Okay, so there are some SEO companies that will just start work on implementing seo straightaway.
That’s to say eager to show that progress is being made you may see new blog posts fly onto the website, and links being built- but is this the right way to go about things?
Well no, because SEO is like building a house, yet if the foundations are rubbish well the whole structure of the house will be compromised.
So have to make sure the foundations are rock solid, and that any problems are rectified before work is carried out.
So how do you do this? Well in the case of SEO you need to conduct an SEO audit.
Now some digital marketing agencies say they have undertaken an audit, what they really mean is they have clicked the mouse and an automated seo programme has done the work.
It then condenses all that information into a rather fancy looking report, which is normally full to the brim with marketing jargon and line graphs which mean next to nothing.
So what do we suggest instead?
Well, we think that after implementing seo for over 10 years, we like to call on our experience to hone in on issues.
And these can then become opportunities, because once corrected they can be like unblocking a dam which has been stopping people finding your business.
So this page is going to be rather longwinded, but we would like to explain what an seo audit involves.
It’s a long one, so we would recommend you make a brew or grab a cup of coffee.
Evaluation of the businesses content marketing
Okay, so some people think that the search engines are rather stupid, that is if they keep writing about the same things, and write it to say 400 words, well then the businesses seo will magically improve.
And so many seo agencies do just that, or they did until their clients websites started to see a substantial drop in terms of visitor numbers.
So what should a business be doing instead?
That’s easy, they should be capitalising on their expert knowledge and using this to create content that’s so far better than the competition that they will have SEO that’s far superior.
And how do you do this, well that’s simply you answer the questions your customers frequently have.
So for example, you may well make wedding dresses, and your customers may want to know how far ahead of the big day they need to make an order with you.
By answering such a question, and writing a detailed blog post you will be helping your customers, and you will also be inadvertently helping to improve your businesses seo.
However writing blog posts that improve your businesses seo, well that often also requires the help of a white hat seo agency. The reason that is so is often alt tags, meta titles, meta description, internal links, anchor text and external links flowing to that page will all be needed to improve where that website ranks.
Are internal links being used?
We would need to asses whether the business is using internal links, if they are how has the business used internal links?
Do the internal links help the reader? Or, are they a blatant attempt for the business to try and improve its seo, if so the algorithms used by Google, and the other search engines may deem the approach used by the business as “spammy”.
So we will need to asses whether the anchor text is being used in a white hat way.
Is the website too slow?
Some companies use the cheapest website design company that they can find, one which also offers very web hosting.
Yet, what can sometimes happen is the web hosting may well be so slow to load, well it may damage your businesses SEO.
Where people want to get onto your business’s website quickly, they don’t want to be waiting absolutely ages for the page to load.
Which means your website could gain a very high bounce rate, which means that your businesses rankings may drop.
Any broken links which are causing 404 errors?
Okay so product lines change, one week for example you may be selling winter jackets, and then the summer season may start and your selling t-shirts.
Yet, its how your seo company handles broken links which is important, if your website has loads of these, well this could also be causing a high bounce rate.
If your website does have loads of 404 errors, well your often going to need to the help of your website designer and a digital marketing agency, like ours to help your business.
Any crawl issues?
This could be something as simple as the “no-index” button being selected, but one things for sure, that is if Googlebot, or the other automated programmes used by the other search engines cant index your website, well your website isn’t going to rank.
By rank we mean it isn’t likely to show up in Google at all.
And that’s because the no-index tab basically tells Googlebot not to index that page or website, so Googlebot cant “crawl and index” that page or website.
So the businesses information can not be read, and all that SEO work, well it would be a waste of time if the no-index issue isn’t fixed.
Does the client have Google Analytics installed?
So we always explain to our clients here in Cardiff, that if your business hasn’t got Google Analytics installed, well its like driving your car having someone removed the dashboard.
That’s to say as your driving along your going to want to know fuel levels, and road speed. Well if you have a website your going to want to know how people are finding the website, that’s to say is it via the organic results, PPC or direct?
Does the client have Google Search Console installed?
This is another really important seo tool, as it can tell you really important things, such as where your website ranks for certain words.
Also, it can tell you some of the backlinks that are linking to your website.
And loads of other important things as well, so your seo company will need access to your businesses Google Search Console account.
What are the backlinks like?
So many businesses, and also some seo companies have got link building wrong. This can mean that the business incurs a penalty, like a Google Penguin penalty.
And this can then mean that the businesses rankings drop, and sometimes not by just a bit, no, sometimes a website can drop beyond page 20.
Or, sometimes if the backlinks are really rubbish quality, well the website could be removed from Google altogether.
So basically your business needs really good quality backlinks, these are difficult to build most of the time, so this can mean that some seo companies spend a long time building backlinks for their clients.
