How Can I SEO My Website for Free?
If you want to SEO your website for free, there are two main elements to consider when creating your website content for your Australian business: One that it’s easy to read and, two that it’s created around user-specific keywords.
We explain how it works here…
Getting the website traffic you need to increase your business success can feel tricky to navigate. Even if you have a technically sound website and strong backlink profile, your content won’t leap up the charts without a well-structured content strategy.
Quick Catch Up: Search engines (such as Google) reward websites that are most useful to an audience by bringing them to the front of relevant user searches. Several complex factors are considered to rank a website’s value, including readings that bots take as they crawl through your pages. To help them out, you can add some elements that show relevance and user helpfulness.
Earning user trust and loyalty is key to gaining and maintaining business growth.
This blog is intended to show you how to complete an SEO website audit for a complete analysis of content body text. When you can see evidence of user helpfulness and how bots respond to your information, you can make the right tweaks and changes to increase website value.
How Do Keywords Work?
Keywords play a part in accelerating your SEO rankings by providing a direct link between your content and a user’s chosen search phrases.
It’s not a guessing game, and some programs can show you what the current keyword hot zones are and what your target audience is researching. You must keep checking in as keywords shift slightly depending on what’s happening around your audience.
Once you have the current keywords, add them to your page titles, subject headings and meta descriptions.
You can take keyword usage one step further with an SEO website audit that will reveal where your content currently ranks and how to boost your standing. We’ll walk you through the steps below to do an SEO website audit.
How do I use SEO website audit data?
Once you do your SEO website audit, you’ll get a checklist that can allow you to cover every aspect to increase your content marketing efforts and attain SEO goals. You will also be able to eliminate weak pages as the audit will highlight content that isn’t long enough, pages overstuffed with keywords and any duplicate text.
Rather than fixing weak pages, delete them and focus on writing straightforward, easy-to-read content well-structured around the right keywords.
How to do an SEO website audit
When you use tools to audit your content, you get conclusive evidence of your strengths and weaknesses and what to change to see better results. Without it, you will be running a hit-and-miss fix that is ineffective and takes time to see if it’s working (or not).
Even a great-looking website might carry niggling issues that hurt SEO performance or turn readers off.
The SEO website audit lets you provide your audience with the best online experience while optimising your content for Google.
SEO Website Audit Tools
There is a variety of free audit tools and paid subscription tools you can use to target weaknesses in your content, such as:
- Weak structure
- Overly complicated
- Low word count
The best tools depend on your website needs, experience level and personal preferences so it’s best to test drive a few and get a feel for what they offer. It will take time to test drive them all so here is a list to give you a starting point.
- SurferSEO – SurferSEO is one of the best on the market, capable of handling all SEO audits. They offer a hub of resources, including a content editor feature that can optimise and strengthen high-performing content.
- Google Analytics – Google Analytics (GA)is an excellent SEO toolkit with practical applications. Their content suite even includes conversion data that tracks how readers interact with your site.
- Google Search Console – Google Search Console (GSC) has interesting feedback features, including landing page click-through rates and performance metrics data.
Another aspect to consider is the page optimisation of titles and how these are related to headings, subheadings and meta descriptions. If you are keen on an audit on these elements, it’s best to get a data crawl to see what Google crawlers see. Screaming Frog is a good choice for this.
Is an SEO website audit worth it?
Even though an audit can take a while and feel tedious, it’s worthwhile. The clarity you get from the feedback gives you instant access to improvements to your content marketing strategies that have real and tangible results – the education provided also helps you avoid repeating mistakes when writing new content.
Overall, your content should aim to keep readers reading. When information is relevant, helpful and written in a user-friendly way, they will stay on a page or article from start to finish. Website visitors who like what they find are more likely to click through a more profound element on your site, read a related article or take steps towards a sale because you have proven yourself as a trusted authority in your field.
The time users spend browsing your eCommerce website is directly related to your sales.
How much time individuals spend on your website is revealing; too little time demonstrates that you have nothing relevant or useful on offer. More time means what you have is more valuable, relevant, and engaging, impacting SEO and lead conversions.
What is covered in an SEO Website Audit Checklist?
