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Technical SEO Audit Services in Manchester

Technical SEO Audit Services

Carrying out an in-depth technical SEO audit can be quite time consuming: and yet, you want to be certain there are no snags on your website that might hamper your climb to the top of Google’s search rankings.

In our experience, websites typically can have a number of serious SEO issues that are often not visible to the regular visitor with a browser. Audit My Website is an SEO company in Manchester backed by more than a decade of SEO experience from each of our staff and is designed to pick up all the details most other SEO reports will miss.

The technical SEO audit includes all the reporting you get with our top level SEO audit with a lot of extra details and analysis to highlight some of the much smaller issues on other pages. So why is a technical SEO audit better?

  • Every page is tested to ensure it can be indexed without issues by search engines.

  • Checks for penalties caused by spam or penalisation for duplicated content

  • Validity check of the HTML and CSS (to W3C standards) to test whether every page in your site is full W3C compliant. This report includes details of any issues found relating to this on a page-by-page basis.

  • Backlink analysis – we will analyse and report on your top performing backlinks to your website, and see which in particular are passing on the most SEO benefit. This can be vital for working out the best link building strategies for your website going forwards.

  • Recommendations on the best ways to improve speed and performance for your website

  • Analysis of page titles and descriptions to ensure the optimal click-through-rate (CTR) : this report will highlight any meta descriptions and titles that can be improved to assist your SEO effort

  • Analysis of website structure to ensure your website pages and Urls are collectively offering the best benefit to your targeted keywords.

  • Test that your website has a valid SSL certificate, and that all resources are loaded over SSL to ensure your website is secured against any interceptions of communication between your visitors and website.

If you have already had a top level SEO report from us, then you already have the building blocks for good SEO, this detailed technical SEO audit report will be sure that all the smaller things across the pages of your site are also identified.

SEO Company in Manchester : Audit My Website

SEO Services in Manchester and the UK

Welcome to Audit My Website. We are a leading website audit and SEO company in Manchester. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the foundation of all online marketing. We don’t outsource to anyone; our team of in-house specialists are passionate about getting your website, and those of other British SMEs in the fittest shape to rank at the top of Google. We give you the details in plain English, and our reports are easy to follow and action. So how does this SEO service work?

The best way to ensure your website ranks at the top of Google is by ensuring it has a solid technical SEO foundation. Audit My Website offer two distinct SEO services depending on your requirement, in this post here you will find out what you get in the top level SEO audit service. But what exactly does the top level SEO audit include?

A Top Level SEO Audit Service from a Manchester SEO Company

This report gives you a high-level summary of some of the biggest SEO snags your website is currently facing. While this will not be an exhaustive list, resolving these will give you the biggest improvement in rankings for the time spent.

This is an ideal package for those unsure of how much work is needed, wishing to get the website SEO foundations right and measure how much benefit further work would offer.

  • Detection of Broken links (these are links within your site that either link to other areas of your website or to other websites that give ‘not found’ (or 404).

  • Duplicated or missing title tags or meta descriptions, or meta descriptions and title tags that are too long and risk penalties in search engines for spam

  • Errors or pages with errors (such as internal server error 500 or similar)

  • Check your website has a robots.txt and sitemap.xml that are indexable by search engines and working for your website

  • ‘Non-canonical’ problems such as having a website with www and non-www without a redirect (similarly, it’s possible to set up the website to include https or non-https. Ideally for best SEO results, you want only a single type of domain indexed, rather than multiples, with an appropriate ‘301’ redirect from any others.

  • Any errors or invalid issues with CSS styles and many of the other main technologies your website relies on

  • Page load speeds to see how rapidly your website and server perform, as these will affect your rankings in Google and give a good idea of how good the experience is for the end visitor.

  • Any security issues that have resulted from WordPress plugins or other server configurations. Sometimes you can find forum spam and similar things appearing on your website if spambots have found a way to quietly include links on your pages.