Is the websites design easy to use?
Sometimes a website simply wont be easy to use. Perhaps for example the business stocks many thousands of products, and its just hard to find the product that you want.
Or perhaps the menu just is not easy to use, in which case, even just improving the websites menu, by making it easier to use, well sometimes this can reduce a businesses bounce rate.
Does the website’s design make it hard to implement SEO?
Okay, so some businesses believe that SEO can be applied to any businesses website, however, if the websites design is quite bad, well this can make implementing seo quite hard.
For example, the business may have a website that it’s had for say the last 10 years, it hasn’t changed and as such the website looks rather old.
And the business may not have a blog, it may not have contact us forms, it may not offer much information. So, in which case the seo agency may recommend a website redesign, this should allow for example a blog section to be added, and as any good digital marketing agency knows, adding good quality content marketing can help to improve the businesses seo.
Have previous SEO been low-quality?
Sometimes a business will not know the difference between an seo company that offers good quality seo, and one which offers low quality seo.
Which means that the business may have got hit by a penalty, for example, let’s say the business had a lot of rubbish links, so the website was hit by a Google Penguin penalty.
Well, it makes sense to change seo agency for sure, yet that doesn’t automatically mean the problem is fixed.
So a good white hat seo business, well they should make sure that the problems that caused the penalty are fixed. For example, the marketing agency may disavow some of the really low-quality backlinks.
So this means that the new digital marketing agency should fix any seo problems that the business may have. This should be picked-up in the seo audit, and then the seo company should propose a way to fix the problems.
Are there pages that lack detail?
Sometimes a business well spend a lot of money on a new website, yet sometimes the website design agency may well be just interested in the websites design, that’s to say SEO is sometimes not forgotten about at all.
So this can sometimes mean that the website will not have much text, for example, the business may well be a dental practice, yet if each service such as teeth whitening only has one line of text to describe the service, well, its going to make it hard to improve that pages seo.
So often an seo agency may recommend that more detailed descriptions are added to each page that describes the services that the business can offer, or each product that the business offers.
How have the meta titles and meta descriptions been written automated or manual?
Sometimes a business will use the same meta title and the same meta description for a whole bunch of products.
So, let’s for example the business is an electrical retailer, and the business uses the same meta title “We sell fridge-freezers at low prices, plus we offer free next day delivery!”.
Well the business may think that to save time it would be a good idea to copy and paste the same meta title and meta description for each fridge freezer that they sell. However, this is not something that we would recommend, instead we would recommend that a unique meta title and meta description is added to each page.
So for example, you add the manufacturers name, the model number and some of the features of purchasing that fridge-freezer.
And you may now be thinking well why bother? That sounds like a lot of work, and we sell thousands of different products so this is going to take ages!
Well, we would recommend that a unique meta title and meta description is added to each page, as when someone knows which model fridge freezer they want, and they are therefore just trying to find the best price, well, by having a page that has a unique meta title, and meta description can help to improve that pages SEO.
Is there any duplicated content?
The SEO audit should include a check to see if the website has any duplicated content. For example, the previous seo agency may have just copy and pasted some articles, which is most definitely not good seo practice, its actually likely to make the business incur a penalty.
So the new digital marketing agency should check for duplicated content marketing.
Otherwise what will happen is that Google’s algorithm could detect the duplicated work, and could issue a penalty, such as a Google Panda penalty.
Also quite often some businesses have duplicated content when a product description has been copied from the manufacturers website.
So let’s say for example you are selling electric toothbrushes, well if the product description has been taken directly from the manufacturers website this will cause a duplication problem.
So, the retailer should write their own product description.
How has the business optimised its anchor text?
Your anchor text should be optimised in a white hat way, and what we mean by this is you should only use anchor text that helps the reader know where the link will take them.
So let’s give you an example, let’s say you are a construction business, and you may wish to use an internal link to direct someone to the page on your website that talks about loft conversions.
Yet, if you’ve employed at SEO company that’s not white hat, and doesn’t offer good quality seo, well they may just copy and paste the same anchor text for every link, so for example they may write “builders + city name”.
This is rubbish seo, as it’s a blatant attempt to try and get the business to rank for “builders + name of city”.
Google’s algorithms are too sophisticated for this type of seo, they will clearly see this type of seo as spam and the website is likely to incur a penalty.
So how should a business write its anchor text instead?
Well, that’s simple, the seo company should write the anchor text in such a way it helps the reader.
So for example, you may have a page on your website that talks about loft conversions, yet the homeowner wants a Dorma loft conversion, well you may wish to state that in same circumstances the homeowner will need to apply for planning consent.
