Requested your free Snapshot SEO Audit and discovered your website health score, but need some extra explanation of the recommendations and jargon? This article will help to clue you up on what each section means and which are the most important things to focus on. There’s also a handy SEO glossary 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.
Total SEO Score Explained
A fairly self-explanatory one! Your website is given a total SEO score, plus a rating for other individual elements that contribute to that SEO. Each 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 elements need the most attention. Keep reading – there’s more information on these different SEO elements further down the page.
SEO Recommendations Explained
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 should be focused on first.
IMPORTANT POINT! Whilst the list of SEO recommendations provides a great starting point to 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 they are actually targeted for your ideal keywords and phrases.
I see this time and again with new clients who are ranking for the totally wrong keywords. So, work would need 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. END OF IMPORTANT POINT 😉
1. On-Page Optimization Explained
On-page optimization is the biggest section to explain as it’s one of the important elements in the SEO mix.
On-page optimization 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. If they can’t read it, they can’t rank it. Or they may pick up the wrong information and rank your site for words and phrases that won’t send the punters your way.
This optimized 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.
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.
Glossary of On-Page Optimization Terms
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 shown for your home page only. Should fit required character length and also contain 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, then other headers are used to show main sections in order of importance. If you aren’t using headers, please start doing so!
Keywords & Keyword Consistency – single words that search spiders are identifying on your website and think the content is about.
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. If the right words aren’t listed, you need to work on keyword research and implementing them correctly into your pages.
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 – adds a tag to show that search engines should not index this page. So, this should not be applied 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.
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 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 to 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 people don’t go past Page 1, so the aim is to get as many terms to Page 1 as possible. As a guide, positions 1-9 on page 1, 10-18 on page 2, 19-27 on Page 3 etc.
This report tells you how many terms you have ranked for at which position, so you can work out how many terms you have on page 1, page 2, etc. However, it doesn’t specify what the key phrases are and what pages they go to. To get the full information on your ranked keywords, request the Sorted SEO Audit Service.
This section shows which key phrases are bringing the most traffic to your website, as well as what page position they rank at, in which country. Check that your business is ranking for the correct keywords in the right 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. Once completed, those keywords must be implemented on the website pages to get them fully optimized, plus some extra tasks to tell Google about your website and ensure that it’s being indexed correctly. The SEO Starter Package for Small Business is just the thing for this particular task.
Backlinks are when other websites link to a page on your website. This improves the authority of your page and lots of quality backlinks increase page ranking.
You should be aiming to increase “good” links and remove any “bad” links. The report will show the sites that are linking to you and their authority. Improve backlinks by adding your site to business directories, trade body listings, guest blogging, and online PR.
Friendly Links – your website address (URL) shouldn’t be too long and should tell Google what the page is about. Any “unfriendly” links will be listed here.
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 recent algorithm update by Google, so you need to ensure it’s optimized for mobile.
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 from Google, in 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.
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 slow speeds is using large images. 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 and speed things up.
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.
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 terms.
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.
Review Child Pages
The last section lists any Child Pages to check. These pages sit under a parent directory or page. For example, a service page would be the parent, then each service page listed would be 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.
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.
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.
If you’re not sure what service is right for you, pop to my contact page to ask, or to arrange a 20-min Discovery Call and we can work out a plan to start getting SEO sussed for your business.
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 with your clients, customers, friends and business associates. It would be much appreciated 🙂