Once this SEO audit is complete, you will have the option of upgrading to the full technical SEO audit, which gets down into the forensic nitty-gritty of your SEO but typically you can expect the biggest improvement in performance for some of these quicker to resolve tasks.

Technical SEO Audit

How does the full technical SEO audit differ? Find out in our technical SEO audit page. If you are looking for an SEO company in Manchester or are interested in having an SEO audit taken for your website, get in touch today!

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How To Conduct an Effective Website Audit

Before you embark on any online marketing, it is vital to ensure your site website meets certain requirements. Otherwise it’s likely that much of the marketing benefit is wasted and you won’t get the results you need. In order to avoid wasting your marketing budget, you need to make sure your website is in a fit enough shape to begin this exercise.

So without further ado, here is a checklist you need to consider when carrying out an SEO website audit:

Meta Descriptions

These are the meta tags within the head of your websites code which guide search engines to understand the topics the page discusses. Typically, most search engines will supply this text along with a link to your website in the search results. For many potential visitors, this text may be their first glimpse of your website, which is why it’s key to get these right!

Page Content

Ideally the text within your pages should use phrases you would like to rank for – but not all will be equal. Headings will have more influence than the rest of the text. By ensuring the ideal keyword density (around 3-5% for important phrases) you can expect to get better rankings in search engines.

There is no need to highlight that content should be unique and shouldn’t be repeated neither on other websites nor on the pages of the same website.

Duplicate URLs

Each page on your website should have a single URL. If there are several URLs for one and the same page, for example /article/ and /blog/article, than the crawler can treat it as having duplicate content and lower the position of both pages.

There are several approaches to the problem. The first one would be to avoid indexing one of those pages. This can be done with the help of robots.txt or using a nofollow tag in the header.

Another way to solve the problem is to use rel=”canonical” with a link to the page you need. In such a way search engines will know which page is the primary resource and will index it.

Site Speed and Page Load Speed

The speed of your website is a very important factor. Google and other search engines care about user convenience and thus, lower the position of slow websites. Moreover, users won’t wait for too long.
It has been estimated that if it takes more than 5 seconds for a page to load, most users will close it before its content will show up.

There are several aspects as to the website speed, including the amount of graphic elements and their optimisation, hosting overload, and the speed of site code. In addition, cache and compression setting also affect site speed. There is a great Google service with the help of which you can check the site speed, notably Page Speed Insights.

Website Usability / UI Audit

How easy your site is for search engine crawlers to index is one thing, but ensuring your visitors have the best experience possible, will assist them in finding what they have come for, which in turn will help your website have the best conversion rate it can. When a user comes to your website, they should be able to intuitively understand where they need to go. Users must understand where the necessary information is placed. If speaking about landing page, which aims to sell a service or a product, the button “buy” or “order” should be found in the most convenient area.

There are many services that provide A/B split testing that will help you determine where it is more effective to place certain elements on the page. This method is focused on taking some users to an alternate version of the page. After a while, when you have enough data, you can analyse which version works better (lower bounce rate and higher percentage of sales). Thus, you can check how effective a new design is before making it the basic design of the website.

This is not a complete checklist. But if you go through all the above mentioned steps, it will definitely minimise the difficulties of promoting a website.

How A Web Audit Improves Your Business

Your companies website is the first point of contact for many of your potential customers. We see many organisations spend a great deals of time and effort on the great look and feel of a website, but this alone won’t necessarily bring traffic. For this, you really should get in touch with an online marketing or SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) specialist to arrange a website audit. A website audit review and analysis will help identify any underlying issues of structure, speed and performance, security and SEO which may be preventing your site from either (1) getting the best visibility possible or (2) ensuring the fastest page load speeds and technical reliability possible. All of these factors influence not only your rankings in search engines, but how your potential customers first experience your company online.

What is a Website Audit?

