No or low traffic? Time for a website audit to see what’s going on!
Is your website not getting the amount of traffic that you’d like it to? Are you having a hard time figuring out why? Don’t worry; you can take steps to assess the situation and find out what’s going on. Basically, it’s time for a website audit!
When trying to figure out why your website isn’t getting any traffic, the first step is to conduct a website audit. This will help you identify any problems with your content, structure, or use of keywords.
In this blog post, we will look at how to conduct a website audit and identify potential problems that could be affecting your performance and keeping your traffic low.
Here are some steps you can take to audit your website and figure out why it isn’t getting traffic. We will go into more detail about each of the following three steps in the article below.
- Conduct a technical SEO website audit: Make sure that your website is crawlable by search engines, loads quickly, and doesn’t have any technical issues that could be causing problems with indexing or ranking.
- Conduct an on-site analysis of your website’s content, structure, and use of keywords: Look at the quality and relevance of your website’s content. Is it well-written and informative? Does it address the needs and interests of your target audience? Are you are using relevant and targeted keywords in your website’s titles, headings, and content?
- Conduct an off-site analysis to review your competitors, backlinks, and social media profiles: Look at what your competitors are doing and see how to improve your website to compete with them. Check who is linking to your website and the quality of those links. A strong backlink profile can help improve your search engine rankings and provide more opportunities for referral traffic to come to your site. Look at your social media profiles and see how well you are promoting your website on these platforms.
Let’s go into each of these in more detail:
1. Conduct a technical SEO website audit
Several years ago, I wrote a beginner’s guide on conducting an SEO audit for Warfare Plugins. I am proud to say that, to date, it is the most shared post on their website.
In a nutshell, an SEO audit is a way to identify any problems that might prevent your website from being indexed in Search.
Whether you are a beginner blogger or own a Fortune 500 company, everyone needs to have an SEO audit conducted on their website from time to time.
While there is certainly a case for outsourcing your SEO to a professional, there is still a lot you can do on your own, particularly when it comes to troubleshooting.
1.1) Check if your site is indexed in Search
Tools: Google Search, Bing Search
Simply open Google and Bing and type site:YourURL into the search bar. (Don’t include any spaces.)
If your site has yet to yield results, the most likely reason is that it hasn’t been indexed. This could be because it is new; to address this, you will want to submit your sitemap to Google, which we will cover in a section below.
If it isn’t new, you’ll need to investigate further and learn why it’s not been indexed yet – for now, keep reading.
1.2) Check if your site is blocked from search
Tools: Your WordPress Admin, Robots.txt Test, Noindex Tag Test
When web developers construct a website, they often prevent Google from accessing it before completion. Unfortunately, they may forget to unblock it when the site goes live. If search engines cannot crawl your website, it may not be listed in Search.
Therefore, the initial step should always be to check your WordPress settings under the “Reading” tab and ensure that you have left the box next to “Search Engine Visibility” unchecked!
If that is unchecked, the next step is to analyze your robots.txt file; this is an easy task, and you can determine success or failure immediately. If unsuccessful, a simple adjustment will be needed to the robots.txt file, which should be located in your site’s root directory and can be edited with Notepad.
In addition to robots.txt files, meta tags can also be used to restrict access to websites. These tags are typically found in the HTML code’s header section and can easily be checked manually or with an analyzer tool. However, not all pages blocked from being indexed will have visible evidence in the HTML code; an investigation of the header response’s x-robots-tag may be necessary. Of course, this may be desired when it comes to private utility pages.
1.3) Check if SSL is installed and, if not, install it
Tools: Your Web Host
SEO and security are the two major reasons your website should use encryption. Without getting technical, it provides visitors extra peace of mind when browsing your site, and Google suggests it. Additionally, from July 2018 Google Chrome has presented a “Not secure” message in the browser bar for sites without SSL, which will probably put off potential visitors … obviously not good for getting traffic to your website.
1.4) Check for redirects
Tools: Screaming Frog
When redirecting a page, it is best practice to use a 301 redirect. If your website receives high volumes of traffic or earns an income for you, it may be beneficial to get help from someone knowledgeable in the area or hire an SEO Professional.
