A Website Audit on Page Level: what to pay attention to?
What should you look for when you perform a website audit for your web pages? Read about Yoast SEO, page structure, SEO texts and why it’s best not to deviate from your topic. That’s why we’re also going to talk about cannibalism.
A Website Audit on Page Level
How to conduct a website audit yourself
For an SEO Audit you need a tool that can crawl your site. There are several crawl-tools, one of them is Screaming Frog. With the free version you can check up to 500 web pages. Depending on your settings, with this software you can conduct a website audit that’s pretty extensive.
What can you do with a website audit?
A website audit can be compared to the periodic inspection of your car. Once a year you take your car to the garage to be checked for defects. The garage owner tells you what is wrong with your car, if a defect is crucial to be repaired and what you can do yourself to prolong its lifetime. If you would never have your car checked, you would not even realize how much more efficient and economical driving can be. In fact, the same can be said about websites.
Below are the points that are important to check. Most of these can be found in Screaming Frog under tab ‘Internal’ (top left). You can then improve these in your CMS to align the results with your SEO strategy.
SEO writing or SEO copywriting is an integral part of the SEO process.
The factors that are important for making your texts SEO-proof:
Just like in a book, each chapter has a title and a breakdown of paragraphs with headings. These headers introduce the content of the paragraph, have your keyword or a related keyword (such as “facial care” and “skin care”). Headers are important because many people don’t read the entire text. Instead, they read the headers and use them to determine if they want to read the full text.
Check the content of your pages for:
- Do your headers have a natural tone that is tailored to the reader?
- Do your headers invite further reading?
Tip: Using the AIDA (Attention – Interest – Decision – Action) sales technique, you can determine if your paragraph headers are of sufficient quality to be placed on your site.
The structure of your text is just as important as SEO optimization. For all texts, the structure has a twofold purpose: it should be enjoyable for your users to read and the search engines should be able to interpret it.
For the search engines, the standard HTML tags are important for your text structure (h1, h2, h3, p, li, etc.). Informatively, your content should follow a logical structure that is consistent with the topic. In other words, you’re not going to start talking about other topics at once unless it’s important to your content (It would be weird if I’d write about how cute my cats and dogs are asleep together at this very moment, and that I would love to have some liquorish …, isn’t it?).
Integration of keywords is an essential part of a text that is SEO-proof, but don’t go overboard. Google calls this “over-optimizing”: repeating a keyword numerous times in an effort to rank with it. This is an old technique that no longer works and can be harmful to your site.
As an example: a psychologist in Rotterdam has heard something about SEO (or hired the wrong freelancer) and implements in his or her texts many times “psychologist Rotterdam” in order to rank higher in Google. Do you think this is a nice text to read and does it make you feel invited?
Maybe it is a good psychologist, but they will inspire more trust in people if they target people instead of a search engine. Moreover, it is distracting from the actual content at hand.
Therefore, use your keywords naturally and place them where they are meaningful. You can get high rankings in Google by having spammy texts on your site, but sooner or later your site will either be flagged by Google as unreliable, or your competitors that have better content will outrank you, so your web pages will no longer be shown on the first search page(s).
Images are part of your text structure. It is best if you take your own pictures, so that you have something original and unique.
Make sure your images do not have too many MBs, otherwise they will cause your pages to load slowly. Before you upload your images, you can minimize them (preferably to less than 500 kb) with, for example, imagecompressor. Then give them a name with a keyword related to the content of your page. It is also important that you specify the size of the image (height x width) and fill in the alt tag including the keyword.
What are relevant and high quality texts?
According to Google’s requirements your texts should be relevant and of high quality. But when are your texts relevant and what does “high” quality mean? To answer these questions, it is important to know to whom your texts are intended.
There are SEO tools, such as Yoast SEO, that believe your texts should be understandable to everyone. Your language and sentence structure should be written in simple language – sometimes preferably at the level of ‘House – Cat – Bird – Tree’. It is also recommended that you use a number in your title and a word that evokes an emotion, such as ‘fantastic’, ‘best’, ‘amazing’, ‘bizarre’, etc.
I think such advice works well for some readers, but it differs per country and culture. Americans tend to use a lot of superlatives in their texts: everything is better, bigger, super good and incredibly bizarre. Would you target Dutch people, you can do without such words, because they tend to be a bit more down to earth.
If you use Yoast SEO’s advice for Dutch websites, this is what you will see on the search pages:
It gets a little annoying when everybody is doing this. Does it really matter to you how many tips there are? Will you click on “10 Tips to Save Your First Ton”, or will you click on “Tips to Save Your First Ton”?
Also, the question is whether a site still comes across as credible when they say they are the best restaurant, the best SEO agency, the best carpenters, etc. If everyone calls themselves the best, what is the value of that?
Take your online business seriously and choose to be frank and trustworthy. Over time, this will yield more than fast clickbaits. Besides: customers ultimately decide who the best is in a field.
Green light from Yoast SEO doesn't mean Google is happy with your results
Many people using Yoast SEO think that their texts will rank in Google if Yoast gives the green light. Yoast uses an algorithm where you can submit a nonsensical text with the keyword in the right number and places – and still get a green light. In fact, Yoast doesn’t say anything about the quality or relevance of your text. Nor does it know if the copy is original or if the content is truthful.
Google’s reviewers, however, will look at these things.
Cannibalism of keywords
There are website owners who are tagging many pages and products with the same keyword. This is not helpful. Each page and product should have its own unique keyword.
When you use the same keyword more than once, this is called cannibalism of your keywords. You then try to rank in Google with different pages for the same keyword. The value of the keyword is then also distributed over the pages that are indexed. To determine what page with the same keyword will be shown in Google, Google is going to make a choice. And this choice might not match yours.
Verify which of your pages or product descriptions ranks best in Google, has the most CTRs (Click-Through-Rate), and the most external links. Then invest your time in optimizing that page. Canonicalize this page indicating that it is the page with the original content that should be displayed in Google.
A comprehensive website audit
In this article, we have listed some basic elements that you can perform a page-level website audit on. With the above, you can improve your web pages.
However, an extensive audit entails much more and also involves other tools. The results will be described in a report, together with the solutions to improve the website.
Especially for larger websites and online businesses that have a high competition, a comprehensive website audit is recommended. After all, you can have a large marketing and SEO budget, but if your website contains fundamental errors, this can have a delaying effect on your website’s ranking in Google.