Why is it important to get an SEO audit for your Website? An SEO audit is an evaluation of how optimised your website is for search engines and is a key first step in search engine optimisation.

A website audit will look at crucial points such as bounce rates, page views, time on site and much more in-depth insights.

These are key areas that need to be enhanced to guarantee better search engine indexing. Here are a few common errors that an SEO audit will reveal:

404 page not found

One of the most common errors you can come across while browsing the Internet is a 404 or Page Not Found error. This error often occurs when you follow a broken link or if you type in a website address that doesn’t exist.

Broken images and missing alt tags

Let's start with alt tags (or 'alternative' tags). These are extremely important to Google image search. Although search engines have become pretty clever, alt tags help them understand what images are about.

In other words, alt tags provide textual descriptions of images, which makes it possible for search engines to categorise them. Broken images cause the same issues as broken links.

Broken links are dead ends for users and search engines, and they can cause search engines to downgrade your website because they create a poor user experience.

A broken image is usually an icon that looks like a photograph or a piece of paper that has been ripped in half. 

Non-secure websites

If you have a website that is not secure, it is highly recommended to change the website from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTPS is essential for ensuring a safe and secure experience for users.

Google considers site security to be a ranking signal and will favour websites with HTTPS.

Slow loading website

Page speed is an important ranking factor. More importantly, page speed helps visitors have a better user experience, which leads to an increase in conversions (when a visitor completes a desired action on your website).

Having a slow running website is a nightmare because it can deter potential customers from buying through your site or restrict readers from viewing your articles and information.

Google has confirmed that website speed is a ranking factor – they expect pages to load in two seconds or less, as an optimal benchmark.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. It often lives on a different URL and sometimes even on a different domain/website.

For instance, your site could be available on both www and non-www or HTTP and HTTPS – or both at the same time, the horror! 

No XML sitemap

A sitemap, or more specifically, an XML sitemap, is like a road map or a table of contents for all of the important pages, posts and images on your website.

Having an XML sitemap will tell Google, and other search engines, which pages are on your website – so they can know to include them in their search results.

Without this, the search engine will not be able to crawl your website effectively.

Not mobile friendly

When we talk about mobile-friendly websites, we mean that a website looks and functions great on any mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet.

About 91% of mobile users say access to content is critical. That means many may consider leaving a site if they’re unable to find what they’re looking for.

A mobile-friendly website should be sized and coded for easy interaction on any mobile device.

Low word count

The amount of words on the pages of your website is referred to as 'word count'. This is a complicated SEO metric because, on one hand, there is no minimum word count for a page.

On the other, Google is known to rank content with more depth higher, and longer content is one indicator of depth, especially if you avoid fluff.

The content on your website needs to include a broad range of subjects around a given focus topic to make it more valuable to readers.

Temporary redirects

Redirection is an excellent way to let search engines know when a page has moved so that you don't lose any page authority.

However, there's a big difference between permanent (301) and temporary (302) redirects in terms of SEO. A 302 redirect can cause search engines to continue to index an outdated page while ignoring the page you are redirecting it to.

That's why if the change is permanent, it's worth implementing a permanent redirect. If you are under the impression that you can simply ignore fixing these errors on your website, guess again.

Eventually, your website will drop off the Search Engine Results Pages and, before you know it, you will have a website with low traffic and no conversions.

The good news is, your traffic and conversions can and will increase by taking care of the various errors on your website to assure better rankings. And ultimately, that is why it is important to acquire a proper SEO audit for your website.

For more information, visit www.elemental.co.za. You can also follow Elemental Web Solutions on Facebook or on Twitter.