On the surface, a website audit is best thought of as a process whereby a professional reviews your website to test various factors which will determine the levels of traffic and conversions your website is able to achieve. Ultimately, it should help you increase sales and revenue by motivating site visitors to take action. During an audit, your web development professional will conduct a comprehensive review that includes:

  • Checking your existing rankings and profile within the search engines
  • Measuring existing visitor levels of traffic to your site
  • Analysing your conversion rates
  • Ensuring the companies brands are reflected accurately
  • Testing the load speed of pages and the website
  • Ensuring the Url structure is optimal, and easy for search engines to index

The objective of a website audit such as this, is to analyse every important aspect and devise a list of recommendations that will help ensure your company enjoys optimal performance in rankings and visibility terms, but also that it has the best chances of converting visitors into customers!

Why a Website Audit is Beneficial To Your Business

One hidden benefit of employing a third party to audit your webite is they can do so independently and from a customer perspective; rather than ‘not being able to see the wood for the trees’ scenario we often notice with many website owners.

But by far the most important benefit to your company of having a website audit carried out is the impact on your companies revenue. We see a lot of business run websites with issues that have gone undetected for a long time. While they might seem small in some cases, the ongoing, cumulative total of lost revenue your company has missed out on can mount up. It is also vital to ensure your website is fully future-proofed and will last and grow with your business as required.

10 Reasons SMEs Should Hire an SEO Agency

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation and includes all the factors that can influence search engines to rank a website higher in the listings for particular keywords. More recently, SEO and marketing are inseparable concepts, indeed even the phrase ‘digital marketing’ has become somewhat redundant in favour of considering simply ‘marketing’ within the context of the web. This means that you need it in order to make your business more profitable and successful.

Most industries on the web will now face some pretty stiff competition. Under these conditions, we are always surprised how many business owners are happy to just keep their head above the water, but this is definitely not the key to success.

The real question here is how you can you make a noticeable difference in being successful if you have a small business (SME)? Most UK businesses are SMEs and we feel it’s important we help answer these questions before you consider the one thing we have all thought about from time to time: do you hire an SEO agency?

1. SEO is time consuming

SEO has grown up over a number of years, there are now quite a range of technical terms and concepts that might seem a lot to take in at first. While you may find some good advice online, often further reading will reveal alternative views. We often see business owners underestimate both the level of complexity of knowledge required to do good SEO and find they lack the time to research these topics in enough detail to do it properly. Whould it not be cheaper to leave it to the people who do this each day?

2. Poor SEO costs your business

If you build an SEO strategy that doesn’t work, it will not only cost you any business lost as a result, but may also make it harder to get the right kind of SEO you need to bring the right kind of business. Even low-cost SEO software tools are pricey, and they cannot do the job of an SEO expert. Even with the right tools, you may struggle to find the strategy to use them to optimal effectiveness on your own.

3. SEO is not ‘one size fits all’

There are many ways to achieve results in SEO, each website and industry will be slightly different. As a result, there is no single set methodology that will satisfy all websites. A successful campaign needs some creative marketing thinking, backed by SEO experience.

4. The algorithms of search engines are forever changing

If an algorithm is updated, this means that, most probably, some of the ranking factors have changed. This happens very often. An SEO agency will always be aware of these updates, and they will change the strategies and techniques according to every new update. Keeping up with all the updates and knowing how to improve your strategy every time is impossible if you are not an SEO expert, so don’t even think to try it.

5. SEO firms use professional analytics

SEO software and tools are crucial for understanding what are the suitable strategies for your website. You have to know what works and what does not work for you in order to improve your SEO tactics. Professional SEO analytics are expensive and hard to use; that’s why you should think about hiring an SEO firm.

6. SEO experience is irreplaceable

No matter how hard you try to do quality research and improve your SEO strategy, you will never have the experience of an SEO agency. This experience is vital for providing successful SEO tactics and integrating your business into the search engine systems.

