A comprehensive website audit is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign for an existing website. The goal is to identify elements of your site that need to be corrected, restructured, and/or properly optimized.
The ‘big-picture’ aspects of your website that will typically be covered in an SEO audit include:
- technical SEO elements
- indexation & crawlability
- site architecture
- backlink profile
- keyword analysis
- content analysis
- keyword cannibalization issues
- internal linking
- local optimization
- on-page elements
- page speed & mobile speed
- competitive analysis
User-Friendly Website Structure
The ‘architecture’ of your website refers to how the pages are structured, organized, how they interlink, and the URL’s that are chosen for each page. Optimizing your site’s architecture provides two benefits:
SEO-friendly site structure and navigation allows potential clients to quickly and easily find the information they are looking for on your site. Optimizing for user experience in this way will lower your website’s bounce rate, and increase the amount of time people spend on your site.
Having an SEO-friendly site architecture makes it easier for search engine crawlers to find, and index all the pages on your site.
In-depth keyword research impacts every facet of a successful SEO campaign for any law firm. Targeted keywords inform decisions regarding the on-page SEO, content development, outreach and link-building, as well as the architecture of your website.
We start with a list of seed keywords, and delve into related searches that people are typing into the search engines. Then we evaluate the keywords your competitors are ranking for using tools that provide insight into the most popular, and the most profitable organic keywords.
Local Search & Google My Business
Most law firms generate their clients from their local market. It doesn’t matter if you have one office, or a dozen locations in different cities, you must optimize your Google My Business (GMB) listing to have any chance of competing in local search results – the Maps 3-Pack.
Although local SEO and traditional SEO do share some aspects in common… local SEO is a highly-specialized niche that requires a significant amount of optimization efforts that are completely different from traditional SEO aimed at increasing organic rankings.
On-page, also referred to as on-site optimization encompasses all the elements found on a web page itself.
On-page elements include:
- the page content
- HTML code
- keyword usage
- title tags
- header tags
- schema markup
- internal links
One of the most important aspects of on-page is creating relevance with the search engines for your targeted keyword queries.
While off-page SEO includes more than just backlinks, outreach and link-building are the primary focus of most off-page optimization efforts. Producing great content that appeals to, and informs your website visitors is the best way to earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
However, backlinks don’t just magically appear just because you start producing new content. Outreach to webmasters and publishers is how you secure those backlinks, and build the number of Referring Domains (RD’s) in your site’s backlink profile.
Building an authoritative (and diverse) backlink profile by increasing the number of Referring Domains linking to your site is how you develop greater trust and authority with search engines.
Content That’s Tightly-Focused & ‘Complete’
Along with backlinks, and RankBrain, content is one of the top 3 Google ranking factors. Search engines like tightly-focused content because it allows them to show the most relevant content to a specific search query.
Producing content that completely answers a searcher’s questions about a topic is how you develop authoritative content.
Relevance and authority are the one-two punch for making the search engines love your content.
Search Intent And Matching Your Content To It
You can’t just assume you know what information people are looking for when they perform a particular search. You have to do the research, and find out what Google thinks will satisfy the answers people are looking for.
Then you need to develop your content to match up with what Google believes people want from that query.
Creating an organized plan to match up your content ‘buckets’ to specific pages (URL’s) on your site helps you achieve two very important objectives. Maximizing the ranking of individual pages for your high-value keywords, and avoiding the rankings damage caused by keyword cannibalization.
Mobile-Friendly & Responsive Website
If you want to convert website visitors to prospects, it’s important to optimize the mobile version of your site for UX (user experience) signals.
The RankBrain algorithm developed by Google is engineered to analyze how searchers interact with your website, and to incorporate those UX signals into how your website ranks in online search results.
Having a responsive website that is easy to navigate on mobile devices is a key part of sending the right user experience signals to the search engines.
Technical SEO Audit
Almost two-thirds of all searches on Google are performed on a mobile device. Even more important is the fact that 95% of all mobile searches are performed on Google.
To protect and maintain their dominance in mobile search, Google has rolled out their Mobile-First Index, and mobile speed is definitely a factor in how rankings are determined by search engines on mobile devices.
Page speed (and your resulting page speed) is a measure of how fast the content (text, images, etc.) on a page loads in a web browser. The server a website resides on, the page file size, and image compression all play a role in how how quickly a page will load.
Google has used page speed as a ranking factor since 2010, and Google began placing even greater importance on page speed when they rolled out the ‘Speed’ update in 2018. So having a slow-loading website isn’t just annoying to your potential clients, it can definitely hurt your search engine rankings as well.
Having A Secure Website (SSL)
If you want people to submit their information via your website, they had better see that reassuring little padlock icon in their browser bar when they visit your site.
The moment a searcher sees the ‘Not Secure’ warning in the browser bar, it’s over. If you haven’t migrated your website to https: yet, you are losing an incredible percentage of your visitors who will never fill out and submit your contact form.
Analytics & Reporting
google analytics logo
Google Analytics tracks all of the most important metrics of your website. Rankings by keyword, how much traffic your site is getting from individual sources, click-through-rates, etc.
You can also see some of the most important ‘big-picture’ metrics related to your SEO campaign, such as overall organic visibility, and organic keyword growth.