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Want to know if your current SEO provider is following SEO best practices? Trying to figure out if your website needs SEO in the first place?

 

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to tell whether your site is following SEO best practices. I have put together steps for auditing the four main concerns of SEO, and the questions to ask yourself in the process. Your answers to these questions should give you a clear idea of where your website stands, and whether you need help with your SEO.

 

 1) Meta Data 

“Meta data” gives search engines and users information about a webpage’s content, and includes a meta title, description, and keywords. Each page on your site should have its own unique meta title and meta description. Meta titles should be 65-70 characters in length and meta descriptions should be 150-160 characters. Your meta titles should read like chapters in a book, with each title describing exactly what Google will find on that page.Meta titles should be consistent and clear. An example of a title for a local car dealer’s homepage would look like this:

 

Nikki’s Mercedes Shop | New & Pre-Owned Mercedes Dealer | Chicago, IL 

 

Google doesn’t use meta descriptions as ranking factors, so these should be written for users. They should briefly describe the page’s content and compel the user to click through to the page.  The most common issues we see when we perform audits are meta title and descriptions that are stuffed with keywords. This is meant to “trick” Google and is not an effective SEO tactic. When evaluating the meta data on your site, ask yourself the following questions:

 

• Do your title tags contain keywords relevant to their pages’ topics? Are they about 60-65 characters in length?

 

• Do your meta description tags describe their pages? Are they naturally written and inviting to users?

 

• Is there an excessive amount of keywords in your titles and descriptions?

 

2) Content

Google likes websites that consistently publish fresh, relevant content. It also likes to see links within that content. “Internal linking” refers to in-text links that send users to other pages on your website. These links should be used only where they can enhance the user’s experience. By writing for users instead of primarily for search engines, you will end up with natural, informative content that will help users move through your site. When you review your website’s content, ask yourself these questions:

 

• Is content well written and free of typos? 

 

• Does your content discuss the topics that people are searching for? Does it contain links to relevant pages within the site?

 

• Is your content "thin" or lacking useful information?

 

• Is your content keyword and ad-heavy? Is phrasing unnatural or awkward as a result?

 

• Do colors or design "hide" keywords from users in the hopes of ranking for those words?

 

3) Backlinks 

Backlinks are the links from other sites to yours. When we audit a client’s backlinks, we are looking at the number of links, and how many domains they’re coming from. Google likes to see links from a variety of relevant and trusted sources. So you also want to make sure you’re not linked to by sites that Google would consider “spammy.” An example of a spammy site would be a general directory requiring payment for links. 

 

Anchor texts are just as important as link sources. Anchor texts tell Google (and users) about the content being linked to, and why it’s relevant. You can use Open Site ExplorerMajestic SEO, or the Backlink Explorer Tool within RavenTools to inspect your backlinks. When looking at your backlinks, ask yourself:

 

• Are your links from quality, respected web sites?

 

• Are anchor texts relevant, representing a good balance of branded, keyword-focused, and natural text?

 

• Has your site gotten many links by spamming blogs, forums, or low-quality directories?

 

4) Organic Search Visibility

This part of the audit involves performing searches of branded and specific terms to see how your site is showing up in Google’s search results. This helps narrow it down to the top three to four cities that are closest to the business, which I can search combined with the top keywords found in Google Trends. If the client isn’t showing up well in these searches, I’ll focus on these key terms and cities within content and off-site linking. The bottom line is that you want to make sure you’re in place to capture traffic from these searches. When searching for your brand on Google as I detailed above, ask yourself:

 

• Are you showing up for your business name?

 

• Are you showing up for keywords with your location attached?

 

• Are you showing up for keywords with cities showing high search interest attached? 

 

• Does your business have profiles with accurate and consistent information elsewhere on the web? Google+? YellowPages? Is the website tied to your Google+ page using publisher tags?

