This week’s episode was all about website quality and how to monitor it. We had Ryte technical SEO analyst Izzi Smith come by the show to give her take.
What is website quality?
Bastian started off by asking Izzi how she would define website quality and where she would start with a website quality evaluation. Izzi explained that in her opinion, it’s about understanding the whole user journey: from the search engine all the way to using the site. How will the search engine understand the website and its content? Can the user get what they need from the content on the website, and if so, how?
Izzi explained how she likes to split the quality assessment process into three sections: diagnosing technical issues, optimising the site to reach its set goals, and then maintaining this level of performance.
Let’s get back to basics: when assessing a website’s quality, what comes first?
In a world of never-ending tools and tactics, it might be hard to figure out where to start with a website quality audit. Or which things are the most crucial to check, if resources are limited. Izzi suggests starting with the indexability status – i.e., how many pages on the site are indexed, and those that aren’t – why not? This will give a good overview of the site’s health. She also recommends robots.txt monitoring, at least for big companies, because sometimes even the smallest changes to robots.txt can have a big (negative) impact!
Domi mentioned that her team runs their content audits in a similar waychnical ones: start by getting an overview of the current situation and looks for flaws e.g. duplicate content, to get a sense of what needs to be changed.
The guests also discussed selective monitoring: using templates to monitor only some aspects of your site. And even though this is often faster and less resource-intensive, it might result in missing important aspects.
But sometimes, it might be hard to convince the upper management to start monitoring other aspects or even to make changes if there is no clear link to the business goals of the company. And if this is the case, there’s a resource which could help:
The real cost of poor website quality from Ryte and BSG
Together with BSG, Ryte carried out a major study on website quality in 2020. It’s astonishing how expensive a poor quality site can be for a company! Make sure to check out the study – it’s a fascinating read anyway, but especially useful if the powers-that-be need some convincing to invest more in the site.
Izzi asks: How do we prioritise?
Izzi asked Bastian and Domi how Peak Ace prioritises changes in our agency. Their answer: we start by figuring out the people we are working with, and what their status and influence are. Does the contact person actually have enough power inside the organisation to implement our suggestions? We also try to integrate team as much as possible within the client’s team, even joining their Slack channels.
Plus, as Domi said before – we always start with a good overview of the current situation. The new team structure for our search and content team also means working very closely together, helping to unite both the tech and content sides of the company.
SEO for Google vs the user
Bastian, Domi and Izzi chatted about the fact that a few years ago, tech SEOs might have prioritised changes that pleased Google more than the user. Today, as we know, most user-friendly changes to your website will also boost your ranking on Google’s SERPs. Not every single change, mind you – but it’s still important to measure and monitor your website for things that might annoy the user,
CTR as a Google ranking factor
Bastian asked Izzi how she sees CTR in terms of its usefulness for rankings, as Google insists it’s not a factor. Izzi says: to her, it’s more of a refinement factor, so having a good CTR doesn’t directly affect the rankings. It also depends on the website. For some websites, a short time on the site with few clicks is okay, but for an e-commerce site for example, you need a better CTR.
You need to figure out your own macro conversions and how your site satisfies the user’s needs, which will also be specific to your site.
Automating quality audits
Finally, the gang discussed the difficulties of scaling website and content audits, which require a lot of brainpower. The data collection can of course be automated, but you need real human people to analyse it. (Good for all of us working in audits!)
And that’s a wrap! Next week we will be talking about Google- and Microsoft-related PPC updates – we’ll see you then!