Post written by Sam Smith, CTO and Cofounder of Demandwell
Sam has over a decade of experience building marketing technology.
When he’s not going on long bike rides, you can catch him listening to live music around Indy.
An unknown SEO health risk can ruin a quarter. It might sound alarmist, but this happened to a prospect of ours. They had almost six months of lower traffic and lead flow than predicted before realizing that a simple infrastructure issue was to blame.
Google works relentlessly to provide a valuable search experience for its users, and they continually update their various ranking algorithms to change how sites are ranked based on tons of factors. Keeping up with that pace of change and understanding the best practices is a full time job all by itself, and so is all the time it takes to identify and correct issues on a single website.
All this change has led marketers to seek SEO audits that pull back the curtain and reveal where their sites are winning or falling short in the eyes of search engines. But, the way that SEO audits are typically done is flawed.
They miss the point:
With so many new and changing factors, it’s easy to miss what’s really important or only focus on part of the picture. A technical audit won’t investigate how effectively a content strategy is implemented. A content audit won’t consider a site’s backlink strategy, etc.
You pay a lot for static information:
These SEO audits are expensive, one-time glimpses and often leave marketers with a lengthy laundry list of confusing changes to be implemented. It’s tempting to seek a cheap and easy fix by downloading a free SEO checklist but those never change with ranking algorithms, leaving you wondering if they’re really giving you the right guidance on what matters most.
Precious time gets wasted:
To make matters worse, while dealing with all this uncertainty, unresolved issues poison the well and can render even the best SEO content strategy ineffective due to lingering infrastructure or endorsement problems.
Demandwell’s SEO Health Scorecard is a comprehensive audit against the three key pillars that factor into ranking: Infrastructure, Content, and Endorsements. By analyzing your site’s effectiveness in each of these three categories, Demandwell provides you with a proprietary health score, alerts you to critical & common issues that can slow you down, and provides dynamic recommendations on how to improve.
An SEO audit against just Infrastructure, Content, or Endorsements alone can cost more than $15,000. This audit would provide a single snapshot and recommendations that quickly become out-dated or don’t take your goals into account.
Demandwell’s SEO Health Scorecard holistically evaluates a website against all of these categories. The resulting insights are tailored to what’s most important and impactful for your growth goals. What’s more, Demandwell continuously updates your scorecard over time, to ensure you have timely, relevant recommendations on how to improve.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these core categories that factor into SEO ranking.
Infrastructure is what is traditionally analyzed in a technical SEO audit. A technical audit of a site’s infrastructure looks at how the site is structured architecturally, to ensure that it can be easily indexed, navigated, and traversed by both search engine crawlers and visitors.
Demandwell analyzes sitemaps, robots.txt directives, page speed, mobile usability, status code responses, and more to provide insight into how you can lay a foundation for your whole site that improves rankings for all pages.
Content refers to the on-page elements that are typically investigated during an SEO content audit. This includes both visible content that visitors and search engines can consume, as well as elements about the page itself that show up in search results. More about visible and meta content here.
Demandwell’s SEO scorecard provides a breakdown of pages that Google views as “Thin Content,” and shows you the gaps that a tailored content strategy can fill in. The Content category also provides insight on how to ensure your site is taking full advantage of headers, title tags, meta descriptions, and other page elements to help search engines connect your content with the prospects who are looking for it.
A site’s endorsement profile is a look into how it connects internally with its own pages as well as externally for visible domain authority. These relationships are typically analyzed in an SEO backlinks audit, and send a signal to search engines that you’re the subject matter expert to trust.
Demandwell’s SEO Health provides insight into your site’s link quality & quantity, anchor text optimization, link toxicity ratio, and more to show how you can improve rankings through the way your site interacts with others. It also provides a comparison against known competitors for the most actionable insights for your target audience.
Demandwell’s SEO Health Scorecard is designed to round out a true, “full stack SEO” approach. Turning out Demand Page content that converts, and tracking that performance comprehensively with the Need-to-Lead Funnel are supported foundationally by a site that’s fine-tuned and aligned with how search engines determine what sites provide the best search experience for users.
Websites are built to be seen, and the right SEO health strategy is what empowers it to steal the spotlight!
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