There are many common SEO audit issues that can plague a website and prevent it from ranking as high as it could. In this article, we will explore fifteen of the most common ones. We’ll also provide solutions to help you correct these issues and improve your website’s search engine optimization.
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One of the most common problems is a lack of keyword research. Someone decided they could make money at SEO, and threw up a website, without any thought or regard to the keywords they should be targeting, or their audience.
Another problem is lack of optimization overall. A targeted optimization approach that considers keywords, audience, quality content, and links will win over a random approach of publishing a bunch of random blog posts.
Without good planning or strategic decision making, just throwing up a website could do more harm than good in the long run.
1. Lack of Keyword Research
One of the most common SEO audit issues is a lack of keyword research. Without proper keyword research, it’s difficult to know which keywords to target for your website. As a result, your website may be missing out on valuable traffic from potential customers who are searching for those keywords.
Identifying user intent of the keywords is critical as well. If you have content that’s intended for an informational query that’s written for a buyer query, then you may not get the right traffic that you need.
You must also verify whether or not search volume is of enough interest to even bother going after this particular keyword. While there are exceptions to this and you can find diamonds in the rough, so-to-speak, when it comes to longtail keywords, it’s not always possible.
2. Poor Keyword Targeting
Another common issue is poor keyword targeting. This can happen when you target the wrong keywords, or when you don’t target enough keywords. As a result, your website may rank for keywords that are not relevant to your business, or it may not rank at all for some of the more important keywords.
To correct this issue, you need to carefully select the right keywords to target for your website. Make sure that they are relevant to your business and that you have a good chance of ranking for them. You should also target a variety of different keywords, including long-tail keywords, to make sure that you’re covering all of your bases.
It’s important to make sure as well that you choose keywords that people are actually searching for. If you don’t, you may not nail exactly what is going to bring that all-important traffic to your site.
3. Poorly Optimized Title Tags
Another common issue is poorly optimized title tags. Your title tags are what appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable link to your website. If they’re not optimized, they may not be descriptive enough to entice people to click through to your site.
Some examples of poor optimization are not including the target keyword, not using the keyword correctly, or not using the correct formatting. As a result, your title tags may not be as effective as they could be at enticing people to click through to your website.
To correct this issue, make sure that your title tags are properly optimized for the target keyword. Include the keyword in the tag, and use the correct character count and formatting.
4. Lack of Meta Descriptions
In addition to title tags, each of your website’s pages should also have a meta description. The meta description is a short piece of text that appears below the title tag in the SERPs. It’s another opportunity to persuade people to click through to your site, so it’s important to make sure it’s well-written and keyword-rich.
A common issue with meta descriptions is that many websites don’t have them at all. This means that there’s no brief snippet of text to describe the page to potential website visitors. As a result, they may not be as likely to click through to your site. If you don’t have one, then Google will choose a meta description based on what they see in your content, and this is seldom ideal and may not reflect exactly what you want it to.
To correct this issue, make sure that each of your website’s pages has a meta description. This can be done by adding the tag in the HTML of each page, or by using a plugin if you’re using WordPress.
5. Meta Descriptions that are Not Optimized
Another common issue is having meta descriptions that are not properly optimized. Your meta descriptions appear in the SERPs beneath your title tags.
Your meta descriptions provide potential website visitors with a brief snapshot of what your website is about. However, if they’re poorly implemented, they may not be enticing enough to convince people to click through to your site. While not used for ranking, they are important for conversions and making sure people click through.
To correct this issue, make sure that your meta descriptions are properly optimized for the target keyword. Include the keyword in the description, make sure they are approximately 155-160 characters long, and that they are something a potential user of your website could respond to.
6. Slow Page Load Times
Slow page load times can be a major issue for your website’s SEO. Not only do slow pages frustrate users, but search engines also take page speed into account when ranking websites. If your pages are slow to load, it could be negatively impacting your SEO.
One common issue with page load times is that they may be slow due to a lack of optimization. This can include not using compression, not minifying code, and not using caching. As a result, your pages may take longer to load than they should.
Another common issue is that pages take too long for certain users who are visiting your site, say if you have a large audience that uses 56K modems. Although we are not sure in this day and age of fast broadband, there are some edge cases of people who may be using 56K modems exclusively.
To correct this issue, make sure that you’re properly optimizing your pages for speed and for the slowest possible speed your targeted users could be using. This is something that can be uncovered in Google Analytics.
7. Lack of Mobile-Optimization
Another common issue is a lack of mobile-optimization. With more and more people using mobile devices to access the internet, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for these users. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on a lot of traffic.
One common issue with mobile optimization is that many websites are not designed for mobile devices. This can mean that they are difficult to use on a phone or tablet, they don’t load properly, or they are not formatted correctly. As a result, these users may not be able to access your website in the way that you intended.
To correct this issue, make sure that your website is designed for mobile devices. This can be done by using a responsive design, which will automatically adjust the website to fit the screen size of the device. Alternatively, you can create a separate mobile version of your website that is specifically designed for smaller screens.
In addition, some companies still use an m-dot mobile domain to serve their mobile site. This is not ideal, because it requires separate resources to be loaded. Using a responsive design, you can take care of two birds with one stone by utilizing a common CSS file that applies to all of your site.
