A Little Background First…

By day, I am a location sound recordist, post-production mixer and composer. By day I am also an application developer and web analytics consultant–more of the former, lately. I have been enjoying a re-ignition of my former web development activities and diving deep into a new world for me. That new world is: Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.

SEO Really Spells Excitement

SEO is a simple three-letter acronym that many people throw around loosely and even claim to have some knowledge. Heck, I even thought I had a pretty good handle on what is was a few months ago. That is, until I started digging into it and partnering with my friends over at Emarketed. I have been experimenting with my own and some friends’ sites and over the last few months. Not only have I learned how much there is to learn, but I also now know we have a whole lot of control over so much of it!

For instance, just last month a simple keyword search for “podcast recording phoenix” yielded many results–over 2.2 million to be exact. I wasn’t even in the first 100 pages, let alone the first 100 results. To be considered “ranking” for a keyword, your site needs to appear within the first 100 results returned in a search on that keyword. But now, after a little help from a site audit and a few minor changes on my site I am ranking roughly around #5! That is… as in–page ONE, item FIVE in a Google Search!

This was exciting to see happen both for me in my quest to become a better SEO consultant, but moreover for me as a small business owner. To see my company start ranking–and ranking high–for something I love doing and want to do more of is inspiring. That’s what I love about this SEO work and why I want to see the same excitement in new clients for their own business ventures.

What Is A Site Audit? Why Get One?

In short, a website audit is an analysis of all the factors that determine your site’s visibility to search engines. Fixing errors or following suggestions to improve any of these factors can improve your site’s performance and in turn make it “more appealing” and searchable in the eyes of the major search engines. (Is there really more than one anymore ? ???? )

If you have never implemented SEO best practices, then the site audit reveals where you may want to begin your work. For example, if the results of your audit conclude that your pages are missing meta data, then you may want to consider adding that information to your site.

However, if you already do SEO and you are not getting favorable results, then a site audit can pinpoint where and why your issues exist. Perhaps, for example, you need to make more of your pages mobile-friendly or you have bad backlinks, both of which could be penalizing your site.

It Is A Lot of Work

It’s a lot of work and certainly can be tedious and very time consuming–but I can help you! “After all, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it” is a cliche for a reason.

The Site Audit helps to pinpoint areas to work on and avoid spending great deals of time working on things that only help a little. Moreover, the work is never done! The search engine algorithms are continually getting better, which means they are continually changing. Your site should evolve with the changes to keep up. Therefore, your website’s health is a lot like your own personal health and annual or even semi-annual checkups are very good to stay tip-top.

Speaking of a lot of work, in the next image you will see what the audit on my own site looked like at the beginning. This was before I started doing anything with SEO. It’s almost a little embarrassing, but I’m willing to put myself out there as an example for you. You know, an example of how NOT to be, of course..

Fig 1: Data and statistics BEFORE instituting the changes suggested by the site audit.

But after many months of tedious work and attention to detail, we are looking much better as seen here in the next image.

As you can see–it is asymptotic–and even after months of work, the total score is still not 100%. This work has somewhat of a nuclear half-life feel to it and we never quite get to fully done, but always getting half way closer to perfect.

Fig 2: Data and statistics AFTER instituting the changes suggested by the site audit.

So as they say, “My job is [half] done here…”