An audit has a pivotal role in the success of a website. Audits can diagnose a broad spectrum of design, technical, and content-related issues. It helps in determining whether your site is intuitive and fully optimized to drive more search engine traffic. Even if your site is doing well and generating high traffic and conversions, a periodic audit is a good idea to ensure that your site can reach its fullest potential.
Websites should be user-friendly, display superlative content, and load quickly. You must address SEO issues whenever they crop up, and audits help identify action points. It is critical to flag serious issues promptly before they impact your site’s SERP rankings.
We know that with time, your website will grow and may develop a few issues or complications naturally. Since your website is your mouthpiece online and reflects your brand image and credibility, regular audits will help in keeping everything in place. Today, old SEO strategies do not work anymore. Businesses do not rely on using several microsites or keyword stuffing any longer for driving traffic according to Neil Patel.
Let us explore some website audit issues that need addressing at the earliest.
Broken, Bad, and Missing Links
It is an undisputed fact that links are a vital ranking factor in the Google algorithm. There are a few types of common link issues.
Broken Links: It is particularly common in the event when you unintentionally change an URL after the post had been publishing or when an image file path modifies in CMS platforms such as WordPress.
Low-Quality Links: Any inbound link coming from third-party sites that fail to add any value to your SERP rankings or in a few instances, remarkably hurt the SERP rankings.
Missing Internal Links: You should be linking to your most important or highest-quality pages from other pages and posts on your site. This practice is called internal linking and it helps reinforce your SEO efforts.
Poor Quality or Duplicate Content
Google has for a long time maintained that content quality is their number one metric. Unfortunately, quality is an abstract concept that algorithms cannot objectively quantify. This is why the ranking algorithm relies on several other KPIs to devise its notion of quality. However, some things make your content objectively bad and need to avoid at all costs. The first is “thin” content. These are pages that don’t have enough content to justify their existence on a dedicated page. Over the years, search ranking algorithms got better at understanding thin content. While this means more pages will be flagging, it also means they are better at not flagging it if the use case is legitimate. You must still keep this in mind when you are creating your pages.
The second is duplicate content or pages which have the same or mostly the same content as each other. One of the common cases where this is in product catalogs, where the same template is to be used across multiple pages. Duplicate content is easy to identify, but not as easy to discern legitimacy, as in product pages. Another case is when you forget to remove an old version of a page and publish the same content with minor edits to a new page. You must still attempt to add descriptions or things that might set your pages apart meaningfully. Regular audits will also reveal orphan pages or old drafts that should be duly removing.
Missing or Weak Page Titles
Titles are perhaps the strongest signal you can explicitly provide on a page. They are meant to communicate key information about the content on the page and are expected to be used by users and search spiders alike. Some of the most common issues related to titles are:
Titles outright missing: Every page needs to have a title, irrespective of how self-descriptive the content is. It is considered a web development and SEO best practice, and for good reason.
Vague or generic titles: Vague titles don’t do well to describe the content of the page. They further lose ground in search rankings due to the huge number of existing links with similar generic titles.
Non-Relevant Titles: Irrelevant or poorly worded titles don’t link well to the content and are a detriment to your SEO efforts.
Length issues: If a title is too short, it will likely not be descriptive enough. On the other hand, titles that are very long might get cut off from SERPs. This is a poor choice as users will be less inclined to click on the result, and search engines may penalize the practice as well.
Misleading titles: Dishonest, misleading, click-bait titles are a bad idea and not easy to get away with anymore. Search ranking algorithms are growing wiser to attempts to game the system. If you employ these underhand tactics, you will very likely penalize.
Poorly Structured or Absent Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are important for search algorithms as well as your site’s visitors. They allow your listing to stand out on a SERP and also provide important context about the content. Unfortunately, very few webmasters remember to include the Meta description in their HTML at all. This design flaw can lead to the search listing showing only the opening sentence of your content. Just like with titles, length plays an important role here too. Very long descriptions cannot show in full on the listing and are not ideal. Similarly, a very short Meta section might not be descriptive or specific enough to catch the user’s attention.
SEO efforts cannot be ignored if you want your online business to succeed or your site to gain more visibility. These are some of the most critical issues that you must take care to avoid when indulging in your SEO efforts or designing your website in general. It is a good idea to conduct an audit of your entire site periodically, as it will let you identify more of these issues and resolve them so that your efforts get you the best results.