ON PAGE SEO AUDIT TEMPLATE: STEP BY STEP

By Logan Ireland & Lester Evangelista | October 11th, 2022

 

Welcome to our On-Page SEO Audit Template for search engine optimizing your website.

This page summarizes 1st Ascent Studios’ preferred process for completing an On-Page SEO Audit. Content and recommendations supplied here are not novel – the ideas and procedures exist in other areas on the internet in various formats. 

In general, successful Search Engine Optimization includes:

  • Thoroughly researched keywords
  • A focus on improving customer experience
  • An understanding of your company’s value to your customers
  • A marriage of art (branding, personality) and science (page load speed, keyword density)
  • Striving to partner with Google, not trick Google
  • Measure and optimize constantly. Anything measured gets improved.
  • Project management. There are hundreds of tasks that can help a page’s SEO. Keeping track of changes and improvements is crucial.

ON PAGE SEO AUDIT TEMPLATE: 14 STEPS STEPS TO SUCCESS

Why it’s important: In order to optimize a page for a particular keyword, it is essential to have a strong understanding of the data that supports the targeting of that keyword.

 

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will thoroughly research the following metrics for keywords in and around the expected target keyword:

 

  • Monthly Search Volume
  • KD (Keyword Difficulty)
  • URL’s Current Organic Position
  • SERP (Top 10 positions minimum)

Once these statistics are known for a variety of long tail keywords (for example, “Jasper Hotels”, “Hotels in Jasper”, “Jasper Accommodations”, and “Where to Stay In Jasper”), the main target keyword will be chosen. A higher volume and lower KD is ideal. Variations of the chosen keyword will then be placed strategically throughout your page. For example, if the target keyword is “Jasper Hotels”, we will want to use variations like “Jasper Cabins” and “Jasper Accommodations”.

Why it’s important: If your page does not satisfy search intent, your page most likely will not rank for that keyword (even if you have a lot of backlinks). It’s that important.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will check and confirm that your page is a 1:1 match for search intent of the target keyword.

Why it’s important: 

Google uses the terms in your URL to understand what your page is all about.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will consider adding the target keyword to your page’s URL. However in most cases, it may be more advantageous to keep the URL as is than changing it and creating 301 redirects to deal with the new URL. If a page is well established and the current URL contains variations of the target keyword, or gives the reader a good idea of the page’s contents, then the URL can remain. For example, if the target keyword is “Jasper Hotels”, and the page URL is “…/where-to-stay-in-Jasper”, it would be best to keep the existing URL (unless the page is only a few weeks / months old).

Why it’s important: From a Google SEO point of view, your Title Tag is the most important place to include your keyword.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will ensure that your page’s Title Tag contains the target keyword.

Why it’s important: Search engines put more weight on terms that appear in prominent places on your page (i.e. at the top, ideally within the first 50-100 words).

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will strategically place the target keyword at the top of your page.

Why it’s important: Headers emphasize to Google that your page is focused on a specific keyword and topic. They are not a huge factor for rankings but every little bit helps.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will ensure that H1 and H2 headers reflect the target keyword whenever possible and that they help the user understand what the page is about. If your keyword is “Jasper Hotels”, it is acceptable to have an H1 header that says “The Best Jasper Hotels”, even though it is a variation.

Why it’s important:  Although using keywords in your meta description is not a ranking factor anymore, organic click through rate is. And when Google searchers see a compelling meta description in the organic search results, they are more likely to click on your site.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will revise the current meta description of your page to improve search engine optimization and the transmittal of information to your users.

Why it’s important: Internal links can help Google find, crawl, and index more pages on your site (and help them rank higher in the search results).

 

As each page in your website should have one (maybe two) target keywords, you need to reinforce this through the other content on your website. This is done by linking instances of your target keywords to the appropriate pages. For example, the first time the word “Jasper Hotels” or “Jasper Accommodations” appears on a page, it should be hyperlinked to the Jasper Hotels landing page.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will look for opportunities to include internal links on your page and that each link opens in a new tab so that the user is not taken away from the main goal which is to get them to convert on the page.

Why it’s important: External linking to related pages helps Google understand your page’s topic. It is recommended to add lots of external links to pages that will help your users learn more about something that you cover on your page.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will consider adding direct links to external sources such as blogs and other websites in a similar industry. However, it can be tricky to give the customer 3rd party value while not taking away from your own authority.

Why it’s important: Google uses images to understand the content of your page. And descriptive file names and alt text helps them understand what your page is all about.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will perform a media audit for all the images that appear on your page and update the file names, titles, and alt text fields to contain your target keyword, long tail variations, and secondary keywords.

Why it’s important: Your site should be mobile-optimized for Google users and search engine crawlers. Google’s index is now “mobile-first”, which makes mobile usability an absolute must for SEO.

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will check and confirm that your page is mobile-optimized.

Why it’s important: Structured data (Schema) can help your site featureRich Snippetsin the Google search results.

 

It is crucial to know the type of featured snippet Google shows for search queries where you want to own the snippet. There are a few different forms: Paragraph, Numbered list, Bullet list, Table, and Video.

 

Here is 1st Ascent Studios’ take on the different terminology surrounding “Rich” text:

 

  • Rich Snippets: Regular search results with additional information displayed alongside the title, descriptive snippet, and URL.
  • Rich Results: Any type of visually-enhanced search result with information pulled from relevant structured data. Rich snippets are a type of rich result.
  • SERP Features: Anything that’s not a traditional “blue link” search result. Featured Snippets, PPC Ads, Tweet Boxes, and Knowledge Panels are all types of SERP Features.

When in doubt on structured data, default to making sure that you “chunk your content” on the page. Readability plays an important role in SEO. Chunking of content not only makes your content easier to scan and read, but helps Google better understand the priority of the content.

 

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will use the following, where applicable, to optimize data structure on your page:

 

  • Lists –  Bulleted and numbered lists are very useful.
  • Sub-headings – These can help to organize a page’s content into themes. 
  • Bold and Italic – Use bold and italics sparingly to emphasize important words, such as your focus keyword. 
  • Short Sentences and Paragraphs – Shorter sentences and paragraphs are easier to understand for both humans and search engines. 
  • Simple Language – Avoid industry-specific jargon, and rely instead on more commonly used language. Again, this makes content easier to understand for both humans and search engines.

If users are happier, then Google will be happier and may utilize your content in a rich snippet.

Increase your engagement and decrease bounce rate by enhancing the user experience.

 

Why it’s important: Bounce Rate probably is not a direct Google ranking factor. But it might be. Especially if that bounce leads to pogosticking”.

 

What we do: 1st Ascent Studios will make your content “sticky” so that Google users stay on your page and don’t bounce back to the search results. 

Why it’s important: Ultimately, Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.

 

In order for Google to place trust in your website and move you higher up the rankings for your keywords, Google first needs to start seeing people engaging with your site in a positive way.  Interactions on websites such as clicking Call To Action Buttons, booking appointments, clicking to call a phone number from a mobile device, and even scrolling to a certain depth are counted by Google as positive feedback.

 

Placing buttons and text in the right location in an aesthetically pleasing, inviting way crucial to the success of your SEO efforts.

 

People don’t want to think.  Don’t make your customer think.  Tell them what to do, and make the journey to get there easy for them.

 

What we do: We use a combination of experience, research, testing, and creativity to maximize the user experience on your site.  We ensure that the website works as a funnel and each page has a clear, immediately identifiable goal and corresponding call to action.

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