They you may highlight the text “how to gain planning consent for a loft conversion” as your anchor text, and this then can help the reader to follow the link, and read a blog post that you have already written about gaining planning consent for a loft conversion.
So in a nutshell, the anchor text must be useful to the reader, it must tell them where that link is going.
Instead if you just optimise your anchor text just for words you wish to improve your businesses seo for, well the business is likely to incur a penalty.
Has the website got a separate page for each main service that it offers?
Sometimes a business will have what’s called a “one-page website” which basically means everything is on one page, and to get to a different section of the page you often press a button and it automatically scrolls you to that section.
Yet from an seo perspective, there’s a problem with this sort of website, and that’s because it makes it very difficult to optimise each service that the company may offer.
So, for example, let’s say the business in question is an SEO business, well often the business will offer the following services:
· Local seo
· Organic seo
· Content marketing
· Link building
· Onsite seo
· Website design
So what we would recommend is that each different service that the business offers, that each service has its own page.
This will mean that each page can have its own:
· Page title
· Meta title
· Meta description
· Alt tag
· Internal links
· Anchor text
· Product or service description
So as you can see SEO often becomes easier if each service or product has its own page.
If the business only wishes to obtain customers from Cardiff, how has local seo been implemented?
Sometimes a business will have a website, and they only wish to gain customers within the city they are based.
So for example, let’s say the business offers double glazing installation within Cardiff, well that business will need local seo.
This means that an seo company will normally improve the businesses seo in the following areas:
· Business citations
· Ensure that NAP information is written on the website
· Build high-quality backlinks
· Add content marketing to the website
· Improve the businesses onsite seo.
What’s the websites bounce rate?
An seo company should check what the businesses bounce rate is, for example, if the business has a very high bounce rate, well the seo company should work to reduce it.
If you do not know what a bounce rate, well it simply means the percentage of visitors that have landed on your companies’ website, yet then decided to leave more or less straightaway.
Now this may well be due to something as simple as the visitor thinks that a product is too expensive, or it could be something that seo company could help to improve.
For example, each product may have a really poor product description. So if the company had better product descriptions this may convince more visitors to purchase the product.
Often if a company sells thousands of different products, often the products may well be added very quickly. Yet, if the product descriptions are not detailed, then this can often cause a high bounce rate.
Does the website receive regular seo?
Here’s a really important point, that is some businesses invest in seo, then stop altogether.
Perhaps that’s because the business has a flurry of new orders, yet can not possibly manage to fulfil those orders.
Or, sometimes its because the business believes its reached the top of Google, so that there’s no point in paying anymore for seo.
However, here’s the thing, if a business was to stop investing in organic seo, then often the business can be overtaken by its competitors. So, this means that in a matter of months, or sometimes just even in a matter of a few weeks, the business will be overtaken by its direct competitors, so this is why organic seo often needs to be invested in monthly.
Does the website have optimised URL extensions?
Its important that when a website is being designed that the url extensions are created so that they help to improve the businesses seo.
For example, sometimes a website designer will design a website, let’s say using WordPress, yet the website designer may not write their own url extension.
So for example, let’s say you have a website, and you sell dog leads, well you may have a page that sells red dog leads so the url extension could be /red-dog-leads.com
This can help to improve your businesses seo, that’s if you write the url extensions so that they help to tell the search engines what that page is about.
That’s because when the algorithms read that page, and try and work out what it is about, well, a page that has a url extension which spells out what that page is selling, makes its much easier for the algorithms to know what that page is about.
This is as opposed to say a website which doesn’t change its url extensions, so this means the website may just make url extensions that don’t mean anything. For example the extension may read / 9796709609
Has the business got a Google My Business account?
If your business is investing in local seo, well its really important that the seo company ensures that your business has a Google My Business account.
So, for example, let’s say you run a marketing business here in Cardiff, well, the seo company should then make sure that your Google My Business is optimised. So by this we mean that the Google My Business listing should have:
· NAP (name, address and phone number of your business)
· The NAP information must be the same as what’s on your website
· The Google My Business listing should be kept up to date, so if you change address your account should be updated
· A link to your website should be added
· Opening hours should be added
· You should consult with a white hat seo company, like us, to see how we can further improve your businesses Google My Business account.
Why would an audit of my competitor’s SEO also be needed?
So, the for the majority of this article we have concentrated on describing how we would undertake an SEO audit of your business’s website.
However, the next stage is for us to then complete an seo audit of some of your competitors. So, for example we would want to know:
· Have your direct competitors got good backlinks?
· Where have they obtained their backlinks from?
· What’s your competitors onsite SEO like?
· Have they used white hat seo?
Can our SEO agency help?
If you run a business within Cardiff, and you would like to improve your businesses seo, well why not give us a ring?