Stormy Skies

The Easy Self SEO Audit That Helps You Rank on Google’s First Page

Is Google Penalizing Your Website and Suppressing Your Ranking?

The Google search engine cares about one thing: Accurately answering the questions people ask.

To do this, they use “bots” to regularly crawl websites. As they are crawling, these bots save relevant information to answer the questions that people type into Google. 

 

But what if these bots can’t get to some pages of your website. Or what if you’re doing something that makes them think you’re being fake?

Why Is an SEO Audit Important?

An SEO Audit checks on the health of your website. It makes sure everything is working properly and is easy to navigate.

When I throw around words like “SEO” and “optimize”, all that means is I use copy and content to answer the most common questions that people ask, and then I make it easy for these bots to find that information.

And you can do this too! 

I’m sharing my checklist for SEO Audits. This is what I use to audit my clients’ websites before I start optimizing them for Google.

How Does Google Rank Websites?

Domain Authority

Google assumes if people keep coming to your website, you must be giving them good information. 

 

Google checks to be sure you’re linking to reliable websites.

Your website also gains a lot of credibility in Google’s eyes when others link to your website as a source.

Time on Page

Google assumes that someone who spends a long time on your website is getting the information they’re looking for. 

Encourage people to stay, and explore your website with internal links, multiple CTAs, and higher word counts that provide relevant information.

Easy to Follow Formatting

Google bots have a lot of websites to crawl, so they take shortcuts to get done efficiently.

Honestly, people skim headlines to make sure we’re not wasting our time too.

Using Headings properly keeps bots — and people — from getting lost.

Functionality

If your website has broken links or high load times the bots get confused and your visitors get frustrated. 

This is one area where you may need to partner with a web designer. If you have any 404 or 301 redirects that need fixing, a web designer should know how.

Aerial Boat Shot

Checklist for SEO Audit 

Building Domain Authority

  • Do links cite quality sources?

  • Are any websites linking to pages on your websites? Could you work with someone in your network to get — and give — backlinks?

  • Do you use keywords and phrases to consistently answer questions?

  • How old is your website?

Encouraging Time-On-Page

  • Do you guide visitors through the different pages on your website with appropriate internal links?

  • Does your website design flow coherently or is it cluttered?

  • Do you have a word count that’s at least 1,200 words per page? — Yes you want quality over quantity, but anything less risks being labeled as “thin” content by Google.

Easy-to-Follow Formatting

  • Does every page use keywords in titles formatted as Heading 1 or Heading 2’s?

  • Does every page have relevant meta descriptions?

  • Do photos have relevant meta descriptions that include keywords or phrases?

  • Are your meta descriptions between 120-156 characters?

  • Is it easy for people to skim for relevant information? Is the most relevant information set a part or bold?

  • Are your URL-Slugs customized with keywords?

Functionality

  • Do all the links lead to the desired destination?

  • How quickly does your website load?

  • Is your website also mobile-friendly?

Image by Raychel Sanner

Here Are the Top 3 Practices That Can Get You Penalized

Keyword Stuffing:
The SEO keywords in your headings and copy need to sound natural.

For example, if you’re using your location as an SEO keyword, don't mention it in every sentence. 2-4 times is plenty

 

Your meta description should also only use relevant keywords. Again, these bots are smarter now.

Spammy Backlinks: Google highly values backlinks, BUT...

Naturally, people tried to increase their domain authority by dropping their website in the comments of irrelevant blogs and social media comments. 

 

Well, Google got wise to that, so it no longer values social media backlinks the same as an authentic backlink.

High Bounce Rates: When visitors don't immediately connect, they bounce.

Here's why visitors bounce...

Click-bait headlines: When your title's only goal is clicks, people get let down, and they stop trusting you. 

 

Slow load times: If your mobile website takes longer than 2 sec. to load, people will bounce. 

If your copy and content truly focus on creating an easy-to-follow format that helps your visitors find what they’re looking for, then you will see yourself move up in the rankings.

 

If you’ve completed this audit and feel overwhelmed by what you need to do to improve your ranking, just know that you are not alone.

 

Most small businesses allow someone else to build the website without ever thinking of how the text and formatting can affect their online business’s success. 

Web designers are great!...But they write the way computers talk — not the way people talk. 

 

I write the way people talk, so that Google bots can see how awesome your business is for your clients. 

 

Press the button below to schedule your free 15-minute consultation, and we’ll create a clear action plan for fixing your SEO errors and get you ranking on Google’s first page.