This article is for those who have requested their free Snapshot SEO Audit and discovered their website health score, but need some extra explanation of the recommendations and jargon used. This article will help to clue you up on what each section of the website report means and which tasks are the most important to focus on. There’s also a handy SEO glossary of some of the key terms included.
Right, let’s crack on! If SEO is new to you, it may be worth grabbing a cuppa and putting some time aside to go through this along with your personal website report.
SEO Audit: Glossary & Guide
1. Audit Results Section
Your website is given a total SEO score, plus a rating for other individual elements that contribute to that SEO. Each area is ranked from A to F so that you can check the strengths and weaknesses of your website. You’ll get an individual score for:
- On-page SEO
This will help you see at a glance, which SEO elements need the most attention. There’s more information on these sections further down the page.
As you generally scan the report you will see green ticks and red crosses. A green tick means your website has ‘passed’ the SEO test for this element. A red cross means something that needs fixing or tweaking.
2. SEO Recommendations Section
The next section gives you a list of recommended tasks and their priority, ranked low, medium and high. Those ranked as high, hold the most sway with Google and have the biggest impact on page rankings. So, focus on making a start on these tasks first then work around to the medium/low priority tasks.
Whilst the list of SEO recommendations provides a great starting point for creating an SEO roadmap, it does not include everything that will need to be explored. For example, you may have a great score for on-page SEO as your web pages are structured well for the search engine spiders (and that’s a fabulous start!) but do check that the page content is actually targeted for your ideal keywords and phrases. I see this time and again with new clients who are ranking for totally wrong keywords. So they score well, but unfortunately, for the wrong keywords.
There is data on your Top 10 ranking keywords later in the report, so if you don’t see the words you’d expect to see listed there then work needs to be done on keyword research to find the right ones, then the new terms added to your web page content. Just something to bear in mind as you digest your personal SEO recommendations and create a list of tasks.
3. On-Page SEO Results Section
On-page optimisation is one of the most important elements in the SEO mix. This is when we build and write web pages and blogs in a way that makes it easy for Google and other search engines to ‘read’ what the content is all about. The page content should also include your targeted keywords in the right density and in your page titles and headers.
Make it easier for the web crawlers to read and understand because if they can’t, then they can’t rank it. Or it may crawl it and end up with the wrong information as it’s not set up correctly so you end up ranking for words and phrases that won’t send the punters your way. The aim is to attract new customers to your website that are already interested in what you sell. So there is no point in getting tons of traffic for the wrong keywords or target audience as it won’t translate to sales.
This optimised page information also appears in search results for human visitors and encourages them to click to find out more. So, it needs to be informative and concise to stand out from your competitors’ results. To find out how your home page appears on search engines, look at the section:
- Title Tag
- Meta description tag
- SERP (Search Engine Results Pages) Snippet Preview
On-page Optimization should be applied on all pages, particularly the key pages of Home, About, and main product and service pages. But ideally, ALL pages should be improved over time for maximum ranking potential. (Please note the Snapshot SEO Audit only reports on the Home Page).
Rankings – Results Explained
The ranking section shows which key phrases are;
- bringing the most traffic to your website
- which page position they rank at (positions 1-10 are on page one, 11-20 on page two and so on)
- in which country (important if you sell in more than one territory)
Check that your business is ranking for the correct keywords in the territory/countries you sell to. If your business is ranking for the wrong terms or not ranking at all, then keyword research should be a priority for your business along with some basic on-page optimisation.
Or you may be ranking for the right phrases but aren’t on page one yet. That means you’re on the right track so need to keep working to push those phrases onto page one.
Glossary of On-Page Optimization Terms
On-page SEO is a major element of Search Engine Optimisation. For a further explanation of the terms listed in your audit report, read the following glossary:
SEO Title Tag – the snapshot audit shows the SEO title of your home page only. Check that it is the right length and contains the main keywords you are targeting for your home page. SEO title tags should be checked and improved for key pages, then all site pages.
SEO Meta Description Tag – again, data is shown for your home page only. The text should fit the required character length and also contain the main keywords as your title tag.
Header Tags (H1-H6) – Headers are titles and subtitles used throughout web page content to make it clear to both Google and readers, what the article is about. Each page should only have one H1, which is usually the Page Title, and then other headers are used to show the main sections in order of importance. If you aren’t using headers correctly, please start doing so!
Keywords & Keyword Consistency – single words that search spiders are identifying on your website and think the content is about. Consistency shows whether these words are used in the right places in a consistent way.