7. SEO agencies provide you quality competitor analysis

Competitor analysis is very important for the success of your business and for creating the best strategies. Keep in mind that an SEO agency has a lot of experience and it knows what worked in the case of other businesses in your field and what didn’t. Moreover, they have a complete image of the area of your small business, and they know who your competitors are. If downloading your competitors’ back link profile and analyzing their topical authority sounds strange to you, you should hire an SEO firm.

8. SEO experts bring you relevant traffic that increases sales

Some SEO techniques, such as link building, may have an effect on your page ranking, but they do not improve your sales. Furthermore, link building is not such an important ranking factor nowadays, because it can be easily manipulated. On the other hand, SEO experts are able to bring you relevant traffic, which has a high conversion potential. This means that those who are accessing your website are actually interested in the services you provide, and they are potential clients.

9. SEO firms increase your credibility and popularity

Being regarded as a credible company and gaining popularity are two essential keys to success. Applying the right SEO tactics means a lot of work, but it leads to success. SEO experts can make your business well-known on social media, increase your website ranking and so on. Of course, this is the result of a lot of hard work, knowledge, and experience. As you cannot have all these in an instant, it is better for you and your business to hire an SEO firm that will do all the hard work for you.

10. Weak and Negative SEO techniques will downgrade your website rank

The Internet is packed with negative SEO techniques, such as adding invisible text, spam links, and keyword stuffing that you may be tempted to try if you see that other strategies do not work. Even though all these can increase your page rank on the short term, they are very dangerous on the long term. Search engines will penalize you and your website rank will be downgraded. Then, it will be much harder to upgrade your page rank once again, so don’t even think of trying these techniques.

Audit My Website are SEO specialists able to perform a range of SEO audits that include backlink checking, content analysis, competitor analysis and overall SEO health. If you have any questions or comments on this, why not get in touch?

What Does an SEO Audit Typically Include?

One of the biggest issues business people will often raise about their website, is not being able to see their website in the search rankings (SERPS). Perhaps understandably, many will want to find effective ways of appear at the top of the first search page in order to maximise visibility. What they often overlook, is why their website is not performing as it should. Website owners need to perform an analysis on why their site is not ranking high in search and not converting more visitors to leads and leads to customers. In others words, their site needs a check up. The successful approach to this, is to have a fully comprehensive website audit.  This should be done before you embark on any site changes as much of the feedback will guide both the user interface (UI) and also content and SEO changes that may be needed to ensure the best rankings possible for these search terms.

There are four aspects of auditing a website which include content and SEO health, code security and page load speed are among the most important. An SEO audit will give you an idea of how your website functions for the crawlers and search engines, how it appears in the search results (SERPS) and how you’re focusing your SEO efforts. Are you concentrating on impressing search engines or your visitors? Are you executing some SEO strategies poorly? For instance, are you using the right keywords or are you using them correcting or incorrectly, such as stuffing them into places where they don’t make sense.

There are over 20 areas of concern when you perform a technical assessment on your website. While there is not enough space to go through all of them here, let’s list some of the more important ones.

· Error messages – Is your site error message free or do visitors get error notices, such as 404 notices. Do they contain any temporary or permanent redirects, such as 301 or 302 notices.

· URL issues – Are they too long or contain characters that do not belong. Keyword stuffing your URL will hurt, not help when it comes to SEO. A good rule of thumb is to ask the question “Can I tell what this page is about by reading the URL”. If the answer is yes, you’re in good shape. URL’s should not contain dynamic characters (#,<,>,&,%,$, etc.). if you do use them, keep in mind that each character has a specific use and you must be sure you are using them correctly. The symbol # is ignored by search engines.

· Links – Links are the most important facet of SEO and are an article by themselves. For now, external links should be relevant to your site and authoritative by nature.

· Meta tags (Title, Description and Keywords) – Meta titles are the blue line you click on a search results page (i.e. Google Search) to be redirected to a site. They should contain the keyword, be 50 to 70 characters in length and be unique to the page. Each page should have its own title. The Description is similar. Make them unique to the page, do not stuff keywords. They should contain contact information. A geo qualifier is important, i.e. Milford CT. Use more than 140 characters but less than 156. Meta keywords are ignored by most search engines so go ahead and ignore them as well. Be sure to limit them to 8 words and less than 100 characters if you decide to use them.

