This is the sixth post in our How to Conduct an SEO Audit in 2020 series. If you’re just joining us, we recommend starting at the introductory post.
Now we get to start looking at the specific content on your pages. The concepts and principles behind auditing your content are relatively simple and straightforward but can end up being the most time-consuming.
If there’s anything you should focus your energy and time on, it is this portion of the audit.
We’ve mentioned it a few times before, and you’ve probably heard it multiple times while researching SEO, but Google’s algorithm wants to see high quality, unique, relevant content. Take a few minutes to familiaze yourself with the Steps to a Google-Friendly Site.
Remember; your content needs to be on a page that’s highly optimized for both the user experience and for the search engines that will be crawling and indexing it.
It’s important to understand that having one without the other defeats the entire purpose of all your hard work. Amazing content that isn’t optimized for search engines will perform poorly because it will never be seen, and terrible content that’s been optimized well might have high traffic numbers but will result in abysmal conversion rates.
Through this process, you’ll want to pull up your keyword strategy, or at least keep it in the forefront of mind.
We recommend going page-by-page through your site’s hierarchy, starting from the homepage.
The first thing we’ll look at is the page title. For those reading this who aren’t HTML savvy, the page title is the
<title></title>, and/or the
<meta name="title" content="Search engine page title"> tag. These essentially function as the same thing.
Why is this important? The meta title property is what dictates the name of the page as it will show up on search engine results pages.
Your quick checklist for page titles:
- Is your target keyword present?
- If it is, make sure it’s presented in an organic way, and only included once.
- If it isn’t, include it so your title fits the criteria above.
Pretty simple, isn’t it?
Second, you’ll want to keep the length of the title above 30 characters and below 65 characters. If it’s longer than this it will get cut off on the search engine results page. The crawler will still read the full title, but it’s important to make sure that at the very least what is visible to people browsing informs them of what the page is about.
Like the meta name, the meta description is the property that tells search engines what to display as the page description under the page title. It’s set by the
<meta name="description" content="Search engine description"> HTML tag.
Here’s an interesting fact that many people either don’t know, or misunderstand: the description is not a ranking factor! That means you don’t need to worry about keywords here. But there are some things to understand.
Like the meta title, there’s a length cutoff: 158 characters. Again, you can go longer if necessary, but make what is visible to users informative and compelling enough to make them click on the link to your page.
And you’re probably asking yourself, if it doesn’t help you rank why should you care?
Because your description copy is possibly the most significant factor in organic click rates once all your other hard SEO work starts getting your page ranked.
Use it to elevate yourself above your competitors and include a call to action!
Some SEO “experts” will tell you that it helps you rank even though it doesn’t. Others will say to ignore it because they’re only focused on SEO and not your business as a whole.
The truth is, it needs your attention just as much as other parts of your SEO even though it’s not a direct ranking factor.
You’ll want to make sure your target keyword is included within the first paragraph of the written copy on your page.
Including your keyword organically in the first H1 or H2 header tags of the page will also strengthen your page’s relevancy and authority.
Like with other elements, you want to be sparing with your use of keywords. Given that written copy is much longer you’ll absolutely want and need to include target keywords more than once, but the same rules apply: use them organically and in moderation.
Most people forget this one. You want to make sure that your keyword is included in the URL for the page, and the URL should be human-readable.
Taking your meta title and condensing it down is a quick and easy way to write a solid SEO-optimized URL.
You want to make sure all your image
alt tags are filled. Pay special attention to the first image on your page. Just like with on-page copy, you want your keyword appearing as high up in the page as possible, so definitely include it in your first image
Don’t be afraid to use it in the tags for other images, but only if it’s relevant.
Internal links are great! Make sure that you have them implemented well and sparingly, though.
It’s recommended that you use anchor text that matches the target keyword(s) for the page to which you’re linking.
By now you know how SEO works, but do you have a content strategy that will make sure you win?