Key phrases – as above but longer phrases. Check that these are the words and phrases you want to be associated with. They should be targeted and related to the products or services you sell. They should also feature consistently over the title, description, and heading tags.
Amount of content – ideally, all web pages should have a minimum of 300 words for SEO purposes. Try to add more copy containing your targeted keywords and phrases if the word count is lower.
Image Alt Attributes – an ‘alt text’ tag is added to images to tell the reader and Google what the image is about. This will boost the chances of them appearing in image search results, opening up an extra way to rank your website. Alt text tags also make your website accessible to those who are blind or visually impaired as their screen readers, read information out loud to tell the user more about the image and its content within the page.
Noindex Tag & Header Test – a tag to show that search engines should not index this page. So, do not apply this if you want Google to index your web pages.
SSL Enabled – Your website should have an SSL certificate to keep user data secure, verify ownership of the website, prevent attackers from creating a fake version of the site, and convey trust to users. Google tends to favour sites with SSL certification as it shows your website is secure.
HTTPS Redirect: The secure form of HTTP – means that your website is encrypted and secured by SSL. As above, conveys trust to both the user as well as Google and other search engines. If your website isn’t SSL enabled or has an HTTPS redirect, ask your web host or web designer how to implement it for your website.
Robots.txt – This file tells search engine crawlers which URLs they can access on your site. All websites should have an up-to-date robots.txt file.
XML Sitemaps – a file that lists your website’s key pages and tells Google and other search engines where to find and crawl them. Also helps them understand your website structure. A site map should be submitted to your business’s Google Search Console account.
Analytics – confirming whether your website is linked to the Google Analytics tool. Analytics are needed to track visitor numbers and data on what they do whilst on your website. It’s essential to create an Analytics account when you start SEO work so that you can track visitor numbers, organic traffic, and other useful visitor data.
Schema.org Structured Data – a type of code on your website that shows search engine crawlers what data and content visitors will find on your site. Helps search engines to return more precise information for specific queries.
Monthly Search Traffic: This shows an estimate of monthly traffic based on keyword rankings. Request a full SEO Audit for a detailed breakdown of which keywords and pages are getting the most clicks and to break down the clicks by country.
Keyword Positions: How many keywords your website ranks for and at what page position? Around 91% of web users don’t get past Page 1, so the aim is to get as many terms on Page 1 as possible.
This report tells you how many terms you have ranked for at which position. However, it doesn’t specify what those key phrases are. they go to. To get the full information on your ranked keywords, request the Sorted SEO Audit Service.
4. Links Section
What are Backlinks? Simply, it’s when another website links to a page or resource on your website. They can come from a variety of sources such as guest blog posts, business directory listings and online news articles. Getting backlinks improves the authority of your website as it shows it has content worth linking to. A backlink is like a vote of confidence, so getting lots of quality backlinks also helps to increase page ranking.
Backlinks are part of off-page optimisation – things that happen outside of your own website. The report will show the sites that are linked to you and their domain authority. Learn how to implement a backlink strategy.
Glossary of Links Terms
Domain Strength: Indicates the overall strength and quality of your website with 0 being the weakest and 100 being the strongest. Aim for at least 20-30 to start ranking better. A score of 50 is considered good, whilst more than 60 is a strong score.
Page Strength: As above, but for a specific page. The snapshot website report only gives page strength details for the home page.
Referring Domains: The number of websites/domains backlinking to your website. If an individual website adds two or more backlinks to yours, it would still count as only one referring domain as it comes from the same place.
No Follow/Do Follow Backlinks: Links can have a tag in the code telling Google whether to follow that link or not. No follow links aren’t a ranking factor so the code tells Google not to ‘count’ this link. You should set the majority of your backlinks and internal links as ‘do follow’ so Google can crawl and use them to help rank your website.
Anchor Text: This is the clickable text used to highlight an internal or external website link. Anchor text should use keywords and phrases you want to rank for where possible. Do not use anchor text like ‘read here’ or ‘click here to read more’ as this doesn’t tell Google anything. Try to use your business name, or keywords related to your products and services.
On-Page Link Structure: These are internal links within your own website and content. It’s important to link between pages and relevant content to make it easier for visitors to stay on your site and find related content. Longer visits can also be a ranking factor with Google than those websites with a high bounce rate (i.e visits one page then leaves the website quickly)
Friendly Links – your website address (URL) shouldn’t be too long and should tell Google what the page is about. Any “unfriendly” links that have too many characters or aren’t easy for Google to read, will be listed here.
