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How to do a SEO Site Audit

  1. HOW TO DO A SEO SITE AUDIT Kathy Alice Brown
  2. à About these slides ß •  These slides are from my online course: “How to do a SEO Site Audit” For Access & Discounted Price ! •  The course also has demos and me lecturing on video, so not everything is covered in these slides. •  But don’t worry, there is still a lot of great information here!
  3. Course Agenda •  Introduction •  Make sure to download the checklist and tools list! •  Initial Technical Checks •  What Google Sees •  Traffic and Site Speed •  Google Search Console •  Advanced Technical Section •  Authority Checks
  4. Thank you! Big Thanks to
  6. What is SEO? SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the art and science to having your site rank well in Google as well as increasing your site’s organic traffic.
  8. Accessibility •  Can the Search Engines Crawl and Understand Your Site? •  Problems: •  Blocked from Crawling •  Poorly Structured Site •  Orphaned Pages •  Duplicate Content •  Poor use of Redirects ACCESSIBILITY
  9. On Page •  Is the page providing clear signals about its content? •  Problems: •  Tags on page not optimized for keywords •  Title tag •  Meta Description •  Header Tags •  Alt tags ON PAGE
  10. Engagement •  Is the page/site useful and engaging with users? •  Problems: •  Slow loading •  Not mobile friendly •  Content not written well •  Not visually appealing ENGAGEMENT
  11. Authority •  Is the site a recognized authority in its niche? •  Problems: •  No relevant backlinks •  OR too many spammy backlinks •  No social activity AUTHORITY
  12. GOAL OF THE AUDIT How to do a SEO Site Audit
  13. Why are you doing the audit? •  To make sure everything is Ok with my site. •  To reassess my SEO approach and make sure I’m in compliance with Google guidelines. •  Because my organic traffic has been going down. •  To see if there is any opportunity to increase my organic traffic. •  To deliver a more complete service to my client.
  14. The different types of audits •  General Health Audit •  Competitive Review •  Forensic •  Content Quality Review •  Backlink Audit •  Local SEO
  15. Problems .. and Opportunities •  Approach audit with an open mind •  You are looking for problems •  And you are also looking for opportunities
  16. GETTING STARTED How to do a SEO Site Audit
  17. Getting Started •  MUST have •  Google Analytics •  Google Search Console •  Understand the history of the Site •  Download the Checklist attached to this lecture
  18. Questions •  How many domains •  Recent changes (migrations, redesign …) •  Any deliberate link building •  Business Goals •  How is it monetization? •  Competitors •  Top Keywords
  19. TECHNICAL CHECKS Quick checks to find major SEO problems
  20. REDIRECTS … and HTTP Status Codes
  21. What is a HTTP Status Code? HTML HTTP (HTTPS) 200 - Ok 301/302 - Moved 404 - Not Found
  22. HTTP Status Codes 200 – Here’s your page, everything is great! 301 – The page you requested has moved, Here’s where it moved to 302 – The page you requested has temporarily moved 404 – I can’t find the page 5xx – Something went wrong
  23. Why Redirects Matter Make sure Google has your forwarding address •  Use a 301 Redirect if the move is permanent. •  302 Redirect for temporary moves •  Best for SEO to use 301 redirects
  24. Top Level Redirects •  Check that there is a 301 Canonical Redirect •  The site should have one canonical location •  Either www or non-www but NOT both •  Check for other redirects as appropriate •  Other domains •  http -> https
  25. ROBOTS.TXT Don’t block Googlebot and friends
  26. About robots.txt No crawling allowed here
  27. Don’t Block Your Entire Site Make sure you don’t check this box in WordPress Settings -> Reading
  28. Don’t Block Your Entire Site The slash tells Googlebot to NOT visit any pages on the site User-agent: * Disallow: /
  29. When Spiders are Blocked IMPORTANT: Does not necessarily keep pages out of the Google index!! “A description for this result is not available because of this site’s robots.txt file”
