I Would Charge You $1000 For Doing This - Here’s How to Do it For FREE (Basic Site Audit)
Last Update: Sep 22, 2022
This is fairly COMPLICATED and more aimed at those of you who have a website that has been running for at least 12-18 months.
If you;’re fairly new, you can still do all the checks I talk about below, but
DO NOT DELETE ARTICLES
DO NOT REWRITE ARTICLES
UNLESS they have been in the search results for AT LEAST 12 MONTHS.
Plus, there is a lot to cover, so if you can’t be bothered to read this - GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR BUSINESS - can’t be “bothered” usually spells FAILURE.
Let’s talk about GOOGLE UPDATES
Just in case you’ve been living in a cave, under a rock, or are simply very new to this business, there have been THREE Google Updates over the past 4 weeks (TWO are still running as we speak).
The “main” Google Update was the “Helpful Content Update” that ran from 25th August to 9th September.
This was seen by many in the industry to be one of the BIGGEST Google updates in YEARS.
In fact, many SEOs predicted this would be as important as the “Penguin”, “Panda”, “Hummingbird” and “BERT” Google updates - these were updates that changed Google forever.
Now, many people have seen their website traffic plummet after one or more of these updates.
Before you start feeling sorry for yourself, one of my websites has lost on average 3,000 visitors PER DAY.
You read that right, basically I have LOST 90,000 VISITORS A MONTH.
In effect, my earnings from this website have reduced by around $7,000 per month.
I BET you still DON’T feel sorry for me, do you?
You Horrible Lot!!! Hahahaha!!
Okay, pretty much EVERYONE who’s been in this business for a decent length of time (especially, if you've been around for 7+ years) will have experienced a traffic drop or been “hit” by a Google Update.
If they say they haven’t, REGARDLESS of How Experienced or How Big a name they are in this industry, THEY’RE LYING (they probably have something they want to sell to you).
They have never produced a website with enough traffic.
Oh yes, there are plenty of people selling courses, teaching people how to make money online, etc. and yet they have never actually achieved the realms of success that they talk about.
Look, if someone like Brian Dean, possibly one greatest SEO minds of the last decade, has experienced a MASSIVE drop in rankings and traffic (his Backlinko site plunged in rankings and traffic in 2014 - this will also explain why most of his articles ever since were around 25,000-words - YEP, you read that right, Brian wanted be as “helpful” as possible in his articles, and cover EVERYTHING), then ANYONE can experience the same.
Here’s something that I’ve learned over the years, and something that someone I highly respect in the SEO industry (nope, you won’t find them here @ WA), has also kinda confirmed.
(It’s NOT ALWAYS the case, but pretty much 80/100 times it potentially WILL BE THE CASE)
If a website suffers a HUGE drop in traffic, then more than likely, with time, and continued publishing consistency, while sorting out the “problems” (which I am going to teach you in a minute), then it will come back to life, and probably at even greater traffic levels than before.
The way to look at this is that if you have a website performing well in the search results for the last 12-24 months, then there is nothing “technically” wrong with your website (anything much less than 12-24 months, it’s too early to tell what’s going to happen to your website).
Google has ranked you for that past 1-2 years, given you traffic, and you’ve made a pretty decent income from it.
So, Google doesn’t look at your website one day and think, “Well, this is a crap website, let me “punish” them and make them lose all their rankings and traffic”.
Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.
Google loved you once, they can love you again.
Often, this loss of rankings and traffic simply comes down to Google feeling that other articles published on the same subjects are more “helpful” than yours.
So, even losing just a few places in the SERPs can make a huge difference.
This is actually what has happened to me on the website in question.
I have around 300 articles that have gone from position 1-3 on Google and dropped to position 5-10.
I’m guessing if many of you had 300 articles ranking in positions 5-10 on Google you’d be celebrating.
However, for me, it means 90,000 LESS visitors and $7,000 less income a month.
(Don’t feel too bad for me, I have two other bigger websites that are still going strong).
But, this still, isn’t a “punishment” as such, even though it feels like it.
Basically, Google still deems my content “good enough” to rank on page one.
Plus, the website has over 300 OTHER articles that ARE STILL ranking positions 1-3.
