Thursday, 17 May 2012

The 5-Step SEO-Audit

SEO exists to serve one main purpose: helping you get ranked on search engines and improving the visibility of your website in order to get the maximum traffic. Conversions, CTR, bounce rate, revenues, etc. are all indeed core aspects of SEO as well, but secondary to the one main aim.
There are a plethora of tools out there which let you assess, measure and improve your SEO efforts. However at times, it is equally important to be able to audit your SEO practices manually. Here are 5 different ways you can conduct an audit of your website right now:

1. Checking your Meta Information

Meta information is one of the core aspects of good SEO. Therefore, each and every page on your website should have complete meta information; short summaries of what the page is about and the information that can be found on it. On Wordpress, you can make use of various well-known plugins for this purpose. Meta information provides Google with information about the page, what the page is about, and allows it rank your pages for certain keywords. Meta descriptions also appear in Google search results, right below the link to a page. Meta descriptions should be short (150-160 characters ideally), it should be unique for all pages, and should contain keywords important to your business and related to the page.

2. Checking Page Title

One of the first things a search engine looks at is your page title, and these give search engines a fair idea about the content on a page. Pages titles are found between the <title> and </title> tags, and must be placed between these tags on your page. They can be viewed by clicking ‘view source’ of the page, and edited through the HTML code of your page. As expected, title tags should be short (60-70 chars) and precise. They should be unique, contain the keywords important to your business and relevant to the page. For e.g. if the page reviews webhosting services, the title tag should be something like ‘Review of Top 10 Best Webhosting Services’.

3. Adding H1, H2, H3 Tags

Within a single webpage or post, the most important headline or important bit of information should be assigned an H1 tag. In the HTML version of your webpage, add H1 tags in the following manner: <h1>text</h1>. As was the case with title and meta info, add important keywords under H1 headings, preferably those which are important to your business and which you want to be ranked for. Also remember that using too many H1 tags on a webpage could have your website penalized by search engines. Reserve H1 for only the most important bit of text, and use H2 and H3 tags for other headers.  

4. Use Alt Text for Images

Images add value to your page, in terms of visitors looking at your page, as well as search engines looking to rank your page. Unlike human, Google cannot ‘see’ or ‘look’ at images. It needs something that will help it know what the image is about, identify and rank it appropriately. That is where Alt text comes in. Alt text helps Google see an image, identify what the image is about, and helps rank it accordingly (according to the keywords in that image). All images on your website should therefore include Alt text, in order for the images and your page to be ranked accordingly. Add your keywords here, but avoid keyword stuffing or spamming. For instance let’s say you run a pet website, and add an image of your pet, a proper Alt text would look like this: ‘pet Chihuahua chases woolen ball across living room floor’. This gives the image proper description, adds your keywords (pet, Chihuahua) to the image, and consequently helps Google rank it better.

5. Anchor Text Optimization

Linkbuilding, internal linking and inbound links are the foundation of any good SEO strategy. Hyperlinks, or otherwise known as anchor text, are important to search engines and rankings because these help search engines determine the content of a website by checking what is covered on the page that it is being linked to – for external sites linking to your page, and your own internal links. Avoid hyperlinks like ‘click here’ for anchor texts and instead use text which tells search engines what the hyperlink is about, for e.g. ‘You can read more about iPhone 5 and its leaked specs on ABC website’. In addition, your first anchor text link should contain your keywords because Google only looks at the first anchor text on a page, and ignores the others even if they all contain the same URL. 

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