SEO Lunch & Learn at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit

by Lindsay Valdez

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how to complete an seo audit

Our SEO Lunch & Learn was packed at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit! SHE Media’s Director of SEO showed our attendees the steps it takes to fully audit your website for SEO. Read the recap below!

Thanks to everyone who came to our SEO Lunch & Learn at #BlogHer19 Creators Summit in Brooklyn last week! Below is a recap from SHE Media’s Director of SEO, Lindsay Valdez. (ME!) These are the steps I take and the tools I use for our SHE Media Partner Network SEO Audit. Enjoy!

Make sure your site is connected to:

  1. Google Analytics - WP plugin recommendation (my personal fav!) is MonsterInsights.

  2. Google Search Console.

Other helpful tools for an audit:

  1. Google Page Speed Insights and/or GT Metrix.

  2. Google structured data testing tool.

  3. Keyword tools such as UberSuggest, Answer The Public, SEM Rush or Moz.com.

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Many different factors impact the overall SEO performance of your website. In fact, there are over 200 different factors that appear somewhere in Google’s search algorithm.

Examples of that include:

  • The technical health of your site.

  • Brand reputation.

  • User experience.

  • Page speed.

  • Writer authority.

  • Content freshness.

  • Backlinks.

The factor in the algorithm that is rumored to be on the rise: Does the content come from a trusted website or not? Avoid publishing speculative news or anything claiming to be fact that isn’t. At the moment, Google claims to not technically have a way to know how accurate content is so they rely on other signals, like backlinks and engagement metrics to tell. But soon enough they’ll find a way. Be protective of your brand!

So how do you exactly gain trust with Google? The answer is to gain trust with your audience and Google will follow. Care about user experience, fresh content, interesting content, easy navigation and page speed. Don’t bombard them with ads, don’t risk your user for revenue. Make yourself available to them, know them, engage with them.

Keyword Research:

  • Keyword research should be used directionally to better understand the topics your audience is most interested in.

  • Google uses LSI (latent semantic indexing), which is a mathematical method used to determine the relationship between terms and concepts. It is recommended that synonyms of terms, different variations should be added naturally throughout the content.

  • Google is hammering down on relevancy!! Understand user intent to incorporate long-tail keywords into your editorial strategy.

  • Keywords should never be forced into content just for ”SEO”.

  • All SEO on-page elements (headlines, content, alt text, related links, url) should align to one overarching base topic.

  • Reference to the topic should always be included in the first paragraph and post headline/SEO title.

Look at your data to better understand what topics your audience is most interested in on your website. This will help you discover your niche and what topics Google is giving you authority in the search results. From there, use the editorial strategy I talked about called Content Clusters to build out your content further. Other terms for Content Clusters that you may have heard are Content Trees or Swarming.

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Backlinks

It’s important to at least know the basics of your backlink profile. Use tools like GSC, Moz or SEM Rush to see WHO is linking to you. Once we discovered a large number of porn pages linking to an owned and operated property. At the time we discovered it, we submitted a disavow file to remove them. Disavowing links is a way to tell Google to ignore them, that you DO NOT want them to be used for or against your website. You don’t need to bother doing this all the time, for every non-relevant backlink but if you see more than a few from a sketchy source, it’s a good step to take.

How to get more links:

  1. Quality content.

  2. Shareable content.

  3. Reputable authors.

  4. Guest post on other reputable sources.

  5. StWork with local business and brands.

  6. Frequently posting.

  7. Brand messaging.

  8. When sites mention your brand, request a link back.

Internal and External Linking Recommendations:

  • Each post should have 2-3 internal links to other posts on your blog.

  • Only link externally (links that go to other web pages) to pages you feel are so necessary for your reader to see that you’re willing to let them leave.

Don’t leave backlinks on the table! One quick link hack I talked about at the Lunch & Learn session was redirecting your 404 pages that have backlinks. Use Moz’s link explorer tool (https://analytics.moz.com/pro/link-explorer/home) and follow this process:

 
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Safe Redirect Manager is a WP plugin that you can find here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/safe-redirect-manager/.

Structured Data:

Structured data is a type of code that helps Google understand more about your website. It provides a classification system for the data on your website and is a very important element to have on your site. I talk to bloggers every single day and many of them shy away from the topic of structured data because it sounds scary, too technical. In Wordpress, I recommend finding a plugin to assist, such as Yoast. Here is more info from them on it: https://yoast.com/yoast-seo-11-0/.

Here are the guidelines and more info on how it works.

Common use types for publishers that I recommend looking into are organization, recipe, article, nutritional information, breadcrumbs, site navigation, person, FAQs and video.

High quality content:

Interesting, accurate, lengthy, unique, these are all adjectives that should describe your content. The organic search results are a competitive place, only the BEST will survive. I’m sure Google has somewhere documented more about what they mean by this term, but here is what this term means to us.

  1. Is it so clearly written that the reader finds it useful and useable?

  2. Does it have enough facts/data/quotes that I believe it’s accurate?

  3. Is it well cited with other resources I trust?

  4. Does it have images or videos to go along with the static text?

  5. Does it stand out among the rest? Is it interesting?

The answer to all of the questions above is YES!

User experience:

In 2018 Google switched to mobile first indexing, meaning they “grade” your mobile site instead of your desktop site. Make sure you visit your blog from your mobile device often to see what users are seeing.

Tips for a better user experience:

  1. Larger font size - between a 14-16 font

  2. Clean ad experience - your user is not worth that ad impression

  3. More spacing between lines

Optimizing your homepage:

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On-page SEO

Outside of content, the largest on-page SEO elements are the HTML title, meta description, heading tags, image optimization and URL.

Each one of these fields should be optimized for SEO to include a key phrase from your article:

SEO Title - also called HTML title

Meta description - 1-2 sentences of optimized text

Image alt text & file name

** The full deck from BHCS will be sent out shortly to all participants who registered the SEO session.