Whatever kind of business you have- a local coffee shop or a dental clinic nearby- your website is the foundation step you should take to make your presence feel in the online space. Search engine optimization (SEO) is one such marketing technique that works when your site is absolutely healthy. A site audit is done just like a medical examination of humans- where you discover the factors that are affecting your local search visibility and what steps need to be taken to fix the issues.
To conduct an overall local website audit, what steps need to be taken or where to start? We’ll break it down for you in the following sections of this article.
On-page technical audit
Performing a technical audit is very important regardless it is a local website or not. No matter how professionally your website was developed, your website is likely to have some problems. This is the reason big brands conduct the auditing process of their website at regular intervals. Such issues are obviously obstacles in SEO leading to poor website ranking and performance in terms of bringing traffic to the website.
Items to be checked for technical audit:
- Pages indexed with search engines: You need to make sure that search engine crawlers are able to index all of the pages of your website, there are no broken links, and if there are any moved pages then there redirections are working properly and so on.
- Removing Duplicate Content: All content published on the website should be unique, otherwise, there will be ranking penalties imposed by major search engines like Google, Yahoo , Bing etc.
- Title Tags: This is an important SEO element, which needs your special attention. To improve your homepages’ ranking in search queries, the title tag should contain your business name and type.
- Meta Description Tags: This tag is the snippet text that is shown below the title tag , where you can condense all the important information about your company or the products and can persuade the customers to click on your website instead of your competitor’s. Make sure that your description tag is unique, and that it briefly describes your page’s content and includes relevant keywords.
- Alt text: This is the alternate text that you should put along with your images and must contain relevant targeted keywords and are geo-optimized.
- Internal Links: All your internal links must have proper anchors and related to the content beneath them. It is advisable not to put images as anchor text as search engines do not read them as anchor text.
Since this On-page audit is a very complicated process, it is advisable that you use some set of specialized tools that can tell you about the problems on your site currently. These tools, after crawling on your site’s pages, it provides you with a list of issues prioritized by severity. Some of the popular tools in this domain are Moz.com, Screaming Frog, Raven, SEMrush site audit tool and many others.
For reference, a typical technical audit looks something like this:
Content Audit Process
Your content is what you can optimize to bring in traffic to your website and it can directly impact your site’s overall ranking in search queries. Hence Content audit process is equally important. Here are some of the steps to be performed:
- Geo-optimized texts on your website pages: Mentioning your local business address can boost your website’s visibility in local search. But the idea is not to stuff your text with local-friendly keywords but to provide your users with helpful and informative content for which they came in search of. All you need to is to link your products or services with a particular city or district, or you need to link the relevance of content in accordance with your products or services.
- Clear and visible contact details: This is the most essential part of local optimization as the search engine crawlers take into account for local search queries. That also means that it should be text and not images. Even if you want to put it as an image then make sure that it has a corresponding alt text.
- Integrating the address on Google Map: Provide driving instructions and put a marker on Google Map. You can also integrate Google map on your website so as to create better user experience.
Citations are one of the most important factors for ranking in Google and Bing. It is important to make sure that you have accurate citation profiles and no duplicates in your listing.
- Number and quality of citations: The most valuable citations come from authoritative and locally-oriented resources. You can check your citations list with Moz Local and you can find other high quality opportunities using Whitespark Local Citation Finder.
- Correct Citation info: Make sure citations should have the same contact information and business location as it is on your website.
- Duplicate Content: If you have two different citations listed then you should delete one of them.
Backlinks still continues to be the one of the most relevant or important factors for ranking as it tells the search engine about the authority of the website over the internet. But checking the quality and number of backlinks you are getting is equally important. You can do this by using tools like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO tools, Open Site Explorer, WebCEO and many more. The point about your backlinks that requires your attention is: Are your backlinks coming from blacklisted sites, porn sites etc.? You need to remove them immediately. You can use Google’s Disavow tool.
A well-executed website audit is an invaluable source of information. However, this was just the first step because our next step is going to fix these issues in our website and make a checklist of what needs to be changed in our SEO marketing strategy.