How Important is an SEO Audit of a Website?

Josh Curcio

Do you know the SEO health of your website? Maybe you think you're doing OK because you haven't heard otherwise, but that may not be the case.

From NorthCutt.com blog. From NorthCutt.com blog.

An article I read today emphasizes the point that an SEO audit can save your website from digging yourself out of bigger holes down the road. In an article written by Carter Bowles on the NorthCutt website called, 'Mounting Evidence Penguin 3.0 Does't Work How You Think', the author shows evidence that the Penguin update might not be as much about off-site (inbound) links of poor quality as we think. Penguin 3.0 might actually be more about on-site (outbound) links than anyone would have expected.

This started out as a theory, but in digging through available information there is more evidence than I would have expected that he may actually be right.

I personally wouldn't discount the initial thoughts that poor quality inbound link profiles are a major factor however either. Shady link building practices have been an issue for a long time and the Penguin algorithm updates are Googles way to combat that practice.

To back up the theory that on-site elements play a bigger factor than expected, the author shows case studies in which a website was penalized around the time of Penguin releases but then showed recoveries around the time of Penguin releases as well. In the case studies provided in the article there was a common theme that the website itself had issues that were corrected prior to the recovery. In most cases there were hidden links; some internal links, some outbound links, and some just links to other domains that the same company owned. These links on the websites in question were using the same text color as the background color, therefore you couldn't see them by viewing the website naturally. While this is generally thought of to be a black hat SEO tactic, these website owners weren't likely doing this to be sneaky...they likely just didn't realize it. The text and links that were used weren't incredibly spammy outside of the fact that you couldn't see them. After fixing the issues data shows recovery from the Penguin penalties after another Penguin update is released.

So what's the point?

On-site SEO is still very important. There are things that would/should stand out to an SEO as alarming when doing an SEO audit that a general website owner may not even be aware of. By paying attention to the health of your website from an SEO perspective you can avoid unexpected issues that can cripple your website performance. Start being more proactive than reactive when it comes to something as vital as your website!

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