8. Poorly Optimized Content
In addition to having well-optimized title tags and meta descriptions, your website’s content itself should also be optimized for the keywords you’re targeting. If your content isn’t optimized, it may not rank as highly in the SERPs as it could. As a result, you could be missing out on valuable traffic.
There are nine factors that go into properly optimized content, and they are as follows:
a. Your page title
b. Headings and subheadings
c. Meta tags
d. Body content
e. Image alt text
f. Properly optimized images
g. Internal links
h. Schema markup
i. Engagement objects (videos, audio, etc.)
To optimize your website’s content, make sure that each of these factors is taken into account. In addition, your content should be well-written and informative. It should also be original, as duplicate content can negatively impact your SEO.
9. Lack of Internal Links
Internal links are a type of link that helps connect different pages on a website together. This can help search engines crawl and index your pages better, as well as make it easier for users to navigate your website. However, many websites do not use internal links enough, which can hurt their SEO.
To correct this issue, make sure to add internal links to your website where relevant. In addition, use keyword-rich anchor text to help improve your website’s ranking for those keywords.
10. Lack of External Links
External links are also important for SEO, but they are often overlooked as well. By linking to other websites, you are helping to build relationships and improve your website’s authority. In addition, you are also providing valuable resources for your users.
To correct this issue, make sure to add external links to your website where relevant. In addition, use keyword-rich anchor text to help improve your website’s ranking for those keywords.
11. Broken Links
Broken links are another common issue that can occur on a website. If there are links on your site that go to nowhere or return an error, it can frustrate users and harm your SEO. As such, it’s important to regularly check for broken links and fix them as soon as possible.
If your site has a significant number of broken links, then this is something that you will want to make sure is fixed, because this can go into how Google assesses your site’s quality.
Also, having a significant number of broken links is never a good look.
12. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is another issue that can hurt your SEO. If you have multiple pages on your website with the same or similar content, it can confuse search engines and harm your chances of ranking highly. As such, it’s important to make sure that all the content on your site is unique.
a. Duplicate content can confuse search engines and make it difficult for them to index your pages properly.
b. Duplicate content can also result in lower rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
c. In extreme cases, duplicate content can even get your website penalized by Google (for example, thousands of pages of copied content).
To repair this issue, make sure to remove any duplicate content from your website. In addition, use canonical tags when necessary to help search engines index your pages properly. Canonical tags can help search engines decide which page is the original version you want them to consider.
13. Keyword Stuffing
Keyword stuffing is the practice of cramming as many keywords as possible into your website’s content. It’s an outdated SEO tactic that can actually hurt your chances of ranking highly. Not only will it make your content difficult to read, but it will also trigger search engine algorithms that could penalize your site.
a. It makes your website difficult to read
b. It can trigger search engine algorithms that could penalize your site
c. It’s an outdated SEO tactic
d. It can actually hurt your chances of ranking highly
To fix this issue, make sure to remove any keyword stuffing from your website. In addition, use keywords sparingly and only when they are relevant to the content. You don’t want to make your content unreadable, and you also don’t want to run the risk over-optimizing.
14. Thin Content
Thin content is another common issue that can hurt your SEO. Thin content is generally defined as content that doesn’t offer much value to the reader. It’s usually short, lacking in depth, and not very informative. Search engines tend to not pay as much attention to websites with thin content, so it’s important to make sure your site has quality content that’s informative.
Remember, write for users and not for bots. As long as your content is informative and useful, you’re on the right track.
15. Lack of Schema Markup
Schema markup is a type of code that can help search engines understand your website’s content better. It can also provide additional information about your website in the SERPs. While it’s not necessary for SEO, it can be beneficial, so it’s something to consider if you want to optimize your site.
If you don’t have any Schema markup, now’s the time to perform a Schema audit to figure out exactly where you can implement this markup, and how you can improve.
16. Poorly Optimized Images
Images are an important part of any website, but they need to be optimized for the web. That means using the proper file format, choosing the right file name, and compressing the image for faster loading times. If your images aren’t properly optimized, it can hurt your SEO.
Don’t forget about image alt text, which is another common mistake that is uncovered in a website audit. Image alt text is an accessibility point that helps blind people read what your images actually are, by triggering screen readers hooked up to their computer.
It also helps you perform well in image search, because then Google can categorize your images properly based on the alternative text description of your image.
Don’t forget to compress your images! Having a 1 Meg file is not a good practice at all, and can actually hurt your page speed. Make sure that you use a compression tool like tinypng, and that you work on ensuring that GZIP compression is enabled on your server.
17. Inconsistent NAP Information
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number. It’s important to make sure this information is consistent across your website and other directories. If it’s not, it can confuse search engines and harm your chances of ranking well on the local side of things. Also, confusing NAP information throughout the web can hurt how Google sees your site as an entity.
If you have an inconsistency in your NAP information, make sure to correct it as soon as possible. You don’t want to lose rankings because of something so easily fixed!
Making Sure Your Site Can be Processed by Search Engines is Incredibly Important
So much so, that if you have code out of place or you don’t have properly optimized text links, you could endanger your site from not being crawled and indexed properly.
By making sure that your site is crawlable, that your pages are optimized, and that you have a good foundation of SEO before you start, you can avoid shooting yourself in the foot in the future.