You know something is wrong. Your website just isn’t ranking where it should be, and yet competitors are. Do they know something you don’t? Is your website SEO ready? 

As the Australian financial year ends for 2024 and a new one begins, a question sits in the mind of every marketer: Is your budget ready for the next year of marketing? 

In the boardroom,  the CMO is probably wondering how to find more money. Across the table, the CFO is likely doing the opposite, working out how to squeeze the purse strings ever more tightly. 

It’s a battle for budgetary balance and, without a plan, your SEO strategy may be an unwitting casualty.

Identifying the problem(s)

Before your marketing team can address your website woes, the C-suite needs to allocate the necessary budget and resources. But for that to happen, the marketing team first needs to identify the problem(s) to fix. Specifically, what do they need to throw money at?

Are you marketing enough? Are you advertising enough? Are you struggling to achieve the necessary search rankings? Should something be done about your website’s presence?

Often, marketers and C-suite alike will focus on the latter simply because it’s the one that makes the most sense. After all, you have a product and website; surely people should be coming to it by virtue of it existing. And if you set it up properly (which you’re sure you did), Google should be eating it up. 

So what’s the problem?

A solution to the problem

Your problem might be that your website needs so much fixing that it’s hard to know where to start. It’s typically never just one thing. 

Content. Technical. UX. Offsite. These are the pillars holding up holistic SEO. And if you’re not quite sure where to go from there, it’s time to work out what needs to be done ASAP. 

Finding an accomplished search marketing team to come up with an equally solid search marketing strategy should be at the forefront of your mind. But knowing which questions to ask or even how to answer them might not be so obvious.

To assist, we’ve come up with a scoring system to help you gauge how much SEO work needs to be done. It’s a little quiz you can take yourself to find out where you are on the SEO scale.

An SEO checklist: SEO questions that matter and why

If you’re on the hunt for an SEO marketer, and looking for ways to improve your search marketing, it’s time to ask yourself and the business some hard questions so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

While our SEO hygiene quiz scorecard will ask you the questions and provide a metric to work from, we wanted to break down some of the more important items to give you a little more context about why they matter.

Was your website designed in the past three years?

It might sound crazy, but age is important. Not necessarily for love or relationships, but definitely for other things. An aged wine can be a good thing, much like an aged steak, but an aged website? That’s less ideal.

The older the website, the more likely it is to have design and UX problems, which are the very things that can make a difference in SEO

While it doesn’t necessarily mean a new or recently redesigned website will escape these problems, age is a pretty consistent trait of those found to have SEO problems, particularly in relation to performance and accessibility. 

Do you regularly publish fresh content, and do you have a strategy? 

Websites need content. Meanwhile, search engines seek to highlight those webpages containing the most recent and relevant content for keywords and topics.

That means publishing regular information about topics that matter for your audience and keeping those pages up to date where possible. For many websites, this is something that never happens. 

The intent might be there, and someone may even be responsible for it. But a regular content cadence costs time and money – both of which can be in short supply when everyone also has other business priorities to perform. 

All too often, the task disappears into the tall grass. Either no one publishes fresh content or it happens so haphazardly that it’s impossible to time the releases.

Outside of your products, content underpins much of what makes your brand so valuable on the internet. An accountable and achievable content strategy is vital. 

Is your content written by subject matter experts (SMEs)?

Publishing content is one thing, but who writes that content? Is it written by experts in the field, or the inexperienced intern because everyone else is too busy? Maybe the CEO sees themselves as the voice of the company. 

While a member of the C-suite can be an expert, they aren’t always the best qualified to write the material – even if they can definitely speak on it. 

Hiring subject matter experts able to write with confidence about the topics that concern your business and site is critical. It makes your content look professional, and improves your chances of outranking a competitor. More importantly, the content shines for users, while also showcasing your brand’s expertise. 

Ultimately, if your content hasn’t been written by an expert, you’ll know. Your readers will know. Importantly, Google will, too. 

Does your website have thin content?

A concept modern SEO marketers should be familiar with, “thin content” is content that either says very little or simply doesn’t exist. It could be a scant number of paragraphs or an empty page. It could even be a lengthy piece of content full of fluffy words that manages to say very little.

Most web pages will have some element of thin content on them, but too much and you start to dilute the message you’re sending to users and search engines alike.

If you don’t know whether or not you have thin content, you probably do. It’s something an SEO marketer will need to understand, especially in relation to any content where you’re trying to convey expertise and topical authority. 

Is your website set up for Google Search Console?

Many webpages are set up for Analytics, Google’s free page analytics system, but not everyone takes advantage of Search Console, Google’s also-free search-specific analytics system. 

Formerly Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console provides detailed information direct from the horse’s mouth itself. Searches you’re flagging, average position, pages, and potential problems to be fixed are just the tip of the iceberg for what an SEO marketer can see. The information in Search Console is crucial to working out what’s wrong with a website, and conversely, how to make it right. 

Do you actively engage in marketing for brand awareness? 

There’s a crazy idea in some circles that suggests organic search should be the only way audiences hear about a brand. 

It’s not only crazy, it’s also flawed. Even the biggest brands have solid search strategies, and yet still see the need to market themselves with sizeable marketing budgets. 

Brand awareness provides a way for audiences and buyers to actively engage with and hear about the brand, so they know who and what to search for when the need arises. 

Marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand. To do one without the other tends to scream poor planning and maybe even hopeless optimism. 

Find an SEO marketer that gets “it”

Our checklist is a handy way to self-diagnose what’s wrong with a site, but it doesn’t cover everything. 

SEO is complex. Hundreds of signals and vast complexities make diagnosing and ultimately fixing a site more complicated than simply checking items off a spreadsheet, or even following the advice in a nicely presented article like this one. 

These are just a few of the rules and requirements that a search marketer will go through when assessing how best to improve your site. But there are more. A lot more. A recent Pounce Academy webinar (which you can watch for free) detailed some of them.

 However, if you’re struggling to work out just what is going on with your site, you probably need to seek out an SEO specialist that gets it

If it helps, we know a guy.