In the first part of this article, Seo Audit of a Website, we have tried to explain why it is important to do a Seo Audit and we have dealt with the crawling and indexing aspects of a site by Search Engine Robots.
In this second part, we go ahead with our Audit and address the topic of on-page and off-page analysis.
3 On-Page Analysis
- Site Content Analysis
- Meta Title
- Internal linking architecture
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Site Content Analysis
Content is probably the main element to take care of for a good ranking on search engines, today more than ever.
Google, whose main objective is to provide useful results to those who search on its engine, takes the quality of the contents of a page into great consideration. Consequently, it tries to guess if these satisfy the users’ search intentions.
During the Seo Audit phase, it is therefore essential to ask whether the content we propose is in line with the search needs of users.
It is important to ask this question especially in terms of the consistency and relevance of the content.
- is my content exhaustive and able to provide various information to the user who made the search?
- is the content relevant to the user, that is, is it able to provide the very information they are looking for and able to generate usefulness?
This is what one should ask oneself when starting to examine the content of a page.
At the base of this approach, there must surely be an in-depth study of the users’ search intentions and of the SERP proposed by Google for each keyword. It is necessary, as much as possible, to try to understand the need behind people’s searches.
We are entering a phase of the web in which Google is able to guess the search intentions beyond what are the typed search queries, to propose results more and more in line with the expectations of surfers and in which usability of a site and the usefulness that this plays for the user also play a decisive role in terms of positioning.
First of all, the URL must not have particular characters but contain relevant keywords for the page in order to be able to effectively describe its content to Robots. It is now quite rare to find “non-speaking” URLs but these are not always optimized with the keyword.
A good practice is that they are not excessively long, normally better not to exceed 115 characters. Entering the name of the reference Brand will also strengthen the presence in the search results for branded queries. Using hyphens, instead of underscores, to separate all terms present will be more appreciated by Google.
It is important to take care of the meta descriptions because they affect the click rate on the page in the search engine results. Through a clear, captivating description of the page, which possibly contains the keyword and an effective Call to Action, it is possible to influence the positioning of a page and its traffic volume.
Even in the case of meta descriptions, it is necessary not to exaggerate the number of characters to avoid cuts in the previews. In this case, it is better not to exceed 155 characters.
The Tag Title is the title of a page. It is what appears first in search results and that users notice when they search on Google.
In our Digit example, we note that the title is “India: Best Budget Smartphones in India”. A good title to improve the positioning for the keywords “Best Budget Smartphones in India”, “Best Budget Smartphones”, “Cheap phones in India”.
The Title Tag must be:
- Short – In the case of Tag Title the rule is not to exceed 70 characters. Longer titles will, in fact, likely be cut in search engine results, resulting in a loss of clarity and user click rates.
- Page description – It is good practice to use the reference keyword in the Title Tag and use it as the first term. The Tag Title is one of the most important ranking factors and it is essential that it is optimized based on the contents of the page.
- Unique for each page – Each page must have a unique and distinct Title Tag. If your site is made up of hundreds of pages, use Google Search Console to quickly locate duplicate title tags.
Header Tag H1 – H2 – H3….
If the page uses title tags to break down the content, these are good opportunities to insert keywords.
Their relevance in terms of ranking is less than the Tag Title but they are still important points in which to insert the keyword or its semantic variants. Again, there is no need to abuse header tags. It is always better to use them in a natural way, where they are needed and where they actually facilitate the readability of the content for the user.
Don’t forget to take care of the images!
Robots cannot interpret the content of an image based on its graphic content but it is possible to provide information to robots in alternative ways.
To do this, it uses the attributes of the image, in particular, the alt tag in order to describe its content in this way. It also renames the image compatibly with the desired keyword.
Architecture and Internal Linking
Another aspect among the on-page factors to be examined during a Seo Audit is the structure of the internal links to the site.
Links represent the paths through which robots go to find the contents of a site. Creating a coherent and well-organized internal link architecture can be useful for promoting content indexing and giving search engines an indication of which pages are most relevant within a site and which are less.
First of all, it is possible to distinguish between the links that are present in all the pages of our site, such as the links present in the menu items and those that are present in the body of the text and content of a page. Often among the menu links, there are links to pages that are not really relevant from the Seo point of view such as the log-in pages, privacy, etc. In this case, it can be useful to prevent Robots from following these pages by using a no-follow tag.
On the contrary, for pages with relevant content, it can be very useful to create internal links. In this case, we are going to work more presumably on links present in the body of the page content. In the case of a blog or an eCommerce, if you have an article or a product that you want to get a good ranking, you can link it to other coherent pages on the site. The important thing is that the navigation path is useful for the user.
4 Off-Page Analysis
In addition to the “on-site” elements, which we can more or less easily manage, there are other external factors that influence organic positioning. The most important is the presence of external links from other sites.
Having external links that refer to the pages of your site (inbound links) is a signal for Google of credibility and authority. It represents a positive factor that contributes to increasing the good reputation of our site with a consequent improvement in the organic positioning (link reputation).
It is not enough, however, to get many links to your site to climb the peaks of the SERP. The links are not all the same: it is essential, in addition to identifying their number, to understand their type and quality.
The links, first of all, should be natural (or appear so) that is, they should be obtained for the simple reason that someone else considers our content useful (the speech is connected to the quality of the content we talked about above).
The links should be of quality that is, have some value to be transmitted to the site being linked. Each page has a value attributed to Google. In the event that a page with a great value for Google links to a page of our site, part of this value (Pagerank) would be passed to our page. But be careful! In some cases, having links can also be counterproductive if they come from untrustworthy sites with low reputation or considered spam sites.
During the Seo Audit phase, taking stock of the situation of your external links is very useful. You can understand if there are links that it is better to try to remove if there are new linking opportunities if there are broken links, and check if the existing links actually bring value in SEO terms to our site by identifying the Pagerank. In some cases, the links contain the nofollow attribute that prevents Robots from following the link and consequently prevents the passage of Pagerank.
To carry out an analysis of external links it is possible to use a tool such as Screaming Frog or Semrush that allows you to quickly identify external links. Google Search Console also has a section dedicated to this aspect.
In addition to the “inbound links”, it may be useful to examine the links on our site that refer to external sites, the so-called “outbound links”. One might think that linking to other sites can disperse the value of our page but it is not. Furthermore, “outbound links” should also be considered from a different perspective: the links to other sites can be useful according to the business objectives of your site.
First of all, we can link pages belonging to our network of sites. If we do not have, for example, a corporate website, eCommerce, and blog under a single domain, we could use the links to direct the user’s navigation and create a customer journey aimed at our goal. Let’s think, for example, of a travel agency that, thanks to an article from its blog, captures the attention of a user and then directs it to its site to book the holiday.
Also, links to sites not owned by us can be useful. As a hotelier, it could be interesting on our site to insert a link to services that are in the area, for example, a restaurant or sports facilities. A potential customer may decide to book in our facility thanks to this additional information that we provide through external links.
Here we are at the end of this checklist for Seo Audit in which we have tried to identify the main activities to improve the positioning of your website. Some of these have been valid for many years ( meta tags and markup ), others represent new aspects that are gaining more and more important for Google ( Contents ), still, others continue to maintain their importance over time ( link building ), thanks also to the evolution of the algorithms of the search engines that allow you to detect and prevent the techniques Black Hat Seo.