When it comes to any website, especially one based around content then something you will heavily rely on for growth in the long term is organic traffic. Even though we live in a social world, for most things Google is still one of the largest traffic drivers to your website. So today I’m going to bring you through how to do a site audit to check your site is up to scratch on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In this tutorial I’m going to show you how to get a report and then what everything means and how to fix it. I’m going to use the SemRush Free Trial (which you’ll also find in our menu) however there are plenty of other tools out there if you prefer, just search “SEO site audit” to find them or head over to Neil Patel’s website for a quick, but less extensive workup.
To start head over to SemRush and head over to the top left drop down, change this to SEO Toolkit and then scroll down the left hand menu and select Site Audit
Once you’re in here, click New Site Audit in the top right, add your domain name and let it run. Then you wait. Once that’s loaded I’ll begin to take you through each section.
Yikes! That’s a lot of warnings to fix, although I’m not too worried, 83% isn’t a bad score. Anything over 70% isn’t that bad at all, if it’s under then you really need to take a look. However I’m a perfectionist, so I want to move that closer to the 92% mark that the top 10% of all websites globally are in. So it’s time to jump into the report and see what’s wrong.
So you want to start by clicking into the issues at the top and we’ll see what each is and I’ll tell you how to fix it. I’ll go through all of mine now and how I fixed them. Hopefully this will help you.
1 incorrect page found in sitemap.xml
Basically all this is, is that I have a redirect on one of my pages so that it doesn’t show “/product/” in the url, this is in the sitemap and because it’s not a real page, I’m getting a flagged issue. Given this I’ll just head over to Yoast SEO in wordpress, or whatever tool you are using for SEO on your website and remove that link from the sitemap. Use this link to learn more about changing SiteMap content in Yoast
However I’m going to skip this for now, as I see this as a false positive as this won’t actually effect the score, if I get to 99% I’ll come back to it.
No redirect or canonical to HTTPS homepage from HTTP version
This one is a little more important as Google takes site security very seriously these days and having anything on the site switching between HTTP to HTTPS and not using my SSL cert will cause a solid knock on my results. So this one needs to be fixed.
Luckily there is a simple fix to this, head over to plugins in wordpress and install Really Simple SSL, then I just go into the plugin settings and turn on force SSL. This will also make sure that any images that are linked using HTTP or any JS files etc are also all going over a secure connection which will really help your SEO.
207 Images don’t have ALT attributes
So this alone is accounting for nearly half of my of my warnings, so this is going to take some time. This is a very simple but painstaking in terms of time as I need to manually go into each image and add a description of the image. The reason is so that the images have this for the visually impaired.
Another one that seems like a massive issue, but this one is a simple fix. The reason you are getting this is basically that the styling and script files on your website are not minified, basically compressed but it essentially removes the line breaks in the code which keeps the files smaller and therefore increases the loading time of your site.
Luckily for this particular issue I can just install a plugin to take care of this for me. In WordPress I would suggest Lightspeed Cache or Fastest Cache. Once in you simply go to their settings tab and select the Minify JS and Minify CSS settings.
In Lightspeed you will find this under Page Optimization.
72 pages don’t have meta descriptions
Another one that’s just going to take time, I need to into each post on the website and add meta descriptions, just a short description of the content, so that Google can display this and give searchers a glimpse into what the content is. If you don’t see this section on the post editor in WordPress, install Yoast.
44 pages have low text-HTML ratio
This one is a bit more complex, so here’s the explanation from SemRush that sums it up pretty well:
“Your text to HTML ratio indicates the amount of actual text you have on your webpage compared to the amount of code. This issue is triggered when your text to HTML is 10% or less.
Search engines have begun focusing on pages that contain more content. That’s why a higher text to HTML ratio means your page has a better chance of getting a good position in search results.
Less code increases your page’s load speed and also helps your rankings. It also helps search engine robots crawl your website faster.”
How to fix it: Split your webpage’s text content and code into separate files and compare their size. If the size of your code file exceeds the size of the text file, review your page’s HTML code and consider optimizing its structure and removing embedded scripts and styles.
23 pages have too much text within the title tags
This one is pretty simple, Try to rewrite your page titles to be 70 characters or less. More work to do….d’oh!
5 pages don’t have an h1 heading
This one is pretty straight forward too, just need to go into the pages that are missing a H1 tag and make sure they have one with the title of the post in it. Sorted.
4 orphaned pages in sitemaps
An orphaned page is a webpage that is not linked to internally. Including orphaned pages in your sitemap.xml files is considered to be a bad practice, as these pages will be crawled by search engines. Crawling outdated orphaned pages will waste your crawl budget. If an orphaned page in your sitemap.xml file has valuable content, we recommend that you link to it internally.
HOW TO FIX IT
Review all orphaned pages in your sitemap.xml files and do either of the following:
– If a page is no longer needed, remove it
– If a page has valuable content and brings traffic to your website, link to it from another page on your website
– If a page serves a specific need and requires no internal linking, leave it as is
Get To work
Now it’s simply time to go and implement all of these updates and make sure that every time I add new content I keep these in mind. Next week I’m going to do some more advanced SEO tweaks and we’re going to see can we get this website to over 95% putting it in the top 1% of SEO scored websites!
Any questions? Throw them in the comments below!