The first step in developing an SEO strategy is to get a full understanding of your website’s current position. This requires a website SEO audit. In other words, an analysis of your website not from a design or content perspective, but instead in relation to factors that are important to a good ranking in Google.
Without a proper SEO audit, you won’t understand the main issues and areas for improvement.
There are many elements to include in an audit when you are implementing an SEO strategy for your Auckland website. Here are 10 of the most important.
1. Mobile Responsiveness
Your website has to be mobile responsive. Even you don’t use mobile devices to access websites on the internet, your customers and website visitors do. By not having a mobile responsive website, you are probably not getting these visitors. This is the first place to start to get an instant boost to your organic traffic levels.
2. SSL Check
This is another point that used to be considered as optional but is now essential. Both website visitors and Google prefer websites that are secure. This means it is important to get what is known as an SSL certificate, even if you are not an e-commerce website.
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3. Google Search Console
Doing a complete check of Google Search Console is another important step in an SEO audit. This includes checking there is a Google Search Console listing for your website. If not, you will need to resolve this before going further.
Key things you then need to check in Google Search Console include:
- Check that Google is indexing your website and, secondly, indexing all your pages.
- Ensuring Google is only indexing one version of your website. It is easier than you think to have more than one. Here’s an example: http://www.yoursite.com, http://yoursite.com, https://www.yoursite.com, https://yoursite.com. You need to prioritise one if you have this situation or something similar.
- You should then check for crawl errors reported in Google Search Console.
4. Page Load Speed
The pages on your website need to load fast. This is because internet users want fast-loading pages and, whatever internet users want, Google prioritises.
There are a number of page speed tests, including PageSpeed Insights by Google, that you can run your website through to get an understanding of your current page load speed. Most of these tools will also provide you with details on recommended fixes.
5. On-Page Text and Duplicate Content Check
Another essential part of an SEO audit is to analyse the content on your pages. The first thing to look out for is duplicate content, both deliberate duplicate content and duplicate content that has appeared accidentally. You will then need to resolve all duplicate content issues.
Looking for “thin” pages is important too. These are pages with minimal text or information. Usually (although not always), Google regards these as offering a poor user experience. The best solution, therefore, is to add more detailed and informative content.
6. Error Check
Conducting an error check on your website is important too. This can find broken external links as well as 404 pages – pages that used to exist but no longer do, even though there are links to them. The typical solution in this situation is to permanently redirect the non-existing URL to a live page on your website.
7. Keywords Optimisation Analysis
This part of a site audit involves conducting keyword research to identify the most important keywords to your website. You then need to check to ensure the pages on your website are optimised for these keywords. A perfectly optimised page will target a single keyword and will use that keyword in essential locations including in the URL, H1 header, and first paragraph of text.
8. Meta Descriptions
Checking meta descriptions is another important part of website SEO audits in Auckland. Like some of the other points above, there are two main steps:
- Checking for duplicates as each page on your website should have a unique meta description.
- Checking that each meta description is optimised. This involves including the target keyword for the page, making sure the meta description is the right length, and ensuring it is engaging for Google search users.
9. Internal and External Link Analysis
As links are an important part of SEO, they must be part of your SEO audit.
Start with internal links on your website. You need to have internal links, plus your internal linking strategy should be structured in a way that promotes the most important pages of your website.
You also need to check your website’s backlinks. This includes checking how many you have and analysing the quality of the backlinks. With this information, you can begin developing a strategy for building new backlinks, plus you may decide to disavow some of the backlinks you already have.
10. Website Usability Analysis
Finally, but certainly not least, is a usability analysis. Google highly values websites that provide a good user experience, so you need to optimise yours. A good place to start is the structure, or sitemap, of your website and the layout of your menus.
Getting a Return on Investment from SEO
If you are making an investment in SEO, you will expect a return on that investment. The best way to maximise your return and enhance the performance of your website is to get your SEO strategy right from the beginning. The starting point in achieving this is a website SEO audit.