Website Audits for SEO Success

Website AuditWe work a lot with the accounting industry and know that many people cringe when they hear the “A” word. Why do business owners alike dread when the auditors show up? Well, it often means more work in an already busy work-day and let’s face it, an audit can be a stressful time answering a million questions and complying with a constant barrage of requests. However, audits are a necessary and important part of every business. Just like businesses need a regular audit of their financial records to ensure accuracy and overall health, websites also benefit from a thorough examination, or dare we say audit, to be sure the site is in optimal shape.

WHAT IS A WEBSITE AUDIT?

So what is a website audit and how is it related to your SEO strategy? Simply put, a website audit gives you a full picture of the effectiveness of your company’s website. It allows you to look at the technical infrastructure of your website, as well as the on-page and off-page elements that affect search engine visibility, usability, and conversion. The main point of the audit is to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of opportunity in website marketing.

WHY ARE WEBSITE AUDITS IMPORTANT?

Website audits are a vital component of keeping your SEO strategy up-to-date.  With search engines frequently updating their algorithms to provide better search results, there is a good chance that what is working today may not work months from now. Therefore, you need to be aware of these changes so you can make adjustments to your website accordingly.

What’s more, you will also be able enhance your SEO efforts by identifying any missed opportunities or poorly executed SEO pitfalls that may be doing serious damage to the success of your online marketing efforts.  These could include strategies started a while ago and have since been forgotten about. An audit will allow you to re-focus your SEO efforts on users first and search engines second so you won’t still be using old tactics just to get in the top of the search engine results pages. 

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

There are a number of common issues that are typically uncovered during a website audit from both a content and technical aspect, including:

  • Duplicate Content— Duplicate content is any content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. Why is this a problem?  If your website has multiple pages that contain the same content, it makes it difficult for Google to pick the right version. Therefore, it is important to quickly identify and either remove or redirect any duplicate content that may exist.
  • Broken Links – It is not uncommon to find a number of broken links. This just means that the intended linked-to page either no longer exists or has been moved. Google does not like broken links and it is important to remove or repair them as soon as they are discovered.
  • Titles, Meta Data, & Images — Title tags and meta descriptions are the first thing visitors will read in the search results. It is important to ensure that they are not only included, but that they are relevant to the content of the site as well. Additionally, there should be alt tags for any images. Remember, Google also indexes images in addition to indexing content.
  • Site Speed – Page loading time is obviously an important part of any website’s user experience. If it takes your website more than a few seconds to load, then your SEO rankings are going to suffer. Site speed can be impacted in a number of ways including large image files and what type of website hosting is being used, to name a few. No one likes waiting forever for a website to download so be sure that your site loads within 1-3 seconds. A fast-loading website is good for your visitors and user experience which equals better rankings.
  • Sitemap and Robot Files – These are important files that help search engines when indexing the website. A sitemap tells Google and other search engines what pages on your site you want to be crawled and indexed. It also ensures that your pages are found and found quickly. Robot files, on the other hand, allow you to specify which parts of your site should be crawled and what parts to avoid. When either of these files is missing or incomplete, it makes the job of indexing a site much more difficult.

When was the last time you gave your website a checkup? As you can see, an audit of your website is a critical part in improving your website’s performance and enhancing your SEO efforts. If you have never audited your website before or it has been a while since you have, let us know. We are here to help!

Being Conversational, Not Contentsational

Using Twitter as a Relationship Building Tool17

Several months back I came across a tweet that read, “Another morning of marketing jargon,” this stuck with me.  At Seven Degrees we work with clients to construct feasible, effective social media plans that produce organic followers and leads.  When communicating with our clients, we emphasize the concept of “being conversational, not contentsational.” What does this mean?  This means that Twitter is a door to opportunities.  By using Twitter as a communication tool, companies and people have access to media, influencers and publications that are often a challenge to reach via email.  However, as a community manager for a number of brands, I have found that achieving a response from the media and influencers is not easy. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. Through trial and error we have learned several techniques for using Twitter as a relationship building tool and less of a content distribution machine.

Engage with the Media.

While media pitches and emails flood journalist’s inboxes, emails get lost and an immediate response may not get back to you. Twitter provides a different type of access to influencers and journalists – even if it is used to follow up on an email. I often use Twitter to approach journalists after reading an article that aligns well with a client’s mission. This approach has led to journalists direct messaging their contact information and telling us that they would like to have a phone conversation. In speaking with a number of journalists, many have shared that they  prefer not being pitched through Twitter. With that in mind, we recommend using Twitter as a relationship building tool.

Hook your audience.

One of my biggest peeves is seeing a brand post the title of an article with the link, it adds to the noise. Instead, bring value by saying why this post is relevant.  Pull a statistic, quote or formulate a question that will encourage followers to click the link. There is a difference between “link-baiting” vs. capturing attention – we prefer the latter and we can assure you your followers will too.

Identify Key Hashtags.

Whether you are tweeting on behalf of a CPA, Law Firm, Marketing Firm, or an Event Industry Supplier, there is an active hashtag associated with your target market.  When sharing content, use a hashtag for more exposure.

Respond to Hashtag Conversations.

I often recommend using a social media management tool like Hootsuite to keep track of hashtag streams.  A part of social media is responding as well as listening.  Become familiar with the content others push out and respond when necessary.  For instance, if you’re an event supplier, follow the #eventprofs hashtag and respond to questions and comment on articles. If you are representing a company that sells HR Systems, follow the #SHRM stream.  By responding and sharing knowledge, you are relationship building as well as building trust.
Twitter makes conversations possible and conversations make relationships happen.  What are your best practices for striking a social media conversation?  What are some of the challenges you have faced? If you find that you are in need to pick our brain or revamp your social messaging, we are happy to help.

