With the ever-changing goalposts and frameworks presented by search engine algorithms and the myriad of both off and on-page tasks required to improve and optimise website SEO, where do you begin?
There is a ‘right’ way to go about a successful SEO campaign and the most effective relies on certain steps being carried out before others. At Woya Digital SEO and search marketing experts, the first step we take to create a baseline for work forms the first element of our strategic SEO marketing success strategy: an SEO website analysis.
What Is An SEO Website Analysis?
SEO is the practice of optimising a website in order to best demonstrate to search engines its relevancy, authenticity and trustworthiness – all in the hope of ranking as high as possible on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and outranking competitors.
SEO encompasses both on-site and off-site activities as well as organic and paid-for tasks that can be undertaken to help boost ranking and reputation and ultimately, gain competitive advantage.
A site analysis is an SEO website audit of a site’s current status in SEO-relevant terms – a kind of health check. This analysis will flag improvements that can be made, highlight factors that are already performing well, present opportunities arising from existing content, and outline any threats from existing internal or external factors. Usually, results data is visualised in charts and reports to make clear the impact of work required moving forward.
An SEO site analysis is best carried out by an independent SEO expert who is able to examine the data first-hand, but can be carried out by a piece of software known as a ‘crawler’. A crawler, similarly to the programming used by search engines themselves, works through the site’s data as an automated process and ranks its SEO factors through machine learning.
A detailed SEO audit should be completed before any SEO activity takes place, but can (and should) be carried out regularly to provide periodic check-ins on the status of the website.
Why An SEO Website Analysis Is The Optimum Starting Point for Any Campaign
Before embarking on any business project, it’s important to know the point from which work begins.
A comprehensive SEO website analysis allows for a baseline to be created and understood, and the effort of SEO-related issues to be enacted as efficiently as possible. Without an initial SEO website analysis having been completed, efforts may be duplicated or time spent on activities that will have little positive effect.
When carried out regularly, an SEO website analysis offers a moving picture of the success of SEO work and helps provide guidance in the face of ever-changing algorithm requirements.
The Importance of Analysing SEO Data
While Google and other search engines don’t share their exact algorithm changes and schedules for developments, it’s believed that changes are made as often as weekly. This means those striving for search engine rankings improvements will find the goalposts moving and the impacts of their efforts shift.
In taking the time to analyse SEO data, businesses are able to ensure that not only are they focusing their time and resources in the right areas, but that they’re able to adapt swiftly to any changes in direction and can often predict how and when shifts in algorithms are to be made.
Key SEO Metrics to Track
There are a variety of metrics that should be monitored on an ongoing basis in order to understand the impact of SEO work.
While these may vary by business and website dependent on project focus and/or industry, sector or competitive position, the following are generally considered the most important to measure:
The Best SEO Analysis Tools
There are a variety of tools, free SEO tools, and paid available to assist in SEO website analysis.
Google have their own, free-to-use, tool known as Google Search Console. The most popular software amongst those looking to rank on the world’s largest search engine, it integrates specifically with its own Google algorithm to enhance positioning where possible.
Using Search Console, webmasters are able to:
- Submit a sitemap to Google
- Check the crawl rate and view statistics on when a Google crawler has accessed the website
- Write and check a robots.txt file to discover any inadvertently blocked pages
- Check both internal linking and external links to and from the website
- Receive a list of any pages that Google has struggled to crawl, alongside details of any errors presented
- View site speed reports
- View page experience reports (including information on core web vitals and HTTPS data)
- Receive notifications from Google on any manual SEO penalties
- Check and monitor security issues
SEO Website Analysis Focus Areas
Technical SEO Website Analysis
Technical SEO refers to factors for optimisation on a site that are known to impact on Google’s appetite for ranking.
This includes mobile responsiveness, the creation of a sitemap, the improvement of loading times and page speeds, creating an easily ‘crawled’ site structure and the identification of any duplicate content.
Analysing technical SEO often identifies areas for ‘quick fixes’ for webmasters to implement changes that are vastly beneficial.
On-Page SEO Analysis
On-page SEO is the practice of optimising the content of a website in order to help it better rank within a search engine. This commonly includes optimising title tags, including keywords in headings and ensuring internal links are working.
The analysis of on-page SEO allows for webmasters to find changes that can be made on their site and to swiftly identify any improvements to be made, or worked into a workflow.