5. Usability Results Section
This section looks at how easy your website is to use on both mobile devices and desktop versions. It will tell you if there are any problems and you should note any differences between the two. Mobile performance was part of a major algorithm update by Google a couple of years ago, so you need to ensure it’s optimized for mobile for optimal rankings.
Another important factor is the speed at which your website loads. A slow site will be ranked lower than a faster competitor. Get some advice from a web designer on how to make web pages load faster.
As the elements here are mostly technical, I won’t provide a full explanation of each point. However, you should check whether all sections in this area have green ticks. One section to note is:
Google Web Core Vitals – an important part of the 2021 update for Google Search Console. They are a set of standardised metrics that help developers understand how users experience a web page. The information helps developers to identify and fix any issues. But they can also be used by all site owners, as they break down the user’s real-world experience on a page and show reasons why they may click away from your site.
If you see too many red crosses, speak to your web designer about fixing any elements that haven’t passed the mobile test, to ensure that your mobile website is fully accessible, loads quickly, and is easy to navigate.
6. Performance Results Section
This section looks at technical issues such as page size and loading speeds. This report will tell you if page sizes are too big and what needs fixing. For slow-loading sites, it tends to be because of the image sizes.
Page Speed Info & Page Size Info – check that you see arrows in the green section. If you’re into the red, run a Google PageSpeed Insights test. It will show you a result for both mobile and desktop sites. Issues are listed in order of priority and importance to the overall page ranking, so please show them to your page developer and get advice on what’s required to get that loading speed faster!
One of the main causes of a slow loading speed is using large images. The ‘Optimize Images’ section will tell you which images need to be tweaked and amended. Jpeg images are recommended for website pages, and they should be converted from print-quality resolution into a smaller format that will take up less room on the server. Make the images as small as required for the page and use a plug-in to condense the images further.
Again, there are some technical elements to this section that the layman doesn’t need to fully understand (thank goodness!). If you are seeing lots of red ticks, speak to your web developer about fixing the issues. If they can’t help, ask about technical SEO.
7. Social Results Section
Whilst social media activity doesn’t directly improve page ranking, it can help Google to recognise valuable content. By sharing blogs and other content, you’ll improve organic traffic, the longevity of your posts, and indicate that you have valuable content for that target market. A page of content that is liked and shared extensively, will stand a greater chance of ranking well for its particular search term than one that isn’t.
YouTube also acts as a search engine and opens up an extra avenue for SEO, if you have the time, budget and inclination to create videos.
So, whilst not vital to SEO, social can certainly help the cause. Think about creating a series of evergreen blog posts that are optimized with SEO-friendly titles, then share and reshare them on your social channels regularly to boost visits.
8. Local SEO Section
This section shows results from Google My Business, which feeds into Google Maps. Any business with a website should start a Google My Business account but it’s particularly important for appearing in results for local services. This will tell you whether you have an account, if it has the right contact details and how many reviews you have.
9. Review Child Pages
The last section lists any Child Pages found onsite. Child pages hold less power than parent pages, so they should ideally always be attached to a parent. For example, the home page and main service pages are the parent, then each service page listed as a sub-page of that, is a child page. It’s important that the hierarchy is set correctly so that Google understands what your site content is about. Check whether your child pages should be stand-alone or nestled within specific parent directories on your website. It’s OK to have child pages, as long as they make sense in the overall navigation of your website and have strong, standalone content. But if they don’t, attach them to a parent page to help pass some SEO juice to them.
Conclusion of Snapshot SEO Audit Explained
Well done for wading through all the information! The Snapshot SEO Audit makes it clear which elements are important for SEO on your website, and starts to provide some clarity about what type of tasks need to be done. If you’d like to chat it through, don’t forget to claim your discounted Power Hour (usually £149 but offered to you at £74.50 for a limited time only).
As this is a freebie, it doesn’t tell you everything. So, if you have a burning desire to know more and get a comprehensive report on your website (and take a sneaky peek at your competitors), then check out the full SEO Audit Service.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to hit reply to the email we sent the audit from. I’ll also be adding to my blog so keep checking back for SEO hints and tips. My aim is to keep adding to my content to help anyone who’d prefer to take a DIY approach to SEO.
If you would like some expert help to get the job done, then check out my range of Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses.
And that’s about that! Go take a well-deserved break to digest the information and don’t forget to get in touch if you need more help. But before you go…
If you found the free Snapshot SEO Audit informative and has increased your SEO savviness, then please don’t forget to share it with your clients, customers, friends and business associates. It would be much appreciated 🙂
[Originally published 10th September 2021. Updated 18th October 2023]