At Trinity Insight, most of our clients are chomping at the bit to start improving their website. They have a vague idea of what they need us to do (or what they think they’re doing wrong) and hope that these changes are the silver bullet that helps improve their organic visibility.
However, it’s unlikely that you can “fix” a website by making a single change. Most websites have multiple errors, and so even after fixing major problems, there are still other issues that could be holding your website back. When we start working with a new company, one of the first things we perform is a compressive audit of their website’s current SEO health.
Our full audit looks at dozens of different data points, but there are five areas where most eCommerce sites have the greatest opportunities for improvement.
Identifying What Customers See
When it comes to selling online, many businesses trace their opportunities back to traffic. Companies feel they either don’t have enough traffic or that the people who visit the site won’t be paying customers. Increasing traffic and finding customers that can convert is the goal of most SEO campaigns, but before you bring people to your site, you must make sure that you have the answers they’re looking for.
Auditing the content on a website can help you identify why more of the visitors you do receive aren’t converting. Are you answering the questions your customers are asking? In addition to the content, other important on-page elements include:
- Page Title: Will someone click on this link in search?
- Meta Description: This is where you can tell customers in search why they should visit your page. How effective is your pitch?
- Headings: H1, H2, and H3 tags give search engines valuable context about what a page is about.
- Internal Linking: If you have content that customers find useful on another page, are you making it easy for them to find it?
- Page Layout: Is the content easy to read, or is it a giant block of text?
Before you invest the time and resources into bringing people to your site, make sure you have what they’re looking for.
Page Speed And Duplication
Technical SEO is something we talk about a lot at Trinity Insight, but it’s importance to organic performance is hard to overstate. Content and links are both important, but you can have the best product descriptions in the world, and it won’t matter if your product pages take 16 seconds to load.
One portion of our audit is to test your website speed, and how it compares to others who compete for the same customers. People were fine waiting eight seconds for a page to load in 1999, back in the world of dial-up Internet, but today’s internet users will bounce if your page takes more than three seconds to load.
Not only will a slow speed reduce traffic and increase your bounce rate (already displeasing the search engines) it could also result in penalties. Google has gone on the record saying that site speed affects rankings, particularly on mobile. Taking steps to decrease your load time can help increase your organic visibility.
In addition to page speed, our audit looks for areas where your side design may be unintentionally harming your SEO. One of the most common examples of this is duplicate content.
As a default, most websites will load with or without a “www” in the URL. For example, both of these URL’s take a customer to the same page:
Without proper configuration, however, it’s possible that Google will treat these pages as two separate pages, forcing them to compete against one another, and making it harder for your site to appear in search results.
If you want to be successful online, you need to think about how your website appears on small screens. If you have a mobile-ready site, phones are likely responsible for at least half of your traffic.
But mobile-ready isn’t the same thing as mobile optimized. Google’s mobile-friendly test will tell you if the search engine will show your page to phone users, but it won’t tell you if a customer will enjoy that experience.
Our audit reviews your site’s mobile optimization and identifies ways that you can make what you offer better for this constantly growing market.
Backlinks and Outreach
Google and other search engines are getting better at identifying quality content, but links are still an important ranking factor. Once you have the content your customers are looking for, it’s time to get your name out there.
Our audit helps paint a picture of who is linking to you — the good, the bad, and the opportunity — and we’ll use what we find to form a plan on what to do next. You can’t safely buy your way to the first page in Google anymore, but outreach should be an important part of any SEO strategy.
Social Media & Customer Service
Last, but not least, our audit reviews your social media presence. What kind of influence do you have on the web? How active is your audience? While social media activity doesn’t directly influence ranking, it helps make your brand more visible online and can give you the opportunity to interact directly with potential new customers.
An effective SEO strategy coordinates changes with your social media team, allowing you to promote new content when it goes live or giving you a way to ask for feedback when you make technical or visual changes.
Setting The Foundation
Think of the SEO audit as the digital version of a home inspection. The house might look nice on the surface, but you don’t know what you’re buying and how much work needs to be done until you get into every corner.
After completing the audit, we’ll have a clear roadmap of how we can effectively work with your team to improve your presence online. The inspection also gives us a point of reference, allowing us to track performance over time.
Are you ready to uncover all the ways you can improve your SEO? Our audit tool gives you a high-level view of the overall SEO health of your site. To get a deeper look, contact us today to learn how our audit process can help you grow your business.