Site Audits and Your Business: An Introduction
May 2nd, 2017 by
Just like any portion of your business, your website requires constant maintenance to ensure that it is running as optimal as it should. It’s very well known that Google loves to constantly change their algorithm, forcing websites to adapt quite frequently or else their search engine rankings will suffer. Whenever a video game patches in a major update, they release a list of patch notes so that players can stay abreast of changes. Google, however, does not afford webmasters that same luxury. The massive changelog initially has to be discovered, and then Google (most times) will decide to give some insight on how they just changed the internet. So, what does a site audit have to do with this? A site audit doesn’t just look at one aspect of a website; it looks at the entire thing. By inspecting every nook and cranny of a website, it’s tough to miss anything.
What is a site audit?
In essence, a site audit is exactly what it sounds like—an audit of your website in its entirety. A slew of benchmarks are measured to determine the overall “health” of your website and suggestions are made on how to improve any issue that may arise (and they will arise). The factors covered in site audits are technical, content, and off-site. These three topics also contain an array of subcategories that are necessary to cover.
It is also important to know that a comprehensive site audit is no easy or simple task. They require a few days of dedicated brain power to aggregate all of the information that is necessary to give you an in-depth view of your site. These reports generally end up over 30–40 pages long and are full of pertinent information and screenshots. If they aren’t, you may have been fleeced.
Technical factors on the website are simultaneously the most important and least important impacting parts of a website. For example, every website should have a robots.txt file on the root directory of their website. If you happen to disallow search engines from crawling your site with this file for whatever reason, it will never show up in any search engine. Ever. Never ever. The flipside of this is that having a good robots file also doesn’t guarantee that your website will ever reach high search engine results, even though a bad robots file will guarantee that you won’t reach them. Server configuration is also another large part of the technical aspect of site audits. Many people use sites like Godaddy to host their website, but these often have default settings that your site will be set to until you change them.
There is far too much to go over in the course of a standard blog post, but Search Influence does offer Comprehensive SEO site audits and can go over every nook and cranny of a website to measure its health.
As Bill Gates oh so famously quoted, “content is king,” and that still continues to ring true. While images and videos are definitely a plus for any website, the content is the real hero of this story. To make things even more confusing, quality is better than quantity but quantity is still a necessity or your content will be determined to have low quality. But, if your quality is too high, your content will be considered low quality.
Content on your website should be a certain length —300 words per page is the gold standard, but more definitely doesn’t hurt. Your content must also be relevant to your business and to the page itself. In addition to this, the only way Google will be able to relate your content to your topic is if you add in relevant keywords. If you add too many keywords, however, Google gets very angry and stops liking your website. This makes content writing a sort of a magic area to ensure the best message is being sent to search engines crawling your site.
After the main content is created, the next step is to set up the metadata for each page. Metadata is coding on the backend that gets read by search engines and can also be displayed in search engine results.
The screenshots above show the metadata for our own site. Without having this code in place, search engines that encounter your website have no idea what it’s about. When a search is performed, the search engine will produce a snippet to show in their results.
This screenshot is the preview snippet for our company as displayed in Google. Notice how that title tag and meta description both populate into the search engine results page. This not only helps Google recognize your website and relate it to the topics you would like to rank for, it also provides users with a preview of the web page.
Off-Site factors are probably the toughest part about increasing how favorably search engines see your site— it is also the most important. This section is overwhelmingly dominated by websites that are linking to your website. Having plenty of websites link to you helps to add authority to your site, but if one site links to your site too much, it will appear spammy and both websites can see punishment. A good start to increasing the number of unique domains that link to you, or your backlink profile, is to start with social profiles and high-ranking local profiles such as Yelp!
After some time of making your business presence known online (and offline), you’ll find that news sites and blogs will link to your site as well. The more this happens, the more authoritative your website becomes, and the more search engines will prefer it to others.
If this all seems overwhelming, contact our Sales Team. They are happy to go over the logistics of this process and see if it’s a fit for your company’s budget. The SEO Experts at Search Influence are always willing to help a website in need.
This is a great blog, Jared! Thank you so much for sharing all of this valuable info!