2What’sonthedocket?I. Why audits are importantII. Our two types of auditsIII. The categories we look at - and howwe score eachIV. The greatest content in the worldwont solve technical issuesV. The 16 audit checkpoints
3WhyauditsareimportantWithout audits, we’d be unable to:• Know what’s going on “under the hood”• Identify site strengths and weaknesses• Discover areas to focus on to optimise SEO efforts• Answer these questions, among others:• Is my site indexed?• How does Google see my site?• Why am I not ranking?• Is my content optimised?• Why is my site so slow?• Are Analytics and Webmaster Tools set up correctly?
4OurtwotypesofauditsTemplate level – Particular focus on visibility, design and global site elements that are duplicatedacross many markets. These include:• Indexation, sitemaps, 404s, server errors, as well as programmatic optimisation, URLstructure, page speed, Analytics and Webmaster Tools setup, and design (e.g. conversion points)Local level – Particular focus on links, keyword use and content in a local market. These include:• Inbound link quality and quantity, internal linking, linkable assets, targeted keywordanalysis, content to image ratio, image optimisation, PageRank and social media presenceFor this session, we’re talking primarily about the template level audit.
9I.Pagesinsearchengine’sindexesAnswers the client questions: Are my pages indexed? Why aren’t my pages indexed?Why it’s important: Helps us understand the value of your site content, as Google will only index pages it believes tobe of value. Also helps us identify duplicate content issues.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google Webmaster Tools.Also…• “Not selected” URLs indicate“site bloat” – too many URLsfor Google to crawl due toredirects, duplication, “noindex” tags, etc.• Robots.txt files can helpalleviate this issue
10II.Robots.txtAnswers the client questions: Which pages are being disallowed? Which search engines are allowed to crawl?Why it’s important: It can prevent duplicate content indexation resulting from "printer friendly" pages, user log-inpages or other information that has no value for natural search.Tools used for this checkpoint: Webmaster Tools; location of the file (e.g. www.clientsite.com/robots.txt).Also…• These are directives andaren’t guaranteed to work• Should reside in the root ofthe domain• Directories and individualpages can be disallowed• Include the XML sitemap URLon the last line
11III.SitemapsAnswers the client question: What’s the best way to ensure that search engines are aware of my site pages?Why it’s important: If search engines can’t find your pages, searchers can’t either.Tools used for this checkpoint: Webmaster Tools (to view and test); location of the file.Also…• Create separate sitemaps forvideos and images as well• Each subdomain should haveits own XML sitemap• A site can have up to 50,000links per sitemap
14V.404errorsAnswers the client question: Why can’t the web server find my page(s)?Why it’s important: Link and social equity can be lost if not dealt with properly.Tools used for this checkpoint: Webmaster Tools; manual checks of outdated/misspelled URLs.Also…• 404s can be ignored if theURLs don’t belong on the site• The 404 error page itselfshould be optimised toprovide a pleasant experiencefor search engines andespecially visitors
15VI.404errorpagesAnswers the client question: What’s this ugly 404 error page all about?Why it’s important: They should be implemented properly to avoid being indexed. Also, an optimised 404 page canimprove usability and encourage visitors to continue browsing.Tools used for this checkpoint: Manual visits of site URLs (i.e. misspellings); crawl tools like Screaming Frog.Also…• 404 error pages can includethe following: an internalsearch box, full set ofnavigation and body text thatexplains the error• A “soft” 404 is a configurationerror that generates a 200“OK” code that can confuseusers and waste crawl budget
16VII.ServererrorsAnswers the question: What’s this 500 error all about?Why it’s important: 500 errors are common and happen on the server side, not the client side (as opposed to 400errors). They’re generated by the web server and can be attributed to a variety of things, including technicalglitches, low available memory, server failure, etc.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google Webmaster Tools; Screaming Frog.Also…• 500 errors (Internal ServerErrors) and 503 errors (ServiceUnavailable) are the mostcommon and will need to befixed by the server admin
18VIII.ProgrammaticoptimisationAnswers the question: Are the important SEO copy elements on my site optimised?Why it’s important: This is obvious – you have to make your pages relevant to search engines and searchers fortargeted keywords or else the pages won’t be found.Tools used for this checkpoint: Screaming Frog; run a Moz campaign; manual site perusal.Also…• We primarily look at titletags, METAdescriptions, H1s, ALTattributes and URLs• Every site you audit will havecontent duplication issues
19IX.ImageoptimisationAnswers the client questions: Are my images optimised? Why aren’t my images showing up in Google?Why it’s important: Images have become more visible in SERPs in recent years and can be a viable source of trafficto a website if optimised.Tools used for this checkpoint: Web Developer Toolbar; Mozbar; manual site perusal.Also…• ALT attributes andimage file names shouldalways be optimised• When missing ALTattributes is a hugeissue for a site, it’s likelydue to the CMS
21X.SitearchitectureAnswers the client questions: Are my pages easy to find? Are my URLs structured correctly?Why it’s important: The more clicks it takes to get to a landing page, the higher the chance of indexation issues.Plus, URLs are more valuable to search engines and memorable by users when they contain targeted keywords.Tools used for this checkpoint: Screaming Frog; Web Developer Toolbar; diagram creators like Gliffy.Also…• URL structure should bealigned with site structure• Parameters should be avoidedGoodNot good
22XI.PagespeedAnswers the client questions: Why is my site so slow? How does a slow site affect SEO?Why it’s important: Google takes site speed into account when determining search ranking, and ifyour site is slow, users are impatient and likely to go elsewhere.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google PageSpeed Insights; Yahoo! YSlow.Also…• Common findings includeleveraging browser caching(local caching of previouslydownloaded resources);image optimisation(compression, use of PNGinstead of GIF)
24XII.WebmasterToolssetupAnswers the client questions: How does Google view my site? How well is my site indexed? Where doI upload the XML sitemap? How do I target a specific country?Why it’s important: Without access, we’re unable to diagnose problems, share site information with Google, etc.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google Webmaster Tools.The clientprovides access!
25XIII.GoogleAnalyticssetupAnswers the client questions: Where’s my traffic coming from? Which keywords are driving traffic? Are we reachingour SEO goals? What are people searching for in our site search?Why it’s important: There are so many reasons! Without analytics, we’re unable to track key performance areas.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google Analytics; manual checking of HTML to see tracking code.Also…• Keyword information isn’t asuseful as it once was due toprivacy issues and userssearching via HTTPS• You can link an analyticsaccount with GWT
27XIV.SitelinksinSERPsAnswers the client questions: How do I get sitelinks to show up in Google? Can I add and delete sitelinks?Why it’s important: They give the search result more real estate and provide searchers with more options.Tools used for this checkpoint: Query the search engines to see results; Google Webmaster Tools.Also…• Site owners can’t choosesitelinks – they can only ask forthem to be demoted in GWT• Sitelinks should of coursehighlight the most importantsections of a site
29XVI.ConversionrateAnswers the client questions: Are my visitors converting? Why aren’t my visitors converting?Is the buying path clear on my site or a jumbled mess?Why it’s important: Traffic is great, but if visitors don’t convert, nobody wins. Specific KPIs won’tbe met if conversion numbers are low.Tools used for this checkpoint: Google Analytics; KPIs; manual perusal of the site.Also…• Keep an eye on “buy now” and“where to buy” buttons – arethey easy to locate?• Ask yourself this: What is thispage trying to accomplish?