If you have been running a business for a few years and you still are not generating any significant business through your website, it’s probably time to have a thorough SEO health check carried out.

A detailed SEO health check will not only highlight any current problems that might be hindering your digital marketing efforts, but it will also provide some level of future-proofing for the years to come.

Every year that passes by we see more and more Google updates that alter where your website is positioned in the SERPs. From the Panda algorithm to the latest mobile-first algorithm changes, it seems that Google is forever placing new obstacles in our way. So, if your website is more than a few years old, it is very likely that some aspects of its code, design, navigation, or content will fall behind the competition. We do recommend contacting a digital marketing agency such as us 😉 as we will be able to offer not only a detailed site audit but also a plan of action on how to go about fixing issues. If you wish to attempt to carry out a site audit/health check on your site, continue reading as we will cover the main points we would recommend you start with.

Technical SEO Audit

As websites grow older they tend to become more complex and your SEO efforts can be harmed. For instance, rather than having simple and logical navigation that both readers and web crawlers can understand, we often find orphaned pages and navigation funnels that lead to dead pages, which can seriously harm your site.

As well as the navigation, older sites may carry out-of-date code or have a design that is not mobile-friendly. Older sites tend to also suffer from more duplicate content problems, especially when canonical tags are missing. We can also check that your crawl budget is not being stretched.

The two best tools for improving your site structure are Google Search Console and Screaming Frog. Search Console will report issues such as broken links and duplicate titles, and Screaming Frog, after crawling your website, will report broken links, missing images, missing alt tags and other HTML issues.

Link Audit

Although content is king, links come a very close second when it comes to search engine optimisation. There was a time when you only had to worry about the links coming into your website, but now you need to ensure that your own internal links, and the links leaving your site, are also in good health.

All links should be of good quality, and this means that they should be relevant to your business, link to or from respected websites, and have natural anchor text. Over the last few years, Google has aggressively targeted websites that rank based on using links with anchor text that matches keyword searches, so an audit needs to carefully look at your entire link profile. Linking out to other sites that are considered part of a “bad neighbourhood” can also land you in trouble, so audit all outbound links also.

Content Audit

We keep saying that content is king, but what does this mean? Today, your content must provide relevant and interesting information for readers. Google’s advanced machine learning algorithms can now differentiate good content from bad, so poorly written pages that are created purely to attract more search traffic will not be featured on the 1st pages of Google.

As mentioned already, content duplication is a big problem, so a content audit should also examine page titles, headers, and main copy to ensure that the same phrases and sentences are not being duplicated across a website. However, as long as your content is useful and necessary on multiple pages, then there isn’t anything to worry about. If you are however creating multiple pages to rank for the same keywords, then this will cause an issue. When reviewing or optimising your content, it is important to avoid keyword stuffing. This is the process of adding keywords anywhere and everywhere in your content, also known as over-optimisation. We always recommend adding keywords naturally throughout your content, page titles, meta descriptions, header tags, etc and to always make sure your content is useful and informative.

Mobile First

Google moved over to Mobile First indexing whereby their bots will crawl the mobile version of your site before desktop. This means that more than ever, mobile is taking centre stage when it comes to user experience and optimisation, therefore making sure your website looks just as good on mobile as it does in desktop is extremely important. If you need assistance, our web developers are on hand to help with these issues.

Clean Up User-Generated Content

Google recently spoke about user-generated content in their webmaster blog. While the blog merely provided some advice to webmasters on how to identify and reduce low-quality user-generated content, it hinted that this may be the next area that Google plans to tackle. Many websites find that they are victims of web spam that is directly placed on their pages without them even realising. A thorough review of comment policy and past comments.

Websites are a lot like cars – without a regular health check, small niggling problems that were ignored years ago can grow to become serious problems. If left unchecked, you may well find that the only solution is a new website. Call FSE Digital today to find out if your website can be saved.