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What's In An SEO Site Audit?

Posted on 7.21.2014

By David Meade, Writer Services

There are a variety of reasons why a site owner needs to perform a full SEO audit of his or her website. First, algorithms are constantly updated through a series of iterations, and websites may not be keeping up with the digital times. Another reason to perform a site audit is that the content on a site changes (perhaps there are now broken links). Finally, site owners need metrics to determine where their website currently stands and what areas can be improved. 

Most people are familiar with the SEO Technical Audit, where 30 or so items are audited and reported. This is extremely valuable, but what is often overlooked is the SEO Site Audit. In the SEO Site Audit a company’s onsite and offsite SEO is analyzed to see if it is at risk of getting hit by any Google algorithm updates. This is a very popular SEO Audit Report.  It’s a good idea to get one initially and then every six months for comparison purposes.  

The report will show how to optimize a site and strategy to avoid any penalties -and how to produce optimum results. A competitor analysis is often part of the report.

This is a long-term strategic plan that may help a website rank and show its owner some techniques to boost the site’s traffic. The report addresses recommendations to fix problems, and it runs a check to see if the site has been penalized by Google or if it is at risk. It also analyzes of course all of the meta and title tags.

Writing articles crafted around keywords a company wants to rank for is normally a recommendation of the SEO Site Audit. Generally these articles should be more than 800 words in length and updated weekly.

As soon as content goes up, the website will need backlinks. They will give Google the type of link structure they are looking for to rank a site.

One mistake many make is that nearly all of their backlinks go to their homepage. I would suggest pointing backlinks to inner pages as well or else a site will face an unnatural link pattern penalty in the long term. Google expects to see backlinks appear randomly.

In the articles, content creators will need to use the keywords they want to rank for in anchor text.

It’s a good idea to use variations on the keywords, as using the same keywords (anchor text) will likely end up in a penalty. 

By anchor text I mean the keywords used in your backlinks. For example if you posted on a blog and used the words “best SEO copywriting services” and linked this back to your site, this would be the anchor text. It’s recommended to only use anchor text if it truly enhances the user experience, as in the information supplements what the user is reading. Of course, site owners will also want to be sure they are linking to quality sites. 

Site owners need long tail variations of the keyword for copywriting and other keywords they want to target. To do this just, they can put their main keyword into the Google keyword tool and find related keywords to utilize. They should use as many long tail variations (keywords that are three or four words long or even longer) of the keywords as they can find. 

As for backlinks, they should be from as many different sites and sources as possible to look natural. For example, get backlinks from contextual backlinks and social bookmarking sites, to name a few. Education (edu) and government (gov) backlinks are very high quality because of their authority rating and the length of time most of them have been indexed - the more diverse the better. Always, remember to add to the user experience though, so never clutter a Web page with anchor text or backlinks that don’t add anything to that user experience. 

Let’s wrap all of this together in a plan:

#1 Write articles weekly. Ensure these articles are of high quality - one well-written article is better than five fluff pieces. 

#2 Start driving backlinks to content. This will not only help the content to rank but make a link profile look natural.

#3 Get as many contextual backlinks as possible. These are backlinks from links inside content such as articles. 

#4 Submit content to social networking sites. If there is one thing that is proving effective at the moment it is this.

#5 Create a Google+ page. Get content on there and link back to a site from the content. These pages may rank very well for competitive keywords.

#6 On YouTube, site owners should use keywords they want to rank for in the titles, tags and descriptions of the videos and put up detailed descriptions on the videos. 

#7 Write press releases and submit them. (Although many of the press release distribution sites were recently hit by Panda, so possibly scale back on the actual money spent there or choose one with a good reputation.)

Panda 4.0 reinforces these practices:

Quality content is readable by the algorithm

The user experience is quite important – if you someone is writing for a car dealership, for example, then he or she will want to know not only about the front-end sales experience but also the back-end service after the car is purchased

A unique and innovative quality should be applied to your content – it needs to be differentiated from your competition

Analyze your site from a competitive aspect – are they using Infographics or something that you haven’t thought of?

Lead your competition with style and grace. Hire a creative, non-paradigm thinker as a consultant or update your in-house strategy with a SEO Technical Audit and a SEO Site Audit. These will provide you with a baseline and move your company's needle in a positive direction. 

David Meade is an international freelance SEO Consultant based in Florida. He has written half a dozen books and is also a copywriter. He can be reached at: [email protected] or through his website

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