The TL;DR: Your small business website needs an SEO audit because 1. It wasn’t built for speed, 2. Your UX elements are broken and 3. Your copy wasn’t written for SEO. Read on for a deeper dive into each.
1. Because your website wasn’t built for speed
There are many factors that affect your small business website’s ability to rank, with speed at the top of the list. A website’s ability to load fast starts with the code it’s built on and the server where its hosted, and is further impacted by every plugin, image, and element added. At the enterprise level, speed is considered at every turn during the development phase, but if you have a much smaller budget to work with, your approach isn’t as holistic.
I’ve audited many small business websites that, though beautiful and ostensibly performing as expected, took longer than two seconds to load. This was caused by several factors that started during the development phase – the code wasn’t minified or cached; there was no content delivery network in place; and/or the images exceeded more than 150kb each. If you’re a small business entrepreneur, there’s a high chance you built your website with the digital equivalent of chicken wire and shoe string by either hiring a cheap web development company or building it yourself after watching a few YouTube videos. If either scenario fits you, what’s the likelihood your website has unseen speed problems that are prventing it from ranking? If you’re unsure, run your site through https://gtmetrix.com/ to see how it performs. Don’t like that score? An SEO audit will reveal even more issues that need addressing.
2. Because your UX elements are broken
This is an issue I see with almost every audit I do. Part of good SEO is making sure your website’s user engagement elements work properly. Forms need to work. Clickable elements need to have the ability to be clicked. Text needs to be legible. These are obvious issues every site owner should regularly check, but something broken always goes unseen because of a “set it and forget it” mentality. Plugins become outdated and code conflicts happen, resulting in something breaking (and websites rarely send notices about UX problems). A robust SEO audit every 6 months that checks user engagement elements will protect you from slipping in the rankings due to bad UX.
3. Because your copy wasn’t written for SEO
At the enterprise level, website copy is created with SEO in mind. Much thought is put into its layout and creation, and a team of people write, edit, and re-write the content. Small business owners are scrappier, typically taking on all roles of writer, editor, and SEO, even though many weren’t trained in any of those skills.
An SEO audit will reveal where your on-page copy makes it difficult for search engines to rank your site. It will discover if you have the right number of keywords on the page, if H1s and subheadings are used properly, and if the copy engages users. Most audits I conduct on small business websites demonstrate the copy lacks SEO and keyword targeting, it contains no directive for what to do next, and it fails to answer what problems will be solved if the user hires your services or buys your products.
If you’re interested in getting an SEO audit for your website, contact Digital Dynamo for a free consultation.