· Other places to look at in a technical SEO analysis include: h1, h2 tags, alt tags, images, anchor text, robots, file size, page depth level, internal links, site maps, bot crawling, and follow, no follow.

Ensuring the technical aspects of your site are correct and up to date is important, but site content must be examined too. The first question to ask is “Is the content on this page high quality?” Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and ask “Did my questions get answered? Was it easy to find what I was looking for? Was the information valuable? Was the material well written?” Answering no to any of these questions should motivate you to make improvements.

From an SEO perspective, the keyword for each page should appear in the top headline (h1 tag). This alerts the search engines to what this page is about. Every page should have its own keyword. Put the keyword at the top of the first paragraph and then use it only when it makes sense to do so. If you have images, and you should, put the keyword in the alt tag as well as a word or two that describes the picture.

Once more visitors are seeing your site, are you maximised to get leads? For instance, how easy is it to navigate the site? Are your main value propositions appropriately displayed to get the most attention? Is your site free of distractions? For instance, you should never have a link that takes the visitor away from your site. If you do have outgoing links, make sure they open up in a new window. Are your Calls-To-Action clear and easy to follow?

Websites audits can be challenging, and we would not recommend that website owners attempt this themselves, we recommend employing a team that specialise in this service such as Audit My Website in Website Audit.

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Get More From Your Website With A Website Audit

There are websites available for all range of purposes. For some businesses, the website is their online shop front while at the same time, for others, it can be a way of promoting products, services and the brand. There are so many different roles that websites can provide; some may be for data collection and processing, others may be for showcasing products or services. But each will have their own purpose, and needs.

One way to ensure your are maximising the benefits of your website is having a regular website audit. With a website audit, like those from Audit My Website, the site is tested for speed and performance, the expert will examine all pagses, following and checking links to ensure that all visitors can successfully navigate the website without issues.  When all links are confirmed working, the website owner can be sure enough that the visitors will be able to view everything that the website has optimally. This also includes factors such as page layout, user interface (UI) and more.

A website audit will also be able to check on the number of visitors that the website has achieved for a certain timeframe along with its rankings in the search engines. This will be helpful for the website owner as they will be able to see if the marketing technique they are using is working or not. The more visitors a website obtains the more possible clients it can have as well. If the website is not getting enough visitors, then there must be something wrong with how the online marketing is done. This will be able to be corrected by the website expert.

Through site audit, the web expert can see if there are some things that should be changed within the website to make it more friendly and attractive to web browsers. Sometimes, websites have certain parts which are too difficult to understand for ordinary web browsers. If you wish to make the visitors feel at home and head on to exploring your site, you need to make the website user-friendly and easy to understand. The website can be corrected if it undergoes audit from knowledgeable web experts.

A website that has been audited will perform much better and likely attract more visitors. This is now what many website owners invest on especially if they would want to have the website itself generate more income on an ongoing basis. This service is actually being offered by many SEO companies these days. Sometimes, it is even part of the package on offer. Business websites are the ones that most use this type of service. It is important that website owners inquire on what the audit will cover so that they would know what to expect from the service. Auditing may be done on a regular basis so that the website is well-maintained and examined. This will help in getting the best from a website which can provide profits to its owners.

What Is Website Auditing? Why Choose an Audit Company?

The word ‘audit’ can have negative meaning which can be worry some. However, a website audit is very different, it’s aim is to assist companies in assessing how well their website is working and identify any improvements that need to be made.

For example, it can detect a broken link, which is a link that should the user follow it, gives 404 not found or sends the user to a page / domain that does not exist. Website audits can assess how well links are working, and point out those which need updating.

