In any organization, the basics are often overlooked. It’s much more fun to work on exciting projects such as launching a new website, instead of solving system issues such as reporting accurate data.
During the last six months, I have worked on five SEO audits and each organization has the same problem – The basics of SEO are overlooked (and ignored). Each audit, I approach the same way; I collect the data:
- Run site through Screaming Frog SEO Spider
- Review crawl errors in Google webmaster Tools
- Run site through SEOmoz
Each tools provides valuable data. In webmaster tools, there are usually a high amount of crawl errors found.
Instead of having a team that addresses these problems, resources are instead used for link-building, content creation and web design. While all important factors in SEO, yet if Google is specifically telling you it has problems crawling your site, why is there so little focus? If Google has problems finding your site, then chances are so do your potential customers.
Of the three site audits I have performed during the last two months, only one site has been quick enough to take action and addres the issues.. The audits usually have the same outcome; duplicate content issues, URL parameters and session IDs, crawl errors, etc. The site audit is filled with recommendations and suggested next steps.
The following screenshots are taken from Google Analytics Organic Traffic report between July 1st to July 30th. Can you guess which site implemented the findings from the SEO audit?
Organic traffic decrease of 13% compared with June 2012
Organic traffic increase of 10% compared with June 2012
Organic traffic increase of 350% compared with June 2012
Congrats! You guessed it, it’s site 3.
I’ve made a note in Google Analytics for each improvement made using Annotations. Here is the list of improvements by date:
- Jul 10, 2012 Redirect implemented for non-www to www
- Jul 23, 2012 URL re-write, improved page titles and meta descriptions
- Jul 24, 2012 New page titles added to home, and destination pages
- Jul 24, 2012 /index redirected to /
- Jul 25, 2012 New navigation menu launched
- Jul 26, 2012 Google analytics goals implemented
- Jul 27, 2012 Improved internal anchor text
- Jul 27, 2012 Google analytics tracking script moved to top of the page
- Jul 27, 2012 XML sitemap submitted
- Jul 27, 2012 Crawl errors fixed – Reduced from 155 issues to 6 issues
- Jul 30, 2012 New meta descriptions added for top destination pages
- Jul 30, 2012 https pages now redirected to http
- Jul 30, 2012 Google Analytics tracking script updated (only one per page)
- Jul 30, 2012 New XML sitemap submitted for http URLs
In less than a month, organic traffic has increased by 350% (based on weekly traffic) and organic leads now account for 50% of total conversions, up from 3%. No link-building was involved and no content creation strategies implemented, just fixing the basics reported that are reported in webmaster tools.
Has your organic traffic increased since fixing the crawl errors reported in webmaster tools? Feel free to comment below.