Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the key to attracting high-value prospects to your website. Smart (and regular) SEO will help you rank high on the list of search engine results, where most people make their pick of sites to visit.
Specifically, most people make their pick from the top 5 search results (not top 5 pages – top 5 results). Surprised? Well, think about it: How often do you look at the results offered on page 3 or higher? Never?
So, if your business’ website isn’t appearing high on page 1, you have a tremendous opportunity for improvement using SEO.
That being said, SEO is not something you do once and consider it done. Think of an SEO audit like going to the dentist – it’s a good idea to get a check-up twice a year to keep things in good shape.
The 8-point check-up should include an evaluation of:
- Your Online Marketing Grade. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader is a helpful tool to get an understanding of how effectively your website is working for you. You’ll get a grade of 1-100 (strive for 100!) with details on what's performing well, what could use a little help and how you stack up against your top competitors.
- SERPs. SERP, or search engine results page, indicates on what page your most important search terms appear. For example, Weidert Group’s SERP for “Inbound Marketing Agency Wisconsin” is page 1, position 1. For each of your high-value keyword phrases, identify the SERP and work to make improvements where the term isn’t ranking where you’d like it, or where you’ve slipped a bit since your last audit.
- Long-tail vs. Headmatch Keywords. Take a good look at your keywords and identify which could be further refined to hone in on what your best prospects are searching for. Chances are, if you're a specialty manufacturing company makes custom steel blades for agricultural equipment, a simple term like “blades” is far too broad to give you an impact.
- Review each page’s meta data. Appropriately keyworded title tags, descriptions, alt tags and anchor texts, written first for users then for search engines, are the simplest ways to make sure your on-page SEO provides the most impact. Make sure to adhere to recommended character lengths for each component.
- Search Engine Friendliness. Think about search engine crawlers like logical, blind robots; they can’t see pretty pictures, follow complex code or cortorted navigation, and get stuck at dead ends. Search engines will understand your site more thoroughly if you've created clear paths to relevant information, regularly add fresh non-duplicated content and include meta data that accurately describes each page’s content. Monitor the number of indexed pages on your site to understand if the crawlers are actively working through the site.
- Content Freshness. The algorithms used by the major search engines like Google are regularly updated to improve the overall user experience. Fresh, authoritative content is one of the most significant components influencing how sites are ranked. If the search engine crawlers don’t see fresh content, they have no reason to visit the site. Adding a blog and regularly contributing content is the most effective way to provide value to your website visitors and keep the search engines interested.
- Speed Test. Site visitors and search engine crawlers are impatient; don’t make them wait for a slow-loading page. Google has a simple Page Insights Tool that will test your site’s load times and provide tips for improvements.
- Inbound Links. Similar to content freshness, credible inbound links are one of the most important considerations of search engines. The more high-value links pointing to your site, the more authoritative it looks. Links have a wide range of authority ratings – in general, .com sites have significantly lower ratings than .org, .edu or .gov sites.
Continue to monitor your check-up results over time. Remember that SEO best practices are continually evolving and what worked a year ago is probably not optimal today. Download our Free eBook to learn more.