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1 Hour SEO Audit Challenge: ShipHero

1 Hour SEO Challenge ShipHero

Broadly understanding SEO concepts and effectively putting them to work for your online business are two very different things. To truly understand what a good SEO presence looks like, you need to take a look at other businesses and identify what they're doing right and what they need to work on. You can then use that information to make sure your website is doing everything correctly so that you can generate as much business as possible from your SEO efforts.

In my ongoing effort to demonstrate how a company can improve their existing SEO efforts, I'm pleased to present my second 1 hour SEO audit. Just like in my previous SEO audit, grades were based on the following criteria:

  • Schema
  • Content
  • Backlinks
  • Site Speed
  • Meta Tag Issues
  • Title Tag Issues

A lot of you commented on the last article that you would like your website graded, and I am working on getting audits for your websites done soon, but for now we're looking at shipping company ShipHero. ShipHero helps businesses "take control of your warehouse" by solving problems with shipping for businesses and giving their customers the visibility they need to make improvements. Their website features extremely clean design that is aesthetically quite nice, and has a great video above the fold on the homepage that explains to potential customers what ShipHero does and why they should sign up for the service.

Perhaps most importantly their website is fully responsive, which gives them a huge leg up on competition that can't provide a seamless experience for users across multiple devices.

Tools Used
In order to keep things consistent, I used the exact same tools as last week:

  • Ragepank
  • Screaming Frog
  • MajesticSEO
  • Mozbar
  • Open Site Explorer
  • Copyscape
  • Microsoft IIS
  • SEMRush

Content

The first thing I looked at this week was the website's content. It goes without saying that content is one of the most important parts of providing users with a great experience on your website, and it also helps build natural inbound links to a domain when done correctly.

ShipHero features a clean design, where everything looks great and navigation is simple, but its hard to do well in the world of SEO if your pages aren't providing enough information to search engines (and, to a lesser extent in this case, users). It's pretty clear as soon as you navigate away from the homepage that many pages are lacking significant content, which could be hurting the business' keyword rankings.

The most noticeable examples of this problem were on the pricing and integration pages. While these pages have enough information to satisfy users, both pages are extremely light on text. This makes it nearly impossible for these pages to rank for keywords that could help drive sales and traffic for the business.

Content Marketing
Outside of content shortcomings on informational pages, ShipHero provides a startlingly small amount of educational or resource-based content about their industry. There is no blog, which is a lost opportunity to provide content that helps users and targets top of the funnel visitors. However, there is a nice video guide section that gives great information about how to use ShipHero - but once again, there is a lost opportunity here to use video to address more general customer concerns and subjects.

Grade: C

Schema

As I mentioned in my last audit, Google Authorship is well and truly dead. As a result, providing Google with ways to better understand visual assets through schema mark up is an extremely important tactic for any online business that is looking to get the most traffic possible out of organic search. In order for this to happen, your website needs to include relevant schema tags for appropriate content that might be featured on a website.

In the case of ShipHero, there is almost no schema on the website. This is particularly troubling given the amount of video content that is featured. In order to get SEO value out of all the video content they have, using video schema is an absolute must, but for whatever reason it is missing entirely. Other schema that they are missing include:

  • Organizational Schema
  • Article Body Schema
  • Logo Schema
  • Price Schema

Grade: F

Backlinks

One of the most important parts of a website's overall SEO is the quality of its backlink profile. Ideally, links to a website should appear natural and feature both nofollow and followed links. Links should come from a variety of different sources with high domain authorities that are relevant to the focus of the website in question.

Overall Backlinks
When it comes to ShipHero, it is really difficult to judge a lot of these issues because there are no links to be found. In fact, the link we gave them above for your reference appears to be their third link - ever.

Inbound Links
It's unclear if this is because it is a relatively new website (one would hope so), but there's a lot of work ahead for ShipHero when it comes to building out a backlink profile. The one advantage they do have is that because there are no links to their website at all they have a clean slate. They don't have to worry about potentially getting hit with Google penalties because of a poor existing backlink profile that was built on comment spam or any other blackhat SEO tactics. Moving forward, as long as they get links from well-respected shipping websites they could very quickly build a strong backlink profile.

Grade: N/A

Meta Tag Issues

Taking the time to optimize meta titles and descriptions is an extremely important step every business should take on their website to make sure that search engines and users alike can understand what a page is about and what kind of content they can expect from a page. If meta titles or descriptions are too long or are missing altogether, it can negatively affect keyword rankings and cause users to become disinterested in a page.

