For every company to make their presence felt in the online world, it is necessary to invest in SEO projects. If you have invested money in SEO, you would surely like to know what results you are receiving out of this. The data that is derived from the SEO projects needs to be analyzed to understand whether the campaign is a success.
Through data analytics, you will collect your data to get organic traffic on the website. The organic traffic on your website will increase only if you can analyze the data correctly and adapt proper strategies for the same.
Data Analysis Process
The process for data analysis involves three main steps that we will cover here. The first step is the preparation of the kickoff report. The report contains the extracted data for your understanding and analysis using certain tools.
The second step is the analysis of the report. Here you will analyze the report that you have derived. The last step consists of the action that you will take once the report has been analyzed. You need to prioritize the tasks and segregate them according to the level of their importance.
Setting Up the Data Analysis Report
Before you initiate the SEO campaign, the first thing that you need to do is prepare the report analyzing certain necessary data. Three main areas need to be analyzed, and here we will learn how to prepare a report for the same.
- Website Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Keyword Rankings
Analyzing Overall Website Performance with Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the most common tools used to track website traffic. The report received through Google Analytics would be vast and would take a lot of time to manually sort it out. That is why a dashboard can be created to segment the data easily.
(Source : Google Images)
The data that you would generate can be for a year. Any data before that would not be important for the current analysis. A section is known as ‘Traffic Source’ would include different non-organic channels through which people can search your website.
The non-organic channels include Paid Search, Social Media Channels, and Referrals. These sources provide critical insights into the formulation of the link building strategy. However, there will not be an in-depth analysis of this data since it is derived to get an overall view of the traffic trends.
Analyzing Organic Landing Pages with Google Analytics
The search dates for this analysis would again be set for the last one year. Select Organic Search only for the Default Channel Grouping. This search will determine the top landing pages by traffic changes, conversion rates, and session counts.
(Source : Google Images)
You will be able to find out the pages that have the best performance and the type of the page as well. Certain pages have the dominant share of traffic, and picking out these pages would help you to understand the main areas that you need to focus on.
You also need to determine whether the key pages on your website have lost or gained traffic in the last year. The report will help you understand the time that audience spends on your web page.
Since most people access websites from their mobile devices, you can set the device category as mobile-only. This will access the data where you can determine whether the mobile traffic has increased or decreased in this one year.
Organic Search Trends with Google Analytics
Google Analytics helps you to compare the organic session every month. You can do this for the current year or the previous one based on your need. You can also garner a report where you will determine the seasonal changes in traffic generation on your website.
The report for this will be available since the time of inception of your website. The day to day changes in organic traffic will also be derived through this analysis.
Keyword Ranking Analysis using Ahrefs
(Source : https://ahrefs.com/rank-tracker)
Your website is made of certain keywords which are searched by the audience to reach your website. The performance and ranking of these keywords can be determined through a tool called Ahrefs.
Google Search Console Dashboard
GSC takes into account two kinds of searches, which are branded search and non-branded search. Branded search is when the audience searches for the business name, URL of the website, or the brand.
(Source : Google Images)
On the other hand, a non-branded search is when the audience has searched for keywords that are coincidentally related to your website. The clicks, impressions, and Click-through Rate (CTR) number for the last 90 days would be calculated in this data.
Specific Clicks, Positions, and Queries using GSC (Desktop, Mobile, and Image)
This data is derived only for specific searches conducted from desktop, mobile, or image files. The report would contain the average ranking of the whole website and the traffic generation. It will also consist of the exact searches for these sources that have led to the traffic generation on your website.
Analysis of the Report
Once the report has been established, it will help you not only to form an understanding of your website’s performance but also to form an initial strategy. Takes rough notes while going through the report, which can also be sent to the client or higher management.
The client or management has no use for the complete data. You need to derive the main points presented in the report and send a compact email to the designated person. You can add the link of the report as a supporting document for each of the findings. In the email, you can mention that the data sent is just for informational purposes so that the designated person understands the reason behind your email.
The areas that are the pain points need to be focused on more, and you need to formulate a proper strategy for these. Make sure that you create a priority list so that the assigned people can take care of the task. Also, keep an organized record sheet with you so that you can keep track of the progress that is being made on each of the tasks that have been deemed as important.
Having a comprehensive content marketing strategy is easier said than done. When people think of achieving their marketing goals, it’s always about putting fresh content out there. However, this type of approach might not be the most calculated decision on your part.
Jumping into content creation without proper thinking will only do more harm than good. Sometimes repurposing or updated old content can do wonders for your content marketing strategy. Consider conducting regular content audits so that your business can identify relevant and trendy topics that you should be talking about.
What is a Content Audit?
A content audit is a systematic process of analyzing and grouping the content on a website. The main objective of doing a content audit is to figure out the strengths and flaws of your existing content strategy and how you can make changes. The changes will be in line with your new content marketing goals and will outline the content plan that you should go ahead with.
What is the Website Quality Audit?
Website quality audit is very important when you’re looking to make your site more efficient. Search engines only send web traffic to “high quality” websites. The website’s quality score plays a huge role according to Google’s Algorithm. Now, this quality score determines whether your website will index, rank, and crawl less or more over time.
The organic quality score that Google assigns is what SEOs need to optimize for. Therefore you need your website to be ranking a high-quality score according to Google’s Algorithm. It has all the tools and metrics by which it will judge your site’s performance and give you ranking.
How to know if your website is “high quality”
There is a way to make your website score a higher quality score. Let’s see some things that make your website “high-quality” according to the search engines.
A proper structured and coded website per Google Webmaster guidelines.
A site that guarantees relevant search intent and content depth with informative and high-quality content.
A site that is ‘popular’ or gets mentioned across the internet a lot.
This is a very easy way to describe how the search engine would see your content. The reality is that Google’s Algorithm uses certain metrics to assess ranking and give you a quality score. The aforementioned things are just simple things that make a website seem ‘high-quality’.
Set up the content audit file
This is the first step that you need to set up a base for all the analyses that you will do in the content audit file. Just follow a simple template or include the following headings in the sheets:
- Final URL
- Next Step
- Pillar (Hub)
- Cluster (Spoke)
- Last Modified Date
- Word Count
- “Best” Keyword
- Bounce Rate
- Average Top
- $ Conversion Rate
- Goal Conversion Rate
- % Change
- Losing Traffic? Links
- SERP CTR
After you make an excel document with these headers, go ahead and copy stuff from the website quality audit and paste it into this document.
This section of content marketing is popularly known as ‘hub and spoke’ or topic clusters system. In this section, we are going to model our website content in such a way that it is structured. Topic modeling comprises content organization.
In this particular type of content organization, we are going to use a single page (also referred to as the ‘pillar’). This ‘pillar’ will act as a hub for the rest of the posts (commonly referred to as ‘clusters’). These ‘clusters’ will be internally linked to ‘pillar’.
Topic Clustering is very beneficial if you see in terms of SEO. If you have organized your content in a particular way then you’re in a position to rank for more competitive keywords. These ‘pillar’ pages are supported by ‘clusters’ internally and will depict a lot of knowledge in the competitive subject.
The internal linking allows for a seamless relationship between different pages on your website. These ‘pillar’ pages will serve as a path to drive traffic to the different pages or ‘clusters’ that elaborate on the complex topics. Topic clustering will improve your user experience drastically and develop user journeys for the better. Search engines will understand the content depth and relationship of the website much better when you have topics modeled in an organized way.
You must be wondering what the business advantage of content organization is. Well, to put it in simple terms topic clusters enable content creation and strategy. This way you are focused on the core topics that mean the most to your business. You will be better equipped to execute a targeted content marketing campaign. Topic clustering will also help you efficiently manage your resources.