 

Take a minute to review your answers to the questions above. As you can see, all you have to do is master a few basic concepts and search tricks in order to tell whether your website needs a fresh SEO approach. Now you’re just one quick audit away from celebrating your SEO success or firing the shady guy who’s been spamming your site with worthless links!

For more L2TMedia blog posts, please visit www.l2tmedia.com/blog

 

Views: 117

Tags: Google, L2T, L2TMedia, seo

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Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 12:22pm

Indeed, agreed. Great assessment and thanks for that link. Cutts helps me a lot. He recently said some stuff about how guest blogging is also frowned upon, unless it's done absolutely correctly.

Comment by Jack Thornburg on April 11, 2014 at 12:17pm

Thanks Alexander, and it most certainly is a very large part of our client strategy. I'm 100% in agreement that social is an important part to any SEO campaign.

More-so, SEO should be considered and ingrained in every element of a brand's marketing campaign. However, for the purposes of this post, I don't think it was necessary for the author to go through every element of marketing and how SEO plays a role. It would move away from "Quick and Easy" very rapidly.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 11:37am

I was recently at a SES / ClickZ search summit.  This statement has been taken loosely and has been interpreted as - "I don't want to tell people this because they will begin gaming search signals." We believe it is around 8% and has a bias towards G+ signals

A study was just completed around how fast a URL published in Twitter took to get indexed in Google. Answer: less than 12 hours. Social should be a big part of your client strategy.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 8:15am
Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 8:10am

Interesting Jack, especially coming from Cutts himself, but I'm not buying it all together.

Popular content does make a difference. The fact of the matter, if you're posting content that captivates is loved and shared, Googlebot will find it and respect it. The example that I showed below, well yeah it's big players.

Comes down to the content that converts. This is what I measure and those are signals.

Comment by Jack Thornburg on April 11, 2014 at 7:58am

I would argue that there is no proof that social signals cause higher rankings. And I think the SEO community would back me on this. In fact, Matt Cutts recently released a video clearing the air on social signals and organic rankings.

Social media is certainly important for driving "traffic, awareness, and other indirect benefits," but making the argument that more Facebook Likes equals higher rankings doesn't hold water.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 7:28am

Actually, I would disagree with that statement (no offense). Social signals make up a large majority of SEO. 

Comment by Diane Massie on April 11, 2014 at 7:24am

Thanks for reading, Alexander! You’re right that social signals should play a key role in a brand’s SEO strategy. While social signals are not proven to be causational to SEO success, there is definitely correlation between brands with a strong social strategy and sites that perform well in organic search. This post was more of a “quick and easy” spot check, not a deep dive into overall SEO strategy.

Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 7:03am
  • Google Analytics Business Intelligence Competitive Intelligence
    • Keyword Insight Report (not available) in GA
Comment by Alexander Lau on April 11, 2014 at 6:52am

Good stuff, but you've left out a major part of SEO and that is Social Signals.

Let me break it down for you further @ http://www.worlddealer.net/digital-marketing-services/automotive-se....

  • SEO Rank Data
  • SEO Reporting
  • Web Activity Tracking
  • Google Analytics Business Intelligence Competitive Intelligence
    • Keyword Insight Report (not available) in GA
  • Keyword Research
  • Backlink Data
    • Press Release sites
    • Web 2.0 Profiles (Apple, HP, Opera, Mozilla, Microsoft, etc.)
    • Dofollow .edu & .gov sites
    • Social Bookmarks (Delicious, Pinterest, Squidoo, Diigo, etc.)
    • Social Networks
    • Wiki’s
    • RSS Feeds (used to index content properly)
    • Video Backlinks
    • Local SEO (where applicable)
    • Article Submissions (w/ Anchor Links)
    • Off-site Private Blogs, Micro Blogging
    • Targeted Forums
    • Promotion of Social Links
  • Social Signals
  • Advanced Conversion Measurement
Our tools provide ‘actionable recommendations’, which can be used to increase site rank and visibility.

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