Its getting quite late and I’m loosing momentum but had to get this one out there.
A while back I was using a WordPress theme for a client. We decided to rebuild the website onto the WordPress platform and use the powerful theme, Avada. It is feature heavy and has a great professional look and feel to it for a business.
When it came to building a new site for a new niche I was working on, I opted to use that theme again. I needed a stripped down version, so decided to remove some of the unwanted styling. One of the things I removed was the grey title bar. It already had a plain title heading below so thought nothing of removing it and didn’t see the point of title duplication.
About 5 weeks passed and I noticed a drop off in search queries. I mentioned this in my niche affiliate marketing mistakes post I made a few days ago. Traffic seemed to be declining and rankings got worse. I thought I had done something to penalise my site. I originally though it was the PLR content I had rehashed and used in places.
It wasn’t until I ran an SEO site audit using the demo of Raven Tools did it flag up the fact that there were no H1 tags on the site, except for on the category pages. Holy bat shit! That’s why I was only ranking for those category pages and nothing much else!
It turns out by removing the styled grey title bar and opting for the plain title heading instead, I was actually using an H2 tag instead of H1 for my titles. Some schools of thought don’t put much weighting on H1 tags but this is wrong, very wrong. In the two days that I have fixed it all, my keywords have jumped 30 places in some cases. Google is still re-indexing a lot of the pages so there is still a lot to do.
Now over 75% of my keywords are starting to get back in the game again.
Here is a chart from GWT after a few days of H1’s being back in place:
This is the ultimate noob mistake, although as far as I was concerned, I had just removed some excess styling. The settings should have warned that disabling this will remove your H1 tags and effectively your SEO!
Oh well, you only make that mistake once. I have now ditched that theme and gone to StudioPress Genesis as its a far more lightweight and SEO freindly. Avada was just too cumbersome for me. The page size before caching was 1.3MB. StudioPress Genesis is 400kb and thats without caching.
What have I learned from this? Well just how important it is to do a site audit after any major changes to a site design or a theme. Just because your Yoast SEO plugin is giving you the green light doesn’t mean that everything is ok.
You need to hit up an external site audit and have your site crawled so it can be seen through the eyes of a search engine. There are loads of places you can go for this, both paid, demo and free online.
Here are a few as a starting points:
- Raven Tools – Has a 30 day trial. A serious online marketeers tool which provides an intelligent site audit report. Does lots more hence the monthly fee but would replace most existing pieces of software. Pulls its data and metrics from multiple sources.
- Website Auditor – Part of the highly regarded SEO PowerSuite. Handy piece of kit that can perform a full, indepth review of your site looking at everything to social signals, page optimisation and HTML markup. I now actually have the whole suite and highly recommend it. Can be purchased separately. Check out the free trial first.
- Traffic Travis – anyone from the Affiloblueprint crew will have access to the free version. It’s a bit clunky and basic but it covers the basics. Use it!
- Seorch – Free online audit. Will do page or whole site for free. Will email a PDF of results. Not ideal but if you’re on a budget…
Ok, that’s all folks. Happy auditing!