The Topic Cluster Model
Let’s see how the pillar and cluster model works for making your website rank higher in search engine results!
Pillar (Hub) Pages
Pillar pages are going to extensive pages that have in-depth topics that are central to your business activities. If you’re confused about what things to include in the pillar pages, then you can include key products/services of your business.
Ideally, you should be including things that are relevant to the target audience and the industry which you are catering to. These are things that will drive traffic to your website and will positively impact the business. The pillar pages will keep all the things that you should be talking about.
Clusters (Spoke) Pages
Cluster pages are topics which are stemming out of the pillar pages. These pages have topics that explore the things that are mentioned in the pillar pages. Pillar pages have one big topic and the cluster pages have topics that will support the big topic.
Clusters are in-depth topics that will boost audience engagement and also drive traffic from all possible avenues. If you have any supporting data on your pillar page that needs more information, then you can create a cluster page for it. Cluster pages are there to support the pillar page data and also elongate search time. With clusters, you are giving the necessary depth to the main topic which is on the pillar page.
How to come up with Hub and Spoke page ideas?
Now that you know the function of the pillar (Hub) and cluster (spoke) pages, the next step is coming up with content ideas.
Content ideation is very important. You need to have topics that revolve around the core business operations and services that your company is focused on. Coming up with ideas is probably one of the most difficult things. You must have good ideas that will be central to your content marketing strategy.
When you are coming up ideas for your business, consider asking these important questions:
Does this trace back to the original product/service/industry that my business is catering to?
The content that you are putting out needs to be aligned with your core business activities. The reason why we are repeating is that you have to stay relevant to your industry.
If you talk about a lot of topics that don’t affect your business, then you are wasting time and resources. You will use up a lot of resources to deliver content, so why waste them in irrelevant topics?
Always see if you can link the topics to your services and products. This way you’ll always stay relevant to the industry and attract the right audience. Focus on attracting quality traffic which will make an impact on the business. Content marketing is ideal for lead generation which will turn into a sales conversion. So, choose topics wisely.
Is this something that you can talk about?
Now, this is an extremely important question that you need to consider when you’re looking at ideas for content. While it’s easy to just do basic google research and write about practically anything, it’s not always right.
A good example of this is medical information. Whether it is diet tips or nutrition guidance, the information that you deliver needs to be properly researched and true. You cannot just cite a couple of references from other sites to support your claims. This is an important aspect that is overlooked by marketers. So, stick to the things that your company knows about.
An important algorithm update of 2018 changed the way marketers design content strategy. To generate traffic and engagement, marketers urged businesses to dip toes in a broad range of topics. These topics weren’t necessarily linking back to the business, they were solely to boost customer engagement and traffic.
However, this is a really bad approach. You are essentially deceiving the people with information because you don’t have the necessary knowledge. This can affect your business very badly. The algorithm update of 2018 rectified this to a great extent. Now, the search engine will only trust your content if you have content depth and popularity. If you want to achieve content depth then pillar and cluster model is the best! Popularity is based on the number of shares and engagement on that content.
You shouldn’t be talking about things that you don’t have expertise in. Especially when you’re wanting the audience to perceive your business as authentic and genuine, then stick to relevant topics that your industry has.
Example of Pillar and Cluster Pages
Let’s take an example of a digital agency for whom we are doing a content audit. The first step when we are analyzing the content topics for the digital agency is to write down the core services. So if you can see the core services or business operations of a digital agency are social media, the price per click, SEO, design, and development.
Now that we have identified the core of the digital agency, we can come up with pillar topics that are easy to link back. If we take ‘technical SEO’ as a pillar topic then we can have several clusters like tools for technical SEO, canonical tags, robot.txt, etc. So basically you need to identify topics within the industry which can relate to the services.
The images below show an example of how you can design content for an e-commerce store.
(Source: Google Images)
Call To Action Phrases
Deep Dive into URL Actions
URL actions is a directive that will include all the things that must be included in that page. This is along the lines of Website Quality Audit but with different classifications.
Let’s delve a little deeper into the classifications of URL actions.
This classification is for pages that have been posted less than six months ago. You leave such pages as it is. This is because it still hasn’t quite taken off but might be still relevant for attracting traffic. You don’t want to get rid of a page that was recently published.
If you have posts and URLs that are older than six months and generate good traffic then leave these pages as is. The visits per year should be greater than 100, which means that the post is relevant and up to date.
The relevancy of the process is to get rid of pages that are underperforming and not up to the mark. You have to get rid of pages that are not working to attract any sort of engagement or web traffic. Only get rid of pages that are dragging the website down.
Now let’s look at a category of irrelevant posts, which generate no traffic, and have no trace back to the pillars. Such pages must be redirected because they don’t add any value to the website. These pages are just bogging down and negatively affecting the performance of your website.
Many content audits will suggest you take down your URL by a 404 page. However, we suggest that you do a 301 redirect if the page has keywords and existing links. Even Google support mentions that 301 redirects are the right way to rename or delete URLs.
(Source: Google Images)
By choosing to redirect, you can provide an additional field where the updated information is available. So, you’re essentially not losing the traffic like in a 404 page but just redirecting it.
If you have a group of pages that serve no value to search engines but have value to website visitors, then the best option is to block that section from being crawled. You need to manually move such pages into the archive section of the website so that they are not crawled by the search engines.
Let’s take an example of a news publishing company like BBC.com. BBC.com will have content on their website which will date back to the early days of the internet. This old content is relevant but is not generating enough traffic or engagement, therefore affecting the performance of the website. Deleting such content is not a smart choice. So what do you do?
Then you group such pages by an URL structure (i.e. /archives/). Shift the content to new physical folders and voila, your content is practically invisible to search engines. This works well on large, publishing sites that have a lot of old content. This classification of URL action is not for a new e-commerce site or local businesses.
It’s best to zip it all into an archive section and block it from search engines. If a person wants to access these old files, then it’s possible from the archive folder in the navigation or footer section of the website, but not through a search engine.
When the post is losing traffic and also the keyword rankings are sliding (5 – 30) but it has a high potential to rank we want to refresh the content. This means making small updates like page title, meta description, meta title, headings, internal links, and media.
If the page is mapping to pillar pages, the content is deep enough, targeted properly then refreshing the URL is the best option. You are not losing the essence of the website, just making significant changes that will make sure to get the traffic and engagement levels back!
Some changes you can look into are making the title more clickbaity, rectifying the title tags, making the keywords more prominent, and updating the right media for the content. These changes will make all the difference instead of rewriting the whole thing.
If the post is losing traffic and keyword rankings are sliding (5 – 30), has high potential to rank with the current topic but is not deep enough, outdated, and needs improvement. Then in such a scenario, we want to rewrite the content.
For example, if you have a page on your website that has the top 10 mobile phones in 2019. The audience in 2020 is not going to be searching for top mobile phones from 2019. You want to give information that is updated with the current changes in the industry and also the search patterns of the target audience.
As a business owner, you will want your website to have the updates and relevant content. So, if your website has outdated content that is not relevant anymore, you will lose out on a potential audience. Rewriting content gives you a better chance of grabbing more traffic and also delivering quality content.
When multiple posts are covering the same topic, we will want to “merge” them into 1 page that’s the authority on that topic. This will reduce the content redundancy and also avoid any repetitions across the website.
Merging content will make it easier for visitors to glance at the content in one place rather than opening several web pages on the same topic. Now, the question that comes to mind is how to merge content?
An easy to way handle the merging of pages is to 301 redirect it, we can classify them differently for understanding. So, you’re pushing all the content into a single pillar page and cleaning up the remaining pages. This will keep your website clean and also widen the scope for making the content deeper than it is right now.