Now, the other thing about Google Updates is that it’s easy to get demotivated and make rash decisions.
However, these updates will typically produce fluctuations in ranking, while the updates are going on, and perhaps even for the next 4-6 weeks afterwards too.
So, we STILL have the Google Core Update going on and ANOTHER (yes ANOTHER) product review update going on (if you’re website is SOLELY Product Reviews, and hasn’t been PERFORMING WELL for the last couple of years, prepare yourself… it’s COMING!!!)
Therefore, realistically, if you have suffered during any of these updates, you still have a couple of months to wait to really know “what’s going on”.
Then again, I have also had websites that have literally “died” after one update, and stayed the same for a year, before coming “back to life” 12-18 months later.
The point being, if your website traffic literally plummets overnight, there is ALWAYS a way back.
The thing YOU DON’T want to see is a gradual decrease in traffic month-on-month.
If you lose 5-10% of your traffic on a monthly basis until your site bottoms out, sorry, your website is DEAD, there’s no coming back from it, you can try all you like, NOPE.
By the way, if you’ve had a HUGE INCREASE in rankings and traffic during the past few weeks DON’T get excited yet.
Just as those “suffering” are having to wait this out, SO WILL YOU (your increased rankings may not be permanent, but simply due to algorithmic fluctuations)..
As I say, this is based on experience, from what I have seen happen to my own sites, and those who I know well in the industry.
Okay, what I’m going to show you now is a very basic Site Audit, which you probably should do once a year anyway.
Basically, sometimes your traffic dies because Google not only deems other website’s as being more “helpful” than yours, but you may also have a lot of “unhelpful” content on your website.
So, in effect, you are being “punished” and “held back” by having this “unhelpful content.
By the way, “unhelpful content” can also be perfected acceptable content THAT ISN’T RANKING, HASN’T EVER REALLY RANKED, AND DOESN’T PRODUCE ANY TRAFFIC.
Basically, Google has not ranked this article for the past 12-24 months, although there is a chance they still might, it is very, very slim (this is especially true if you targeted a longtail, low hanging fruit keyword - if it’s not ranking after 8-9 months, it probably won’t, but still, give it to the year mark just to be sure)
So Let's Fix This
Let’s Weed Out “Unhelpful” Content
Okay, as I’ve mentioned, this is going to be a very basic site audit.
By the way, if you’re thinking of paying a company to do this to provide “technical SEO” advice.
DON’T DO IT.
I’ve just told you that if you’ve spent the last 12-24 months actually being ranked, etc. there is nothing “technically” wrong with your site.
You basically just potentially have what Google deems a lot of “unhelpful content” on your site.
All an SEO company will do is to put your url through SEMrush, and then whatever that “piece of software” tells them they will relay back to you.
And you can guarantee it will be very generic advice that leaves you more confused than before.
So, just follow through on what I’m about to teach you.
You fix this, and at the same time, focus more on writing the same types of articles as your BEST PERFORMING ARTICLES, you’re onto a winner.
Plus, this will show who’s up for the fight and who’s full of hot air.
How long do you think it’s going to take me to go through 300+ articles, find out what’s wrong, and then fix it?
This is the difference between those who succeed and those who “talk a good fight”, but will probably never achieve anything… IN LIFE.
First things first, let’s go to Google Search Console.
On the left hand side scroll down to SECURITY & MANUAL ACTIONS
Click on MANUAL ACTIONS
And hopeful THIS IS WHAT YOU SEE
If there is a manual action against you, depending on what it is, this could be a case of you having to abandon this website…
OR focusing completely on another form of traffic generation, e.g. social media.
However, most likely if you have been hit with a MANUAL ACTION something is very, very wrong with your website.
So, if Google doesn’t like it, what makes you think potential visitors from social media channels are going to like it?
This could be a case that you have ALWAYS written for machines and not HUMANS.
You are so focused on what Jaaxy, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, Ahrefs, and then also, your SEO plugin, that you have FORGOTTEN that there is a HUMAN BEING on the other end of that screen.
So, do you honestly think that someone looking for advice about their lawnmower cares about keywords and SEO?
So, don’t become a slave to it.
