This week's #SEMrushchat was a live site audit. Our guest, Andy Drinkwater, and our community answered questions about SignalBoosters.com. Below I have broken down the insights, recommendations, and conversations had during the chat.
When reading, please keep in mind that everyone is looking at this website from a different perspective. Some were looking at it from an SEO standpoint, others considered marketing and content strategies, and others looked at the site from a customer's perspective.
While we might not all agree with each other's views, there is always something to learn from how other's views things. That being said, if you feel like a point made is wrong, please share your thoughts in the comments.
Q1. After the first glance, what is one thing you would change on SignalBoosters.com?
Andy Drinkwater - "Visually, the site design isn’t too bad, so I started by looking at the site structure & saw a lot of redirect chains via internal links. Rather than link to old pages, cut out the redirect and link directly to the new page. The benefits of this are many-fold, and this site isn’t huge so a project to correct this would be relatively straight forward. Tip: Some of these are coming from the footer.
There are always improvements that can be made visually, and with more time, these could be addressed. Lots of #SEO issues to be going along within the meantime."
Adam Reaney - "The menu structure doesn't have links to the actual service pages. You have to click 3+ times to get to an actual service description page. Easily solved with a drop-down menu which will improve UX immensely."
Sarah Marks - "The copy needs reworking. I get what they offer, but how is it going to solve my issues? Not written with the target audience in mind!"
Brad Longman - "Personal opinion but the 'stock' looking image puts me off websites straight away; I'd swap to something more personal."
— Brad's opinion had the most likes in Q1. As marketers, we sometimes think non-marketers won't notice stock images, but they do.
Ben Austin - "The performance of the site speed is low, which may negatively impact the sites rankings alongside the several technical issues that are present."
Q2. In the past month, Signal Boosters has lost positions for 7 keywords in top-10 SERP results. What are some possible reasons for this?
Andy Drinkwater - "There are a number of possibilities here. Has anything changed recently on the site or the affected pages that could cause this? If no, then start looking at external signals. You can’t discount that a recent algo update has affected the site. Google is always changing how it scores sites & elements.
But I would fix the site speed. With a load time of almost 9 seconds, this has the ability to impact many different areas. Check Google Search Console for warnings, manual actions or coverage issues as these aren’t always apparent unless you go looking for them. Less likely is that someone is conducting negative SEO, but I saw no obvious signs of this — not to say it isn’t a possibility."
BaerPM - "There's a lot to consider when losing keywords. What's the competition doing better at? Do you have updated, responsive & authoritative info available regarding the keyword? Get it back by showing that you are better & try using other similar Long Tail Keywords."
Markitects, Inc.- "The reason for the decline in position could be numerous things, including changes on the site or regarding MetroPCS, or Google algorithm changes. All of these keywords are about MetroPCS. I also am not sure how prevalent this keyword is within the website copy."
Alexis Katherine - "Lost rankings usually means content isn’t meeting the users’ need anymore. Those terms are all closely related, so they need to compare their best content on the topic with what’s performing well in organic and see what they’re missing. Case in point: This is Signal Boosters' top-performing page for the biggest keyword in that group, and there is very little content on the actual page."
David Rosam - "Write some quality content about metro pcs products, rather than the product blurb that might have been borrowed from elsewhere."
Chronos Agency - "I think they lack content that probably their competitors have."
Q3. Here is the list of lost Referring Domains of Signal Boosters. What data on this report would you use to decide which domains would be good to receive backlinks from?
Andy Drinkwater -"I personally wouldn’t start with data. I would look at each site to first decide if a link from there was useful. If not, I would discount it and possibly disavow. It is too easy to look at data to make a decision, but site correlation is very important.
Ben Austin - "Authority Score & IP - If there are multiple sites on the same IP, it could be a sign of it being a PBN. We'd also recommend undertaking further research looking at relevancy, traffic, and other authority metrics, etc."
Jessica Levenson - "Well, I'm seeing a ton of low authority, unrelated domains in that list which is going to tell me I don't want nor care about those links. I'd instead, run my competitor's profile and find the gap and target those sites."
Marianne Sweeny - "IMHO, link acquisition a last resort if you have a lot of money and free time to spend. Better to focus on internal linking to reinforce contextual relationships and content generation that addresses customer needs at every part of the funnel."
David Rosam -"Honestly, I wouldn’t go out trying to build links. I’d write some fantastic content and publicize it."
Q4. Out of this list of issues SEMrush's Site Audit found, what would you suggest they fix first? Why?
Andy Drinkwater - "For me, the broken internal links as these lead to poor UX & loss of Internal Linking benefit. This could be a quick-ish fix that has no negatives. The other issues need addressing but are minimal by comparison."
Dean Brady - "Ouch. I think I heard something in my brain snap. Broken links but also the 400 redirects? The site isn’t that big; that many broken links indicates poor quality to me."
Jessica Levenson - "Anything that is impacting Google's ability to crawl the site. If they cannot crawl it, people will not find you except directly, right? So, JS issues, errors, broken links. Content fixes won't matter if the content cannot be found/seen."
Nerissa Marbury - "Given there are a lot of products on this site, the missing ALT attributes need fixing & could result in a huge SEO improvement. It will help the bots "read" the site better to find what they need. Fix broken internal links too."
Shawn Cohen "Start w/ the quickest errors first: fixing four 4xx pages might be faster than fixing 72 broken internal links. Same w/ 8 errors in the XML sitemap--if it's an easy fix, do it after identifying the value of the 4xx pages."
Q5 What did you especially like about the Signal Boosters site and how can they utilize it more?
Andy Drinkwater - "They have a decent shop for consumer products, so create key hub pages rather than menu links going to filter pages. Create topic hubs that can be optimized for ranking in Google. I would also get rid of the pagination on all pages and instead go for a load on scroll. People prefer to scroll rather than keep on clicking. If the sale of consumer products is very important to them, they also need to make more of this on the site. As it stands, you don't even realize it is there.
Kat Hammoud - "I like the frozen header/nav, logos/icons/branding, and the bright pink CTA "Let's Talk" that follows the user regardless of what page they are on. Always make it easy for your customers to contact you!"
Markitects, Inc.- "I love that Signal Boosters actually explains a bit about what they do right under the homepage hero. While simple and short, so many other companies forget to explain who they are and what they do."
BearPM -"They have some amazing testimonials & case studies! Those should definitely be highlighted more on the site & on social, not on a buried, hidden page or in a confusing, divided scrolling area on the homepage."
Lead Forensics - "Shop is good, just didn't know it was there, good use of imagery to enhance the business summary, could carousel that with some new content and information."
Brad Longman - "I liked their home & vehicle section, but it's so hard to spot! I'd also make their testimonials more prominent to improve user trust and also their whitepapers."
A Big Thank You to Those That Share Their Expertise
Live site audits can be scary for those that share their website, but our community was honest, kind, and shared wisdom the owners can use. We thank you for all the insights you offered. Each week, we monitor the SEMrushchats looking for tweets that offer expert-level insights.
Don't miss this week's SEMrushchat on Wednesday, July 24th at 11 AM ET/3 PM GMT; the topic will be How to Diversify Your Content on a Limited Budget. We will have two special guests Kelly Hungerford and Mack Collier.