The SEO website audit checklist helps you keep track of content metrics to make your content audit process that much easier.
The checklist items cover:
- Keyword strength
- Content quality
- Thin Content
Keywords are not about what shows up most in content but what users search for most often. What are their questions, complaints and worries? They will enter this into a keyword search and what you strive to connect with.
First, you need to know your audience and have a solid understanding of their pain points. Ideally, your website, product or service offering will fill their need and provide an answer to their questions.
Knowing who your audience is and what they are looking for will give you a broad array of keywords they might search online. You can back up these theories with testing tools that will indicate how hot or not those words are. The best way to narrow down to the perfect keywords is to play with similar words in your search category.
Choosing the right keywords and accurately matching your content to be exactly what users are searching for provides evidence that your content is relevant to your users, putting your website higher up the search results list.
What’s best, keywords or keyword phrases?
You should aim for keyword phrases rather than just stand-alone keywords for the best results. Keyword phrases link keywords together to help users determine a specific outcome. It’s important to avoid picking the most popular phrases, and it’s not a popularity contest – this is a match-the-business-to-the-need competition.
Rather than finding the keyword more people will see, hone in on the phrases the RIGHT people seek. If you are a freelance WordPress developer operating locally in Brisbane, you must have Brisbane in your keyword phrase. You don’t want the whole world to know about you, just the customers in your area who want quality WP websites. Getting the match for your content and the search is critical to making this work. It’s about relativity, not popularity.
If your keyword phrase matches five searches, that’s five strong leads for people looking for your service.
If you’re in Brisbane, you may not want people in Mexico, Germany or China navigating to your site because they are not your target market and won’t benefit from your services.
Types of user searches:
There are several types of user searches you can play around with, including:
Questions are becoming more popular as technology and hands-free devices allow voice-activated searches. They are typically used to search out specific information that yields a single, definitive, fast answer. Blog posts are a great way to ask and answer question phrases, but be sure to answer the question concisely and immediately after the question. You’ll want to include the entire question and repeat the phrase in your answer to get the best question phrases.
- “Is it okay to own a pet in an apartment?”
- “What are website maintenance costs in Brisbane?”
- “Who is Priyanka Chopra?”
Subjects are more general searches for information on a person, place, animal or thing. The best keyword phrases are limited to only a few words as this is more likely what users will search for.
- “Elon Musk”
- “Laksa recipes”
- “Website design Brisbane”
These are not especially effective keywords, as many other websites will also use them. If possible, narrow it down to your niche or field by adding keywords to create keyword phrases.
- “Elon Musk Twitter controversy”
- “Laksa recipes for the time poor”
- “WordPress Website Design Brisbane”
When someone wants to revisit a website or brand but hasn’t saved the page as a favourite, they’ll enter website-specific keywords. Knowing that helps you remember to add your business name to your keywords to help anyone looking for you to locate your pages quickly.
- “Pinterest log in”
- “Spotify radio”
Product-specific searches are used when someone is researching something they want to buy. Given that they already know what they want and they are actively hunting it down it is essential you are as high up on the return list as possible to be in with a shot of being the one they buy from.
- “Hairdresser near me”
- “Best website design services Brisbane”
- “2XU leggings”
Google search engines strive to match the person searching to the best and most relevant pages to get a satisfying result. Complex (and ever-evolving) algorithms gather data on your web pages to determine where you’ll rank in a search return.
Being able to meet these needs (and meet them better than anyone else) will propel your listing into the top five results.
Note: Don’t worry about paid search returns showing above yours. These are rarely well connected to search results, and searchers skip right over them.
Your keyword choices need to accurately predict what words your users will enter into search boxes and connect them to topics, discussions or products that will solve that problem or answer that question on your web pages.
Troubleshooting your content keywords
Poor fit with your business
If your keywords connect well with searches and you are still not seeing great results in your SEO it could be that your content doesn’t fit the keywords. This can come back to trying to find the most popular keywords instead of the best fit for your business. The reality is that using keywords that no other websites are using but your audience is inputting yields the best outcomes, so forget about what other websites are using and focus on what your audience needs.
Find keywords that are the perfect match for your business offering.