Lessons from Being Named Volunteer of the Year.

Volunteer

AAM Recognized Jessica Levin, Eric Majchrzak and Michelle Golden on June 8, 2015.

As someone who works with membership organizations, I am a huge proponent of volunteerism.   Understanding that people are the lifeblood of associations and charitable organizations, volunteering is what makes them run and impact the world.  Sure, many organizations have full-time staff that take care of operations and high-level strategy, but in order for members to get the most out of their experience, they need to be active participants.

For as long as I can remember, I have dived-in, headfirst into any group that I have been a part of.  I raise my hand and lead initiatives,  head committees and, on occasion, fill the top position. From this activity, I have benefited.  I have been educated on topics that I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, I have learned how to deal with personalities (even difficult ones), and most important, I have made friends.  I cannot say enough good things about the volunteer experiences that I have had.  Yes, there are times when my plate is full and shifting priorities is necessary. However, the cumulative result of my efforts is almost always in the win column.

Last month I was honored as Volunteer of the Year from the Association for Accounting Marketing.  As a member of the organization for over a decade, I was truly humbled to be recognized by an association that has given so much to me.   I am actively involved because I believe in the education that they provide and have built my strongest network within its web. Volunteering for them is easy because I am participating in my own personal growth.  That said, I am thankful for the honor and continue to give back.

Here are some things that I learned along the way:
  1. When you are on a committee you interact with different people. The positive collisions that happen can be life changing.
  2. As a leader, you know more about the organization and have a say in its direction.
  3. You have more fun at conferences because you have already made friends.
  4. You learn things that you might not learn in your “day job.”  This includes new tools, techniques and processes.
  5. You have to compromise and you don’t always get your way.  This makes you a better person.
  6. People respect you more than you can imagine.  They are thankful and appreciative.
  7. People refer business to you. This isn’t why I do it, but it’s a nice benefit.

Thank you to the AAM Board for making me the 2015 Volunteer of the Year.  I loved working with my committee and getting to know the team better.  I am a better person for having been involved.

The night I received the award was extra special.   My dear friend Eric Majchrzak was named Marketer of the Year and Michelle Golden made the Hall of Fame.  Both are professionals who I respect greatly and friends who I cherish.  Please join me in congratulating them as well.

 

 

Seven Degrees to a Perfect Pairing: Infographic

Connections are everywhere— on Twitter, sitting beside you on the train, at the receptionist desk at your local gym— close your eyes and reflect on the last connection you have made. How can you help that person? How has that person helped you?  Connections are everywhere and so are opportunities.

The Perfect Pairings Infographic shares seven key concepts from Perfect Pairings: The Art of Connecting People.

Perfect Pairings Infographic

 

How can our Seven Degrees team help you?  If there is graphic designer, influencer or even a hair dresser we can refer you to, please don’t hesitate to reach out or comment on the post below.

 

 

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

no-fear

The first sentence that I ever uttered was “Ez a boog.”  Growing up in Florida being afraid of insects (and snakes) could be problematic, but I was. And I still am.  In college, I remember calling a friend to come over and kill a water bug for me. I’m also afraid of heights – watching me stand on a chair is a pretty amusing event. Not surprisingly these rank as the top most common phobias according to Fear.Net (but don’t believe everything you read on the internet).   As a kid fear was instilled in me at an early age.  I was the same age as Adam Walsh, the boy who was murdered in Florida, thus leaving me forever scared of being kidnapped by just about everyone, especially the garbage men – they terrified me.

As an adult I’ve gotten significantly braver.  I travel often and learned to look like I belong and know where I am going.  I may have even become a slight fan of fear.  As a coach, I love to see the results of clients being pushed out of their comfort zone.  I’ve learned to practice what I preach by taking baby steps out of the zone.  On occasion I take giant leaps.

A few years ago, as a new business owner I had a meeting with someone who had recently sold his company and was traveling the world.  We were discussing fear and he said to me, with great authority, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

Wow.  This statement was powerful.  Once I carefully processed this statement, its profoundness hit me.   In 99% of the cases, the worst outcome isn’t so bad.  Keep in mind that 67% of statistics are made up so don’t quote me on that one.

As I have approached both my business and personal life and that gray area in between, I find myself asking that exact question whenever I am faced with a scary situation.

Fear is intimate.  It’s a deep part of someone’s psyche and often complex to understand.  Someone can be a tall and strong man, capable of kicking some major booty, but petrified of making life decisions that might come easy to someone else.

For me, becoming a business owner was one of the scariest, yet best decisions I have ever made.  As I explore evolving my career into a life of public service, I get butterflies in my stomach.

I’ve come to realize that fear is one of the best things life can give us.  It keeps us safe from strangers but it sling shots us forward towards great opportunities.  Fear is the thing that lets us know something is big and powerful and worthy of consideration.   If you are making a big decision and you are a little fearful, know that the feeling of fear could be easily overcome by the great feeling of success that stems from making such a grand decision.

What might you be afraid of:

  • Speaking up at work?
  • Confronting a friend?
  • Starting a business?
  • Applying for a new position?
  • Asking a guy/girl out on a date?
  • Speaking in front a group of people?
  • Trying and failing?
  • Getting out of an unhealthy relationship?
  • Moving to a new place?

Whatever it is, ask yourself “what’s the worst that can happen?” And then,  if the results don’t result in death or physical harm and you are still scared, put on your big girl/boy pants and embrace the fear.  Own it.   Feel the fear and make change anyway.

And if you do, I’ll be happy to hold your hand or give you a pep talk – just as long as you are willing to get rid of bugs for me.

 

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