Most time people hear ‘audit’, a tiny shiver goes down their spine and they shudder at the thought of tax season – but relax! A bloggersSEO Site Audit is nowhere near as painful as you might think, and can be done in only 20 minutes!
You might be wondering why on EARTH we even do audits! If you’ve done everything you’ve meant to, why do you need to check in? Shouldn’t it all be running fine by itself, exactly how you left it? Sadly, that’s not always the case.
SEO Audits act as a health check for your blog – they let you assess its current performance, look for areas for improvement (both in rankings AND user experience) and make sure Google is getting everything it needs from your content.
To introduce you to the world of SEO Audits (and prep you for your own!) below are our four top reasons why a quick audit is one of THE best things you can do for your blog.
Indexing: what does Google think of you?
Your Google index is Google’s encyclopedia of your site – it contains everything they know about you (the good, the bad AND the ugly) and acts as a directory for your content. Pages stored in your index appear in search results for keywords that Google has determined are relevant to your content. Your index is built from the information you have directly shared with Google (via sitemaps), and information it has found itself.
There are a number of ways you can control and tidy what information Google presents about your brand, and regularly checking your index ensures your site is healthy. Putting your best foot forward gives Google the BEST opinion of your site, without noise or factors that may damage your reputation – and rankings!
Common blog indexing problems:
- Google isn’t indexing your site
- Only a portion of your pages & posts are being indexed
- Odd pages are appearing in your index, like hacked pages
- Extra pages that lead to bad user experience are being indexed
LUCKILY, these can all be easily identified and removed in just a few steps.
Sitemaps: mapping your content
If your index is something like a phonebook, your sitemap is like a roadmap! Google’s search engine spiders continually crawl the web, assessing and finding content. The thing is, they don’t know where to look unless they’re told! They don’t randomly enter URL combinations hoping to stumble on an active site. Instead, it’s more of a chain reaction. Google is directed to one site via a submitted sitemap, and it will do what it needs to do there. If it happens to find URLs leading to external pages, it will visit those and see what it can find.
However, Google doesn’t want to spend the time searching and hoping they find everything on the web. Eventually, they give up – your ‘crawl’ budgets determine just how many pages a Google bot will look at, each time it visits your site. Instead of waiting for the Googlebot to do its thing, you can get in their good books by submitting a list of all URLs on your site straight to them. PLUS, this allows you to control what information is stored in your index – it’s a win-win!
Web crawlers: emulate search robots
The next step is making sure Google has a smooth experience when reading and attempting to access any and all of your content. Search Engine Spiders emulate the experience Google has when visiting your site, and allows you to identify and fix any potential hiccups BEFORE Google gets to them!
Running software over your site allows you to pinpoint areas for improvement, such as:
- Partial or incomplete HTTPS migrations
- Oversized images
- Broken links & redirects
- Missing or duplicate headings
- Incorrect heading structure
A triple threat, this allows you to ensure Google can properly access & index all your content (and gives you the rankings you deserve!), ensures your human readers have a smooth and user-friendly time on your site AND lets you check in on your index!
Site Speed: too slow, your audience will go!
The time it takes each page on your blog to load has a SIGNIFICANT impact on both your readers and Google’s opinion of your site. Slow sites rank poorly and see high user drop off, with low interaction and conversions.
Each and every element on your blog – your posts & pages, your images, plugins and downloads – all impact the time your blog takes to load. Ensuring each area of your site is fully optimised allows your blog to perform at its best, meaning your readers see their favourite content as soon as they want it!
Ready to put your blog on the straight and narrow? Take our Site Audit short course NOW!