Stick to the basics and you’ll be fine:
- Your permalink/url should be your keyword or a shortened version, e.g your keyword is “How to Make Money Online Through Facebook Marketing” - your url can be domainname.com/facebook-marketing
- Include your keyword in your title and first paragraph - don’t force it and make it unnatural, so my title can be “17 Ways to Use Facebook Marketing to Make MASSIVE Money Online” <=== this is GOOD ENOUGH, Google is smart enough to rank you for the “original” phrase, as long as your article is deemed “helpful” - forget EXACT MATCH - it hasn’t mattered since October 2019 (in fact, you trying to “unnaturally” get your keyword in can be viewed as “unhelpful” and writing for search engines NOT people).
- Include your keyword (or a variation as above) in a subheading.
- Have images relevant to your content and when you save images to your desktop make sure the file name under which it is saved uses your keyword.
- Link out to another website that is relevant to your content BUT NOT on exactly the same subject (Don’t tell Google, “here’s a better written article on this subject than mine”, what do you think Google will do then?)
- Link out to other RELEVANT articles on your website.
- Please don’t ask how many links? This to me is the same as asking “How Many Words?”, “How Many Articles?”, “How Much Time?” - all of these questions PROVE that you are NOT thinking about HUMANS, but rather trying to PLEASE an algorithm.
I will go as far to say that if you are overly concentrated on factors like these this shows that you are STILL looking for a PUSH-BUTTON system that’s going to turn you into a millionaire.
If you still think that "if I do an exact amount of work then I will be successful".
Honestly, NO, STOP IT, life doesn’t work in exacts, and if you haven’t worked that out yet, then I can't help you.
To me, it’s like asking, “How many times do I need to swing an axe to chop down a tree?”
If you truly believe there is an EXACT number, well, what can I say!!
- Meta Title - Yeah Whatever!!! Your Article title is automatically converted to an H1 tag in WordPress and this is what (on most occasions) will be displayed in the search results.
So, if you actually believe that typing this into an SEO plugin makes any difference, well, once more, what can I say.
The same goes for Meta Description - your SEO plugin isn’t actually doing anything.
In fact, on over 70% of search results, Google actually CHOOSES WHAT THEY WANT from your content, and then displays this as the meta description.
Don’t believe me, pick 10 of your articles, locate them in the search results, and see what description is there.
In truth, meta description IS NOT an SEO factor anymore, it is more aimed at ENTICING POTENTIAL READERS.
If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I bold and colour one paragraph within my article to highlight to Google, “This is what this article is about and here’s the answer to the question posed”
Guess what, nearly 100% of the time that IS the description used in the search results - further proof that your SEO plugin doesn't actually do as much as you believe or are LED to believe it does (I certainly don’t use one).
And look, I’m actually getting my “meta description” (bolded and coloured block WITHIN my article) published MORE OFTEN than those who use an SEO plugin.
Again, I’m ot saying nt to use an SEO plugin, especially if you’re new, but try to understand that ALL software that you use is a GUIDE.
As I’ve said tongue-in-cheek before, “I Have never met a successful online marketer who focuses on 100/100 or GREEN for an SEO plugin, but I have met many UNSUCCESSFUL marketers who can’t work out why they’re not raking in the millions because they followed what an INANIMATE OBJECT, a piece of software, told them”
You’re in the business of dealing with people, so start thinking like a person, not a robot.
GO HOME, YOU’RE DRUNK!!
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WANTED THIS BLOG POST IN TWO PARTS STOP READING NOW AND COME BACK TOMORROW (I BET YOU DON’T, Hahahaha!!)
Okay, let’s open up Google Analytics.
Scroll down on the left to BEHAVIOUR and click.
Then click on SITE CONTENT.
And then click on CONTENT DRILLDOWN.
For me, I want to check traffic on individual articles for 2022.
So, change the date in the top right to show results from 1st January 2022 - today’s date.
Okay, the individual articles that we are going to check from our site must be input WITHOUT the domain name.
I’m going to check this article of mine
What’s the Difference Between Calisthenics and Bodyweight Exercises?
So, what I ACTUALLY input into the search box is
As you can see, I have EXCLUDED the domain name, but kept everything else.
Place that in and press enter.
Okay, so over the past 9 months this article has received 108 page views.
