Search engine optimization is a great addition to any business’ digital marketing presence when done correctly. Taking the time to set it up properly can provide tons of high quality traffic to businesses with a relatively small financial outlay. While the time investment can be extensive, it can lead to massive ROI for any business looking to establish themselves as a force in their vertical online. This is particularly true for websites that have a lot of unique pages that feature different types of products.
In that spirit of websites that have lots of unique pages that feature different types of products or services, I’m proud to bring you our 1 Hour SEO Audit Challenge of this month, featuring high-performance audio product retailer, RBH Sound. Founded in 1976, RBH Sound is a manufacturer of high performance audio products for residential and commercial applications. The company offers products that include in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, on-wall speakers, freestanding speakers, and any other kind of audio solution that an individual or business would ever need.
We’ve made a slight change to how we calculate our speed grades – adding website optimization tool Dareboost to the mix to provide clearer insights on more precise steps businesses can take to improve their website from a speed standpoint. Otherwise, just like we’ve done for every “1 Hour SEO Audit Challenge”, we’ve based the grades given on the following categories:
- Site Speed
- Meta Tag Issues
- Title Tag Issues
- Screaming Frog
- Open Site Explorer
- Microsoft IIS
When it comes to the ideal website for search engine optimization purposes, content is one of the first and most important elements to look at. Not only does creating top-quality content help keep users on your website longer and help facilitate a higher conversion rate, it also allows your website to rank for relevant keywords if they are added to header text, body text, and a myriad of other places on a page of a website. With the recent uptick over the last few years when it comes to focusing on content marketing, it is more important than ever that businesses not only feature good written, image, and video content on their website, but that it is truly top-notch. Simply having content on a website is not enough – in order for it to make any sort of meaningful difference to your SEO it needs to be something that users love and naturally link to on their own websites or blogs.
From a technical standpoint RBH Sound actually does a seemingly okay job with their content marketing initiatives. Only .88% of the pages we crawled were considered “low content pages”, which is to say they had 300 words or less on them. That being said, the only section we found that could be considered a content section on their website was an events section that really only showed some pictures of their booths at the events they had attended. There was no blog, and no video section. In order for their content marketing efforts to get to the next level, these sections need to be added to the website – in the process they should be able to create a lot of great content that ranks for longtail keywords to generate traffic by talking about their products, how they work, and what people can do with them. There is so much cool stuff in the audio space that could be discussed, but in order for that conversation to begin the site needs the proper sections added.
If there’s one section of these audits that has become increasingly depressing as we’ve looked at more and more websites it’s schema markup. As we’ve discussed in previous audits, as of April 2014, a measly 0.3% of websites featured any sort of schema markup on them – and the consistency with which websites we’ve audited are missing schema certainly supports those figures. This is particularly disturbing because schema can add so much to a website’s SEO – whether it’s getting images in the search engine results or providing business information like logos and location to search engines, having the correct schema can significantly increase the amounts of organic traffic a website receives when done correctly.
RBH Sound is another online presence that is right in line with 99.7% of the websites across the internet that have no schema at all. I’ve let this slide and pointed out other elements in the branded search that companies have done correctly in the past, but RBH really only has Sitelinks set up. A Google My Business page would be a nice addition, as would open graph tags for Facebook and Twitter – which are also missing from the site altogether. There is a lot of room for improvement here, and schema is a relatively straightforward add, so it should be done in the near future for as many variables as possible.
I’ve discussed at length the value of a properly constructed backlink profile – and when it comes to important aspects that will add to overall SEO success, having one that is built correctly is key. Having many equity-passing links and no-follow links that come from a variety of different relevant sources is one of the best ways to build a website’s domain authority while helping you to rank for new keywords on a page by page basis in the process. Having a number of different anchor texts is also key – something our previous audit, Breather, did quite well.
RBH Sound’s backlink profile has a platform from which to build off of – but needs a lot of work to get to the next level. With a domain authority of 42, and only 10 root domains providing 339 links to their website, there is a lot that can be done to take the site’s backlink profile to the next level. The most troubling thing is that there are only 10 root domains linking to the site – this means that if any of these websites were to be removed or suddenly decide to remove pages linking to RBH that roughly 10% of the site’s backlink profile would disappear overnight. RBH needs to focus on getting new links from new authoritative root domains as soon as possible to remedy this issue.
RBH Sound has a lot of branded anchor text in their inbound links at the moment. While there are a few terms scattered in there like “ep2 noise isolating earphones” which is great to see – there needs to be more product specific anchor text if the company wants to rank for more of their product offerings. There is also a lot of links that have no anchor text at all – this needs to be fixed immediately if possible as it is a lost opportunity to have descriptive anchor text.
