An SEO audit is meant to examine your website thoroughly and determine the issues in it that may be affecting your rankings. With over 200 different ranking factors being used by search engines to access your site and determine how far it deserves to go on search result pages, it’s easy to overlook many issues and fall into any of these common website mistakes revealed by SEO audits.
If you’ve noticed your website getting lower and lower on the SEO scale and you still have no idea why, then it may be time to schedule an SEO audit or, at least, take a quick look at some of these common issues and make sure you’re not incurring in them without realizing it.
Common SEO Issues
- Duplicate Content:
Google defines duplicate content as substantive blocks of content found across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciatively similar, and although there’s no such thing as a direct penalty for duplicate content, the existence of it shouldn’t be ignored, since unique content is appreciated by both search engines and users.
When your website has duplicate content in it you lose your capability to choose which page to rank for, while pages can start competing with one another for rankings.
- Broken Images and Missing Alt Tags:
Alt tags are important to image searches since they help search engines understand what images are about and categorize them – reason why you should include your SEO keyword phrases in them. They’re even important for visually impaired people using screen readers, since the readers will use the info on alt-tags to describe the images to users.
Given that search engines care so much about user experience, a website that doesn’t include them can be considered a sign that it provides little value to the user.
Broken images though cause the same issues as broken links, being dead ends for users and search engines as well as downgrading user experience.
- Title Tag Issues:
Title tags are one of SEO’s most important aspects, since they help search engines figure out what your page is about and users identify whether to follow your link or not. Missing or duplicate title tags fail to provide users and search engines any relevant info about a page’s content, while tags that are too long aren’t completely visible in search results.
- Meta Descriptions:
Meta descriptions give users info about what your page is talking about right on their search results, and although they don’t influence page ranking directly, they do influence page CTR, which is also important. Many sites have duplicate meta descriptions and some have none at all, which isn’t ideal.
- Broken Links:
While a couple of broken links may not be an issue, if the number of them expands this can become a big SEO problem. First of all, broken links cause traffic dropdowns, with users perceiving your site as low quality, while every time search engine bots crawl through your website and find too many broken links it diverts their attention from your pages, which won’t be crawled and indexed correctly, reducing the number of pages that appear in search engine results in the long run.
- Too Many On-Page Links:
Although Google no longer requires to keep the number of links on a page under a certain number, good SEO means having a natural link profile including relevant and high quality links. Too many of them dilute the value of your page and send your traffic away.
- Low Text To HTML Ratio:
- Incorrect Language Declaration:
Since audience comes from all over the world on the web, websites need to include a language declaration that states what the default language the text on it is written in. This in turn informs browsers of the content’s language, helping with translation and page display, ensures people using text-to-speech converters can hear your content read in the correct dialect of their native language and helps with geolocation and international SEO.
When the right people can see the right content, this improves your page’s relevance score, and therefore SEO rankings.
- Temporary Redirects:
Redirection helps search engines know when a page has been moved. However, temporary redirects can cause search engines to continue indexing an outdated page while ignoring the one you are trying to redirect traffic to. If the change is supposed to be permanent then you should implement a permanent redirect in order to avoid loss of traffic and poor optimization.
- H1 Tag Issues:
Header tags are there to signal the most important content on the page, creating a useful hierarchy for both users and search engines. While you can have multiple H1 tags on a page, there’s no reason to overuse them, also, for the purpose of SEO relevance, they should be consistent with your title tags without being identical.
- Low Word Count:
While there’s no minimum word count for a page, Google likes to rank content with more depth higher, and longer content is a good indication of depth, making it more valuable to readers. So, when creating content, you should include relevant on-text page wherever possible. Your readers will appreciate it.
While none of these factors impact your rankings equally, good SEO keeps everything in check, avoiding problems to accumulate and snowball into a greater issue that can destroy your rankings and affect your traffic and user credibility.
An SEO audit helps identify these and other small (or big) issues, catching them on time and helping you solve them before you find your rankings plummeting without having any idea what’s going on.