Ensure your content is relevant to the keywords and your user’s search. There needs to be a strong and clear match between the words you choose, the information you provide, and the services or products you deliver.
Too many pages
If your website has a lot of pages – this happens most frequently with products on your e-commerce website – don’t expect to be able to audit them all. It’s simply not worth your time.
List your main pages and prioritise them for your SEO website audit.
Most of your product pages will be created using a template, so select the most popular products, audit those few pages and apply any fixes through your templates and content creation systems so that you are creating great content in the future.
Stuffing a sentence or page with many keywords might seem like an excellent way to get noticed in search returns, but in most cases, you’ll wind up losing touch with what you are talking about or annoying your readers with clunky, pointless text. Google targets over-optimised pages, and you’ll be ranked lower if you have a high ratio of keywords to text. Be sure to intermittently use a few keywords throughout the content and provide lots of valuable text.
How to get the most out of Keywords: Checklist
You can load up on keywords in some places, so tap into what works for Google and your readers.
Headings and Titles
Use headings and titles where you can double down on keywords and keyword phrases as long as you incorporate these naturally.
Rather than dropping keywords in after the copy is completed, go for organic placements by knowing your keywords before you start writing. This helps you structure content that aligns with the topic and hand and allows you to address the issues and solutions with more clarity and direction.
This will help the content feel genuine rather than confusing or computer-generated.
Every page must contain enough information to provide a clear answer – specific to the user’s enquiry. The length of your content will depend on a range of factors, including where it is sitting on the website (i.e. blog, home page, article), what type of keyword you are using and what query you are answering. People searching for the answer to a specific question will want a neatly presented and fast answer. However, a long and detailed explanation will be expected and valuable for more general questions and topics.
One thing to be careful of is using the exact keywords for every piece of content across your web pages. It can hurt your results and make it hard for Google to assess which of your pages to serve up in a search return list. Rather than limit your keywords and phrases to a handful, pull up relevant words across a wide range of topics in your field.
Vary your keywords across your pages. Aim to pair the biggest hits to your most important pages.
This avoids keyword cannibalisation, where your pages start competing with themselves for rankings. Ultimately, this is a lose-lose situation for you and waters down your SEO effectiveness.
One high-value blog can address multiple keywords through various headings and subheadings relevant to your user searches.
This enables you to create SEO-friendly long-form content and parcel up the answers to specific questions in neat little subheadings inside that content, which will be highlighted to a user in a search return snippet.
Web page readability is about making text quick and easy to read and understand for visitors and search engines. A slab of text may deliver all the correct information, but no one will bother reading it because it’s too hard to comprehend.
Reading a big block of text or trying to unjumble many complicated terms and phrases is a big turn-off for readers. Your job is to make your content as easy for them to read and understand as possible.
Bounce rates best determine readability (Google Analytics can help get this data). A high bounce rate indicates that your content is too heavy.
Ensure your content is easy to read so visitors have a reason to stay.
Part of getting this right will be researching and knowing your target audience well enough to speak to them on the level they need, so not delivering the ABCs to a doctor and a complex research paper to someone reading an article for fun. The other part is providing clear breaks, images, illustrations and headings within your text content to break it down into small, easy-to-see pieces.
How to get the most out of Readability: Checklist
Here are the key things to cover for your content readability checks:
Keep your sentences and paragraphs as short as possible. It’s about having information that is clear and easy to understand over flamboyant writing styles.
Break up big blocks of text with headings and subheadings, and section off your paragraphs with spaces. You must engage with highly visual components like videos, images and quotes.
The Hemingway Editor is a quality-free tool for auditing content readability. It will give you a score (aim for nine or under) and suggest simplifying your text.
Content quality is something only humans can judge (at this point). In time, maybe algorithms will come, but for now, when it comes to the quality of your content, you want to prove that you are:
- An expert at what you do
- An authority in your field
In terms of analysing page content quality, Google ranks these three aspects highly, as well as making sure you are providing positive and helpful advice that will increase a person’s happiness and well-being.
Online businesses focusing on money and lifestyle choices will be analysed more critically than other pages because the mental, physical and financial health of the person reading it depends on it.
