Secret SEO Audit Strategies to Assess Client Websites

“How are you going to make us number one?”

We get asked this on the reg, and so long as the planet revolves around the sun – I guess I did retain information from elementary school, after all – SEO specialists and marketers will continue to answer that question. It’s some sort of unbreakable rule written in digital stone.

Most salespeople shoot buzzwords from the hip when approaching new business. And that tactic works well since buzzwords are designed to excite, draw upon humankind’s innate neediness, and build up a euphoric sense of gratitude for being allowed entry into some mysterious, clandestine club. (Few have ventured past these doors and lived to tell their tale!)

However, unlike buzzwords, there’s nothing sexy about the term “SEO audit.” Consider how you would react if someone said they were auditing you. Just hearing the word—audit—makes you want to spit in the face of the first person to look at you funny. Say it out loud: Audit. Emphasize its syllables: Audit. Doesn’t it make you hate babies and want to stomp flowers into dust?

SEO Audit Tips

That, my friends, is no buzzword: It’s a buzzkill!

But should it be? The benefits of selling yourself as an expert SEO auditor typically outweigh the risks of mentioning it, so why have we slapped it with the “unsexy” label when it’s more like “nerdy chic”? Well, there’s no time like the present to take a stand and revolt. Follow these secret SEO auditing tips from the pros, and together we can Make Audits Sexy Again.

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TL;DR SEO Length Guidelines for 2017: Blogs & Page Content

We began this series discussing the recommended length of your meta tags, particularly meta descriptions and titles. Today, let’s not waste any time diving into page content and blog length. Yippee!

Blog Length

Blog Post Length

More words mean more opportunities to get picked up on a search engine results page—yeah, I guess that makes sense—but the real barometer of a blog’s success is how, or rather who you’re targeting. Do you want readers to leave with a newfound set of skills or knowledge, or would you rather they skim, share, and move on?

Longer blog posts should draw in more compounded “high intent traffic,” but four shorter posts might produce more total visits in the short term, even if the clickthrough, bounce, and conversion rates aren’t anything to write home about. (One must also consider the time it takes to create a robust 1000-word post versus four 250-word posts.) Each has its perks depending on your goal, but let’s swim through some data anyway.

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Are Google Page Images Ranking Factors?

Here’s a quick one for all of you in SEOville. According to CognitiveSEO’s months-old post, Google has started utilizing its “automatic object recognition” algorithm to analyze images—perhaps all in an effort to ascertain the image’s category and how it relates to the content it’s complementing. But will this new process affect overall site rankings?

Not so fast. Let’s first see how this all works.

Dog with Hat Image

Photo: research.googleblog.com

Image Object Detection Methods

In Google’s infancy, keyword-rich ALT tags were like SEO arrows that pointed to what the page was about—and it could certainly affect your rank. While we’ve evolved past that point, ALT text has continued to be a tried-and-true method of organizing and optimizing a page. With Google’s new method of object detection, ALT text will definitely play a smaller part in a much larger production.

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Is Your Domain’s WhoIs Privacy Hurting Your SEO?

Domains are like names in a phone book—you know, the million-page antique we use as door stops—and the IPs they’re hosted under act as phone numbers. When you sign up for yours, you can opt to be listed publicly or remain anonymous (to an extent). But could your need for privacy be affecting your SEO?

WhoIs Privacy

It’s a longshot, but unverified registration information could be a factor in how much traffic you’re pulling in. Let’s dive right in.

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The Quintessential List of SEO Tasks to Rank Higher

As an SEO company, we know that maintaining or building an online reputation is no easy task. But with some extra effort, dedication, and a thirst for knowledge, you can climb the website ranks in no time. Follow these SEO tasks to stay organized and productive as you blast off toward the first page of Google.

SEO Tasks

Opt for a Friendly Content Management System (CMS)

If you’re starting from the ground-up, an ideal CMS will be one that makes your life easier. Although the idiom “to each their own” comes to mind, we strongly recommend investing in a WordPress platform—it’s built for both amateur and professional developers, and there are about a bazillion plugins to poke around within the WordPress repository.

