Here at Avatar the first thing we do when taking on a new client is to perform a thorough technical website SEO audit. There are many steps involved in this and below you will find details of what is involved.
First we extract all the URL’s of the website. There are many tools for this but we use Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
This tool gives you can extract of the full site that you can export to Excel. The extract includes a list of every URL in the site, the associated meta data, headings, content size and tells you whether the page is crawlable / indexable by Google or not.
We use our years of experience to assess whether the URL structure of the site is optimal or not. We look in particular for unfriendly URL’s which Google does not like. These are URL’s that are long or contain numbers and symbols in them.
An optimal site URL structure should be simple and contain keyword descriptions of the pages. For example:
One other thing that is particularly important is URL depth. This is the number of clicks from the homepage it takes to get to a page. This should really never be more than 3 or 4. In the above example the keyword research page is at a level of 2.
On analysis of the URL structure we may well advise a client to change some things. This could simply be adjusting URL names to actually changing the hierarchy of the whole URL structure.
The goal is always to achieve the best structure for both Google and the user. At the end of such an exercise there will be the old URL’s left which will need to be 301 re-directed to their new versions.
Google has stated that site speed is now a ranking factor. This means you have to ensure your site runs fast on both mobile and desktop.
We check the site speed using PageSpeed Insights:
This also gives suggestions for adjustments to improve the site speed. Normally the biggest issue with a site is the siz eof the pages and this is normally caused by images. Compressing images is one way to achieve a faster page load speed.
We also check Google Analytics which shows more data on site speed with timings for individual pages.
Next, we check to see if the website is mobile friendly. This is because most searches these days are performed on mobile devices and also because Google now uses what it calls the Mobile-First Algorithm. This means it use the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking. Previously Google used to use the desktop version of your site for this but now as mobile is taking over it has switched to mobile first indexing instead.
To test for mobile friendliness we use the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool from Google.
insert the URL and out pops the results:
For the market of the business concerned we undertake a detailed keyword research analysis.
There are many tools out there but we use KW Finder. Previously Google provided enough detailed information through their Keyword Planner but that does not have exact search volumes anymore hence why a third party software is necessary.
From the tool we will ascertain a large range of relevant keywords for the business. These will be used for URL analysis, meta data and content.
Getting search engine optimisation (SEO) correct on your website is extremely important. There are a number of important factors that we deal with.
From the keyword research we mentioned above we will decide on which keywords/phrases to target throughout the website. A prime area to place these keywords is in the meta data which comprises the Meta Title and the Meta Description. There used to be a meta keywords tag but Google does not look at this anymore.
The home page meta title should contain the main keyword for the business. Then individual pages should contain a range of relevant keywords for the business. The meta title is in the back-end and is different from the title on the page itself.
The meta description is a snippet of information that summarises the page in question. This snippet will show up in the search results. The meta description can be 155 characters long.
The <h1> html tag on a page is the most important for SEO. This tag defines the heading/title of the page in most cases. This title should contain keywords and will contribute greatly towards the SEO effectiveness of the page.
Further sub headings can also be used for other keywords such as <h2>, <h3>, <h4> etc.
We aim to insert the keyword for each page early in the content. But this alone is not enough. Other closely related and relevant keywords should be used throughout the content. These keywords are referred to as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.
Google’s aim is to understand the overall topic of your page/content and to determine if you are an ‘authority’ on your subject. As such it expects to see other relevant keywords to your topic on the page and not just the main keyword. As an example, let’s take Apple Inc. For you to write in a way that Google will consider your content authoritative you will need to covers topics such as Steve Jobs, ipod, iphone, imac, ipad etc. If you wrote content which only referred to Apple and the iphone you would not be covering it properly as the Google AI knows there is much more to Apple than that.
It is really hard to get a lot of textual content on service pages for most businesses, we understand that. So, how do you get enough textual content on your website to satisfy Google?
We recommend implementing a blog and adding long form content in there. By long form we mean 1200+ words, ideally more like 2000-3000 words. Google loves long form content and it gives you the opportunity to cover everything in one long article instead of lots of smaller ones. As in the example above everything could be in the one article about Apple instead of having individual ones for iphone, ipad etc. The longer article would be much more powerful.
Internal links are links that go from one page on your website to another page, still on your website, hence why they are called ‘internal’.
By creating long articles in your blog and then linking them to service pages on the website you can push authority through to the service pages themselves.
The link from the blog to the service page is done using keyword anchor text. Anchor text is the highlighted little piece of text that you click on to get to the other page. For instance, our seo services.
If this link comes from a strong piece of content and uses a keyword in the link then the receiving page gains Google SEO authority.
This is a standard way to improve your on site SEO.
As part of the SEO site audit we review Google Analytics and Ahref’s data to ascertain what quality organic traffic the site is attaining. We look into keyword rankings to see where the traffic is coming from. We look at the engagement of the traffic (bounce rate, pages visited, time spent on page etc.).
External links coming into a site are very important and they contribute greatly to the authority of a site in Google’s eyes. We analyse all the links that a website currently has and then look for other ways of getting more links.
Using Ahref’s we can look at all the competitors of a business with regards to SEO.
We undertake an analysis of the main competitors of a business by looking at their Google authority and working out how they got where they are.
We look at things such as:
Many people perform searches for products and services using a town or city in the search term. This is called local search and the search results normally show a map result with the top businesses for that search term.
One of the ways that Google determines whether a business shows up here is through their Google My Business Listing (GMB). Hence, we look at the GMB listing and optimise it for best SEO.
We look at and optimise the listing focusing on things such as business info, business category and images.