Off-Page SEO Analysis
Off-page optimisation is activity that takes place off of a website to increase its rankings. This includes the activity of building backlinks, encouraging branded searches, and increasing shares across third party social media channels.
Off-page SEO work often follows a relationship marketing approach and can form the foundation of solid strategic business partnerships. Off-page analysis presents businesses with a good indication of not just the status of their professional relationships but also the SEO positioning of others relevant to them.
Where another website has a high DA (Domain Authority) that proves positive for backlinks, it can be considered that that business is likely ranking well and their own SEO efforts are having a positive impact. The business can then decide how to proceed with the ongoing maintenance of any relationship with that organisation.
UX – User Experience
User Experience (UX) is still considered a relatively new aspect of SEO but has grown hugely in its impact on ranking in recent years.
Google and other search engines now hold great weight in the ability for a website to be easily navigable, well accessible and helpful to its users.
The analysis of UX provides not just guidance on how a website can be better structured or formatted in order to gain a good ranking online amongst searches, but also in opportunities for improvements to be made and conversions to be increased.
SEO Competitor Analysis
Competitors offline do not always translate directly to the online space, so it’s imperative that businesses understand who they’re up against in both markets.
While there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach for industries or sectors, there are always benefits to be gained from understanding competitors’ strategies through a competitor analysis.
Understanding what others do well can help give insight not just to how to duplicate and imitate efforts for ranking gain, but also to find where others aren’t performing, and ensure your business is visible where others aren’t.
Local SEO Analysis
Local SEO refers to a geographically-localised online presence, managed through Google Business Profile which ranks organisations based on a variety of factors for those making relevant searches in or to a set physical area.
Generally speaking, local SEO offers a variety of search engine advantages that general SEO doesn’t – and it can be considerably easier to rank higher when localising efforts.
The analysis of local SEO can throw up a whole different picture compared to more general SEO initiatives, as well as provide a good overview of who and what the business should be focusing on.
SEO Content Analysis
Website content demonstrates to search engines its topic, relevancy and credentials in its field.
Long gone are the days of simply scanning for keywords and now a series of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) measures are used to help identify, understand and really work with the authentic ways in which users actually carry out searches.
Content needs to meet users’ needs and satisfy them, and ideally encourage them to carry out a conversion or share content further. Content analysis helps identify gaps and opportunities for further content creation, but also can help identify issues such as misspellings, broken links or duplicate material.
International SEO is the practice of optimising an online presence to best demonstrate to search engines which countries a website is targeting as well as which languages in which products and services are offered.
Analysing international SEO can help identify those who really are competitors abroad but can also ensure that the correct audiences, in their correct languages, are being catered for through the business’s web presence.
Structured Data and Schema Markup
Structured data is that which populates a fixed field within a file.
This markup helps search engines understand how to display and interpret the content within it, and schema is widely agreed upon amongst all of the major search engines so that it remains consistent throughout.
While analysing markup and structured data holds SEO benefits, it also allows webmasters to be sure that their formatting is correct and easy to read by users.
Social media demands a vast amount of hours spent online by the general public, and a huge amount of marketing spend and effort by businesses.
Where content on websites is considered useful, relevant or entertaining, it can also be shared across third party social media channels, expanding its reach and creating link pathways by users back to a website.
Social integration of content can be analysed in order to identify what really works when it comes to creating value for an audience, and will help success be repeated in future content creation.
Penalty and Traffic Drop Analysis
Where traffic drops suddenly from a website or page within it, it is likely that some kind of issue or error has occurred – or even that a search engine penalty has been incurred by the website that has resulted in less traffic being funnelled to it.
It is critical that marketers and webmasters stay on top of any changes in traffic activity as they are likely to indicate a problem. The ongoing analysis of issues provides an immediate indication for change to be made and any errors fixed. Without the identification of this kind of fault, users simply won’t be shown the website, even where other significant SEO work is being carried out.
SEO Keyword Analysis
The way in which engine users actually complete their searches changes all the time as technology develops and language and linguistics change. This means that not only do the keywords and phrases change over time as people’s searches do, but businesses need to amend their own content to meet these needs accordingly.
Keyword analysis can throw up some promising direction to be taken by those creating content in their quest to meet the needs of their audience and also help identify trends in searches that marketers can cater their messaging toward.
Do you require an SEO website analysis to begin putting together the steps of your SEO campaign? Or perhaps you are an agency and require white label SEO support for your customers? The Woya Digital team can help and guide you by following our SEO marketing success strategy. Book an SEO call with us today!