Broken links are usually a surprise for website owners, since they typically aren’t something that gets discovered except when doing a website audit. When you find broken links, you may even be able to identify any lost business as a result of the technical fault. It may not be possible to win this business back, but it certainly should be your focus to prevent it happening in future!

Website Audit: Basics Overview

Auditing a website can also identify other things besides these broken links. These can include the ease of searching for a site, the information being displayed, and navigability. Website audits target these and other vital factors which can influence both SEO and technical usability of the website. As a result of a website audit, both web designers and marketeers should have a clear picture of what improvements and issues can be addressed to ensure the website is as fit as possible. Web auditing also provides additional information on whether the site is using every feature available on the Internet. It is very easy to simply forget or not take advantage of the different areas of the Internet; especially those that have only recently begin to see an increase in popularity, such as social networking sites.

A good audit will provide a lot of information including:

a. How visitors are arriving at a site, whether it’s from online paid advertising, blogs, search engines, backlinks from press releases or articles about the company.

b. What kind of information most visitors to the site are looking for.

c. How easy that information is to find on the site.

d. How effective the site’s section labels are.

e. What keywords are getting the highest rankings in search engines.

In companies where security is paramount, auditing should be able to identify weak points in the armour and security vulnerabilities that may be exploitable but may have escaped detection.

When Should You Perform A Website Audit

Web audits are an effective process for not only identifying existing issues and snags, but also helpful when planning further development and enhancements. Audits can prove more valuable than most imagine. They can help identify very hidden issues that could have gone undetected for sometime. It’s important to note that many of the issues can have a negative impact on your SEO and rankings making it worthwhile for most companies to invest in a website audit.

Website Audits, SEO Services

Our complete all-in-one website audit includes code reviews, SEO audits and … to ensure the optimum health of your website

  • We will review your website at a code level and report on performance and content quality

  • Over 100 quality checks made and verified

  • Inform you where the issues may lie and how they can be fixed

  • Quality website audit from only £599 + VAT

  • Money back guarantee if we cannot find any issues upon your site

 Call us on 0161 300 8150 or email hello@auditmywebsite.co.uk

Website Audits in Manchester - Audit My Website, SEO Service and Performance Benchmarking
Do you offer a money back guarantee? 2017-06-16T13:46:25+00:00

Yes! If we cannot find any issues with your website, then we will refund you in full.

How much does this all cost me? 2017-06-16T13:40:03+00:00

Our standard website audit costs only £799£599 + VAT (special offer price)

We also have a range of add-ons to suit your requirements:

Expedited process: +£250. Standard turnaround time is 5-7 days, the expedited reduces this to 36 hours

Competitor ranking: +£150. We will take upto 5 competitor websites and see how you rank against them

Backlink reporting: +£150. We will perform backlink checks so you can see who is linking back to your site

Source code review (Microsoft code only): +£750. This allows us to perform low level source code review of your sites core to see if best practices have been observed.

We will provide the report as a downloadable PDF and call you to discuss in more detail. A hard copy can also be provided upon request.

Can you fix stuff as well that you identify? 2017-06-16T13:37:14+00:00

In most cases absolutely yes. We say in most cases as there are always the exceptions to this rule. We will outline all the issues we find and put forward a proposal for us to address them for you along with how urgent they are so you can prioritise accordingly.

What do you need to get started? 2017-06-16T13:37:20+00:00

You can order direct from our website and pay securely online. Alternatively we can invoice you directly, just let us know what is best.

We will need obviously the URL of the website to audit, administrative logins for the site, keyword lists you are ranking for, competitor url’s, access to source code and thats pretty much it.

Once we have cleared payment, we then can start the website audit and will be in touch within the following week to discuss the findings..

Do I really need an audit of my website? 2017-06-14T16:16:32+00:00

Answer: Highly likely.

Websites are notoriously complex animals that do need nurturing to get the most out of them. Many clients invest thousands of pounds upon their site and then expect it to sit there and work away. What they don’t realise is that search engines update their algorithms regularly, things break, technologies change, errors creep in, pages get slower and more.