Poor, very poor.
Now, having such a low traffic producing article on my website could actually be considered “unhelpful”.
I would say that this MAY NOT be the case with this article.
But, if you are averaging less than say 3-5 visitors per month from an article, and ESPECIALLY if an article has produced ZERO traffic over the last 9 months, this is probably being viewed by Google as UNHELPFUL CONTENT.
Basically, the article hasn’t been deemed good enough by Google to actually rank for the past 9 months.
This could be for a number of reasons.
But, one of the main reasons you need to be aware of is whether the article is slightly off-topic.
Yes, my website in question is all things exercise and fitness, but when I have over 500 articles focused on exercises in the gym with weights, and I only have two articles about callisthenics, even though it is exercise-related, it is not in keeping with the main focus on my website.
You may recall I have previously spoken of producing Topic Clusters, so writing 25-30 articles around a closely-knit topic, before moving onto the next topic cluster.
Well clearly, TWO articles on this one topic over the course of TWO YEARS have put Google’s knickers in a twist.
I am potentially being viewed as being unhelpful because I have perhaps chosen to write on this subject PURELY TO RANK IN THE SEARCH ENGINES (Yes, even I forget about the HUMAN FACTOR every now and then).
So, even though I have had 108 page views on this article in the last 9 months, it may be time to delete this article and remove it from my site.
However, before doing this, I need to do some further checks in Google Search Console now.
I want to see how many visits I’m actually getting from GOOGLE, where I’m RANKING in Google for ALL THE DIFFERENT KEYWORDS, and is the article producing enough IMPRESSIONS to be worthwhile keeping.
Don’t forget that the results we’ve just seen in Google Analytics is ALL traffic, i.e. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Yandex, DuckDuckGo, etc. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Wealthy Affiliate, Google Discover, Direct, etc.
So, as an example, if I have an article getting a LOT of traffic, but nothing from Google, then obviously I would leave it, as it is POPULAR somewhere.
However, for the above article, 108 visitors in 9 months just doesn’t seem worth my while.
But, these are the checks I would make in Google Search Console.
Locate PERFORMANCE and then SEARCH RESULTS on the left-hand side.
Then change the date to LAST 28 DAYS.
Scroll down to PAGES and click on that.
Open up pages to as many results as you want, I’m going with 500.
Then do CTRL and F on your keyword and in the box that appears in the top right-hand side type something related to your article that you want to check.
So, I’ve typed in Calisthenics and press enter.
Then click on the url for this article.
Just above the graph then click on AVG CTR and AVG POSITION.
Now, just from experience, I already know that this is an article I’m going to delete.
However, you’ll want to do a few checks too.
Now, the reason I say that this is an article to delete comes down to the impressions and CTR.
Realistically, an article worth rescuing will have a much higher number of impressions over the past 28 days.
I mean I have articles that receive 534 impressions EVERY HOUR, never mind over the course of 28 days.
Basically, there isn’t a great deal of interest in this subject.
Plus, the CTR rate isn’t actually that bad, which tells me that I probably have a number of keywords ranking on page one for this article.
BUT, the impressions tell me that even if I had a clickthrough rate of about 10% across ALL the keywords this article is ranking for I would only be getting about 50 visitors a month to this article.
FOR ME, 50 visits to ONE article per month is not worth it.
However, for you and your articles, there’s TWO things you want to look out for.
Firstly, a decent number of impressions.
Secondly, click on QUERIES to reveal ALL the keywords this article is ranking for.
Then click IMPRESSIONS so that the articles with MOST impressions are at the TOP of the results.
And see if any of, say, the TOP 5 keywords that you’re currently ranking for has an average position in at least the late-teens.
So, as an example, if you have a specific phrase that has received 1,000 impressions in the last 28 days and is “average ranking” at 18 or below (or should that be above, LOL), then it may well be worth rewriting this article in order to improve it’s rankings and start getting more traffic.
Anyway, let’s do what I want you to do with this article anyway.
So, I choose the keyword/phrase that has received the MOST impressions and type this in the Google search bar.
Okay, the Featured Snippet is taken up by Healthline - Not Good.
Although Healthline is considered an authority website, trust me, they produce a lot of crap.
