Time for Your Semi-Annual Website Audit

Dreading today’s trip to the dentist has lead me to thinking about one thing: what do dental appointments and website audits have in common? They’re both something you should get done at least twice a year! If it’s something that you’ve been putting off, it should be even more of a motivation to make things right. Here are a few reasons why:

One Thing at a Time
Whether it’s a tooth or a webpage, it’s important to set up a schedule for examining each element thoroughly every once in awhile. A good web page doesn’t stay good if it remains untouched and ignored for a long period of time. You might have content that’s outdated or no longer relevant or even pages that were written for the sake of SEO (pre-Panda and Penguin days).

Fresh content with social signals are crucial to showing that your website is relevant and authoritative. Examining your website in pieces is just as important as looking at things as a whole. And setting up a schedule makes it more manageable to analyze the content on your website.

Buildup is No Good
When examining portions of your website, you might find things that will surprise you: slow-loading images that were never optimized properly; unorganized code; bulky navigation; unnecessarily spammy lists of links and so on. Regular cleaning helps us get rid of the things that our website don’t need, so don’t feel like you need to hoard so much junk on your site.

This happens often on main landing pages and especially home pages. While it’s natural to feel like you want to show visitors everything at once, streamlining your content will enhance user experience. Keep it simple and avoid buildup that accumulate over the years.

Practice Good Techniques
Make sure to read Google’s official Webmaster Guidelines and to always think ‘white hat’. Remember, bad website practices are risky and don’t last in the long run. Best practices for online marketing don’t just apply to on-site SEO. It also includes: web design, social media, off-site SEO and any other type of relationship building that ties back to your brand!

Prevention is Key
Although it feels like it, checkups aren’t meant to torture you but to spare you the pain of something worse along the way. If you’re the kind of person with a ‘set it and forget it’ mentality, it’s time to be more aware of your website’s potential. Be consistent and work regularly to improve your website. It’s much better than rushing to get things done and then letting it sit for months or years. The nature of today’s SEO is active, continuous and never truly “done”.  There is always more work to be done and different (and creative ways) to make your website better.

Not feeling so great about the current state of your website’s health? Fill out your free website analysis and call (323) 340-4010 for a free consultation today.

Why Do “Bad” Sites Rank Well?

This is a common question that web site owners and developers often ask. It can be hard to digest whilte trying to figure out why a competitor’s site is outranking yours. Especially when said site appears to be of lower quality than your own. As Matt Cutts offers some thoughts in this video, it’s important to remember:

1) You can’t see 100% of a competitor’s backlinks – Whether you’re using SEOmoz, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Majestic SEO, or the latest links report from Webmaster Tools, it’s important to remember that different reports pull up different links from different sources. As Matt explains, your report might have pulled up “spammy” backlinks from a low-quality site but missed some more relevant links from authoritative sites. Looking at one report won’t tell you the whole picture and you always have to remember that there is an element of the unknown.

2) An incomplete competitor analysis – While backlinks may not tell a complete story, there are other forms of marketing that you can’t account for because they’re not immediately available. For example, how would you know how much a competitor is investing into a paid search campaign? Are they using TV ads or aggressive e-mail blasts or traditional mailing ads?

If this teaches you something, nowadays, it’s important to diversify your marketing campaigns and integrate different types when possible so that you aren’t overly reliant in one area, if it suddenly fails.

3) Google’s algorithm and updates aren’t perfect and are a continuous work in progress – Even Matt has to admit and agree that there are some things that Google’s algorithm can’t account for. For example, a hacked site that is using illicit tactics in order to gain rankings isn’t something that a single update targets. But consistent updates may help clear up SERPs of sites who clearly manipulated their backlinks. It may take awhile for Google to catch up when it comes to that particular industry.

4) Risky tactics can’t and don’t achieve rewards that last forever – Do high rewards for high risks sound like a good strategy for your business? Think again. In some industries (such as online pharmaceuticals, car insurance and online gambling) the market is inundated with players who rely on these tactics in order to maximize their profits in a short amount of time. The site might rank well, but in the long-run it cannot last. How long will you see these people in the top spots? A few weeks? A few days? This is not a business model you want to take after.

5) The mystery of how Google works – With over 200 updates last year, it’s almost impossible to predict what Google’s next move is. Your best bet is to practice white hat SEO tactics and review Google’s quality guidelines as they apply to your website.