SEM 2013 Tune Up Checklist for Your Website

February 7, 2013 | By

2013 is in full swing (can you believe it’s already February?) and the beginning of the year is a great time to audit your Search Engine Marketing efforts for 2013. We’ve put together a checklist of items to review!

SEM Check List Item

1. Double Check Your Goal Tracking in Google Analytics

Throughout the year you have probably launched new campaigns and landing pages, and there may be new contact forms on your site. Make sure all of the forms on your website are added as Goals, and all of the confirmation URLs are correct and tracking properly.

To get to your Goal Settings, on the top right corner of the screen click “Admin” and then click into the profile you’d like to review. This will then take you to the list of all of your Goals

Goals Analytics  Goals Analytics 2

From here you can review each Goal individually, and verify that the Conversion URL and Funnel steps are correct.


SEM Check List Item

2. Update Your Keyword Research to Identify New Trends

At some point in the past you have identified a keyword focus for your website based on Keyword Research from a tool like the Google Keyword Tool or a paid tool like Wordtracker. For our clients, we focus on words with a balance between a healthy number of searches each month and competition levels where we are most likely to perform well.

Search behavior changes over time, so it is good to take time every 6-12 months to revisit this research and see what new opportunities and changes have come up over time. Review your keyword list to see what changes have happened in search volume and competition in the past year.

The Google Keyword Tool lets you also drill down into keyword data for desktop search vs. mobile search – so you can focus mobile content on different keywords if the search patterns are drastically different.

Also – review your keywords in the free tool Google Trends to compare searches over time and find Rising Searches to identify up-and-coming opportunities!

Identify Rising Search Terms with Google Trends free tool


SEM Check List Item

3. Review Your Homepage Optimization for 2013

Run a Keyword Density Analyzer Report

There are many similar tools out there, but I am partial to Schipul’s free Keyword Density Analyzer Report. Enter your homepage URL and check the results to see which phrases you use the most within your homepage content.

Focus on the two and three word phrases (as one word terms are often too generic to focus on). Within the list, you should see:

  1. Your brand name
  2. Your geography
  3. Your top product/service

If any of those items are missing, update your page to incorporate those terms in more places. Think about the Title Tag, Meta Description, within the Tagline, in alt tags, headers, and the content of the page.

keyword density analyzer example

Double Check Your Title Tag

Is your title tag representative of your Marketing focus for 2013? If not – update it to incorporate words around your primary goals this year!

More Homepage Audit Tips! For more tips on auditing your home page, check out our Homepage Web Marketing Audit over on the Schipul Blog!


SEM Check List Item

4. Identify & Remove Duplicate Content

With algorithm changes like the Panda and Penguin Updates, Google continues to reward high quality content and ding low quality and duplicate content. The new year is a good time to review to make sure your site isn’t guilty of duplicate content that may negatively affect your rankings.

We use free tools like Copyscape (plug in a URL and it checks for the same content across the web) and Screaming Frog (desktop software that scans your whole site) to identify duplicate text across a site and the web.

Take down duplicate content or use your Robots.txt file to block crawling of duplicate pages. You can set up 301 redirects from the old URL to the new to make sure visitors who may have that page bookmarked or linked don’t receive 404s.

You can also remove the URL in Google Webmaster Tools (more info on how to do that here).


SEM Check List Item

5. Scrutinize Your Contact Form to Improve Conversions

We all know that it doesn’t matter how many people you drive to your website with great SEO if they don’t convert!  Now is a good time to scrutinize your main contact form and look for ways to improve your conversion rate going into 2013.

Things to consider changing to improve conversion rate of your online forms:

  1. Test a different Headline to make the page more compelling – have you communicated why your organization is uniquely valuable?
  2. Can you add a product video or use other visuals to showcase the benefits without so much text?
  3. Are there fields you don’t really need anymore that you can remove or make optional?
  4. Are there additional questions that could save your team & the prospect time in qualifying? (For example – adding a question about budget or timeframe)
  5. Should you implement a free Chat Now tool to catch users with questions?
  6. Can you add validation to the page with a short testimonial or logos of brands you’ve worked with?
  7. Does your form look good and work correctly on a mobile and tablet device?

Sometimes even the smallest tweaks in headline wording or question order can make a big difference in conversion rate. Come up with ideas to try and test, test, test!


SEM Check List Item

6. Think Mobile

Mobile and tablet traffic is growing, and recent research shows that up to 50% of all local searches are performed on a mobile device.

Review your site on a mobile device and make sure everything works correctly. Almost half  (46%) of consumers report that they are unlikely to come back to a mobile site if it did not work properly the first time they visited. Remember that your site mobile search rankings can also be affected if your site doesn’t function properly on a mobile device.

Look at your Google Analytics data if you are considering investing in a mobile site design. Our average client sees mobile traffic as about 8-10% of their total traffic. If you are above that threshold, consider investing in a mobile site to cater to those visitors.

See this number and your break down of which devices visit your site most by navigating to Audience > Overview > Mobile > Devices in Google Analytics.

mobile stats percent of total visits in Google Analytics

If you are using a Mobile Site or Responsive Design, keep the design simple and easy to navigate. Minimize page load times as much as possible, as mobile visitors expect shorter load times than desktop visitors.

Happy 2013!

Filed in: How Tos and FAQs | Tags: , ,

About the Author (Author Profile)

Caitlin Kaluza aka QCait. I work in SEO at Schipul & play in Houston. Pop culture junkie, cat lady, retail therapy connoisseur, Oxford Comma enthusiast.

Comments (2)

  1. Jennie

    Couldn't have said it better myself! Great post 😀

  2. Really appreciated your shortlist for 2013 website makeover or rather checklist. These are valuable items every site should be upgraded to if you are serious about getting found. One area, especially, is the mobile traffic. Not having a smart phone is certainly not helping me in that arena. lol. Guess I will have to think seriously about getting one. thanks for a very valuable post.