Even with content that reads well, you could be missing some important aspects of SEO. Without good SEO, your site isn’t getting found as easily. You want people to find your site when they search for what you offer. But you can make changes to your SEO to help with that.
Auditing your content is the best place to start. From there, you can see what you have and make adjustments. Here are some tips to implement during a content audit, to set yourself up for SEO success.
1. Crawl Your Site
The first thing to do is perform a crawl of your website. This is the most important part of an SEO audit, and it’s a very thorough process. There are tools you can use to do it, making it easier to handle. If you don’t want to use a tool, though, you can also crawl your site manually. Crawling the site can give you information on issues like:
- unlinked pagination
- excessive redirects
- duplicate content
- low word count
Any or all of those issues can cause problems for SEO. When you crawl a site, you get a good idea of what Google sees when it crawls your site. Knowing that helps you make needed changes more easily. Those changes can greatly improve your site’s ability to show up highly in search rankings.
2. See What Google Offers
When you perform a content audit, you can also use Google to gauge what others are finding. If you’re logged into a Google account, log out first. You don’t want your search results affected by what you typically search for. You also don’t want the results affected by who you are relative to your search.
Look to see if your site shows up in the top spot when you search by its name. Also, look for how many of your pages are coming up when using relevant search terms. Searching for the root domain will show you what pages of your site are being crawled. You can do that by searching for “site:nameofyoursite.com” in Google.
3. Ensure Your Site Has Only One Version
There should be one version of your site. If an HTTP version and an HTTPS version exist, they could be fighting each other. The same is true for a desktop and a mobile version. Your content audit will help ensure that you aren’t hurting your ranking with extra site versions.
4. Look for Duplicate Content
Google doesn’t like duplicate content. It tends to show sites with duplication much lower in the rankings, or sometimes not at all. That was designed to stop people from scraping content, but it can hurt legitimate sites, too. You may have accidentally published two pages with the same content. Or you may have re-used part of one page on another page.
When you find duplicate content you can rewrite it, remove it, or make other adjustments. Not having duplicates on your site can improve your SEO success. If your content audit doesn’t find any duplicates, that’s good news for your potential rankings. Make sure it’s not just the on-page content you’re looking at, though.
You also have to be sure you aren’t duplicating page titles and title tags. Those matter for duplicate content flagging, too. If you say the same thing in title tags, alt tags for images, and other locations, Google may rank your site lower. Even if two or more things are very similar, find unique ways to tag them. You’ll have fewer worries that way.
5. Map Out Your Page Hierarchy
When you have organized content, Google can index it more easily. Google will analyze your site, and you don’t want it to get confused. Instead, you want things to be clear and concise. That gives you the opportunity for better rankings. Your page placement is the area to focus on. It should make sense, and it should be easy for users to find what they’re looking for.
6. Complete Your Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions don’t, technically, impact your SEO ranking. But you really want to fill them out. Make sure they aren’t duplicated, and complete them. The character limit is now 320, where it was previously only 160. That gives you a lot to work with, so you can get more readers to click and visit your site. An interesting meta description can be very valuable for your business.
7. Manage All Your Links
Both internal and external links matter for good SEO value. Your content audit should be sure to look at those links and make sure every one of them works. That can feel difficult if you have a big site and a lot of links. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you find broken links and other problems.
If any pages on your site or others have been moved you want to know that, so you can update or remove links. Broken links are a real source of frustration for visitors to your site. Don’t give them any reasons to click away once they’ve come to visit. Links that return a “404 not found” error can also impact your SEO for Google rankings.
8. Consider Your Page-Loading Speed
Make sure your pages all load as quickly as possible. People are impatient, and they want things fast. If your site is slow, especially on mobile, they’re going to click away. They probably won’t come back, especially if your competitor’s site loads faster. Use a site speed tool to give you information, and take action if your site doesn’t score well. Most tools will suggest what you can do to improve.
While there are additional steps you can take, these are some of the most valuable ways to improve SEO. With a good content audit and needed adjustments, more searchers will find your business. That can translate to more customers and a better bottom line for your company. Then you can enjoy all the success and peace of mind that comes with strong SEO.