At first glance, ShipHero does a phenomenally good job with their meta and title tag issues. With only 10 missing meta descriptions, 11 missing h1 titles, and a single meta description that is too long, you could be forgiven for thinking that they've done a much better job in this department than the website from my last challenge.

Meta Tag Issues
However, when you consider that the entire domain has very few pages, the issues begin to become clear. The missing meta descriptions they have actually account for 83% of the entire website, and the 11 missing H1 titles constitute 92%. There are so few pages that this really shouldn't be an issue, but for the time being there is a lot of lost value with search engines and users that is likely causing the business to lose potential traffic and customers.

Grade: F

Title Tag Issues

One of the most important parts of good SEO is a page's title tag. Having a title that is properly optimized for search engines can make the difference between a page ranking on the first page of organic results and not ranking at all. This means identifying and targeting relevant keywords in your title tags is extremely important when it comes to bringing organic traffic to your website.

ShipHero Meta Titles
In the case of ShipHero, the titles tags of each page left a lot to be desired. While they do the bare minimum and summarize what each page is about, they lack any sort of keyword optimization. Most pages stay very brand-centric and make sure to include "ShipHero" in the tag, which is definitely important, however, some pages went so far as to include the brand name twice in a single title tag. This is a huge waste of valuable keyword real estate that could go to traffic-generating keywords.

Grade: D+

Site Speed

While site speed isn't the biggest SEO factor when it comes to keyword rankings, it does play a growing role in Google's ranking algorithms. It also helps a website provide better navigation for users and makes for a noticeably better experience when browsing a website on mobile devices.

Page Load Speed Grades
ShipHero excels when it comes to website speed. With an average page load time of 2.69 seconds, the website is doing enough to keep both desktop and mobile users from waiting for content to load. Furthermore, because the website is fully responsive, ShipHero creates an optimized mobile presence that should provide SEO benefits to their rankings.

Page Load Speed Recommendatons
This being said, there are a couple of areas where the website falls short. The most notable are issues with HTTP requests, DNS lookups, and a lack of minified javascript. These are relatively minor issues when it comes to a standard user's experience with the website, but should be addressed in order to achieve website speeds that are giving as much SEO value as possible.

Grade: B+

Key Takeaways and Ideas for Improvement

Looking at the ShipHero website, it is clear that they spent a lot of time considering their design and user experience. Interacting with the site is easy, and the users they do get should have a straightforward time buying their service on both desktop and mobile devices. I highly doubt that it is any coincidence that the one SEO factor they rank well in, website speed, directly affects user experience. This is a great start, but the current amount of lost SEO opportunities on the website are still staggering.

A lot of them, as we've seen, are easily fixed. Building a backlink profile will take time, and meta issues should be easily resolved, but as long as their backlink profile is built correctly, neither pose a serious challenge to fix. Adding schema to videos is a bit more time-intensive, but will add huge value - particularly to the video content they already have. Perhaps the biggest issue they have right now is that they aren't ranking for any keywords.

Potential Keywords

In an effort to help out, I've put together a list of potential keywords they could use. These keywords are relevant to the business and would make sense to target with appropriate pages that aren't currently providing any SEO value. Each keyword should easily fit within a page's title character limit of 55-60 characters, particularly if the brand name is removed on pages where it is currently featured twice.

Potential Keywords

General Suggestions

Some suggestions that we haven't covered include canonicalizing the homepage, taking pages that are returning 403 errors and 301ing them to relevant pages, adding alt img tags to all images, adding video transcriptions, taking the testimonials and turning them into a separate keyword-targeted page, having a press release section on-site to announce important company news to help create new pages that can rank for new keywords, and taking the tutorial videos and putting them on separate pages with content below for keyword ranking purposes.

If ShipHero takes the time to address some of these suggestions, their website and service is of the calibre that their website should be able to start generating impressive amounts of organic traffic that will help them create new lead opportunities.

Overall Grade: C-

Would you like your site to be featured on our next 1 hour audit? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Comments on this post

  1. Hi,
    Great blog. Very instructive.
    Would be great to have Odoo.com in your next SEO audit.
    Fabien

  2. We have a lot of the same problems – would love you to do an audit

  3. Pingback: Top 25 Inbound Marketing Articles of the Week: November 21, 2014 – UpCity

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