Are you tired of your startup's website languishing on page 6 of Google search results? Does it feel like your hard work is going down the drain and that only your team and your mom are visiting your site? If so, it's likely because you haven't properly optimized your website for search engines, resulting in poor search rankings and missed opportunities.
Don't worry, though, you're definitely not alone! In fact, Backlinko's study shows that a mere 0.78% of Google searchers venture beyond the first page of search results. That means if your website isn't ranking on the first page, it's practically invisible.
But don't lose hope just yet. With a well-executed SEO strategy, you can turn your luck around and improve your website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This will drive more traffic to your site and, ultimately, lead to more sales.
So where do you begin? Look no further than our ultimate SEO audit checklist. We've compiled all the necessary steps to rev up your search engine rankings and make your website the place to be. Buckle up and get ready to leave page 6 in the dust!
Reasons Why You’re Not Ranking High on SERPs
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of the SEO audit checklist, it's important to understand the overlooked reasons why your site may not be ranking on page 1. Of course, there are many possible reasons, but we’ll just touch upon three.
Lack of Relevant and High-quality Content on Your Website
To climb up the search engine rankings, your startup website must provide valuable and informative content to users. If your content is lacking, your search engine rankings are likely to suffer. That's why producing high-quality and relevant content is a must if you want to succeed.
To find out which topics truly resonate with your target audience, look at the competition. Analyze the first page of search results on Google and compare your content with theirs. But be careful not to cross the line between learning from them and stealing their work.
Creating engaging content that ranks requires a delicate balance of being unique yet not too unique that no one is searching for it, and not too thin. Google favors high-quality pages with 1500 words or more. Writing less than 750 words may hurt your results.
So before publishing your content, ask yourself: Will people share, like, or bookmark my content? If the answer is no, take a step back and make sure your content is valuable and engaging enough to attract your target audience.
Forgetting To Optimize Metadata
In addition to producing high-quality content, optimizing your website's metadata is also crucial for improving your search engine rankings. Metadata refers to the HTML tags that provide information about a webpage to search engines and visitors.
The page title and meta description tags are two of the most important metadata elements for SEO. They are displayed in search engine results pages (SERPs) and can influence whether or not a user clicks on your link. The page title tag should accurately reflect the main topic of the page and contain relevant keywords. The meta description tag should provide a concise summary of the page's content and include a call-to-action to entice users to click on your link.
Additionally, optimizing other metadata elements such as header tags, alt tags for images, and schema markup can also improve your website's search engine visibility. Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) help organize your content and signal to search engines which content is most important. Alt tags for images provide a text description of the image for users with visual impairments and also provide an opportunity to include relevant keywords. Schema markup is a type of structured data that provides additional information about your website's content to search engines, such as reviews, ratings, and pricing information.
By optimizing your website's metadata, you can accurately reflect the content on your site and improve your search engine visibility, ultimately leading to more traffic and higher rankings.
If you want to learn more about mastering keyword placement, we have a whole other article on that for you to check out!
Your Site Is Too Slow
Did you know that a delay of just one second in website loading speed can result in a 7% reduction in conversions? If that wasn’t bad enough, Google has specifically stated that page speed is a ranking factor in their algorithm.
A slow-loading website can negatively affect your bounce rate and reduce the time users spend on your site, which ultimately impacts your search engine rankings. Therefore, if you wish to improve rankings and user experience, you need to optimize your website's loading speed.
One way to do this is by using a tool like Google's PageSpeed Insights, which can analyze your website's loading speed and identify any issues that need to be fixed. By addressing these issues, you can improve your website's speed, reduce bounce rates, and increase your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.
SEO Website Audit Checklist -The Technical SEO Questions You Need To Check
Now it’s time to check your website's technical SEO. This includes things like website architecture, mobile-friendliness, and structured data. Use tools like Google Search Console or SEMrush to identify and fix any technical SEO issues on your website. Let’s dive into the questions you should be asking yourself when performing a site audit.
- Do you have any specific crawl issues?
- Do you have an XML sitemap?
- Did you optimize the title & the Meta description to maximize your CTR?
- Did you optimize all the H1 & H2 tags?
- Does your startup appear "mobile friendly" in the search results?
- Are you using a fast reliable host for your startup?
- Did you Check Google's cache for key pages?
- Have you submitted the sitemap to the search engines?
