11 CRITICAL DESIGN ERRORS THAT A FREE SEO AUDIT REVEALS Posted on June 9, 2017January 31, 2018 by One & Zero Perform A SEO Audit To Improve Your Website Design Optimization. Is your website performing as well as you thought it would? Are you getting the kind of search engine traffic you need to be successful? Contact us for a completely free SEO audit to see if there are any opportunities to get more targeted, organic search engine traffic. SEO continues to mystify many people, especially business owners and marketing managers. Inquiring minds want to know: after spending the time and effort to develop a website and media, why isn’t there more traffic from search engines? What good is a beautiful website that no one sees? We recommend getting a free SEO audit to uncover the answers to those critical questions and offer it to prospective clients. If you’re tired of scratching your head, trying to understand why so few people are getting to your website, get a free SEO audit. It’ll shed some light on your situation and help you come up things you can do right away to improve your website. The Truth About Websites With Great SEO For far too long, people have focused on aesthetics and beauty over function when it comes to websites. Now that search makes up such a bulk of the Internet usage, people are beginning to see the problem with focusing solely on graphic design. Consider this common scenario: small business owners sometimes pay tens of thousands of dollars for websites that aren’t optimized for either traffic or leads. Six to twelve months later, the struggle for traffic continues. Why? The answer is that there’s more to digital marketing than incredible graphic design (which we love very much, by the way). Websites and digital platforms have jobs to do for our businesses, right? So, we should measure their effectiveness just as much as their appeal. Websites with consistently high rankings need to excel in design, function, and SEO. FACT: SEARCH ENGINES DON’T SEE WEBSITES LIKE HUMANS DO Search engines crawl websites, scanning for text, media, and links. Because of the way that works, search engines simply don’t process visual imagery – they would have no way of knowing what the images actually show. You have to tell that to them in the form of text. This is why a beautiful, visually-appealing website can struggle to get a high search engine ranking just like any other website. Search engines don’t rank beauty. They rank content. And on the other hand, you might come across a moderately high ranking website for a particular keyword that doesn’t seem at all visually appealing. One writer put this dilemma into context brilliantly when asked why a beautiful website can suffer in terms of SEO. He said, “Websites that look amazing typically offer little opportunity for on-page optimisation and conversely pages that are well optimised will often compromise the design and user experience.” If you’re in this situation and you have what appears to be a well-designed website that’s not getting any search engine traffic, you need a free SEO audit. Many people know audits are valuable in terms of telling us how many links we need to get to compete with our competitors, but SEO audits can and should go beyond that. A solid SEO audit sheds light on design errors that are almost never caught otherwise. This kind of information is free of charge and beyond valuable. 11 Critical Design Errors Uncovered by a Free SEO Audit When it comes to SEO, we can separate website design errors into two major categories: 1. The ones you can see 2. The ones you can’t see Design involves a framework and a user interface. You’ll need to optimize both the framework and the interface. A free SEO audit, such as the one that we offer, identifies opportunities to improve your site’s design so that you can enjoy the benefits that search engines bring. If you optimize your site well, over time, your website will be an asset that continuously delivers leads that you don’t have to pay for. ON-PAGE DESIGN ERRORS #1 Poorly Optimized Headers Headers are often too long, too short, badly optimized, or ignored altogether. If you’re not sure what a header is, you’re not alone. Technically speaking, headers are used to create sections on a page, much like chapter titles or subtitles in a book. Headers tell search engines (and humans) about the content. An SEO audit can show you where headers lack optimization and recommend changes. Poorly optimized headers could mean serious issues for your site because search engines use them to understand and index your content. In some ways, headers communicate to search engines how organized your content is, and that’s important for both humans and search engines. Without good headers, both visitors and search engines can get confused. #2 Lack Of Keyword Rich Content Search engines need a decent amount of information to determine the subject of a web page. The more, the better. Words matter significantly in SEO. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but only if you can see it. Since search engines can’t see pictures, they rely on words, layout, and signals to read the page. A free SEO audit shows where you’re not using enough of the right words so that you can make immediate and effective changes. #3 Overuse of Keywords By this same token, SEO audits show where you might be overusing keywords, too. Keyword stuffing occurs when a word or phrase is used so much that the content is difficult to read, and search engines use algorithms to identify it. Keywords should be used naturally, as in a conversation. A free SEO audit will identify potential keyword saturation. Using alternative words or synonyms helps avoid overuse. #4 Lack of Optimized Media When you incorporate videos and images into your website, you should optimize them. Many people are not sure how to do that, so they don’t. Neglecting to optimize media creates a missed opportunity because search engines