guides that help them do their own SEO audit, but most people don’t have a clue on where to start – and are often too busy to do it themselves. SEO is a complex area and you need to know what to look for.
Bringing on a professional auditor such as a freelancer or digital agency can help you identify the main issues, repair ailing websites and suggest areas for improvement. They can also provide a combination of ongoing strategies to help your business succeed online, and monitor this regularly and update it as needed.
It’s important to prioritise your website’s SEO, and having a professional in charge of this can allow you to focus on running the parts of your business that you’re best at.
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