Our website audit process is designed to help you identify any issues and help you develop a plan of action in order to fix them once and for all.

Your Pre-Launch Website Checks

Launching a new website is both exciting and stressful! The project is complete, you have a great new site, but there can so many things for everyone to check that it can be hard to know where to start. How can you be sure nothing gets missed and everything went as planned?

With this in mind, we have produced a basic website launch checklist. Depending on your requirements, we think it may be worth building your own website launch plan comprising a list of steps and a schedule for checking each based on what you need. Without further ado, here are our top points to check when launching a new website:

Post Development Checks

Once the core functionality of site site has been tested, it’s time to take that step back and review everything in it’s entirety. Only here do the really small things start start becoming visible.

  • Check for Broken Links: Even smallest websites will often have many Urls. Checking each can be a challenge in itself, even a few broken links can hold your website back in the search rankings and also have a negative impact on your visitor’s experience. Luckily, there are some great tools such as Link Assist’s Website Auditor that will spider the site and log any crawl errors such as broken links (4xx) or pages that give errors (5xx).  There is also a good free tool called Xenu.
  • Custom Not Found and Error Pages: Even when things don’t go according to plan once the site is launched (such as visitors following dead links, or mistyping a web addresses), you still want to give visitors the best experience possible. Having custom not found / error pages not only tidy up the look and feel of your site, they also reinforce your brand and help create a very professional experience.
  • Check Urls are search engine friendly and fully indexable: do you link to all places on the website? Are all pages either linked or included in the sitemap? Are there any pages with query strings that may be less easy for search engines to index and could those links be rewritten to look like a full Url? It’s worth checking that all your content is accessible.
  • Check your site displays properly: It’s fine having a site that is indexing and handles error pages and broken links, however if you have forgotten to check all the pages across all the main browsers and mobile devices, you may be in trouble. Open all the pages, navigate through the site and ensure everything displays as it should. You should be particularly careful when testing on mobiles and tablets, the times we have seen content completely disappear upon mobiles is untrue – check, check and check again.

SEO Checklist (Site Content & Structure)

Content and structure are hard to separate; they are like two sides to the same penny. You want to ensure your sites Url structure is optimal for SEO. In turn, this will also depend on what content you have upon those pages.

  • Keyword research and competitor research: This first vital step helps you identify your website’s target keywords and priorities. Whether you use the Google Keyword Planner Tool or any other, gathering together the different keywords by group and purpose, testing the levels of search and competition for each in turn provides the foundation for all other SEO activities.
  • Structure: Being guided by the results of the previous step, you can now take a look at your website structure and see if the pages allow a visitor flow that mirrors the purpose of keywords. It is probably best to think of these as grouped keywords, each grouping being bound to a particular section of the website.
  • Content optimised: In addition to structure, it’s important to check whether the content itself is well written and optimised. Does it read properly and convey your message back to your target audience in the way you need it to? Does it contain all the important information they will be interested in? Is it logically structured? Some people may visit your site with a very specific requirement, for this reason it’s always a good idea to break up the pages based on visitors need.
  • Check for duplicate content: Duplicate content can hurt your SEO efforts and annoyingly, detecting it can be tricky. There are some great duplicate content detection services such as Copyscape which allow you to paste in some copy, and it will help identify if this same copy is found elsewhere on the web.  Another way this can be tested is by copying a whole paragraph into the Google search bar and hit enter. Hopefully, your web page will be the only one that ranks (if it has been indexed) for this full paragraph search, if not then either you or someone else has copied the content.
  • Check your internal link strategy: Once you have your overall content and structure, you can now also review your internal links which really details the relationship between your content and structure. This should be aimed at not only giving you more links between pages in your site, but should also allow you to include more keywords within these links to help quietly promote various sections of the site for particular topics.  It should also be aimed at taking visitors directly to the information they came for. If you feel that one type of visitor may also be interested in another product or page, include a link in the content!
  • Check robots.txt and sitemap.xml: Make sure these are present and correct and that they allow search engines to fully index all the pages you need. If you have a content management system (CMS) don’t feel the need to include each individual admin link in the robots.txt file as this can also volunteer sensitive information to attackers by informing them of your admin Url structure and files.