Target with Links
Many times the content is updated, relevant, and new but just doesn’t attract rank in search engines. This can happen if the page has broken links or no inbound links. If the content of the website is great, but the page is failing to rank, then you can target the page with links. You start targeted links to this page through a successful link building campaign.
How to Build a Content Report
After you’ve gone through each of these steps to painfully analyze and come up with solutions, you need to show your working to the client. You should be able to display the content report in such a way that it is easy to read for a common man.
When it comes to the building stage of an SEO campaign, it’s crucial to show the client what you are working on. These are drastic changes that you will be making for the betterment of the site, so there needs to be complete transparency to the client you are catering to.
The complex spreadsheets and the huge lists will not make sense to a normal person. You cannot send these spreadsheets through and expect them to understand it. If you don’t want to babysit the client, guiding them through each detail, then creating a content report is the best option.
Here are some suggestions that will go into making our content report or content deck.
- A brief overview or index so that the client knows what is in the deck.
- What did you do? This section should explain the things you did in layman’s terms.
- What did we learn? In this section, you should explain the hub and spoke model that you’re using. And then give them an overlook into which are the pillar topics that you have identified for the client’s website. These points let the client know that you have a strategy in place.
- Analyzing the results. In this section, you can include in brief about the URL actions and what decisions you are suggesting. This will serve as a guideline for the client to understand your decision pattern.
- What did we find? In this, you can give like a summary of the pages that you feel need a rewrite, merge, or archive. You can just include the number of pages that you found were fitting the category of the URL actions. You can even include the link for the full content audit.
- What is next for content? In this, we will enlist the next steps that the client has to undertake to make the suggested changes. And also you should be willing to provide some detailed information over call or conference. The follow-up call is important because the client can get overwhelmed with the amount of information that you gave it. Additionally, you should also mention what is the next task at hand for you and the date of completion for the same.
Next steps after a Content audit
A content audit is not a one-time done deal. The results of the Content audit are actionable. You should be willing to make all the changes that we suggested in the URL actions part. Whether it is advancing your content marketing strategy. The suggestions that are mentioned need to be pushed out into production so that they can take effect.
The suggestions need to be taken into action and implemented as soon as possible. The rewrites and merging of content are quick SEO tricks that will save you time.
After you’re finished with the content audit and the proper reporting for it, you should send it across to your client. Write a concise email that has links to the deck and content audit file. Enlist the next steps that you will be targeting to complete. Also, include any important deadlines that you are working for.
To Sum Up
Content auditing doesn’t have to be so difficult. It might be a time-consuming process, but if done right can do wonders for your content marketing strategy. Make sure you take care of the above steps so that you can have a hassle-free time doing a content audit!
Competitive Analysis is a strategy used to identify and research your competitors and the techniques they are employing in their products, marketing, and sales.
Conducting a Competitive Analysis is important in order to keep an eye on your competitors and compare strategies being used and how you might evaluate and change your brand techniques to get an edge up on the competition.
Why Conduct Competitive Analysis?
Competitive Analysis is an important step to start employing as it has many benefits such as-
- Finding your place in the market
- Identifying your best strategy in moving forward
- Identifying gaps in your campaign and finding areas you can improve on
- Uncover market trends
It is important to note that a competitive analysis is not done to copy every move of your competitors or to obsess over each strategy they use. All companies are not the same, and so every comparison is not done on an even playing field. This is just useful information to have a general overview of where you stand and how to improve your position in the rankings.
If you are working on a campaign that is smaller and does not have a lot of competition, you can skip a competitive analysis.
Sending an analysis report to your client works as a “perceived value” deliverable and shows clients that you are putting in the work.
The Competitive Analysis Process
The Competitive Analysis Process involves three key steps
- Running the Competitive Analysis
- Analyzing the data
- Reporting the next steps
1. Running The Competitive Analysis
Before analyzing and finding solutions for the data, we first need to identify competitors and collect information on them. This is why we first run a competitive analysis. This stage has three sub-steps in it. They are:
Finding The Right Competitors
In order to make a competitive analysis that is useful to your business, you will first need to select the appropriate companies. You will need to be realistic, compare your business primarily to ones on a similar level to yours.
For example,- If you are running a startup and are spending time comparing your business with a large corporation, the information you discover will not be insightful and will not help you grow.
The stats of the larger corporation may serve well as future goals, but for your current standing, it will be more helpful looking at businesses that are your direct competitors at the moment.
You do not need to analyze every business in your category as that will only be a waste of time and money. Identify your main threats and conduct a deep analysis on them instead.
To identify your threats, you will first need to know your brand well. If you are working with clients, ask them about their brand in detail. Identify who your target audience is, what your core product or service is, and what services you are offering as a solution to your client’s problem.
Ask customers and prospective buyers who they see as your competition. Pretend like you are a prospective customer looking for the same product or service and note which companies come up.
You can use websites like SEMRush and Ahrefs that display the keyword overlap your business has with others online. They also plot these results against how much traffic the website is getting.
(Source : https://www.semrush.com/)
It is important to know beforehand what part of the business you are looking to analyze and only focus on those results.
For example, if you are a company providing agency services, you need to make sure you are only looking at other sites in the same sector and ignore others like software websites. If your business or your client’s business has many services, you may want to run an analysis separately for each.
(Source : https://ahrefs.com/)
You can also use a keyword search to identify competitors. Search keywords for your own business or ask clients what they think their main keywords are. You then run the keywords through sites like SEMRush and Ahrefs, which will show you companies and their rankings in the search.
By running all your important keywords, you will be able to identify your competitors. Make sure you go through each website that comes up to make sure that they offer the same services as you.
Populate the audit template
After finding your competitors to analyze, you will want to open your audit template and start filling in the information you find into the appropriate tables. The tables are based on the type of company, the item, and the tool used to locate the item.
Examples of the information you will need to fill in include the website URL, age of the company, business name, number of employees, etc. You will also need to find information on the work environment of the company, its ethics, and its mission.
You can find most of the information manually as it is normally listed on the website and their about page. There are also some plugin applications that you can use to find out more. For example, SEOQuake will allow you to find the age of the company in years.
(Source : Google Images)
After adding in the general information on the website, you then need to look at the posts on the website to determine their consistency and quality. The amount a site is updated and the quality and engagement on their posts will give insight into these subjects.
To get a feel of their marketing strategy, you can also follow their social media, sign up for their newsletters, and read their blog posts.
Customer service provisions and reviews can give insight into how their products and services are doing.
You can also gauge the strengths and weaknesses of an organization by looking at reviews left by its employees on websites like Glassdoor.
Make sure to only fill in the columns that are relevant to the type of business you are analyzing. For example, if they are a lead generation company, you will want to only fill in the columns related to lead generation and not related to e-commerce or local business.
The template is pretty self-explanatory and also provides the methods, links, and screenshots needed to find all the information.
Using a virtual assistant or outsourcing your audit
We usually get the audit done offshore and then analyze the data in the house as the task can be tedious and time-consuming. You can also make use of a virtual assistant to get the audit done for you. If you plan on doing it yourself, the template given above will work perfectly.
2. Analyzing The Data
Once you have conducted your search and found out the information on your competitors, then you can begin analyzing the data. This involves three sub-steps-
Reviewing your audit template
You will now need to find insights into your competition by looking at your template.
If you have gotten your report done by a virtual assistant or by someone else, first identify if there are any gaps in the information and attempt to fill them out.
Highlight areas of interest
You can then go through the information line by line and compare your business to your competitors. In this stage, you can highlight and point out any information you may think is important or worth discussing with your client.
Do you have the same target customers? Do you both have the same business objective? Are their prices in the same range as yours? Overall, does the company seem to be doing well in reaching their goals? These are some questions you can keep in mind when analyzing your competitor.
