SEO audits are a way to identify and resolve issues that could be impacting your ranking or sales
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has evolved over the last few years. In 2021 while having the right structure and keyword balance on a site is still essential, developing a user-friendly and attractive website, plus writing great content are now also crucial to any SEO strategy. They're not just crucial to design now, but to your ranking on Google too. The better your SEO and user-experience, the higher you will rank with Google and the more traffic you’ll convert to sales.
While Google may not be able to directly measure the quality of visuals or what “great content” is, Google can measure how long people spend on a website, how often they click to visit other pages, social signals and a whole range of other user signals. In a SEMRush study analysing the top 17 SEO factors for 600,000 different keywords, 3 of the top 4 factors relate to their indirect measurements of user-experience, as shown below.
When reviewing your site, we therefore look at user-experience as an essential part of SEO, in addition to technical factors. We take a scientific approach and provide recommended changes that are clear and easy to implement, in order of priority. Our website audits are always a team project, with different experts analysing different aspects of your site.
What does our SEO audit service cover?
In our website SEO audit we look at the on page SEO and backlinks to your site, ask the following questions and provide concrete answers:
- User-Friendly Website Design
Is the site attractively designed and mobile friendly? How can you make your site navigation more user-friendly? Do your images enhance your overall message?
- On-page SEO Audit - Code
Are there any technical issues? Which pages are missing or generate error messages? How can the code be improved from an SEO perspective?
- Keyword Research
What are the important keywords for each page? Are you missing any low-hanging fruit (keywords with little competition)? Do your landing pages contain the important keywords?
- Content SEO Audit
What sections of your site need more content? How can you increase your conversion rate with engaging content? If your site has a blog, is it effective in helping generate sales?
- Backlink Analysis
Do you have strong links going to your site? Are any of your links toxic and should be removed or disavowed? Do you have a natural pattern of links and anchor texts?
- Other Factors
As part of our manual review we will also identify other factors that are specific to your site. In a multilingual SEO audit, this could include poor or missing translations, incorrect Hreflang tags, or a range of other factors, for example.
We’re also happy to provide SEO consultation in specific areas and offer the above as stand-alone services. Need a hand implementing our recommendations? Our team of graphic designers, Drupal and WordPress developers, SEO experts, copywriters and link builders will be happy to help implement the priority improvements.
Our team provide these SEO services in 6 European languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Italian and Dutch), so if you’re looking for a multilingual or international SEO audit, just let us know. We also provide translation, copywriting and link building in Italian and Spanish, but don't currently have the expertise to offer a full audit in these languages. You may also wish to download a sample SEO audit.
User-experience testing – how do others view your site?
In addition to completing SEO audits, we also offer user-experience testing.
We will find 10 or more native speakers (English, French, German or Dutch) who have an interest or expertise in your product and ask them to complete a questionnaire that is tailored to your website. This will evaluate the importance of, and their personal opinion of, a range of different factors, as well as including some open questions for them to provide detailed feedback.
The results will be merged into a single User-Experience Analysis document, giving you a clear indication of which areas are most important to resolve, as well as numerous suggestions for how to improve your site. As part of the SEO audit, we will also recommend actionable steps you can take to make best use of this feedback to improve your conversion rate and SEO.
Reviewing the visual web design
There are many different ways to design a website and this is certainly not an area where there is only one best design, so unless we do user-experience testing too and get unanimous negative feedback on your existing design, it’s very unlikely that we will recommend a website overhaul.
Instead, for every audit we go through a checklist of factors that are important both for your visitors and for Google. Our analysis of the visual design includes:
- Is your site responsive, i.e. does it look good on monitors, tablets and mobiles?
You can use Google’s mobile friendliness test to check whether it passes Google’s quality criteria for this. A site that passes everything on their test will appear higher in Google’s search results and around 50% of internet traffic is mobile based currently.
- Do the colour scheme, font size and layout allow visitors to easily read all content on the site?
This includes visitors who may have poor eyesight, or who are colour-blind (1 in 12 men and around 4.5% of the population as a whole are colour blind).
- Are images a good resolution and the right dimensions?
Having compressed images that are the correct dimensions helps your website load faster. According to DotCom Tools 53% of visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, so everything you can do to reduce load time is a bonus and this starts with your graphics.
- Are there any other flaws in the design?
When one of our graphic designers looks at your site, they will take into consideration who your target audience is, what colour schemes other sites in your industry use, what symbolism you have used (intentionally or unintentionally) and if there are obvious flaws in the design that might put your visitors off making a purchase or picking up the phone and calling you. They will then make clear suggestions on what to improve.
On-page SEO analysis - structure and code
The invisible elements of code that your web developer adds to your site can make a huge difference to how well you rank with search engines. Many web developers unfortunately are oblivious to the subtleties of SEO. For example, Google consider a <h1> title the main heading on the page and also value relevant <h2> and <h3> sub-headings.
