When it comes to ranking on Google you need to send the right signals, and give it all the information it needs to recognize your site.
In the past websites would rank because there was less competition and Google crawled sites quickly, looking for keywords.
If you had enough of the right keywords then you could manipulate the search and move your way to the top.
Now, with more and more people publishing content every day the landscape is becoming more competitive. However it’s not more competitive for people publishing good content. If you’re diligent, do your research, write a relevant article and help a user answer a question then you will rank on google.
There’s always room for good content at the top. But there’s no more room for mediocre content published for the sake of “beating the algorithm” because most people are doing that.
With this article I hope to give you actionable steps for you to understand everything that goes into a complete content audit.
What’s the Goal of a Content Audit?
So each one of the steps builds on the next. As you start analyzing one step it only makes sense to look at the next step as a progression.
If you go through your entire site with a fine tooth comb then by the end you’ll have a website that google loves but more importantly your potential clients will easily find.
Here’s the bottom line…
As smart as we think Google, Bing, Yahoo or any search platform is, if we feed it bad information, it’s not going to know good information about our site.
So let’s quickly go over each aspect of the website audit one at a time…
Step 1: Start Your Content Audit
List your pages and posts:
You want to make a list of every page and post then see how many words are on each.
There’s a manual way to do this or you can use software like:
- Screaming Frog
- SEO Power Suite
Here’s an example from a site I work with…
Here’s the rules you should follow for every website:
- Is the page relevant for the user?
- Does the content need to be on it’s own page?
- Can it be combined with another page?
- Each page should have a minimum of 800 words (except contact pages)
So now the goal is to analyze each page and see why there are pages with low word count.
Sometimes pages need a low word count because of the purpose of the page. But other times, pages have a low word count because it’s an old page that needs to be updated.
All you need right now is to make a list of all the pages, their word counts and to answer the questions above for each page that has less than 800 words.
Optimize your photos
Most websites don’t pay much attention to photos but there’s a big opportunity missed here.
When search engines look at your website they use your images to get an idea of what your page is about. And people can find your website through your images so your website is more relevant if you accurately describe your photos.
If you don’t optimize your content for search you’re starting at a disadvantage and not allowing the reader to ever get to your article.
The goal here is to make a list of every single image on the website to see if the images are optimized for search. You want to track the file name, alt text and image size. Those 3 things are what we’re looking at to fix.
Steps to take:
- Start with your most important pages. Download your image files.
- Rename your photos with relevant file names.
- Optimize your photos file size.
Use https://kraken.io/ and use the free web interface and compress your image sizes. Sites with large heavy images load slow and increase the size of your website. Search engines don’t want their users on slow websites.
- Now upload the photo to your website. Notice the file name is relevant, the title of the image is relevant and now the alternative text is relevant. The Alt Text is for 2 reasons, it’s for people that can’t see a website but have a reader and for google to know exactly what’s on your page so they don’t have to take a wild guess.
I honestly believe that with just doing this first step people will find your website more often and your rankings will increase.
It seems tedious to even think about these things. But once you do it a few times, it’s just good business practice for a healthy website.
Step 2: Missing Information to Rank Properly
If you have a WordPress site, you need Yoast SEO. It’s a simple little tool that helps you add important information to your pages.
Tool you’ll need: Yoast SEO
There are 3 areas of your content that you need to optimize to show up in search:
- Meta Description
- Improper URL Structure (mysite.com/proper-relevant-keyword)
Most people are not aware of how important these areas of their websites are. Your headline is what shows up in searches and convinces people to click on to your website.
Here’s what you need to look for:
Every page should have a full title no more than 60 characters because that’s what will be displayed in search. The title should also be optimized with your focus keyword. Then you want to write a complete meta description anywhere between 120 – 158 characters.
Notice that in this example there’s a headline and then it says “please provide meta descriptions”. If you don’t provide one then google will select one for you in the search results. It might not be relevant and you can lose visitors.
There’s a strong connection between URL length and ranking on google. The URL of a page matters.
Your website URL is the first thing someone sees when they decide to click on your link and it’s the first thing search engines use to figure out what your webpage is about. That’s why short URL’s are more effective at ranking higher.
For example: https://mysite.com/proper-relevant-keyword.
Again, make a list of every page title, URL and meta description. You want to see how many are missing and which ones need to be updated.
With optimized title tags, descriptions and URL’s you can guarantee that google will have the best information available to determine if your content is relevant or not.
Step 3: Start Looking at Website Links and Relevancy
What websites you link to on your own website matters. Links give search crawlers context into what your website is about and how it relates to other websites in your niche.
So for example, a law firm that consistently links out to local nursing homes, accounting firms, wealth professionals, other partners will create a picture of what the original law firm is about.
You don’t just create links just to make them, it needs to be natural and it needs to make sense. If you have a partnership in real life then your pages should reflect those partnerships. You need a system to keep track of all your webpages and the links on each of those pages so you can make updates easily.
Let’s go over the two types of links every page should have…
These are links to your own website pages. Simply put all the pages on your website should be 3 clicks away from your homepage. A page on your site shouldn’t exist that a user needs to perform more than 3 clicks to get to.
You want to make it easy for your users to navigate your website. The most important pages should be linked on your homepage. From there you can link to service, about, and contact pages.
But if you want to link users to content then you should link to important categories and then important articles. That way everything is easy to get to. Your internal links allow search engines to quickly figure out which pages are important and get those pages to show up in search results quicker.
Here’s an example of a search result that isn’t optimized 100%:
Here’s a result for someone who has optimized their internal linking to highlight important pages.
These are links that you have on your website that point out to other websites. And there are a few benefits to doing this:
- Help the user access information (stats, background information, reputable services) quicker.
- Cover information on your site more in depth.
- Tell search engines what other websites to associate your website with.
External links can be strategically used to help your users with case studies, statistics and useful information. But for us, it’s also used to provide search engines with more data to evaluate our own site.
Step 4: Analyze Site Structure
Site structure is tied closely with links. But a lot of times in website design, site structure is an afterthought.
A clean website structure helps the user understand exactly how to navigate your site but it also makes it easy for search engines to understand how to categorize your website.
If a user can’t figure out exactly what kind of attorney you are and exactly what kind of cases you like to work with, then how can you show up in relevant searches?
Your site structure tells a story about your website, provides context about your services and gives you the best chance to rank for search terms.
Look at your site structure and think about your marketing goals. Does it tell that story? If you’re passionate about veterans in a certain area dealing with a particular problem is there a page dedicated to that type of case, near the homepage, with the right location?
Every page and piece of content you produce should be part of the story your website tells each user. The more obvious you make it, the higher your search rankings will be.
Step 5: Where are You Ranking Now?
It’s important to know where you are before coming up with a plan to move forward. You need two free software platforms to help you with that. Here’s what each of them is used for.
- Current website stats
- Where your visitors come from (search, paid ads, social, email)
Google Search Console
- What do people search to find you
- What is your website ranking for
You want to use both of them to create a full picture of the health of your website. They can give you insights about where your marketing efforts are lacking and where you should double down your efforts.
Wrapping This Up
We’re here to help if you don’t want to do all of this work yourself. But if you do decide you want to make improvements to your website remember that every single piece of information on your website matters.
From the file names of your images to the links you place in your articles. Everything on your website gives search engines context about your business. The more accurate the information then the more success you’ll have marketing your business online.
These tips will help you continue to grow your practice all year long!
At Bambiz, we work with elder law and estate planning firms and have extensive experience in developing social media marketing strategies unique to your firm, location, and potential client base.
To learn more about how we can help grow your business using online marketing, schedule a free 15-minute call with us.