You can also go in-depth and read reviews from customers to gauge the success of the company and its products.
For example, if you notice that your competitors have a significantly larger number of employees compared to you or your client, it usually indicates that you have a lower number of resources available. As a whole, the amount of resources available to a company does affect its organic traffic and the amount of money it can put into campaigns. Highlighting this point and discussing it will help give you or your client a better understanding of what you are up against when planning a strategy.
Look out for areas where you see a significant difference between your business and your competitors.
For example, your e-commerce site may generate more leads, but if your competitors have significantly lower pricing, it may explain why they are doing better than you. You will have to contemplate adjusting your prices to better suit the competition or offer better perks than your competitor like better quality, shipping, customer service, etc.
Other important areas to compare are search engine traffic, ad traffic cost, domain authority, and domain referrals. Also, make notes and highlight the areas that you want to improve on or areas your client has specified so that all of the disparities noted can be discussed before moving forward with a campaign.
Flush out some thoughts
Start noting down your thoughts and key points to focus on in an insight section. Here you can categorize your thoughts on the analysis and summarize all the important information in one place that is easy to find.
Conduct a deeper analysis or “crawl” search
Crawling is a discovery method where search engines deploy a team of robots that are also called spiders or crawlers. They are to seek out new content.
You do not have to conduct a full crawl on every competitor. It can take up time and resources. Only conduct a deeper analysis of competitors that you feel need it. You can use websites like DeepCrawl or SiteBulb.
(Source : https://www.deepcrawl.com/)
Remember that you are not conducting a deep search to view every technical component of these sites. You are attempting to understand how they have an advantage over yours.
You can note the number of pages they have, their page speed, the structure of their website, and anything else that might be of interest to you or your client.
After understanding the structure of the competitor website and how it is set up, you will understand how your site is different. You can then make an effort to incorporate some of the strategies that may be working for them.
If you are looking at a competitor that offers many services that might not be relevant to you or your client, you can look at the individual folders for information on that specific domain. After finding the folder you want, you can then look at each page linked to that project and review the analytics on each and compare them to yours.
Competitor keyword analysis
A competitor keyword analysis is the process of evaluating how the top rankings competitors fare when it comes to their use of keywords.
Doing this analysis you will understand which keywords work and do not work for your industry. You can find gaps and weaknesses in your competitors’ work and try to get an advantage on them, or look at what they’re doing right and use the same strategies. It will also allow you to prioritize SEO tasks to get started on.
You can then use a site like SEMRush or Ahrefs to conduct a Content gap analysis. This analysis shows you the keywords they are using that you or your client are not. These keywords are giving them a higher ranking.
You will have to input your competitors’ domains as well as yours or your clients. Then look at which of them come in the first ten rankings to identify gaps as well as opportunities to improve your place.
After identifying the keywords that will be needed by your business or client, you can send them over to your content and social media teams to let them start, including these in the new content.
Deeper backlinks analysis
Since search engines look at the number of links as a higher authority, you will want to do a backlinks analysis on your competitor sites. A backlink analysis shows you all of the websites that link to your competition, the way it is linked, and to what pages.
You can use SEMRush and Ahrefs to do backlink analysis.
(Source : Google Images)
First, look at the total amount of backlinks. A very high number of backlinks shows us that the website is quite competitive. The total number can be deceptive, though, as some websites can spam links by tactics such as sitewide links, article directories, blog comments, etc.
You then want to look at the number of unique links, which is a better indicator of link quality and of the hierarchy of your competition.
You should seek to keep around an even ratio between your external and unique backlinks, although your external backlinks will usually be higher.
You can then go through the top links of a company and check out the first few links to find out their content and how you might also employ the same techniques for your website. For example, if you find your competitors linked on a personal blog post, you can reach out to the owner of the blog and ask to be featured on it as well.
By reading up on these links, you will be able to notice whether they are links that have been paid for or if they are natural and use this information or provide it to your client.
3. Reporting The Next Steps
After analyzing your data and making your notes, you will want to compile all of your data in a report and have a plan outlining the next steps for you to follow or to send to your client.
Glean insights for your project plan
Start with providing your client with a summary of the most important information you have found while conducting the analysis.
Then, offer a conclusion or statement saying clearly why you think the competitor is ranking higher, has more visibility and reach, or whatever specific factor you were looking to analyze.
You can then start explaining your main points in detail. Use graphs and other visual representations if you can to make your insights easier to understand.
Explain your most important insights first. Explain the steps you took to arrive at your findings and what you found.
Make sure that you show the difference and disparity between your client and the competitor to let them know how much work they should expect, and the time it will take.
For example, if you are explaining your link analysis, you can show the best links the competitor has and why they are the best. You can provide explanations about how they might have gotten them. You will also need to include a summary of the data you found on the links like the total number of links, unique links, most linked pages, etc. You can also use charts or create a fusion table to allow yourself and your clients to visualize the information and see where they stand.
After you are done providing all of your information, add a conclusion at the end and the steps to take next.
Send report to appropriate parties
Send out this report to your client, higher-ups, or other concerned parties so they can see that you are putting in the time and work. This will help you and your client to understand their competitors and where they are lacking. It will also clearly show the next steps you or your client need to take.A competitive analysis report is not something you should spend all your time on but is a beneficial step to take so that you can chart a clear course forward.
Just like on-page and off-page, there is another area of SEO, i.e., Technical SEO that may affect the site’s rankings. It doesn’t include activities such as content optimization and link building. Rather, it covers all the technical aspects of a website.
The technical SEO focuses on website and server optimizations. It may include technical aspects, such as site structure, navigation, XML sitemaps, indexing, crawling, redirects, and duplicate content. We can say that it deals with the non-content elements of the website.
Technical SEO plays a very crucial role and can have a direct impact on the search rankings.
An individual can have well-written and researched articles on the site. However, if there are technical errors or issues with site backends’, your site will never rank on the search engines. Therefore, it is very important to pay special attention to these technical elements of the website.
The technical aspects of the site will make the site more efficient for indexing and crawling. This way, search engines will deliver the right content to the users. Technical SEO for beginners may look a little tricky. However, there are a few basics that one has to keep in mind in order to excel at it.
We have covered all the aspects of this extensive guide. Continue reading to know more about technical SEO and how one can optimize the site for technical SEO without any problems.
Intro to Enterprise Technical SEO
Whether it is about marketing strategies or different techniques, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. This approach is a complete myth. There are chances that what works for one may not work for the other. Similar is the case of SEO.
In SEO, enterprises need to have better strategies than small-scale or mid-scale companies. An enterprise cannot just rely on content and link building techniques. They need to ensure that there are no technical errors or faults on their site.
One of the biggest factors that could affect Enterprise technical SEO is a huge number of pages. When there are a lot of pages present on the website, optimizing each one of them can be tricky.
If there are issues with even a few pages, it could affect the rankings. Therefore, enterprise technical SEO practices would require a more strategic approach than traditional practices.
When done correctly, enterprise technical SEO could help a brand leader within its industry. Different enterprises have a huge reputation attached to their name. To maintain that brand authority and lead in the market, they need robust techniques and strong technical SEO.
Why is Technical SEO important for enterprise sites?
Technical SEO can help enterprises to stay ahead of their competitors. If the pages load slowly and are unresponsive, there are chances that the users will not visit their page. In enterprise sites, there are so many pages. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to prioritize technical elements.
If there are no technical faults, the search crawlers are likely to prioritize that website.
Local searches are growing these days significantly. Many users search terms such as Restaurants near me or the best shopping places near me. However, enterprise sites have varied subdomains for their branches.
(Source : Google Images)
It becomes essential for SEO agencies and consultants to ensure that the enterprise ranks for different location-centric keywords and answers Google users’ queries, according to the location.
