When performing an SEO audit, there are a lot of major players to consider. Some of these big factors can negatively impact rankings or just make it too difficult to properly and effectively perform good SEO. Here are the next 5 warning signs to look for in your SEO audit. If you missed the first 5 on our list, take a look!
Site isn’t Responsive (bad mobile viewing)
Often times when working on a website or its SEO, we generally use a desktop computer. A lot of people forget to run their audits on their phones and tablets. Although many of the tools available can mimic practically any device, we’ve learned that they simply aren’t as effective as manually auditing on each device. Taking a look, browsing, and going through purchases on the website using each device will tell you a lot.
Keep an eye out for touch elements being too close together.
Older sites may be running older frameworks or even including older CSS themes. These are going to display incorrectly in smaller browser sizes and have a huge effect on the bounce rate. Responsiveness is something that can’t be overlooked in an SEO audit. Sites that are not mobile-friendly are huge red flags.
After all, in 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones.
Slow Loading Websites
Do you even need to run a speed test for some websites? Visit the website and open up a few of the images in tabs. If they are huge resolution images, chances are strong that you’re going to have a slow-loading site.
Here’s a secret we don’t even tell Cory… we LOVE new SEO clients that have slow loading websites. The reason why is because it’s an easy fix that makes a drastic improvement. Page speed is one of the first things to check on our SEO audit list due to it being one of the signals used by Google’s algorithm to rank pages.
Page speed can be described in either “page load time” (the time it takes to fully display the content on a specific page) or “time to first byte” (how long it takes for your browser to receive the first byte of information from the web server). If your site is slow to load, it’s most likely due to either crummy hosting, bad plugins, or large images. Give you site a spin and see how it rank up: Google’s Page Speen Insights
Bad Permalink Structure
So there is our permalink for this blog. Nothing too fancy or too difficult to understand. Permalinks should always be ‘human-readable’ when possible. Permalink SEO is a whole other article in itself, but not for today. Problem permalinks look like this:
In the above examples, each has its own issue that can be fixed. A good rule of thumb is permalinks should be human-readable, shouldn’t have cutesie misspellings, and shouldn’t use underscores. Underscores aren’t inherently bad, they are read differently by search engines though. They are just not advisable from an SEO standpoint. Using a hyphen in your URLs is recommended by Google because it makes your website easy to read for humans.
A good permalink structure uses descriptive keywords, keeps it short and sweet, uses categories, and nesting of pages.
Bad permalink structure doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad SEO, but it doesn’t help.
The outdated Meta Keywords tag
Okay, so this isn’t actually a red flag. But when we run across the meta tag for keywords on a website, we do get a good chuckle. Google rid themselves of the keyword metatag quite a while back, so seeing it on a site is a head-scratcher. Maybe the site hasn’t been updated in a looooong time. That there would be an SEO audit red flag.
In fact, this tag is so old even Yahoo doesn’t use it anymore. Stale codes aren’t bad for SEO, but it will always make us question how long it’s been since the site has been updated.
5.0 Star Reviews across the board
We always Google the brand/company when we’re doing a site audit. It’s good to see what positive & negative web talk is out there. From this, we can learn the number of indexed pages, how the site links look, and reviews on their GMB local listing, Facebook, Yelp, etc.
If we find 50 5 star reviews, that is a red flag. Almost all businesses, even when providing steller services, have some form of a bad review.
Be careful of reviews in 2020. There are private watchdog groups (not to mention the FCC) going after people for fake reviews or paying for reviews.
That pretty much wraps it up for SEO audit red flags. We see all different kinds of SEO tactics come through our offices, and although some work and some don’t, we can stand by the warning signs that we call Red Flags. Best of luck in your SEO endeavors, and keep an eye out for these 10 signs. It does not mean your website is hopeless or that it can’t be fixed. Only that you may need to use a bit of elbow grease to see some results.