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5 Top Site Auditing Issues and How To Fix Them

There are many reasons why you might not be getting as much traffic to your site as you should be. From your rankings being low to a blacklisted domain name, but what if your rankings are good and your domain is squeaky clean? Why aren't potential customers getting in touch?

In this article we will take you through five of the biggest mistakes often found on websites and how you can fix them. Most of them are little things, but they make a big difference and some might even turn into bigger issues if you don't look into them quickly. 

1. Broken Internal Links (and no Redirects)

Not only will a broken link look amateurish on your website, but it will negatively impact not only a customer's journey through your website - potentially making them leave - but it will also damage your Google rankings. The user experience is extremely important, not just for the user, but for Google bots that will be trawling your site. That's the last thing you want happening! Turning potential customers away is the biggest faux pas, but if Google finds issues like this with your site you'll struggle to get those potential customers in the first place.

If you find that you have broken links and attempt to fix them in the wrong way, you'll end up with errors. Redirecting these errors is the easiest way to fix them, but if you leave dead pages or bad navigation issues without redirects, you'll have a lot to contend with. The first place to start is by crawling the site using programs such as Screaming Frog. These will immediately bring up broken links and errors and you can go about fixing them.

2. "Bad" Meta Information

This may seem like a wishy-washy concept, the idea of "bad" meta information, but there are many ways to mess up metal information that will be harmful to your website; the biggest being that your meta title or meta description are just too long. Meta titles should be around 60 characters long - any longer than that and they'll be cut off. Meta descriptions should be no longer than 155–160 characters - any longer than that and, again, they'll be cut off.

The fix for this is quite simple: re-write and re-work your meta information to fit into these parameters. Once you've done that it may take Google a little while to update it in searches, or it may take a few hours - no one ever really knows with search engines! Check it out and see if it's made a difference. Look at what your competitors are doing. Research, research, research.

3. Slow Site Speed

A major issue that is incredibly off-putting for many potential customers is slow site speed. It's proven that an increase in a site's speed will also increase a site's bounce rate, as shown in the graphic below:

Page speed checking during site audits

Source: Search Influence, 2017

One of the first things you should be looking at is your site's speed. This is key when thinking about your potential customers - you could have page 1 results for all of your keywords, but if your website is slow then you aren't going to get a return on your investment.

The easiest way to fix this is to run your site through something like Google's Page Speed Insights. It's a simple tool that gives you instant information, but there are plenty of others that are both free and have subscriptions or a one-time fee that give you even more information to help improve your site's speed.

4. Confusing Site Structure

Another simple problem that some web companies and businesses miss is a confusing site structure. It's easy to throw a few pages together and call it a website, but the navigation is extremely important and should be one of the first things you think about.

Imagine yourself as a potential customer. If you want to find something on a website that supplies bathroom products, for example, you're looking for something specific. If you're looking for some taps, you don't want that page hidden, only accessible by trawling through five other pages to get there.

It's important to think about this in the initial stages of your website's creation, or you'll end up having to do a lot of redirects (as talked about earlier in this article). Write out your navigation before your site's creation, pretend to be one of your potential customers and see where your pitfalls are. If you're having this issue currently it may mean that you need those redirects in place after swapping your pages around, or, it may mean you need some new pages added that showcase some of your products that are popular, but hard to find.

5. Lousy Content

Bad content can be flagged up in many ways, but the two most common are: spammy and thin. Spammy content does what it says on the tin: it spams. Having keywords in your pages' content is very important, but there's a limit to how much you should be putting in the content and how regularly. Having a reputable SEO company (such as Smart Domain Group) manage your website each month will ensure you don't have spammy content, but there are many businesses that employ these tactics to try and drive up rankings. Generally, they end up getting penalised by Google and whatever rankings they do have drop.

The second most common issue with content is that it can very easily become thin, or in other words too short. Sites that have very little body content will tend to be looked down upon by Google's algorithms and bots when they crawl your site. Make sure you have a good amount of text on each page (recommended around 350 – 500 words per page) and that the text you have is high quality. You want the keywords you're targeting in the text, but not squeezed in there and repeated in a way that doesn't make sense. "Kent's leading web design company Kent" doesn't make much sense; you're fine to just have "Kent's leading web design company", for example. The content needs to pass Googles stringent bots as well as give your potential customers the information they're looking for in an easy and readable way.

What Does This Mean For My Website?

If you're finding that the visitors to your website are leaving straight away, despite having decent rankings, then there's some issues with your website. These are the five major issues that we've found on websites in the past, but there are a plethora of problems that you might come across. The key to having a good, well-written and well-maintained website with no errors is to have a professional SEO manager take care of it.

Interested in finding out how to fix your website? Why not take a look at our SEO page and find the best options for you!