Communication styles vary widely from industry to industry and audience to audience, so no one expects a rule to follow. Hence, it’s very much up to each writer to define.
A significant asset of getting content quality right is you’ll be rewarded with links – and agreements for backlinks. You’ll also see better conversion rates and more social engagement through likes and shares.
How to get the most out of Content Quality: Checklist
Even though there are no specific rules and no tools (or crawl bots) to help identify writing quality issues, there are still some points to cover to help prove your expertise, authority and trustworthiness in your business.
Write What You Know
By writing about what’s in your field, you can showcase your skills and experience, which will always be relevant to your business. For example, don’t write about Harry Potter if your business is plumbing.
Write Long Articles
Writing content (blogs and articles) over 900 words proves that you know what you’re talking about and have much valuable information to pass on.
Provide Accurate Information
Make sure the factual content you post is accurate. If you post something that might be contested or unusual, quote or reference where the data came from (stats, research bodies, experts or other proof to back you up).
Show How To
Provide advice and instructions that have steps to proven results. This also allows you to pick up a range of multimedia methods, including text, video, infographics and animations.
If you use dates in your titles (a great way to use keyword-long phrases), use this consistently year to year so you always have a modern piece to showcase (or update and repost previous content), demonstrating you are nurturing your content library and paying attention. Don’t just change the tags and headlines. You’ll need to rework the entire article to bring it up to speed.
Ask For Reviews
Positive reviews are social proof that you are producing great stuff. Ask your satisfied customers to post reviews on trusted external websites. If you notice positive feedback posted somewhere, ask if you can turn it into a testimonial.
Broadcast Your Skills
If you have qualifications, awards or noteworthy numbers, boast about it. List your accolades on your website and link to business pages like your LinkedIn account, a trusted and respected source for business profiles.
List the author’s credentials at the top or bottom of an article and add a photo for greater trust and authenticity. Google looks for credibility page-by-page rather than the overall website, so provide a skill summary on every article.
You can also use the About Us page to list the business owners, CEO, board members and employees, along with their credentials and level of expertise.
It doesn’t seem like a deal breaker, but a contact us that has an address and phone number is a big one for gauging authenticity and trustworthiness.
- Contact forms
- Phone number
If possible, have contact details for both the person responsible for the overall website and the person responsible for content.
If known and trusted brands and sites refer to your content in their links, it provides great proof that you are trustworthy and worth noticing.
In the tips above, we explained that you need to write long articles to prove your expertise and have something valuable to offer. Thin content is when you fail to provide enough information or establish your skills or knowledge about a topic. Typically thin content is tagged to a page with 300 words or less, although word count is only part of the puzzle. If you haven’t put enough effort into page content, it’s flagged as unhelpful.
While word count shortage factors into thin content, it is not the only factor considered.
Some of the reasons you might see thin content flagged in your SEO website audit include:
- Duplicating content multiple times across your web pages or within a web page.
- Plagiarism and copy/paste with minimal rewriting from other sites.
- Affiliate content is used multiple times by multiple websites (or multiple times within your pages).
- Forced push-through using doorway pages that provide teasers but no end goal, forcing users to click through (sometimes multiple pages) to get what they seek.
If your SEO website audit highlights thin content, chances are you are already experiencing high bounce rates and low user engagement, which penalises your sales conversion rates and search engine rankings.
It’s not enough to change one or two words or rearrange the order of a phrase or sentence. Google will pick it up as duplicate content. You need to change a large content volume for it to register as your own.
Do take this seriously. If copied text is severe or frequent across your website content, Google will remove you from their web index entirely.
How to avoid Thin Content: Checklist
Use this checklist to get what you need in place to stamp out thin content:
Unique content is the number one thing you can do to eliminate thin content. When the information you provide is unique to your website, it shows that you offer real value that users can’t get anywhere else.
Eliminate duplicate content across your pages and material that may have come directly from other sites.
As well as being unique to you, your content needs to be unique to each of your pages, so you can’t just copy and paste your text across to fill in another page. You need to write it over again and give it something new. This includes the text you use for links, how you position quotes and what phrases you use.
There are several ways you can achieve this:
- Completely rewrite information that you copy and paste from other sites.
