There has probably never been as much useful content online as there is now. And the sheer volume of content that is being produced every minute is simply staggering. This is great, if you are nothing more than a consumer of that content. However, if you are trying to promote your website or business, you will find that there is more competition than ever, which makes it a lot harder to reach your target audience.
This means that SEO, in addition to high-quality content, is an absolute must if you are serious about being successful. Over 2 trillion searches taking place on Google every year create a lot of noise, which means you need to strike a perfect balance between writing for your audience, and writing for the search engines. Sure, SEO is an essential tool, but in order to make sure it’s really working for you, you need to perform a thorough SEO audit of your website or blog every now and then.
That being said, a lot of content marketers make mistakes when it comes SEO audit, which can easily be avoided. According to Micheal Gilmore, who works as a Senior Marketing Specialist for Resumesplanet.com, these are the 10 most common SEO audit mistakes:
1. You Haven’t Established a Goal
Doing an audit for the sake of doing an audit is completely pointless. Before you decide on performing one, you need to establish a goal, a clear reason why you are doing an audit in the first place. For example, you have put a lot of effort into producing new content, yet it isn’t driving nearly enough traffic to your website. Or you may be in a situation where your business’ website is getting plenty of visitors, but only a handful of them are actual leads or customers. Identify which aspect of your strategy has failed to produce results, and then decide on whether you need to do an audit or not.
2. Looking at the Wrong Metrics
Another reason why you need a goal in the first place is the ability to focus on the metrics, because for nearly every goal out there, there is an appropriate metric. For instance, if you think your SEO efforts haven’t really shown any results, you would need to pay attention to your target keywords, inbound links, title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, headings, and so on. If you want to improve your content, focus on bounce rate, conversion rate, etc.
3. Doing It Manually
While you may be able to track everything manually if your website or blog is not that large, such an approach is just too time-consuming. Plus, there are plenty of tools out there which allow you to perform the analysis of your content almost automatically, and with much greater precision. For example, Google Analytics can help you capture any sort of data when it comes to traffic, demographics, bounce rate, or page views, among other things. Also, tools like SharedCount and Buffer are perfect for monitoring your status on social media and capturing all the relevant social media stats.
4. You Don’t Document the Audit
The reason why you should document your audit or least have a written plan is because there is less room for interpretation there. Also, it enables you to remain consistent throughout the process, meaning that you will be looking at the right data, and using the right metrics, and tools to analyze it. Otherwise, you may be tempted to interpret the data in a different way, which inevitably leads to error, or confusion at the very least.
5. You’re Performing Content Inventory instead of an Audit
A lot of content marketers simply list all the content that is on their website, include the title of each page/article, along with a link to it. While that is certainly something you should start with, it is simply content inventory, not an audit or content analysis. Also, you can do a simple content inventory in seconds using any kind of crawler tool out there. When it comes to content audit, it is a process that is based on analyzing different metrics in order to identify which one is lacking, so that you can focus your efforts on improving it.
6. Ignoring the Importance of Accessibility
One thing that can make or break your website is its accessibility. For example, if your readers and/or search engines cannot view it or analyze it, then you are setting it up for failure. Today’s audiences are extremely impatient, and they will only tolerate so many failed attempts at accessing your website before going somewhere else. Search engines, on the other hand, will rank your website lower as a result. Pay attention to HTTP status codes. 301 and 302 redirect won’t necessarily affect your ranking, but persistent 404 errors will. Also, the speed of your website will affect both your ranking and user experience.
7. Ignoring On-Page Ranking Factors
Creating high-quality content is not just about providing all the right information in a manner that is accessible. You can need to think about various SEO elements. For example, your article should be at least 500 words long. Also, including relevant images and relevant keywords help with making your website more visible. If you have duplicate content on your website, it won’t be indexed by Google, and you might get penalized. If you happen to target the same keyword using several pages, Google will only index one, so make sure to make them more diverse.
8. Ignoring Mobile Users
In this day and age, you cannot afford to overlook mobile users. In fact, the majority of readers will access your website via mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This means your website should be mobile-friendly, otherwise you won’t be able to hold on to your readership. Apart from responsive design, pay attention to the readability of your content. Choose clearer fonts, break down your text into smaller paragraphs, and make your content more scannable in general.
9. Not Including Internal Links
If you have created content which is really informative and helpful, but you are still not getting brilliant results, it may be because you have failed to include internal links. If you have an audience which loves your content, that means they will be hungry for more, and internal links are essential, because they can drive them to read more of your content and spend more time on your website. When linking to other articles on your website, make sure that your anchor text is relevant, as well as that you use a variety of keywords.
10. Optimizing Only for Google
Sure, Google is the largest search engine of them all, but it would be a mistake to ignore other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, because they still have millions of users. Also, keep in mind to treat each of the social media networks as a separate search engine. For example, whereas you would optimize for certain on Facebook, on Twitter you would simply include the appropriate hashtags relevant to the topic.
Although thorough content analysis on your website involves a lot more than what’s been covered in this article. But, now that you know which mistakes to avoid, you can narrow down your checklist. Good luck!