Digital Marketing Experts

On-Page SEO Audit

On the web, metadata is used to describe individual pages on a website, it allows for search engines to what each page portrays.

The most important metadata element is the page title tags. Like other metadata elements these are also defined within the head section of a webpage and are visible at the top of the browser.

Meta descriptions are an on-page element which influence the snippet of text underneath the title displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPs). It is best practice for the meta description to be between 150-160 characters, otherwise it will be shortened in the SERPs, or auto-generated from other content on the page by the search engines.

Open graph tags dictate how your content will be presented when it is shared on Facebook, and a number of other digital channels.  Open graph tags on your website will allow you to define the title and description of the content, what type of content it is (image, video etc.), a URL for the content, and an image to use when it is shared.

Similar to Open Graph tags, Twitter Cards allow you to embellish and better define how the content you create is shared on Twitter.  Through attaching rich photos, video and other media to links from your website that are shared on Twitter, it can give your brand increased visibility across a high active social media channel.

Internal linking is an important element of a webpage for numerous reasons.  They are used by the search engine robots to crawl a website and determine its relevance, but they also assist users with the navigation of a site.  This can encourage them to explore deeper into a website, and can contribute to more positive engagement metrics such as a lower bounce rate and a higher average time on the site.

For this reason, internal linking must be an important consideration of any piece of content created for a website, whether it is for a category page or a blog post.

Header tags, h1 to h6, give structure to a page, like headlines, headings and subheadings in a newspaper or print magazine.  They are also very important to the search engines, which use them to help better understand the relevance of a web page.

Header tags have the capability to increase the readability of content on a webpage by breaking it down into identifiable sections, and use of relevant keywords can provide valuable contextual signals to search engines.

Duplicate content is where identical content appears across a number of pages or URLs. Content duplication can be both internal (duplicated across the same site) or external (duplicated across other sites).

Aside from numerous technical SEO issues, having duplicate content on a website adds little or no value to user experience because it is not unique. Therefore it becomes incredibly important that all content on a website is unique, and has a specific purpose to fulfill.

You need to give the search engines a justification to rank your site over others, but more importantly, you need to give customers a reason to make a purchase with you and not with a competitor.

It is important that all the content on the site, including everything from the homepage to the product pages, is written to appeal to the target audience the brand is trying to reach, and uses language that they would use.

Not only can this help capture organic search traffic, but it also means that the users are more likely to engage with the content, whether that is to buy a product, to share a blog post or to sign up to a newsletter.

An important question to ask about the content on your site is what value does it offer to the person reading it?  Whether it is supplementary content on a category page, sales copy on a product page or a PPC landing page, to perform optimally the content must offer value in some way.

This value could be by describing a product in a way that it is not by competitors, it could be a blog post that expands on a topic that is commonly covered by other businesses in the same niche, or it could be copy on a category page that helps users quickly find the information or products that they are most commonly looking for.

It is important that every page on the website has a unique value that would be easily discernable to any traffic landing on the page.

It is no longer a viable tactic to stuff keywords unnaturally into a webpage, but their use is still incredibly important in terms of achieving rankings and driving relevant and targeted traffic to your site from the organic search channel.

It is important to have a keyword strategy in place prior, and to ensure that primary, secondary and longtail keywords are all factored into a page.

It is necessary to analyse how they are used on a website:

  • Is the primary keyword used in the page title?
  • Is the secondary keyword used in the page headers?
  • Are longtail keyword phrases targeted in the body of the copy?

Keyword cannibalisation

Keyword cannibalisation typically starts when a website's information architecture calls for the targeting of a single keyword or phrase on multiple pages of the site. Many times this is done unintentionally, but results in several or even dozens of pages that have the same keyword target in the title and header tags.  It is important that where possible, each page is developed to target a unique keyword.

Page and site engagement and usage metrics are one of the most effective ways of analysing whether or not users are satisfied with the content they see on a website.  Engagement metrics commonly include:

  • Avg. Time on Page - This is the average amount of time users spent viewing a specified page or screen, or set of pages or screens.
  • Bounce Rate - This is the percentage of single-page visits (i.e. visits in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
  • %Exit - This is the percentage of site exits that occurred from a specified page or set of pages.

Analysis of these metrics and others will often help interpret whether a piece of content can be considered to be ‘quality’. But it is important to consider the ‘purpose’ of a page before analysing its engagement metrics.  For example, a category page on an ecommerce site might have a much lower time on page than a blog post, but isn’t necessarily indicative of lower quality.

Semantics refers to word meanings and the relationships between them.  For example, ‘walking boots’ and ‘hiking boots’ could be said to have a semantic connection through the words ‘walking’ and ‘hiking’.

As search becomes more discussional in nature, it is important that relevance is built on webpages through the use of semantically related terms, and this is structured by key themes as defined by the keyword strategy.

‘Thin pages’ are pages that add little or no added value to user experience and often have little or no original content. Google has put together the following information on thin pages:

One of the most important steps in improving your site's ranking in Google search results is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information that includes relevant keywords, used appropriately, that indicate the subject matter of your content.

However, some webmasters attempt to improve their pages’ ranking and attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little or no authentic content.

  • Autogenerated content
  • Doorway pages
  • Content from other sources. For example: Scraped content or low-quality guest blog posts
  • Thin affiliate sites

Websites that have lots of ‘thin pages’ will often find themselves penalised by Google for offering a poor user experience, so it becomes very important that any pages lacking in original content are kept to an absolute minimum.

Like other pages on a website, it is essential the content created for the blog has a clear purpose. The purpose might be to demonstrate the knowledge of a business in its target sector through the publication of informative content, it could be to incentivise people to sign-up to a newsletter or to encourage people to follow a brand on a social channel.

It is important that a business does not just keep a blog purely for the purpose of publishing content. If the quality of content on a blog is poor, it can ultimately hurt the presence of the rest of the website through organic search.

Blog content can also have a significant impact on capturing traffic from the search engines if it is of good quality, optimised for search and informed by a keyword strategy.  This will all be covered in our analysis.

Potential customers or clients don’t want to know what your product is or does. They want to know what’s in it for them. How does it make their lives better? Which problems does it take away? This is one of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to writing selling pages for a product; they write about features and neglect to mention its benefits.

Selling pages can be informed by keyword research to deliver improved SEO performance, but predominantly they should be crafted to push visitors towards a conversion. Arguably the most important part of this is ensuring that product or service benefits are presented in a concise and readable way.

Local pages are important for driving highly targeted traffic to your website, and potentially increasing footfall to your business premises if you have a brick and mortar location. If there are opportunities to drive local search traffic to your website as defined in the keyword strategies, it is important these pages are written in a way that is likely to attract geo-defined traffic.

Search engine robots are unable to ‘see’ images and therefore aren’t able to index image content on your site based on what terms they are relevant to. Adding ALT tags to images provides crawlable text that can inform search engine spiders what an image is about or contains, as a search engine is unable to know this unless it is specified.

Where relevant, the more descriptive you can be with your ALT tags the better. We would suggest ALT tags are kept to below 120 characters.