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Thursday

21

Mar 2013

In my previous post about SEO Audit I had covered basic audit and technical audit including a section about Google Webmaster tools. In this post I am going to focus on the following SEO Audit topics:

1. Content Audit

  • Meta Tags
  • Heading Tags
  • Internal Linking

2. Website Structure

1. Content Audit

As most of us know content is the king of a website. Great content can drive visitors and increase your website ranking. Content about your offerings, articles and blog posts on your website are ways for your company to users. Even the recent search engine updates, given more importance to content.

Copying content can create duplication issues and your website can also be penalized by search engines. Hence, it is advisable to create fresh content for your site. Here are three simple ways to get started:

  • Understand the goals of your content i.e what information do you want your website to convey.

  • Research about your target audience. This will help you understand them better and hence write content that is more relevant to them.

  • Select the keywords that represent you business best and try to optimize your content with those keywords.

    Selecting keywords

     Places to use the keywords

    • The URL
    • The title and H1 tags
    • The first sentence or at least the first paragraph of a page
    • Sub-headings
    • Image files names and alt text
    • Meta description
    • Inlinks to related content

Here is a simple checklist for Content Audit:-

Content Audit

1.1 Meta Tags

Meta tags are HTML codes which give an overview about a page. Though not considered so important in the ranking factors of a website, meta tags helps you to customize the information about your website that appears in the results page of search engines as shown below.

 

Meta tags include meta title, meta description, and meta keywords.

Meta Title:

Title of your page should be relevant and meaningful, you can use up to 3 keywords in your title but remember not to stuff keywords which may affect you rankings.

Meta title is a title given to your page. A good title can grab the visitor’s attention. Hence always try to add keywords to your title tag, which helps search engines to crawl your website easily. The maximum characters limit for meta title is 60 to 80 characters.

Meta Description

A general description about your page, which tells search engines what your page is all about,  a good and attractive description appeals to visitors and increases your CTR (Click Through Rate). If you don’t add a meta description, search engines will be forced to take a description from the contents of your page which may or may not be appealing to the user. The maximum limit for Meta description is 140 to 160 characters. Try to include your main keywords and create a description which attracts visitors to click it. Also avoid repeating keywords.

Meta Keywords

Nowadays, search engines are not giving more preference to the meta keywords except a few of them. The maximum limit for meta keywords are 150 to 200 characters.

1.1.1 Meta Robot Tag

Meta Robot Tags are used to tell search engines about the indexing status of your website.

Some of the meta robot tags are explained below:

1.1.2 Images for Content and Alt Text

 Images for Content

  • Create an image which is related to content and attractive. Avoid using Flash and JavaScript.
  • Always try to add keywords related to an image which helps in increasing the SEO value for the image and also in receiving referral traffic from image search results.
  • Using keyword-rich words in your image file name is important for helping search engines determine relevancy.
  • Don’t copy images.

Give right anchor text for images and linking words. Here are some tools where you can get images: Stock.XCHNG istockphoto

Alt Text

The alt attribute specifies alternate text that is rendered when the image cannot be displayed, e.g. when the server is unable to load the image, the alternative text is displayed, which helps the user to get an idea about the image

1.2. Heading Tags

Heading tags are part of the HTML coding for a web page, which helps to determine the topic of a page, is it used by search engines to identify the important keywords in the page, so try to place targeted keywords in the heading tags. They are available up to 6 levels,

Set of heading tags

H1 – This heading tag has the biggest and boldest apperance

H6 – This is the smallest heading tag which is used for sub-headings or less important headings

Browsers find it easy to recognize heading tags than style sheets. Screen readers and magnifiers rely on heading tags to navigate the page; it gives an outline for your page.

1.3 Internal Linking

Internal Links are links on a page which point to another page on the same website. Internal linking helps increase the ranking power throughout the website. The more you have links linking to relevant internal pages, the easier will it be for search engines to crawl your site. Try to avoid using rich anchor text in links. It is good if you have at least two to three internal links for each page. It is good to follow, one format for the internal page extensions.

2. Website Structure

A good website structure helps you to rank well in search engines. If a website is well structured, it will be easier for search engines and users to browse the website. Here are a few simple tips that you can use to structure your website:

  • As navigation structures are read easily by search engines, try to use search engine friendly Navigation structures.
  • Avoid using Flash and JavaScript in the navigation structure as it is difficult for search engines to recognize them, instead go for HTML and CSS as it is search engine friendly.
  • Try Adding H1 heading tags for all the pages with the targeted keywords.
  • Good URL structure is required to optimize product links & category links specially for websites with shopping carts. Please don’t use JS pop-ups or iframes, as search engines cannot read from those.      

Tips for writing a good structured URL

      • Keep it simple
      • Use keywords
      • Try to use lower case characters
      • Use dashes to separate words
      • Avoid special characters like _,?, except (-) : www.example.com/web_design
        • ( _ )  – search engines spiders will only read one of words unless the user searches with underscores.
        • ( – )  – search engines spiders will read all the keywords separately or as one keyword phrase.

Website Structure of a Simple Website 

URL Structure of the Pages

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last type of audit is Competitor Site Audit. Competitor Site Audit is used to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ site. It is a very detailed topic in itself and hence I will cover it in my next blog post which will conclude the topic of SEO Audit.  Hope this post gave you a good idea about content audit and how website structure is important. Do feel free to share your feedback about my post or even ask any questions that you might have!

 

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