1.5) Check your speed
Tools: GTmetrix.com, Page Speed Insights
Time is money when it comes to website loading speed, and people will definitely not wait around waiting for your website to load. If it runs more slowly than 3-4 seconds, take advantage of the suggestions provided by the tools listed above
1.6) Take the mobile-friendly test
Tools: Mobile-Friendly Test
If you aren’t already, consider choosing a WordPress theme listed as “responsive” or “responsive layout.” This means that the theme is designed to adjust its layout depending on the size of the device used to view it.
1.7) Check for broken links and/or 404 errors
Tools: Broken Link Checker, Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool
Broken links impair user experience and, if not addressed, will adversely impact your website’s rankings. You can use the Broken Link Checker plugin by WPMU DEV or the Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool to detect broken links on your site. Of course, once you find them, you need to fix them!
1.8) Create or update your XML Sitemap(s) and submit them to Google and Bing
Tools: XML Sitemaps, Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools
A sitemap is designed to list all the pages on a website to make it simpler for search engine crawlers to identify and index content. This, in turn, can improve rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Now that you have addressed any technical issues that might prevent the search engines from indexing your site, you are ready to submit your sitemap to Google and Bing.
Go to the Google Search Console homepage, click “crawl,” click “sitemaps,” click “add/test sitemap,” and in the text field, type sitemap.xml, then click “submit sitemap.” Simple, right? Submitting your sitemap to Bing and other search engines is just as easy. Just follow the directions … you’ve got this!
2. Conduct an on-site analysis of your website’s content, structure, and use of keywords
Tools: SEMrush, Ahrefs, Loganix
Assuming you’ve completed a technical audit of your website in the steps above and confirmed that it’s not the issue, it’s time to look at your website’s content, structure, and keywords. All of these factors can affect your website’s ranking in search engines, which in turn affects the amount of traffic you get.
When it comes to website ranking, site content has the most significant impact. Google algorithms focus on many quality attributes, including relevance, trust, flow, context and originality.
2.1) Start by taking a look at your website’s content.
Is it unique, relevant, and keyword-rich? If not, that could be why your site isn’t ranking well in search engines. Look at your competitor’s websites to see what kind of content they’re producing. Then, create some content of your own that is even better!
2.2) Next, take a look at your website’s structure.
Is it easy to navigate? Are all of the important pages linked together logically? If not, visitors may get lost on your site and never come back. Make sure everything is easy to find, and put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor when assessing your site’s navigation.
2.3) Take a look at your use of keywords.
Are you using relevant keywords throughout your site? Are you using them too much? Not enough? Using the wrong ones? Keyword stuffing can hurt your rankings, so ensure you use keywords thoughtfully and sparingly.
2.4) Finally, check your domain authority.
While domain authority does not actually impact traffic, it is a way to measure or predict how well your website will likely rank on search. If yours is low, it indicates a weaker website that may have trouble ranking for competitive keywords.
It takes time to improve your domain authority, particularly if your domain name is new. Many of the other factors above, including proper on-site SEO, ensuring that your website loads quickly, is mobile-friendly and that your content is high-quality, will help; however, the biggest factor is your link profile, which we will cover in the next section.
Review your site and audit your website content, structure, and keywords to ensure everything is in order and improve your chances of getting more traffic.
3) Conduct an off-site analysis to review your competitors, backlinks, and social media profiles
Tools: SEMrush, Ahrefs, Majestic, BuzzSumo
3.1) Start by identifying and analyzing your competitors.
You can use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find websites that rank for similar keywords to your own. Analyze the backlinks of your competitors. Look at the number and quality of the websites linking to your competitors’ websites.
Analyze the social media presence of your competitors. Look at your competitors’ number of followers and engagement on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Look at the online reviews of your competitors. Check sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Trustpilot to see how your competitors are being reviewed by their customers.
Analyze the content marketing efforts of your competitors. Look at the types of content your competitors create and how they promote it. Use tools like BuzzSumo to see the most popular content in your industry.
Identify any areas where your competitors outperform you, and consider how you can improve. For example, if your competitors have a stronger social media presence, you may want to focus on building up your own social media following.
Use your off-site SEO analysis insights to inform your SEO strategy and help you identify opportunities to improve your online presence.
A website audit can be a valuable tool for identifying the issues that may be causing low or no traffic to your website. Remember, a website audit is an ongoing process and it is important to regularly review and update your website to ensure that it performs at its best.
Don’t let low or no traffic be a roadblock to the success of your online presence. Take the time to conduct a website audit and get your website back on track.