While some elements of SEO are extremely technical and don’t seem to directly offer much value to the average user as they scroll through a page, site speed is certainly an exception to this general rule. Particularly with recent Google algorithm updates to try and give more value to mobile-friendly sites, site speed is a very helpful factor to do correctly for both SEO and for users. While it might not play a huge role in overall SEO ranking right now, it’s increasingly important for business to take it seriously in order to get fast load times to keep users and search engine rankings happy.
RBH Sound Does a very good job with site speed – scoring an A rank PageSpeed Score and a B YSlow score. Their homepage has an average page load time of only 2 seconds, making their site one of the best ranked and fastest sites we’ve done so far in this series. While the homepage is a bit busy and dated in how it is presented, the speed is certainly helped by the fact that there aren’t any extremely fancy elements that need to load and imagery is kept to a relative minimum.
That being said, Dareboost found a couple of issues with the website that need to be addressed in order to increase site speed further. The first is that one of the few images that is actually being used by the homepage is a massive 1.24 MBs. This image needs to be optimized or compressed in some fashion so that users don’t have to wait for the image to load. The second problem that Dareboost identified is that the site is using some form of flash. We haven’t really covered this issue yet in our audits but this is a huge issue in terms of compatability (iPhones and iPads don’t support flash, for example), and should be transitioned over to HTML5 as soon as possible.
Meta Tag Issues
A lot of businesses that are wary of all SEO practices purposefully ignore some of the elements that we look at on this audit. I totally understand the logic – you want to make sure the content you have is helpful for users first, and focusing on SEO elements can often lead to spammy content that is written for search engine crawlbots instead of for users. While I don’t agree with this logic, there is one element that this thought process can’t really rationally be applied to – meta descriptions.
Optimizing meta descriptions is an important step for both SEO-centric and user-centric thinkers, as it makes sure that users understand what the page is about so that proper expectations are set, while also increasing click through rate on meta descriptions that are optimized with relevant keywords. There is really no excuse for having meta descriptions that lack a call to action and/or some description about the page – you’ll get more traffic when it’s done correctly and it isn’t an element that you can keyword stuff or otherwise game to directly influence ranking (the clickthrough bonuses a good meta description provide is where ranking increases come from – so it’s an indirect relationship between meta description and rank increase).
RBH Sound falls really, really flat when it comes to meta descriptions. Out of the 32306 pages we crawled, only 92 had any meta description at all, and most were shorter than the recommended length of 150-160 characters. While the homepage had a meta description, there were some very important landing pages on the site that were missing them – including reviews, awards, inwall product pages, signature series product pages, and visage series product pages. These are pages that could potentially be showing up in a user’s search and should have meta descriptions that make people interested on clicking on the result. This should be rectified immediately, as adding a meta description for important pages should increase click-through rate and overall traffic (as well as search rankings as a result).
Title Tag Issues
There have been lots of Google algorithm changes over the last few years, but the fact of the matter is that on an individual page level the title tag continues to be one of the most important factors for good SEO and SERP rankings. Making sure to include a title tag that is optimized for relevant keywords at a range of 55-60 characters can often be the difference between a website generating very little organic traffic or attracting tons of qualified organic traffic to help a business generate lots of conversions online.
RBH Sounds does a significantly better job with their titles tags than they do with their meta descriptions. Our of the 32306 pages we crawled, 98.74% of pages had a page title of some sort. Only a little more than 1% of pages had character counts that had issues with the amount of characters included. The only real problem was the amount of user manual pages they have on the site – all of which feature the title tag “RBH Product Support Instruction/User Manuals”. These pages should either be gated, marked as nofollow, or have their title tags changed to reflect specific user manuals so that they rank appropriately in search engine results. This problem aside though, RBH Sound does a pretty decent job.
RBH Sound is one of the largest (if not the largest) site we’ve done on this series. They have tons and tons of pages, and so a lot of the SEO elements we look at in this series are going to be very difficult to implement. That being said, schema is a relatively straightforward sitewide addition that should be an easy add to the entire site as long as there is a CMS that the addition can be made on.
That being said, some of these edits are going to take a lot of time. Particularly with meta descriptions, it would definitely make a lot of sense to try and identify and address issues on key pages first and then go from there. Particularly on important product pages and other pages that are right off the main navigation, time needs to be spent to make sure that each page has a correct title tag, meta descriptions, and other on page elements like header 1 and header 2 tags.
Overall Grade: C