  30. When Spiders are Blocked Don’t block JavaScript and CSS files
  31. MOBILE FRIENDLY A great user experience across all devices
  32. Is the Site Mobile Friendly?
  33. Mobile Friendly – 3 Approaches •  Responsive Web Design (RWD) •  Site adjusts to different screen sizes •  Separate URLs •  Redirects to a separate URL (“m dot site”) based on a mobile User Agent •  Dynamic Serving •  Same URL but serves different HTML based on User Agent
  34. … and AMP •  Accelerated Mobile Pages •  Subset of HTML •  Performance Improvements of 15% - 85%
  35. Google Mobile Friendly Test
  36. WHAT GOOGLE SEES How to crawl a site and what to look for
  37. Why we crawl • To see what Googlebot (other) sees, we crawl the site. • Uncover problems with accessibility as well as on page optimization opportunities. • Lectures in priority order • Screaming Frog, (free)
  38. SEARCH SNIPPETS Where the search snippet gets it’s info
  39. <head> <title>Laser Engraved Mirrors | Etched … </title> <meta name=“description” content=“In just 3 steps you can get an … “ > <meta name=“keywords” content=“....” /> <meta name=“robots” content=“index” /> </head> <body> <h1> … </body> Meta Data and Search Snippets
  40. The Title Tag •  Important Ranking Factor •  “Get the Click” •  Front load keyword •  Ideal length 55 – 57 characters •  Check for: •  Missing title tags •  Duplicates •  Length •  Informative, Has Keywords, Clickability
  41. The Meta Description •  Not a Ranking Factor •  “Get the Click” •  Ideal length 150-160 characters •  Check for: •  Missing meta descriptions •  Duplicates •  Length •  Informative, Has Keywords, Clickability
  42. PAGE BY PAGE REVIEW What Google Sees
  43. Page by Page •  Browse the site page by page as a search bot would •  Set up a browser to mimic a search bot •  Review the source code •  Fetch page as Google bot (in Google Search Console) or use the cache: command •  Use •  Identify page archetypes and browse representative pages
  44. Page by Page •  What are you looking for? •  Text is really text •  Avoid really thin pages •  Missing or Hidden Elements •  Links are not obfuscated, with descriptive anchors •  Proper use of tags
  45. TRAFFIC The Lifeblood of a Website
  46. The Different Types of Traffic •  Organic •  Referral •  Direct •  Paid
  47. Google Analytics •  Not only a measure of Organic Traffic but useful for: •  Tracking Conversions •  Engagement Metrics •  Time On Site, Bounce Rate, Pages per Visit •  Content Performance •  Demographics and Interests (if enabled) •  % mobile •  Location •  Social Referrals
  48. The Different Types of Traffic •  Is Organic Traffic rising? Falling? Or Flat? •  What are the top Landing Pages? •  How is the site performing with Users? •  How well is the site optimized for Speed?
  49. GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE Google’s Communication Channel to Webmasters
  50. Google Search Console Formerly known as Google Webmasters Tools •  Site needs to be verified, •  “admin” access not absolutely required
  51. Google Search Console •  Messages •  Search Appearance •  Search Traffic •  Google Index •  Crawl
  52. Structured Data •  Gives meaning to the words on the page •  Example: Recipe, Review •  MAY result in rich snippets More Info:
  53. DOMAIN AUTHORITY Authority Checks
  54. Why Backlinks Matter The Accessibility and On Page Checks help fine tune the engine Backlinks are what makes the car go! Think of a Backlink as a “vote” for your site
  55. Domain Authority •  Not all backlinks are the same •  You want links from high authority, relevant sites •  Domain Authority •  Third party metric from •  Not perfect •  Moz Bar Plugin
  56. BACKLINKS Authority Checks
  57. Backlinks •  Note # of backlinks and # of referring domains •  Note any high DA links •  Flag any links that look suspicious •  Check anchor text •  A good portion should be branded links
  58. Backlinks - Tools •  Google Search Console – Links to Your Site •  Moz’s OpenSiteExplorer •  Ahrefs •  MajesticSEO
  59. CONTENT QUALITY … and User Experience
  60. CONTENT QUALITY •  Length: in most cases the longer the better •  Readable •  At least one image •  Scannable – lots of white space •  Better than the competition
  61. User Experience •  Look at the site from the perspective of a new site visitor •  Is it …. •  Easy to navigate? •  Is what it is offering clear? •  Looks professional and credible?
