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:
- 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.
In order to keep things consistent, I used the exact same tools as last week:
- Screaming Frog
- Open Site Explorer
- Microsoft IIS
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.