If a user searches for a query, the search engines will crawl the web pages based on different factors. When there are multiple pages on a site, it will get difficult for crawling if there are technical errors.
An enterprise site should be well-optimized for different search queries related to their brand. It should be fast and easy to navigate for users.
Here are some of the main reasons why technical SEO is important for enterprise sites.
1. Site speed could affect the rankings
If the website loads slowly, it is likely that the users will click back. If the users go back to the search engine, it will increase the bounce rate. The Google crawlers will automatically decrease rankings if they see users are clicking back within seconds.
The content on the website won’t make a difference if it takes a huge amount of time to load. Enterprises sites need to ensure that all the pages on the site load fast. Else, it will affect their rankings and reputation badly.
One can certainly improve the site speed and load time by optimizing different aspects. As an SEO consultant, you must ensure that the images are properly optimized, and there are not many plugins. Otherwise, it will add up to the load time and affect the rankings on search engines.
2. Broken links would affect the user experience
If you have some content written on your website that leads to another webpage, the user gets incited and clicks on that for more information.
What if the link is broken? What if the link leads to nothing? The user will be annoyed, and the user experience of your site will suffer. Therefore, it is important that you fix all the broken links.
Every site at one or the other point will have a few broken links. Enterprise sites may have a large number of broken links.
Salesforce has close to 60,000 pages on its website. What will happen if a few links are broken and lead to nothing? It will not only affect the user experience. But it will also affect the rankings.
Therefore, it is very important to fix the broken links on your website. Various tools may help you in detecting broken links.
(Source : https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/)
Agencies and SEO consultants use Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitechecker, and Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to detect all the broken links in an enterprise site.
3. Crawling errors will affect the accessibility
SEO consultants should never ignore crawling errors. If your site is crawler-unfriendly, it is likely that search engines will not even detect your webpage.
If the search engines can’t read your sitemap, they will not crawl it. The search engines will not show your website or any of your web pages. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all the pages are indexed properly.
(Source : Google Images)
Submitting an XML sitemap to all the major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo will ensure that the robot’s search engines can crawl the site.
4. Duplicate content can harm the rankings
Duplicate content is one of the technical faults that could affect the rankings. In enterprise sites, there are chances of having similar content on two of the pages.
If there is duplicate content, the search engines can penalize both the pages. To avoid these penalties, the agencies must ensure there is no duplicity of the content on any web pages.
(Source : https://www.copyscape.com)
This can be checked with the help of tools such as Copyscape and Siteliner. These tools will help in identifying similar and duplicate content on the web pages.
5. Users may leave the site because of the HTTP warnings
The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that of SSL certificates. It is very crucial to have a safe and secure website. SSL is one of the most important elements that could affect the rankings.
One must know that secure websites rank better than the unsafe websites. Therefore, it is crucial to implement an SSL certificate. The HTTP warnings may show that the site is unsafe. It may lead the users to leave the site.
(Source : Google Images)
Enterprise sites may have different subdomains for different countries. Therefore, they need to have SSL for all their counterparts and subdomains.
SEO agencies must ensure all the pages on the site are encrypted and safe with HTTPS.
6. Redirect your users properly
Many-a-times, we come across 404 errors. These are the pages that have been deleted or moved. However, the crawler has already crawled the page. If the user clicks on it, he/ she will be frustrated because of not finding the information on the webpage.
It is necessary to redirect the page properly if it has been deleted. Solve all the errors and redirect the users with 301 redirections.
When there are more than 1000 pages, it becomes even more important to redirect the users properly.
7. Mobile-friendly sites are the future
One of the technical SEO basics is that the sites should be mobile-friendly. When there are multiple pages, it is even more important to optimize the site for mobiles.
If it is an ecommerce site, it is crucial that the site should be safe and mobile-friendly. Most of the users these days are glued to their mobile phones. Therefore, the site must be optimized and mobile-friendly.
The SEO agencies and consultants must ensure that the mobile site is friendly and structured, similar to the desktop version.
How to differentiate your agency and skills from other SEO agencies – Ways to stand out
The number of marketers and SEO consultants is on the increase because of the demand. As an SEO agency or a consultant, you will have a great opportunity to work with high-level clients. The market is flooded with SEO agencies, consultants, and freelancers. We will now talk about how you can differentiate yourself and get an opportunity to work with the best clients.
Here are some of the ways you should keep in mind in order to differentiate yourself:
1. Choose a niche or an industry
There are agencies that provide services in a specific sector. For example, SEO services for the hotel industry or the travel sector. You can differentiate yourself by choosing a specific niche for your agency.
2. Approach in a unique way
How you approach the clients will make a huge difference and help you stand out from the others. Every SEO agency is offering the same set of solutions. Stand out from the others and include the key factors that set you apart. Don’t just offer a solution or talk about your services. Tell the client how you can solve the problem, or how your agency tackled it in the past.
3. Try a unique pricing
Many agencies have set prices and packages they offer. On the other hand, various agencies are offering performance-based pricing these days. That way, the clients will pay only when they get the desired results.
You can try this unconventional price. It can be risky for your agency. So, you must think twice whether you want to follow this or not.
4. Do branding for yourself
There are many agencies out there that look almost similar to each other. They follow the same template, similar names, similar logos. To stand out from the others, you must have an identity for yourself.
Pay special attention to creating your brand before you sell your services. Choose a unique name and logo for your SEO agency. Focus on building a unique identity for your SEO agency.
Again, there are no standards or a one-size-fits-all approach for SEO audits. As a consultant, you should pay special attention to the competitor and the industry you’re working in.
A technical SEO audit should be well-researched and structured. It should contain all the important information related to technical aspects. However, you should make it easy to understand for the clients’. Don’t use technical terms or jargon that are known only to the people of the industry.
Aim to highlight the loopholes and the recommendations in your SEO audit. Make it more valuable by conducting proper research and investigation. Don’t rush in making the site audit for your client. We recommend you to take the proper time and research extensively.
Technical SEO Tools every agency should have
You will need various tools to create effective SEO audits and analyze them properly. Here are some of the essential tools that every agency should have:
1. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is an effective tool that will help you in crawling the site. It will help you detect the various technical issues that the site is having.
It will detect missing page titles, errors in URLs, canonicals, and responsive codes. It will help you identify the issues with images and meta keywords.
2. Google Search Console
(Source : Google Images)
Google Search Console is another crucial tool that every SEO agency or consultant must-have. It will allow you to measure the site’s performance and will also tell you about the various technical issues. You can monitor the client’s site performance with this free tool.
3. GTMetrix Page Speed Report
Another tool that is a must-have for SEO agencies and consultants is GTMetrix Page Speed Report. The tool will give you a detailed report of the site-speed. It will help you identify the issues that are affecting the speed of the site.
One can also use Google’s Page Speed Insights to determine site speed performance. However, GTMetrix will give you a detailed and better overview of the issues that are affecting speed.
(Source : https://www.semrush.com)
SEMrush is one of the most-trusted tools when it comes to analyzing SEO audits and backlinks. It will give you detailed information about the keywords and the backlinks.
The tool will be really helpful for conducting detailed competitive analysis and reports. Know more about the competitors with the help of this tool.
It’s hard to think of any other alternative tool for Ahrefs. The tool will provide you with detailed insights regarding keywords, links, and SEO health of the site
You can analyze backlinks, broken links with the help of this tool. Use this tool for conducting audits and get insights about the SEO health of the client’s site.
How to conduct a technical SEO audit?
Now, that you know, the importance of technical SEO for enterprises. You must know how to conduct SEO audits. So, if a client approaches you, then you can easily prepare an audit report.
There are three parts of SEO audit reports, based on the different aspects of SEO:
- Technical SEO audit – crawling errors, hosting issues, sitemap errors, hosting, etc.