  62. QDF and Content Scraping Checks •  QDF – Query Deserves Freshness •  Content is unique – Not found elsewhere
  63. REL CANONICAL Advanced Technical – Controlling Indexation
  64. rel canonical /shoes/red-tennis-shoes/ /red/red-tennis-shoes/ /red/red-tennis-shoes/?sort=price /shoes/red-tennis-shoes/?color=red
  65. Duplicate Page Titles •  To get a list of duplicate page titles in Screaming Frog: •  Reports -> SERP Summary -> Filter: Page Titles – Duplicate
  66. Duplicate Page Titles
  67. Rel canonical Add the rel canonical tag to all the parameterized URLs For the URL: dir=asc&order=position Add: <link rel canonical= /> Note: rel canonical needs to be added to the head section of the HTML
  68. META ROBOTS NOINDEX Advanced Technical – Controlling Indexation
  69. Meta robots tag Has two parts: •  Noindex/index : Tells the search bot whether to index the page •  Follow/nofollow: Tells the search bot whether to follow the links on the page “nofollow” vs. “rel nofollow” you add to a link (a href tag)
  70. Meta robots noindex <meta name=“robots” content=“index,follow” /> <meta name=“robots” content=“noindex” /> <meta name=“robots” content=“noindex,follow” /> <meta name=“robots” content=“noindex,nofollow” /> Similar to the Robots X-tag
  71. Noindex vs. Robots.txt •  A meta robots noindex tells the search bot to crawl the page but to not put it into the index (and remove it if already there) •  A disallow in robots.txt tells the search bot not to crawl the page •  Blocks link authority from passing through •  Blocks Google from seeing the page •  Does NOT remove the page from the index
  72. Don’t block the search bot Remember: If you block the search bot from crawling with a robots.txt Disallow, then it won’t SEE the noindex tag.
  73. When to use noindex •  Consider noindex if the page is not a great landing page •  Thin low quality pages •  Pages with no unique content on them •  WordPress archive pages such as tag or date pages •  Empty checkout pages •  Empty wishlist pages
  74. WordPress tag pages
  75. REL PREV & REL NEXT Controlling Indexation
  76. Pagination /red-tennis-shoes /red-tennis-shoes?page=2 /red-tennis-shoes?page=3 /red-tennis-shoes?page=4
  77. Pagination •  On page=2 add: <link rel=“prev” href=“http://…/red-tennis-shoes” /> <link rel=“next” href=“http://…/red-tennis-shoes?page=3” /> Search on “pagination with rel next rel prev” to get Google’s documentation on these tags.
  78. OTHER TECHNICAL TOPICS Random Interesting Stuff
  79. Other Technical Topics •  Lazy Loading/Infinite Scroll •  Not SEO friendly out of the box •  AJAX Crawling (deprecated) •  Dynamic generated content with a HTML snapshot
  80. More Interesting Tools • •
  81. BONUS: LOCAL SEO SEO + NAP and Citations
  82. “Map” Results
  83. The Local Search Ecosystem
  84. NAP and Citations •  NAP •  Name, Address and Phone Number •  Citations •  Listings in local directories (Yelp, Superpages, YP, hotfrog) •  Listings in Google My Business, Yahoo Local, Bing Local •  CORRECT listing in “core data aggregators” •  Factual, Infogroup, Localeze, Acxiom •  Consider Moz Local
  85. BONUS: WORDPRESS WordPress powers 25% of the internet’s websites
  86. WordPress •  WordPress is SEO Friendly •  Make sure the Yoast SEO plugin is installed and configured properly. •  Yoast provides: •  A way to customize title and meta description tags •  Social optimization tags •  Indexation control •  Generates a XML sitemap
  87. WordPress •  Not all WordPress themes are responsive •  You need a Responsive theme or WP Touch •  Performance •  WP Smush for images •  WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache for Caching
  88. Thank you! Kathy Alice Brown Digital Marketing Consultant •  SEO Site Audits •  Copywriting •  Facebook Campaigns Discount Link for Course: