The start of the year is always a great time to perform an SEO audit on your website. It is an opportunity to review which marketing strategies generated you the most return during the past year, and which areas you need to pay more attention to. Let’s have a look into some of the key areas you should focus on when carrying out your SEO audit.
The best way to review both the quantity and the quality of traffic that has arrived to your website during the past year is to have a look at your Google Analytics account. The great thing about doing a year-on-year comparison is that it factors in seasonal trends. Comparing month by month is fine when it comes to granular levels of progress, but there may be spikes in your traffic during a sales period, for example, which need factoring in.
Take a look at March/April time for 2020 to see any changes that the pandemic may have caused. As we are going to be in this current climate for some time, it is a good idea to learn from what worked (or didn’t work) earlier in the year. Are there any particular channels where you saw a sharp decline in visitors? You may need to now invest in other channels to counteract this.
As part of your ongoing SEO strategy, hopefully you will have ended 2020 with a lot more content on your website – in the form of blogs, case studies and more. One thing that is often forgotten about is how this affects the overall loading speed of your website. Now, I am not saying go and remove any valuable keyword-rich content but it is something to have a think about.
There might be some obvious things that need addressing, such as images you have added which are too large, or files that should have been zipped before being uploaded to the backend of your website. If you have a technical understanding of your website you could also look at the plugins installed on your website. For example, have you got email and phone call tracking added separately? Why not use one tool like Google Tag Manager to deploy this conversion tracking, rather than having excess code on your website.
When speaking with clients, they often don’t know where to start when it comes to the exact keywords their website should be optimised for. This often isn’t as confusing a task as it sounds. It is important to know your current target audience, the type of new customers you are trying to attract, and of course the products or services that you offer (which is the easy part). Then you need to start thinking like both your existing and potential new audience. If you were in their shoes, wanting to find your product or service, what would you type into Google? That is a good starting point.
There are lots of keyword planning tools available on the internet too, but the best are: Google’s Search Console which analyses your website directly, and the Google Ads Keyword Planner tool. Are the keywords that you have been targeting over the past year still bringing in high volumes of traffic? Or is it time to refresh the terms you are optimising your website for?
Have a think, when was the last time you properly invested in copywriting? Remember your website is your online shop, it needs to sell the solution that your products or services provide. That isn’t to say that you can’t write your own website content, but are you using the right keywords to help your business to be found on search engines? Are you writing in a tone of voice that your audience can truly resonate with? Crafted in the right way, words can really help to tell a story and not only captivate but engage your audience and keep them reading.
Content also drives brand awareness and helps you to be seen as the ‘market leader’ within your industry. Take a look at the pieces of content you wrote last year which had the highest page views per visit, and the longest session duration. Is there a way you can re-write these pieces, or put together another blog on that particular topic? It is also a good idea to review which pieces of content led to actions, such as newsletter sign-ups, phone calls or PDF downloads. These touchpoints alone show that specific content builds trust with your website visitors, and encourages them to learn more about your business.
Looking To The Future
Although conducting an SEO audit may seem like a time consuming process, it is well worth doing if you are going to be investing in your marketing this year. There is no point in throwing money at channels which simply aren’t driving results. Whether you need to adapt your SEO strategy, or combine it with paid marketing such as Google Ads, there are lots of options depending on the outcome of the audit. If you would like a hand putting this audit together, or would like a qualified marketer to review how your website is performing, contact us today.