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The Ultimate Guide to Acquire Backlinks in Uber-Unique Ways

Sometimes referred to as an inbound link, a backlink is simply any linked anchor text or image that directs users to another external website. Any strong off-page SEO or inbound marketing strategy is based on acquiring quality backlinks because they’re the pieces that make your site respectable. Generally, a site with a high level of authority will have a better PageRank score—these are typically popular sites like cnn.com, espn.com, or reddit.com—which means they’re like the Holy Grail of backlinks. So, too, are authoritative sites that are within your niche or a similar vertical.

But be wary of imitators lest you want to become like that dude from Indiana Jones who chose the wrong chalice.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

How can you avoid “choosing poorly”? You should be (or have hired) a highly functioning Interneteer—ooh, a new term!—who can see the forest from the trees and smell a con before it walks in the room. You might be on the right path toward the Fountain of Youth if you can spot the difference between the low-ranking joeschmo.com site and the buildyourseofast1234.xyz site; even if joeschmo.com needs some webdev and website optimization work, it could still be a good source for an inbound link to your site, while the latter is likely a public backlink exchange site (aka. a big black-hat SEO no-no).

Being able to understand the differences between the two sites is but a small fraction of what it takes to be a backlink pro. Here are a few other creative ideas you can try out if you need a better balance of SERP and off-page/inbound traffic.

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Improve User Experience with Exceptional Microcopy

Good website design is always about words, especially when there aren’t many of them. Brevity is of vital importance when engaging readers, because, as we know, Hell hath no fury like an inpatient user scorned. That’s where microcopy comes into play.

MicroCopy

What is microcopy, you ask? It can take on a variety of definitions, though its simplest breakdown is as such: The snippets of text that answer questions and nudge your readers toward conversion. Everything from navigation to ad to button text could be considered as microcopy.

Of course, it’s more than just that. Microcopy is as much an educational tool as it is a pathway toward improving User Experience (UX). It should set expectations, promise to meet those expectations, then exceed those expectations. Most importantly, good microcopy should be so unobtrusive in its use that your readers won’t be consciously aware that they needed it. All in as few words as possible.

What may seem like a task so daunting it borders on impossible, writing your site’s microcopy is certainly doable. When done correctly, you’ll enhance your users’ experience with functional text so fluid it’ll feel like a swimming pool—in a good way.

Let’s swim through ways you can expertly craft delightful microcopy that stays in step with your company’s voice and establishes a rapport with your readers.

Reading & Understanding the Fine Print

It might not be a sexy topic, but microcopy is like the knob to your site design’s front door. So, how welcoming is your entrance? If the answer is “not very,” then you may be in need of some word beautification.

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Google Will Punish Websites That Utilize Popup Ads

Is there anything more frustrating than clicking a link on Google, Twitter or Facebook and being forced to close popup after popup just to view the small tidbit of information you were looking for? Most of the time, especially when it comes to mobile browsing, people are looking for small pieces of information (directions, hours, pricing, or an answer to a question), and they want answers quickly.

Sure, it only takes a second or two to find and click the “close” button, but in the highly competitive world of mobile Google search rankings, those few seconds could be enough to send users away from your site. Google has recognized the intrusiveness of popup ads and will be punishing mobile sites that utilize them by lowering their SERP ranking.

From Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: “Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

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Why Would Websites Ever Use Popup Ads In the First Place?

People get so frustrated and annoyed with popups that some are even willing to spend a fair amount of time and effor
t to install popup blockers, so why are websites still utilizing popup ads? Well according to Shopify.com, “They are annoying and rude and… they work. Really, really well.”

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Top 3 Google Search Ranking Factors

This past spring, Google’s own Andrey Lipattsev announced the top three search ranking factors, and local SEO pros listened in awe as they updated their strategies and metrics. For the first time in digital marketing history, Google (aka, the king of the online marketing world) has provided us with a sneak peek into what they use to determine search rankings, other than those pesky Penguins and Pandas! So, without further ado, I present to you the much-anticipated top three VIPs of Google search rankings: links, content, and the RankBrain algorithm.

google-top-three-search-ranking-factors

 

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