To see the source code for a particular page in most browsers you can press Ctrl + U on a PC, or Option + Command + U on a Mac. If you look for text between <h1> and </h1> that’s your main heading. There should only be one <h1> per page, which ideally contains relevant keywords. You may find your site doesn’t have a <h1> tag, or has multiple, or has other issues like using <h2> tags to say things like <h2>Main menu</h2> and this sends a message to Google to say that “Main menu” is an important heading on your site, which unless you’re a restaurant, it probably isn’t.
This is just one example of a wide range of different elements of code that we review. For each error that we find, we will also provide instructions on how to fix it.
When analysing your website structure, we run reports to identify missing pages, pages with errors, and pages with missing or duplicate Meta Titles and Descriptions. We also consider how different pages link together and look at the % of links different visitors click (providing a visual of this for your home page as shown above) and whether some links could be relegated to the footer, or other ways your link structure could be improved.
For ecommerce sites we test the functionality up to the point of entering credit card details, as your sales funnel can make a big difference in terms of your conversion rate too.
All of this is designed to identify and fix important mistakes in the site code and structure to ensure that your site is telling search engines the same thing that you want it to.
Identifying the best keywords
If you have an established website with plenty of organic traffic, then your priority is likely to be targeting relevant keywords that have a high search volume and figuring out how to beat the competition for those coveted first few spots in the search results.
On the other hand, if you have a new website with less of an authority, then it’s more of a balancing act – you need to identify keywords that have a sufficiently low SEO challenge (or keyword difficulty) and a reasonably high monthly search volume and target them first before aiming for the more competitive keywords with very high search volume.
We analyse your site and your competitors’ sites to identify the best potential keywords and provide reports with the following information for each keyword:
- Monthly Searches – The number of monthly searches from Google for your target country.
- SEO Challenge – How competitive the keyword is. This percentage is based on the average domain strength of the top 20 websites that appear for this keyword, giving it a good degree of accuracy.
- Web Address – The URL of your site if it’s already in the top 100 search results.
- Position – Your website’s existing position with Google if it’s in the top 100 results.
- Priority - Whether the keyword is 1st, 2nd, or low priority for you, based on our manual review of it. High priority keywords will then be used as our focus for both on-page SEO and link building.
Does your content convert visitors into customers?
Different areas of your site serve different purposes and we will analyse your core landing pages based on their specific purposes and how they help achieve your overall business goals, as well as looking at duplicate content issues.
When asking if your content converts we look at:
- Home page – Your home page serves a multitude of different purposes. It is an introduction to who you are, the products or services you offer and what makes your company unique. Most of all it is a doorway to the rest of your website. We will review your home page and suggest new text to use where necessary that will encourage as many visitors as possible to visit the rest of your site.
- Product pages – Your product or service description pages need to be written with your target audience in mind. If you provide a complex, technical service like IT security, typically you would be expected to adopt a more formal tone. If you run a vegan restaurant, a friendly informal tone might work better.
As well as looking at the overall tone of your product descriptions, we also check each landing page to be sure it has an obvious call to action. We also check that it’s targeting relevant keywords that are used in the Metatags, URLs, h1 headings, text on the page, ALT tags, etc.
- Blog – Your blog shows that you’re an expert in your field, builds trust with your target audience and targets keywords that a product page can’t. See our guide on writing a company blog for more information.
- Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions – Every page has its own Meta Title and Description and we will provide a report showing the Metatags for all the most important pages on your site, with optimized Metatags for your most important pages. These appear in the search results on Google and other search engines, as well as when someone shares that page on social media. They are a crucial component of on-page SEO and it's relatively simple to optimise them.
Backlink audit to remove toxic links
Most SEO experts agree that backlinks (i.e. incoming links to your website from third party sites) are an essential component of SEO and that the more unique, high quality links from high authority sites, the better.
These are like the helium balloons in the image shown here, lifting your site up in the search results. The challenge is that low quality or spammy links can cause your site to be penalised (the weight in the image).
If you’re considering an SEO audit because you’ve received a message from Google warning of "artificial or unnatural links pointing to your site”, then it’s a clear sign that you need to clean up your link profile, however it’s worth cleaning up the worst links to your site regardless in order to avoid a penalty and go higher in the search results.
As part of our audit, we will identify toxic backlinks that if you control you should delete, alternatively we will provide a file for you to submit to Google to tell them to disavow (basically ignore) the links.
Unless you’ve received a warning from Google, we recommend only deleting or disavowing the most obviously artificial or toxic backlinks, as it’s important to not accidentally delete links that are actually helping you.
The above summarises the main points we review as part of our website audit service, however each site is unique and a multilingual ecommerce site which is made up of predominantly products will obviously have different requirements to a B2B service site, for example, so we will also tailor our recommendations to your specific needs.
If you’d like to discuss your requirements further, please get in touch and let us know your web address and what you’re hoping to achieve. We will get back to you with a no obligation proposal.