- Links audit: Backlinks analysis
- On-page audit – content, keywords, competitor analysis, metadata, image optimization, etc.
Let’s understand how to conduct an in-depth technical SEO audit. Here are the steps that one should follow in order to conduct a technical SEO audit.
1. Begin by crawling the site
Crawling is the basis of the technical audit, and every technical SEO audit must begin with crawling the website. One can use various tools for crawling the site.
Here are the tools that can be used for crawling:
The above tools can be used to fulfill the purpose of crawling.
When you crawl the site, you will get information about broken links, duplicate content, excess redirects, image issues, site’s performance, and unlinked pages. Therefore, you will understand the various errors that are affecting the site’s performance.
This will give you a brief idea of the factors that you’d need to work upon. You can highlight all these errors in the technical SEO audit report.
2. Check if there are different browsable versions of the website
If the website has multiple versions, it will negatively impact the search engine rankings.
If the client was using the HTTP version before and has switched to HTTPS, this type of error may come. Therefore, it is crucial to check the number of browsable versions of the visible website on the search engines.
This type of error can also occur when there are different mobile and desktop versions. The search engines will get confused about the version that must be shown or which version is the correct one.
It can negatively impact your rankings. Ensure that there is only a version of the website and make sure that the client’s websites are using the HTTPS version.
3. Check the sitemap of the client’s website
Sitemaps play a crucial role when it comes to crawling the website. You must check that the client’s website doesn’t have any errors in it. Otherwise, it would affect the crawling and will drastically affect the search rankings.
Enterprise sites have multiple pages. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the site’s sitemap is free from all the errors.
(Source : Google Images)
One must remove blocked URLs and redirects them from the sitemap. If they are not removed, the search engine will not crawl it.
It is likely that the enterprise site may have subdomains. If your client has different subdomains, then you must ensure they are included in the sitemap. You may add rel = “alternate’” tag to the site’s sitemap to include different mobile and desktop subdomains.
4. Test the speed of the client’s site
As mentioned above, the site speed could affect the overall performance and the ranking of the site. You must conduct a site speed test.
If the client’s site has slow load-time, then you’d have to address this issue.
There are various factors that could affect the speed performance of the site. Here are some of the issues that you must analyze:
- High definition and large size images
- Embedded videos
- Plugins and widgets that the site is using
- Repetitive script
- The theme of the site
(Source : Google Images)
You can use Google Page Speed Insights to test the speed performance of the site. The probability of bounce rate increases with an increase in the load-time. Suppose the load time is more than 5%, the bounce rate probability increases and may go up to 90%.
It is crucial to resolve the site errors, especially when you are dealing with the technical SEO for an enterprise. These sites have their own credibility and brand name attached to it.
If there are certain issues and faults with the speed or anything else, it could affect that client’s overall image.
When preparing your audit report, you must check these factors and look out to resolve this.
5. Check internal as well as external links
After you have tested the speed, you must analyze internal as well as external links of the client’s site. You must check orphan pages, broken links, and click depth.
(Source : Google Images)
Orphan pages are those web pages that are not linked with any other page of the client’s website. To check the orphan pages, you can use the Website Auditor tool. It will help you find all the orphan pages, and you can address the issue with ease.
The number of clicks it takes to reach a specific page if you have started from the homepage is the click-depth. It must be as minimum as possible. It should not be more than 3. This can also be analyzed with the Website Auditor Tool.
6. Check for the common HTTPS issues
You must ensure that all the pages, redirects refer to HTTPS pages. The mixed content error could occur when the other resources on the site load with an insecure or HTTP connection over a secured HTTPS version site.
If such errors exist, then those pages will not load properly. The browser will prevent these from loading. It would affect the security and the crawl ability of the site. Therefore, when analyzing technical SEO audits, you must check these factors.
7. Check the analytics
You must check whether the analytics code is installed correctly or not. If there are some errors in it, you will have to fix it at the earliest.
(Source : Google Images)
Google Analytics will report correct data only when the code is placed correctly, that is, above the header of each page.
After this, go to Google and type “site: domain name of the client’s website”. It would reflect the number of pages that are visible or are getting crawled.
Compare the data from these search results. The number of pages shown here must be similar to your metric data.
If the number differs, it is likely that some of your pages are not properly crawled. You will have to check what are the errors that are arising on those pages.
8. Perform backlink audit
Backlinks play a crucial part and affect the search engine rankings. Search engines consider backlinks as an important factor for determining your rankings. If a site has more backlinks, search engines will consider your site useful and relevant.
You should perform a backlink audit for the client to understand and find out about their site’s backlinks.
(Source : https://neilpatel.com/backlinks/)
You can check the backlinks using tools such as Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. These tools will provide you information about the backlinks.
You can conduct a competitor analysis using these tools and see the keywords competitors are ranking for. You can compare a client’s site with the competitor’s and create your own strategy.
Check these factors and begin your technical SEO audit.
Live review of completed audit – Technical SEO Audit Scorecard
After you have conducted a site audit, you can open the template SEO audit scorecard. There are tables based on different technical elements that may affect the technical SEO. Fill in the details based on the information you have gathered in the site audit.
You will need information for the different inspection elements that have been mentioned in the template. The different inspection elements include URL issues, Sitemaps, page speed, mobile server errors, and other technical elements. Basically, it covers all the technical elements that we have discussed so far.
You will have to check these parameters to create your Technical SEO Audit Scorecard.
All these parameters and elements can be analyzed using the various tools mentioned above. The tools will help you identify the performance of respective elements.
After you have gathered all the information, you can start filling in the details in order to complete your report. The score for each parameter has been mentioned in the scorecard. When you open the scorecard, you will get a better analysis of the same.
It will also help you understand the key areas where the client is lacking and where you need to work. Use the scorecard for analyzing the client’s site and create a robust SEO strategy for your client.
Machine Learning and SEO
With the coming of machine learning and AI, Google’s algorithm has changed in terms of ranking efforts. Google rolled out Rankbrain that has improved the search results scenario. It is now more dynamic than ever.
You can use it to improve your SEO and break down the data.
A look at Dataiku and its uses for Enterprise SEO
For Enterprise sites, SEO can be very tricky. They will have a sheer volume of data to analyze and manipulate. However, Dataiku’s OnCrawl SEO plugin will make the task easier for you to analyze.
(Source : https://www.dataiku.com/product/plugins/oncrawl/)
The plugin will provide complete access to all your SEO data. Dataiku allows non-coders to extract information and identify content for real-time indexing as well. It is an efficient tool that will allow you to analyze the performance of your competitors in real-time.
It is a crucial tool for all the data analysts as they can easily prepare and explore structured and unstructured data. It can be referred to as the hub for enterprise analytics.
Enterprise sites have a huge set of target audiences from different locations. It will be tricky for analysts to analyze the data. However, with the coming of Dataiku, the task of analyzing the data has become much easier. The advanced tool can be used for analyzing the data and identifying different clusters.
Various brands fail to execute Technical SEO and Enterprise Technical SEO properly. When an enterprise fails to execute it effectively, it can risk their reputation in the industry. Enterprises have their own brand dominance and power attached to it. If they fail to maintain it digitally, they will lose out on their customers.
By applying technical SEO effectively, enterprises can maintain their image and credibility. Many brands perform well in terms of content and building backlinks. However, a minor technical failure could adversely affect the performance and search rankings.
As an SEO consultant, you must pay special attention to your client’s site’s technical aspects. Conduct thorough research and audit before starting on building your strategy for your client.
Do you know how your website is performing and which sections of your website are driving traffic? Are you aware of the contribution that your website is making to the fulfilment of your business goals? To know the answer to these questions, you will have to understand the performance of your website.
