How a Website Audit Can Unlock a Higher Google Ranking
SEO, or "search engine optimization”, is the process of enhancing your website to catch more organic or unpaid traffic from Google search engine results. Successfully managing this process can be the make-or-break practice for getting your site seen by possible clients. Without good SEO, folks won’t find your site when looking for similar businesses. But, with successful SEO, search engines will find you when scanning the web and serve your site in top search results (a process often referred to as “crawling”).
Hiring a good SEO optimizer, like those we employ here at The Branding Agency, to audit your site can be a game changer for your business. Poor SEO employed by an inexperienced optimizer can damage your site and reputation (costing big bucks for you to fix). That’s why enlisting the help of a pro to conduct an SEO audit of your site is essential.
Let’s take a moment to walk through what a basic SEO audit looks like, and review some next-level tools that are sure to set your site apart from the competition.
SEO Audit: The key to your site’s success
An SEO audit can help you find essential metrics and information regarding your site’s online performance. Identifying how your pages rank against competitors will help you see what’s working—and what’s not working—across your website.
A pretty good SEO industry average score is about 76% (that percentage reflects that amount of traffic that is reaching your site). This reflects the average baseline. But, the very best, top-tier websites see scores of 92% or higher.
So, how do you get to that stellar score level?
Working with an SEO expert, like the Branding Agency, is the answer.
We often see audit scores for new clients that enlist our help initially ranking in the high 50s or low 60s. That baseline tells us that search engines don’t like the way the site was originally developed and the site creator is getting penalized for poor SEO.
For these folks, any money they’d previously invested into their site is quickly going down the drain. Even if they’re blogging and adding new, clean content to their site, search engines just aren’t ranking them high enough, due to dismal SEO optimization.
Taking the pulse of your site with a baseline SEO audit
How healthy is your site? An SEO audit is the best way to see how strong your site performance is—and help diagnose what may be negatively impacting your search results.
We like to start our site audits with Google Webmaster SEO Guidelines. Adhering to these important, industry-standard guidelines ensures your site is optimized with Google’s most up-to-date best practices (which can change often, as the internet grows and evolves).
When we use webmaster guidelines in a baseline audit, we follow five main touch points:
- Research: Every web project we embark upon begins with research to identify the keywords that your specific audience uses when searching for your business. We’ll help you identify and employ keywords that have the right mix of monthly search volume and rankability.
- End-User Content: The Branding Agency creates content using the themes that are most appreciated by customers, prospects, bloggers, and others who are likely to share and link to thoughtfully designed content. Our professional content designers often create onsite blog posts for clients that inform and educate customers and prospects. This end-user content can be a helpful SEO booster.
- Links: Even the very best web content won’t shine, unless it has inbound and outbound links that Google can find when it crawls your site. We use several strategies to incorporate links on your site pages and acquire backlinks pointing back to your site, to positively impact your website's search rankings.
- Analysis: For realtors, it’s all about location, location, location. But, for web designers and strategists, it's all about analysis, analysis, analysis! Analysis comes before, during, and after every project we tackle. Our approach to analysis includes both tracking and fine-tuning: We monitor and track rankings, organic traffic from keywords, and search traffic, and adjust accordingly throughout site maintenance, so we can make corrections as needed to ensure your goal metrics are being hit.
- Reporting: We strive to provide a direct line of site to your traffic, rankings, and conversions—so you can see how many visitors are coming to your site, picking up the phone to call you, or filling out contact forms on your pages.
Using the above touchpoints for an initial review and cleanup of a site can often boost site scores that had been in the low 50s and 60s up into that baseline average (around 75%).
But, for us, hitting a baseline isn’t quite good enough. Our goal is to go another step and dive deeper into your site audit to further boost that baseline ranking up to 90% or higher.
Leveraging SEMrush for an added layer of optimization
On top of basic SEO optimization and adhering to Google Webmaster SEO guidelines, many web experts are looking at more innovative ways to optimize their client's websites. Using SEMrush, a valuable optimization tool, offers us one such way to achieve those high-level SEO ranking and help your site function as effectively and efficiently as possible.
With a massive database of over 46 million domains and 120 million keywords, SEMrush has the ability to help really dig into your site audit. Some of the next-level opportunities that help to set apart this level of SEO optimization and site review include identifying SEO operational issues and making improvements in key areas, like:
- Crawlability. Remember when we mentioned how essential it is that Google be able to crawl your site? Here’s where we can really dive into your sitemap and ensure there are no errors and everything is working in your favor.
- Site Architecture. Like any good house, your website needs a strong foundation and architecture. Having a healthy site architecture means happy users—and effective crawlability. Next-level site auditing can ensure you have SEO-friendly URLs and your website’s internal and external linking are free of mistakes or errant redirects.
- On-page Issues. Content duplicates, poor page titles and headers, and ineffective meta descriptions will wreck your site. Luckily, we can help with that.
- Technical SEO. Is your site optimized for mobile viewing? And, how is your HTML coding? Don’t let poor tech SEO hurt your site. Fixing these issues is a big SEO booster (and unfixed issues are an even bigger SEO breaker).
- HTTPS. The “S” in HTTPS is an important differentiator—it signifies an extra layer of security. But, moving your website to HTTPS isn’t a DIY project. Leave this task to the pros. They can ensure the process of moving your site moves smoothly, and they will ensure it stays maintained and running safely.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a complicated technology that can help to boost your site’s page speeds. As SEMrush explains, sites with AMP allow mobile users the ability to open the desired content from Google’s search results in an instant. (To help you set up your AMPs correctly, SEMrush audits can detect over 40 AMP related mistakes while showing you the exact line of code where the error crept in. Once that info is identified, we can then help you fix it.)
Initiating an SEO Audit
Now that you know just how important and beneficial an SEO audit can be, let’s get you started.
The Branding Agency is your first step in the SEO audit process. Our affordable SEO packages and helpful resources can get your site quickly evaluated, so you can start seeing positive results. (Many of our clients find the additional traffic they see coming to their site practically pays for the service itself.)
Give us a call at (704) 800-7413 or email us today to learn more about how we can help improve your website performance with an in-depth site audit.