I am a UX designer, so I approach search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing audits from the perspective of making sure there is a good user-experience. It’s not just about bringing people to your site–you also want them to stay. Often marketing and user experience design are kept in separate silos. By combining UX and SEO knowledge, I can get the best of both worlds–designs that work for both robots and humans.
You know your product inside and out–yet, anyone can still still be subject to cognitive biases, like confirmation bias and my favorite–The Curse of Knowledge. Everyone has these blind spots, the unknowns that we are not aware of. Our own opinions and assumptions can be limiting our clear view of what our audience or customers need. It’s helpful to have an outsider, a consultant, evaluate everything with you and draw up an objective picture of the situation.
The goal in the discovery phase is to identify the problem and examine the evidence for that pain point. Don’t lead with your favorite solution–start with insight and a good definition of the problem and goals.
|Desk research||Understand the business goals, the industry, its needs, pain points, issues, trends|
|Stakeholder interview||What is the problem that the product solves?
What is the evidence that points to this problem?
Who is the product for?
What is the desired outcome of the project?
|Competition review||Compare several sites in similar niche, get ideas,
identify their mistakes, define how to differentiate.
|Web analytics||Review current behavior of visitors to site.|
|User research||User testing: there are many approaches, including guerilla research when there doesn’t seem to be time or budget.|
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Audit
Given the accelerating increase of the internet, being found is a top priority. Being found by the right people is all that matters. A website is like one small fish in the ocean. If your intended visitors can’t find your site, it might as well not exist. In this case we are writing for search engines–the software robots that index your site. These robots speak in keywords. For a human to find your site, the keywords the robots have stored from reading your site’s text have to match what the person type into the Google search form box.
The first point of attack is to research the keywords and phrases in Google’s database for the common searches people who are interested in your service already use.
|Keyword research||Make list most relevant keywords for site, ranked by popularity.
Identify long-tail keywords for site’s niche audience.
Evaluate value of schema markup for more detailed search engine results.
|Analytics||Create google analytics account and install tracking code
Create google console account and install html tag.
|Backlinks||Scan for backlinks.
Evaluate backlink strategy.
|Page indexing||“Make sure all important pages can be found by a search engine like Google. (robots.txt
evaluate need to— generate an xml sitemap
|Titles and metatags||Evaluate meaningful page titles
Evaluate unique meta description for each page that will show on search results
Make sure all URLs are readable by robots and “speakable” in plain language.
|Headings||Make sure there is a text hierarchy starting with H1 tags, and also a visual hierarchy.|
|Links||Make sure anchor text is meaningful.
Keywords in linked page match content of source page.Go through site and find broken links
|Performance and speed test||Test site loading time.
Install image cache.
|Images||Optimize image file size for faster loading.
Set meaningful file titles.
Set tags to make images searchable.
|Mobile friendly||Test site on common mobile phone and tablet screen sizes for responsiveness. Correct as needed.|
Usability & Structure
|Structure and usability||Task||Priority||Fix?||Notes|
|Usability||Evaluate design based on standard best practices, make recommendations.
Score current site on Nielsen 10-point expert review. Usability testing.
|Home Page||Logo-evaluate for clarity and readability
Clarity of what the business does
Evaluate call to action.
|Navigation||Evaluate navigation and labeling (information architecture).
Evaluate backlink strategy.
|Typography||Evaluate text and layout to improve readability and engagement.|
|Footer||Evaluate needs and content for footer.|
|Layout||evaluate page layouts:
white space, clarity of message, visual hierarchy, aesthetics..