The content that you put up on your website should be able to do justice to your business objectives. To know how your website is performing and is being perceived by the internet, you will have to conduct a website quality audit. For people who are unaware of what a website quality audit is, it is checking the health of the website.
You make continuous changes to your website through content change and updates to adhere to the requirement of the audience. Maintaining the quality of your website with each of these changes is extremely important. You also need to see that the SEO strategies you are using are working and driving traffic.
For a better understanding of website quality audit and why you need it, you will first have to understand what website quality is. In this module, you will learn about the importance of website quality audit and what it does for your website. You will also get a clear understanding of the process that you need to follow for a successful website quality audit.
What is Website Quality?
Website quality is the health of your website and where it is placed in the search engine rankings. When people try to find your website or search for keywords related to your website, it is displayed in the search results. If your website delivers high-quality content, only then will the rankings of your results be high.
If your website is ranked well, then it will be displayed in the top search results. This, in turn, brings traffic into your website. Your website will only be considered to be of high quality if it follows the guidelines of the webmaster.
The content that is uploaded has to be relevant according to the requirement of the audience. Once you upload your content on to your website, it is checked based on certain parameters, whether it meets the quality that is required. If not, then you may not find your website on the top results.
How do you find out whether the quality of your website is high or not? You will have to ensure that you do a proper quality check and upload only those contents which are good. Without that, your website will not receive the traction that you wish for.
To maintain the quality of your website, you will have to follow a proper structure and also conduct a thorough analysis. This analysis will let you know the changes that your website requires to fulfill the quality maintenance criteria.
How Can Your Organic Performance Be Affected By Website Quality?
Despite having a strong marketing strategy, your brand may be unknown to many people if it is not present among the top search engine rankings. The audience will not know about the existence of your brand, and this will not generate traffic to your website.
In the current digital marketing era, people must be able to find your website online. For this, you have to ensure that the search engine ranking is quite high. The possibility of this arises only if you have a high-quality website. Based on the service or product that you are delivering, you will have to upload content that aligns with the audience’s needs.
The content should be keyword based so that people can find your website when they search for that particular keyword. Along with the content, the structure of the page should also be up to the mark. If you are unable to follow the proper guidelines of a good quality website, then Google will lower your search engine ranking.
The success of your website and subsequently, the business depends mostly on organic traffic. If you have low performing content, then people will not stay on your website even if they find it. But the major chances are your website will not be discovered by your target audience in case of non-performing data inputs.
Factors That Affect Website Quality
A high-quality website is necessary to ensure traffic, increase ranking, and create brand value. There are certain factors that you have to keep in mind when you are developing your brand website. These factors affect the quality of your website.
When people visit your website, they should not have to spend a long duration to reach their desired information. The website should be easily accessible to the audience. This ensures return visits and also increases the value of your website.
The content that you upload on your website should be factually accurate. Any error in the information will break the trust of the audience and also diminish your quality. Moreover, factually incorrect data will lower your search engine rankings as well.
When you develop a website, you need to give it the utmost importance. The content of the website should be uploaded on time. Your website needs to be active so that quality and performance increases.
Putting up relevant content is a must for you to create high-quality web pages. The content that you include in your website should be aligned with the kind of service or product that you wish to deliver to your audience. Moreover, it should also meet the needs of the target audience.
What Is Website Quality Audit?
To establish a strong online presence, you need to develop a high-quality website. We have covered what website quality is and the factors that affect the quality of your website. Now we will learn about website quality audits. The word audit means an inspection. Hence, website quality audit means analysis or inspection of the quality of your website.
If you are worried about your site not generating enough organic traffic, then you may have to conduct a website audit. This audit will determine the drawbacks and problems of your website. Whether it is your structure, content, or even functionality, you will be able to find out the pain points through an audit.
Not only that, but you will also be able to determine the areas that have the potential to provide you with better opportunities. The kind of results that you will derive from the website quality audit will depend on the size of your organization.
If you have just established a new website, then your website audit will determine the problem areas. Through this, you can make the necessary changes that will help you to gain more leads through organic marketing.
On the other hand, if you are a well-developed enterprise, then you will be able to derive both the positive and negative aspects of your websites. This will help you to find out the threats and opportunities that you can face through certain changes.
Why Do You Need Website Quality Audit?
Through a website audit, you can find out the shortcomings of your website. When you develop the content for your website, there may be certain errors which are becoming a barrier for you to increase your rankings. These errors will be found out when the audit is conducted.
The audit will also find out if there are any broken links or duplication of content. These issues need to be addressed so that the website quality is enhanced. The loading time and speed of the website is also checked in this audit.
The blogs or articles that you add to your website will play a big role in the traffic generation for your site. You will have to ensure that the content is correct and relevant to the audience. The audit will check for any factual misinterpretation or irrelevancy based on the keywords that are mostly used by the audience.
Through the website quality audit, you can change the face of your site and generate more traction. If you have a healthy website, then the search engine ranking will also increase. This means that when people search for products, services, or keywords related to you, they will be able to view your website in the top results.
Hence, website quality audit contributes to the growth and betterment of your website and your brand.
What Does Website Quality Audit Do?
When you initiate the website quality audit, you will have to first crawl the pages of your website. You can use different applications such as DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, or SiteBulb for this step. After this, the SEO data will be crosswalked for each of the web pages.
(Source : https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/)
The content of your webpage will be analyzed for any duplicity, and the ranking of the keywords will be checked. The performance level of each of your web pages will be determined through the audit process. Once this is done, you will be able to understand how valuable each of your web pages is.
When you are finished with the website audit, you can decide what steps to take for each of the problems detected. You can get rid of the pages that are of no value to your website. These pages are the ones that are responsible for the low search engine rank of your website.
You can add different SEO directives to your website and also carry out many other SEO actions. The website audit will present you with a report of the areas that you need to rectify to change your online presence.
Once you are done with your website quality audit, you will have a fast performing website that will consist of content that can meet the needs of the audience.
What Inputs Do You Need To Conduct Website Quality Audit?
All the URLs that are present on your website will have to be reviewed as well as analyzed with the use of any of the above-mentioned applications. Through an XML Sitemap, you will be able to determine the URLs that are present for crawling. There may be multiple sitemaps, and this would depend on the structure of your website.
(Source : Google Images)
The backlinks data needs to be checked with the help of Ahrefs. Ahrefs is a tool that will help you determine the number of people who are visiting or linking your website. This is necessary to understand since links play a major role in the ranking of your website.
(Source : https://ahrefs.com/rank-tracker)
Next, you will have to use SEMRush to determine the rankings of the keywords that are present on your website. This will tell you which keyword is most popular in your content. You will also be able to determine the ranking of that particular keyword and how many times it has been searched by the audience.
(Source : semrush.com)
One of the essential inputs of the website quality audit is the Google Analytics data. This helps determine the organic traffic that you have generated over a particular period. This traffic will be calculated in terms of visits, sales, conversions, and traffic lost.
Lastly, through a Google search audit, you will receive data about the SERP that has occurred in a given time frame along with Google clicks you have received.
What Will You Derive From Website Quality Audit?
Website quality audit provides a consolidated report of all the blank spaces present on your website. This means that you will not have to go through different reports to find out the necessary information. Through the use of different tools, you will be produced with certain valuable insights that will help you in making important changes to your website.
The report will have different classifications, which will help you understand the kind of issue that each web page or content is facing. Once you classify the web pages into different types, it will be easier for you to take the necessary actions.
This report can be used for many different purposes. Making changes on the website is not the only reason that you need to conduct the audit. It is beneficial to go through the website quality audit every few years to determine the current position of your website.