classify and categorize media in special ways. People love to see media, but if search engines don’t know what your media is about, they won’t index it the way you’d like. When you get an SEO audit, the audit will identify videos and images that aren’t optimized well enough. #5 Problems With Content Layout Did you know that a web page’s layout impacts search engine optimization? Headers, images, tables, buttons, calls to action, forms, etc. all matter when it comes to layout. Pop-up advertising or hiding content in difficult to reach places does, too. Search engines can crawl and index sites more easily when they are organized in ways that make sense. Here’s one tip: Content at the top of a page tells search engines what it’s about, so placing irrelevant content there OR taking up valuable space with items a search engine can’t crawl is a mistake. Framework Design Errors The previous section covered potential design errors that you can actually see with your eyes. That makes up a big part of search engine optimization. But this next list of errors uncovered in an audit makes up an even bigger part. These framework design errors can impact your potential for search traffic or even eliminate it altogether. #6 Crawling-Related Issues Is your website even accessible to search engines? If you’re not sure, because you’ve never gotten any organic traffic, you might have an issue with crawling. To better understand what we mean by crawling, watch this brief video. An SEO audit should uncover design errors that are either impacting crawling or preventing it. #7 Problematic iFrames or Other Elements Sometimes, technology gets in the way of search engine optimization. Search engines handle certain structural elements, like iframes, differently than straight text and images. While most of this kind of technology helps with laying out elements on a page or displaying special content, it’s not ideal for SEO. Audits will identify these issues. #8 Duplicate Content Duplicate content creates an indexing issue. Most of the time, site owners do not realize their sites have duplicate content. It happens quite naturally, sometimes. Fortunately, duplicate content issues are easily resolved with tags. Regarding duplicate content, a statement in a support article on Google.com says that “Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has a “regular” and “printer” version of each article, and neither of these is blocked with a no-index meta tag, we’ll choose one of them to list.” Two pages don’t have to be 100% identical to be considered duplicate; they only need to be substantially similar. An SEO audit will help you figure out duplicate content creates issues. #9 Heavy, Slow-Loading Scripts Have you ever been to a website that takes what feels like forever to load? Where every few seconds (or longer), another element comes onto the screen until they all finally load? That’s a symptom of a script problem. Scripts make websites do interesting things, like facilitate the searching of databases, play video or animation, or control dynamic content. Unfortunately, too much code can bog down a site and make it difficult to crawl, index, or even use sometimes. #10 Site and Link Structure Issues In the first section, we touched on page layout and the organization that you can see with your eyes. Similarly, your website’s underlying structure, including how pages are organized, linked, and categorized, can help or hinder SEO, too. Audits uncover issues involving how your pages are linked together (or not linked together), which impacts optimization. (For more information, read this informative article from Yoast about Site Structure.) #11 Meta Tag and MetaData Issues Last but definitely not least, SEO audits identify issues with meta tags and metadata. The two most important meta tags for search engines are the meta name (title) and the meta description. Search engines use the meta tags to index the site, and show both in search engine results. Metadata is a little broader and more technical. Search engines use metadata to get an even better picture of content, and then do cool things with it. What they do with metadata continues to evolve in very interesting ways. For example, Google now shows local events as part of their search results in a calendar form. Website owners can use event metadata to help Google find events and show them, resulting in droves of free traffic, potentially. But, the metadata must be there and be accurate in order to take advantage. While that example goes beyond a typical SEO audit, all quality SEO audits show issues with critically important metadata for search engine results. Can your site benefit from more search engine traffic? If so, we’d love to show you areas to improve. Click to email us for a Free SEO Audit (no strings attached). ________________________________________________________________________ Common SEO Myth Busted: MYTH: “Keyword research is unnecessary because I already know my keywords.” REALITY: This is a myth with devastating consequences. Too often, website owners develop content around keywords that are either insanely difficult to rank for, or so obscure that no one is searching for them. The result of going either direction? No traffic. Keyword research identifies the phrases you should target because they are the right combination of competitive and specific. Additionally, you can use keyword research to find words based on commercial intent (looking to buy vs just browsing for information). The process also identifies long-tail keywords and related searches, both of which are necessary for a complete and success on-page optimization effort. Bottom line: always conduct solid keyword research when optimizing your website. One & ZeroOne & Zero is a Web Design Agency based in New York City. We’d like to invite you to learn more about what we do. For a complimentary consultation on your website’s performance, contact One & Zero today.