Case Study: How an SEO Site Audit Made Our Traffic Increase

As an agency that practices inbound marketing, we believe that the right and relevant content will thrive our organic traffic. However, after months of staying at a constant rate of website visitors, we decided it was time to have a site audit.

What is an SEO site audit?

An SEO site audit, in the simplest terms, is when you use an online tool or an SEO expert, to examine your website content and structure in its entirety. A typical audit includes optimization of title tags and descriptions, URL structure, unique and searchable content, internal linking structure, alt image tags, broken links, external links, Google authorship, etc.

Our Problem:

Creating great and informative content has not been a current issue when it comes to writing copy for landing pages, blog posts, cornerstone content, etc. However, a domain and site migration in 2012, due to a severe Google Penalty hit starting from Penguin and followed Panda, caused most content to also be migrated to the new domain name, which happens to be our current domain. Although the penalties didn’t follow, all prior content was not always the most suitable or up-to-date, specifically when LevelTen decided to microblog (circ. 2006), which at the time was ahead of its time; this was before Tumblr and Twitter had come along. In addition, guest blogging was not being monitored for quality content.

Duplicate content was also an issue, and older blogs from 2013 were suffering from outdated content, old expired outbound links, and excessive internal links. Image tags were also an issue, due to site editors forgetting to add tags to uploaded images. Google Business authorship, a minor issue, caused confusion for having outdated information. And, of course, we had an excess of organic keywords we were trying to rank for and no concise top ten “wish list” of keywords to focus on. The website CMS (Open Enterprise, a Drupal Distribution) itself was created to be SEO ready and mobile-first. The small and tedious overlooked issues were at the core of why our website traffic and conversions were staying stagnant.

Our Solution:

The LevelTen site had always been mobile friendly, something that would have killed us when mobilegeddon occurred earlier this year. So, when we asked an SEO expert, Malcom Chakery, for a second set of eyes on what else we could do to improve our site, we had him audit our site. With Malcom’s set of SEO tools, the internal marketing team was able to go through the entire website and find what worked and what didn’t work. We set forth a plan to do a spring-cleaning of our website (but in reality, it was during the summer).

Actions We Implemented:

  • We crawled our website for a complete and thorough examination of the website’s links, images, and key SEO elements.
  • Created and segmented spreadsheets for:
    • Blog content that was to either be updated (links, images, formatting, etc.) or removed from the website that brought no value to our brand/image.
    • Landing pages that could be deleted or updated.
    • Site pages that needed inbound links to be updated, as well as, broken outbound links.
    • Links to images that required alt tag descriptions.
    • Pages and random content that could be repurposed for whitepapers, eBooks, etc.
    • Pages that were missing meta descriptions.

The Results:

After extensive research on our website, our plan was initiated by deleting old content in small increments. Keep in mind that we had thousands of blog posts, both of good and bad quality. We took an initiative of going slowly to see how our traffic would respond in Google Analytics. Below is a screen shot from where we began in July through November:

We’ll ignore December numbers because the month is not complete.

Our SEO Site Audit generated about a 44.72% increase in traffic

Keep in mind, these numbers just reflect the work we have tackled so far. We have also cleaned up any duplicate content that Google (Webmaster Tools) and Chakery acknowledged as potential duplicate content. There are still some structural site issues we need to clean up. Also, we have not even began to repurpose old content nor have we completely updated all the missing image alt-tags. Imagine what our website would generate in terms of leads once we start producing even higher-quality content that supports a traffic-generating website. We have focused on optimizing for our top-ten keywords with high-quality content focused and generated for our target audience.

We’ll ignore December numbers because the month is not complete.

Our SEO Site Audit generated about a 20.15% increase in Session traffic

Take a look a closer look at our Intelligence dashboard and the difference between the beginning July 2015 and the numbers for November 2015. Take a particular closer look at the left-hand site and the change overall between September’s numbers compared to November’s as we get closer to finishing our site clean up.

July 2015

November 2015

You will notice that there are some red flags on the November numbers. However, the overall number is still greater than the numbers for July. You might be asking yourself, how can that be? Well, October was a really great month in terms of traffic and sessions, as you can see in the two graphs before the intelligence screenshots. You will also notice a dip in the November numbers, this is because we were hit with a lot of referral spam in our Google Analytics. Early numbers for the month of December are trending higher than they were in November because we filtered out the spam. As you can see below:

Final Thoughts

Moving forward with maintaining the website and creating quality content, the LevelTen site is set to generate more quality leads and traffic. We’ll keep you updated in 2016 if the traffic and sessions changes as Google rolls out the newest Penguin Algorithm update.

Have you done a site audit for your website recently? What do you think of the dashboards? Let me know in the comments below!