- What is not optimized on robots.txt?
- Did you plan correctly the architecture of your website?
- Do you have a clean footer?
- Do you have a clean URL structure without excessive parameters?
- What are the necessary crawlings adjustments you need to perform?
- Do you have any 404 pages?
- Do you have any pages on your site pointing to 404 pages?
- Do you have 302 redirects?
- Did you set up 301 redirects correctly?
- Do you have organized categories?
- Are you using breadcrumbs?
- Did you check for spelling mistakes?
- Did you check for hidden content or links?
- Are you using related Words/phrases (LSI)?
- Did you make sure to have an analytics tracking code on every page?
- Are you using pagination correctly?
- Do you have duplicated titles or descriptions?
- Are you using structured data markup properly?
- Are you using Google tag manager correctly?
- In terms of language & location, have you made the necessary changes to optimize your site?
- Are you integrating all the traffic channels wisely?
- What does your "about us" page looks like?
- Is your startup brand recognized by relevant associations from the industry?
- Do you have testimonials?
- Did you check the effectiveness of your CTA?
- Do you have a high-quality social media presence?
- Do you have contact information that's easy to catch?
- Do you have a blog?
- Are you using user-generated content (UGC) to your advantage? Read all about the power of social proof.
- Are you getting mentions from different quality sources?
- Are you using Bing & Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console)?
- Are you leveraging guest blogging correctly?
- Do you have CSS errors?
- Did you implement an internal search bar on your website?
- How many pages are indexed by Google, how many are missing & what should be removed?
- Did you optimize your photos for SEO - file name, title, alt description, and size?
- Do you have unnecessary plugins on your startup's website?
- Are you using Social Metadata?
- Are you keeping track of the latest updates in Google's search algorithm?
- Did you make sure your font size/spacing is easy to read?
- Do you have an easy-to-access site search? Are you constantly keeping track of it?
- Did you optimize .htaccess for your needs?
- Do you filter irrelevant traffic?
- Are you tracking goals in Google Analytics?
- Are you using intelligence alerts?
- Is your load speed optimized?
Don’t be fooled, no one said performing an SEO audit was going to be easy. But, it’s not impossible. To make it more manageable, we’ve broken down your tasks into five categories:
- On-page SEO analysis: On-page refers to the optimization of elements that are directly on the website, including page titles, meta descriptions, headers, content, images, and internal linking. The goal of on-page optimization is to make sure your site is structured in a way that helps communicate the website's relevance to specific search queries. To start, use Screaming Frog to analyze your website page by page for any error or issue - and don't forget to document all the necessary changes.
- Off-page SEO analysis: this is the optimization of elements that are not directly on your website, including link building, social media marketing, and other external factors. The goal of off-page optimization is to increase the authority and trustworthiness of your website in the eyes of search engines, as well as to drive traffic and awareness to the website from external sources. To start, you must conduct a comprehensive backlink audit measuring each link and domain from head to toe. Then, check the popularity & trustworthiness of your website by analyzing your social engagement & authority.
- The technical part: Now is the time to put into action all that you have discovered! Don't forget to analyze crawling data from your website, making sure the relevant pages are indexed & error-free.
- Congratulations! The work for your startup is done! Now you just need to perform a comprehensive competitor analysis and repeat the relevant steps to see where you stand in comparison to your competition.
- No SEO strategy is complete without the analysis of your efforts.
Now It’s Time to Analyze!
You’re probably exhausted after ticking off every question on that audit. But, if you thought your work was done, think again.
SEO is a never-ending process. Just think about it, trends, keywords, Google’s algorithms, and customer demands are always changing. And to keep up, you must be on the ball. This means analyzing what’s working, and what isn’t, and tweaking your strategy, accordingly, to secure the best results.
To monitor your website's performance and see how your SEO efforts are impacting your search engine rankings and traffic turn to tools like Google Analytics or SEMrush to track your website's traffic and search engine rankings over time.
By following this SEO audit checklist guide, you can identify areas where your website can be optimized for better search engine rankings and increased traffic. Don't wait until it's too late – start conducting regular SEO audits to stay ahead of the competition and attract more customers to your website.
Want some help conducting your SEO Audit? Our experts are here to help! Reach out to us today for a free consultation and mini-audit that will get the ball rolling and help you be where you need to be.