However, it goes to show what having a website that is 20 years old and has 100,000+ articles on it can do for you in the search engines.
I’m going to find it very hard to outrank them.
There is Quora and Reddit on page one, but remember I always speak about ACTUALLY LOOKING AT PAGE ONE WITH YOUR OWN EYES, especially at what is ABOVE THE FOLD (The first thing that visitors see).
Unfortunately, the first thing that visitors see is the Healthline Feature Snippet and then the People Also Ask section.
But still let’s see if I can salvage this article.
So, what I do is READ healthline’s article.
What is in there that is NOT included in mine?
Does Healthline’s article satisfy “searcher intent” better than mine?
What Can I do to make my article more “HELPFUL” to my readers?
Often answering the questions:
Who, What, Why, When, and How within your article SHOULD completely satisfy “searcher intent” and be viewed as “helpful”.
As long as you have at least ONE keyword phrase that has an average position on the first two pages of Google (according to Google Search Console), and you believe there are enough impressions to make this worthwhile, then REWRITE the article.
Being more “helpful” could actually simply mean producing a few charts, graphs, or infographics (ALL of which you can do in Canva) and placing these in your article.
This is especially true if you’re quoting stats and figures in the article.
If, however, you find that the average position for all the keywords for this article are much lower, and you haven’t really had many visitors at all this year…
So, as an example, you’ve had 3 visitors to the article this year, and Google Search Console says that you’re showing up in the results for 33 different keywords, but they all have an average position of say 40, 50, 60, 100, etc.
It probably isn’t even worth rewriting this article.
Google has seen and known about this article for over a year now, they haven’t ranked you in the top two pages for ANY results, this article is basically DEAD.
GET RID OF IT, it’s holding you and your website back.
However, as I say, if you have at least ONE keyword in the top 20 of Google, and it has a decent amount of impressions, you may well be able to salvage this article.
The decision however MUST BE YOURS.
It’s YOUR website and YOUR business, regardless of what anyone else says, this MUST be YOUR decision.
In truth, I have already deleted 79 articles from the site in question and rewritten 8 so far in September.
Plus, I’m also sorting out my internal linking, but we’ll save that for another article.
DON’T FORGET that if you are going to delete articles that there may be other articles on your site LINKING to that article… you need to CHANGE or DELETE this (MORE WORK!!!!)
Plus, I have also installed a 410 plugin (just go to your plugins section, choose add new plugin and type - 410 pages - into the search bar.
A 404 page is viewed as a broken link, i.e. the article is no longer there.
BUT, by placing the 410 page onto a deleted article you are telling Google, “This article has been permanently deleted, do not waste your crawl budget on coming back and crawling this article again, it’s gone FOREVER.”
The main crux here being is that if you have lost a huge amount of traffic on your website overnight, some of your content is probably being seen as “unhelpful”, and unfortunately this can affect the site as a whole.
However, more often than not, getting rid of or changing “unhelpful” content, seeing which of your articles are ranking well AND PRODUCING TRAFFIC and then write ALL your articles this way(I know many newcomers get excited about RANKING, but look, I’m deleting this article above and according to GSC I have 17 keywords ranking on PAGE ONE - but as I say, the potential traffic isn’t worth my while rewriting the article, plus it will never get to the realms of 1,000+ visitors a month - For Me, GET RID OF IT, it’s holding me back).
A lot to take in, right?
Check the traffic to your articles that are over 12 months old for the whole of 2022.
If the articles aren’t getting much traffic check GSC to see what keywords you’re ranking for and where.
If you are ranking for keywords that have a decent amount of impressions and an average position in the top 20, check out those keywords on Google, see who’s currently ranking, and how you can “better” your article to make it more “helpful” than who’s ranking position 1-3.
If you aren’t ranking for any keywords in the top 20 positions and you’ve had hardly any traffic this year, the article is holding your site back, get rid of it.
Thank You For Reading
p.s. Can someone please explain this to Tai... Hahahaha!! I LOVE Tai from the bottom of my heart, but I've only got about 30-40 years left on this earth!!! (Love You Tai Xx)
p.s. Do you know what the hardest part of this ENTIRE article was? Publishing it here, Kyle/Carson, help a brother out, LOL.
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