- For internal pages, reword similar content so that content is displayed in different sounding ways. An intelligent way to do this is to convert some text into infographics or videos.
- If you have an eCommerce website with boilerplate product descriptions, expand the text using your definitions, tips and uses.
- In the case of reviews, product descriptions or other affiliate information, you need to be careful that it hasn’t been used identically by multiple companies. If so, you can’t go head-to-head in an SEO standoff; more prominent brands will win, and you will be buried in the pile. Give your re-distributed information a fresh twist by making interesting changes to how the text is used and displayed. You can also add introductions or supporting facts that make it unique to your website.
Human to Human Language
Avoid using computers or codes to write your content. Always use people. Distributing large volumes of data through auto-generated content doesn’t pay off in the long run and adds no value to readers. Google are constantly sweeping for AI-written articles, and they will get better at pinpointing computer-generated content with time, which means you’ll be caught out and penalised.
Be an Open Book
Clickbait is frustrating for users, so remove all doorways that block them from receiving the information they want. Provide it for them clearly and easily upfront. Their question needs to be answered in full within that content piece. They can click related articles, fill in a gated content form, or inquire if they want additional information that compliments this.
Locate Duplicate Content
You should never plagiarise content from other websites, but what if your text has been plagiarised? There are plenty of ways to locate duplicate content and tools to help you.
If you notice someone using your data as their content on their website, you need to report them. File a DMCA request to Google, and they can remove the offending copy under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Duplicate content and plagiarism are significant SEO handicaps that should be avoided.
The simplest way to locate duplicate text is to copy and paste a slab of your content into a Google search. Duplicated content will be highlighted in bold with word-for-word information rather than a few bold words scattered throughout.
Online tools are also available to give you some answers on duplicate text:
- Siteliner works on your internal pages to help you locate duplicate content within your pages.
- Copyscape Shows other domains that are using the same content.
How can I SEO my website for free? – Key Takeaways
Creating a technically sound website isn’t enough to win conversions and social shares. You need a solid content marketing strategy to create and post engaging and relevant information to your audience and get approval from search engines like Google.
Rather than guessing what’s working or not, you can audit your content to get real-time data that will improve website performance and SEO by adjusting your scope.
While most people instantly think of content media library articles such as blogs and instructional how-tos, this strategy also works for your main web pages, including the Homepage and About Us and product descriptions for eCommerce sites.
Each section in this article provides tips on how to get the most out of your content management so you can cover every aspect of effective content management and give polished text that will produce excellent results for your user engagement and business website SEO.
You can use the information in your SEO website audit to fix invisible issues that may annoy visitors and sabotage your search returns. Using this guide, you can avoid the traps and quickly transform weak pages into powerful content in the future to get the right message across the right way the first time.
If you need help identifying issues within your business website pages or enhancing your SEO, contact Chillybin Web Design today for support and advice on getting to the top.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is an SEO website audit?
An SEO website audit is a comprehensive website analysis to gauge its ability to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs). It identifies strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve and optimise your website for better search engine performance.
Which tools are commonly used for conducting an SEO website audit?
Quite a few free tools for conducting SEO audits require a paid subscription. Some examples are Google Analytics, Screaming Frog, SEMRush and Ahrefs.
What is included in an SEO website audit checklist?
An SEO audit checklist typically involves analysing keyword strength, readability, and content quality and checking for thin content. It may also include checks for technical SEO aspects such as loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and more.
What does ‘Keyword Strength’ mean in an SEO audit?
‘Keyword Strength’ looks at how effectively your chosen keywords provide visibility on search engines. It considers factors such as keyword relevance, competition, and search volume.
How is ‘Readability’ evaluated in an SEO website audit?
‘Readability’ in an SEO audit refers to how easily your target audience can understand the content on your website. It looks at things like jargon, paragraph breaks and the overall presentation of your content.
What does ‘Content Quality’ refer to in an SEO website audit?
‘Content Quality’ refers to the value your website provides to its users. High-quality content is original, informative and relevant to your target audience’s needs.
What is ‘Thin Content’ in the context of an SEO website audit?
‘Thin Content’ refers to content that offers little to no value to the user. It can include duplicate, auto-generated, and pages with low word counts.