Website Optimisation Checklist

  • Page load speed: This is a growing area of importance since Google announced they would take page load speed into account as a ranking signal for websites. Since then, there has been a bit of a mad scramble to see how many different ways websites can be made faster. Luckily, there are also some great tools to help test the speed of your pages. Pingdom have a page load speed test, and Google (via Webmaster Dashboard) also include their own testing tool, both of which can be used to work out where your site is failing.
  • Are Javascript and CSS minified and bundled? Most modern websites have a lot of Javascript and CSS resources. Loading all of these, particularly if they are spread across multiple domains can take a long time. Minifying and bundling these together can significantly reduce the time a user has to wait for the page to be fully functional when loaded.
  • Image optimisation: This often overlooked aspect of website optimisation can offer seriously big savings in terms of page load times.  There are a few things we suggest you check here:
    • Is the format of my image appropriate? For instance, JPEGs are best for ‘real images’ that include a wide variety of similar colours i.e. photographs. PNGs have more generic compression but support transparency and are typically smaller in size.
    • Is the (file) size of the image appropriate? Most image formats including JPEG have built in compression that can be finely tuned and can reduce most images by about 60 to 70% without a noticeable loss in quality when used.
    • Are the dimensions of the image suitable? This is a common one we see many websites get wrong with 60% of websites we encounter rendering ridiculously large image sizes. Ideally images should be as large as needed, but no larger than they will actually be used. If you upload an image several times bigger than the slideshow it will be used in, the users will never see the full detail the image includes and your server will still need to serve the entire (large) file.  In practice, this can often be many images, leading to some serious savings in page load times if images are optimised site-wide.

Site Monitoring

Just like launching a rocket, once launched, the biggest immediate risks appear over, and now it’s a case of staying the course and ensuring nothing unexpected happens further down the line.

Site Visitor Monitoring: It is important to have some kind of visitor tracking once your new site is launched. We recommend Google Analytics, but there are some other good free tools out there as alternatives. This kind of tracking is essential for monitoring your SEO and marketing efforts, but will also give you early warnings about some kinds of problems and usability issues visitors may encounter.

Site up-time monitoring: We would suggest that all websites have some kind of uptime and availability monitoring.  Pingdom and Uptime Robot are two good services that will send alerts if your website appears to stop responding. When a site goes offline, Google and search engines will begin gradually demoting the website from the rankings until it comes back online. This is also tricky to spot, so having early warning alert systems are great ways to keep informed of serious issues.

Split testing / conversion tracking: To help monitor your SEO and marketing efforts, it’s important to have some kind of performance reporting and monitoring in place. Along with Web Analytics such as Google Analytics (mentioned earlier), it’s possible to set up ‘goal tracking’ as part of conversion optimisation. By analysing which visitors completed an action (such as completing a purchase), you can obtain vital feedback about which areas of your SEO are working particularly well, which can then be useful when reviewing your SEO strategy.

Performance reporting: In order to measure the much longer term marketing strategies for your website, it’s important to include some kind of performance reporting. This can help guide some of your decisions on where to focus your online marketing efforts and tweaks next.

Backup and Recovery

Now the site is live, with all the tracking and monitoring it could need. What could possibly go wrong? Regardless, we recommend having some kind of backup strategy in place.

Plan your backups: How often will the website be backed up? If your website includes a content management system (CMS) it will likely need both files and SQL data backing up. How do I get access to these files. Do I have an offsite copy of my website?

We hope this guide can provide a basic wbesite launch plan template which will offered a few helpful insights into common tasks that need carrying out when launching a website. Hopefully if you follow the points in this guide, you won’t go far wrong.