You can use the report to build a successful SEO strategy for your website. The results delivered will be classified according to the market and SEO requirements. This means that any changes you make to the website will bring you one step closer to a better search engine ranking.
The output that you receive from this audit needs to be analyzed correctly to get the desired changes according to the digital market demands.
How Do You Build A Website Quality Audit Report?
Six main SEO sources are used through which you can build the audit report. Creating a proper audit report is the first step to a successful website quality audit. To start, you need to find the sitemap of your website. If there are no sitemaps, then you need to create it. In case there are multiple sitemaps, all of them need to be included in the report.
Next, you will have to import the data of your site using any SEO tool such as Screaming Frog. Here you will be able to get information about the URLs that are present on your website. Along with this, you will import the metas, files uploaded, the word count of each web page, and canonical tags.
After the site data is imported, you will need to use Ahrefs to get data about the backlinks of your website. These backlinks will only be on the followed pages. Here you will be able to know the links that are related to your website and the particular web pages it points to.
The next part of the report will consist of using the SEMRush tool, which will find out the rankings of the keywords present in your website. The report will also mention the web pages on which these keywords are present.
(Source : Google Images)
Google Analytics is used to derive data related to traffic, sales, and conversions aligned with your website. This data is based only on the organic performance of your website. Lastly, you will have to pull data through the Google Search Console. Here your report will include the SERP impressions derived from Google clicks.
How Do You Clean The Website Quality Audit Report?
Once you have used all the necessary tools, you will be presented with a complete report comprising different fields. Some of these are unnecessary and would not be required to continue your analysis. Whether you are the one doing the analysis or you are taking the help of professionals, you need to get rid of the unnecessary data.
Cleaning the report would consist of deleting the formulas that are present in the data. When you do so, you will be left with only important information related to your website. To do this, you can copy the complete report and paste special on a new tab of the excel sheet and click on values only.
After this, you can delete the other tabs manually, as you will not require those anymore. For a better-looking report, you can format the rows and columns with different colours to emphasize the different categories.
Different Category Types Present In the Report
After you have cleared your audit report, you can segment it using different kinds of category tags. These category tags will lead you to analyze the information in a disciplined manner. You can follow each tag and then analyze it and move on to the next.
This way, neither will you leave any page by mistake, but you will also be able to address the problems of the pages properly depending on their type. Moreover, you can compare two different web pages with the same tag. The same pages will have the same objectives, and this will give you accurate results.
Here eight kinds of category types have been mentioned. You can use many more category tags depending on the results that you have derived from the audit.
- Product Page – Just like the name suggests, this type is only applicable for sites which are selling products to their audience. It just means that if you are an e-commerce website, then you will require this tag.
- Product Category – Just like the ‘Product’ tag, this is also used only for e-commerce websites. This section will consist of the different types or categories of products you sell on your website.
- Local Lander – This category is for the local landing pages of the website. If your organization is based in different locations, then you will have multiple landing pages for each of these locations. If the organization operates only in one location, then the local lander category would be applied to the home page.
- Lead Generation – The web pages that would fall under this category are aimed towards generating leads. They are mostly similar to the landing pages or the Local Lander category. The only difference is that the lead generation category is given to the pages that focus on national audiences rather than local.
- Blog Post – Assigning this category is very simple as you will only have to focus on the web pages or sites that have blog content, articles, or news-related items. These can be a series of web pages present on your website.
- Blog Category – This tag mostly applies to websites with different blog sections. If you have a huge number of content that is categorized into different sections or themes, then you can use this tag for those blog types.
- Guide or Resource – These are web pages that provide in-depth content related to any topic. They are mostly stand-alone pages and are not connected to any other web page or section.
- Site Info – This tag can be applied to many different kinds of web pages such as shipping, terms, and conditions, cart, about page, FAQs, etc. These pages are a must-have to complete any website and may or may not contain SEO material.
To assign these tags, you will have to create another column with the title of Category Type. This process may be time-consuming but is essential for a well-structured audit report. You will have to check each URL that is present in the report and assign them the necessary category tags.
Different Types of URL Actions in the Website Quality Audit Report
After you have decided on the different categories that these URLs fall under, you will have to decide upon the course of action. These actions will be based on the type of category and the problem it is facing. Remember that these actions will be taken to add SEO value to your website.
Nine URL action types and their meaning have been mentioned here. These are given to provide an idea about the kind of actions that you can add to your spreadsheet. You can add your URL actions depending on the kind of problems that have been mentioned in your spreadsheet.
- Leave As Is – You will be assigning this tag to the web page where you do not wish to make any changes. It can either be a web page that fulfills the necessary standards or does not provide any SEO value to your websites such as the ‘Terms and Conditions’ page.
- Update On Page – This action will be designated to those web pages where you wish to update any information. They can be given to resource guides or even blog pages where you have to change the information based on recent findings.
- Target with Links – These are for pages that are of SEO value but have no rankings.
- 301 – These are the pages that have no importance to the website. You need to redirect them to a more relevant web page of the website to create value.
- Canonicalize – There may be certain pages that have the same type of information, but both of these pages are important for your website. In such cases, you need to determine one page which will be ranked. You will have to add this tag to that particular page.
- Block Crawl – Some web pages are important for the audience but serve no value when it comes to search engine rankings. You will have to block these pages from crawling so that it is not taken into consideration while ranking.
- No Index – Similar to Block Crawl, but specifically used for stand-alone web pages, the No Index action is used for pages that are of low quality. This is done so that you can restrict the indexing of these pages by Google.
- 404 – This action means to delete a particular page which is of no use to the website.
(Source : Google Images)
- Update – This is an SEO based action where you need to update or increase the number of keywords in the content of your website.
These URL actions will be assigned to the web pages manually. You will have to check out the category tags and analyze the web pages individually to check which action would be suitable for it. You can assign more than one URL action to each web page.
Building Action Items For The Website Quality Audit Report
Now that you have set up the URL actions for each of your web pages based on their category type, your audit report is complete. But how do you make sure that the actions are carried out properly? The audit report may be confusing to read and analyze for some people.
If you have other people on your team, then the best thing to do is to assign these actions to your team members. To do this, you will have to create another spreadsheet where you will mention the URL actions, web pages, and the actual actions that need to be taken for each of these pages.
Here you can create two columns that mention the priority of the action and the person this is assigned to. In the action tab, you can write in detail the steps that need to be taken for each of the web pages. This will create a more structured data and will be easy to work on.
You can add the links of the report spreadsheet to different action tabs if needed. Once done, you can share this spreadsheet with your team members. Set up a deadline for each action so that it is followed in a timely manner.
One important thing to remember in the final action spreadsheet is that you have to take into consideration the primary URL action. If you have more than one URL actions designated to a certain web page, then consider the first action as the final one.
Creating A Presentation Deck Of The Website Quality Audit Report
If you are an agency that is conducting the website audit for a client, then you would require to create a presentation deck. A presentation deck is basically a PowerPoint presentation, wherein, you provide a summarized version of the audit report.
Most clients are not interested in the different sections of the audit report. What matters to them is the findings and the actions that you will take to make the necessary changes. That is what will be included in your presentation.
You will have to start your presentation with a brief introduction to what website quality is along with the importance of conducting a website quality audit. Next, you will have to mention the different inputs that go into the report and the ways to analyze them.
The outputs of the report will also include the explanation of the different category tags, and the URL actions will be mentioned. This will help the client to understand the findings that you will summarize in the presentation.
Mention only those actions which need immediate attention of the client. If you have any additional insights that you wish to share with the client, you can add those as well. Do not pile up the presentation with unnecessary data. Include those which are of the utmost importance.
Finish the presentation with an action tracker that will contain information about the necessary actions that you will take. Also, include the next plan that you have set up to successfully move ahead with the campaign.