An effective SEO (search engine optimization) strategy allows clients to find your website or brand online. This strategy entails SEO analysis and improving various factors contributing to a site’s relevance, credibility, and health. However, there’s no one proven path to follow when seeking to achieve your brand’s SEO strategy.
Since it may be challenging to figure out where to start, running an SEO audit is crucial. The audit’s goal is to pinpoint the areas where your brand’s website could improve. The SEO audit report is essential in helping you create a customized SEO strategy. As a result, you improve the site’s organic search leading to your business growth. In this article, we will look at SEO audit in detail. Let’s dive in.
Before we discuss the steps and the elements of an SEO audit, we should define it. An SEO audit refers to the process of identifying issues affecting your site’s ranking on search engines such as Google.
Sites with issues affect the ability of the search engines to crawl on the page. As a result, the page ranking suffers where you can miss out on the organic traffic. If done right, an audit helps:
There are different types of SEO audits that you can consider for your website. These include:
SEO content audit focuses on the content on your website. The goal is to improve the quality and the accuracy of this content, helping to increase website ranking and increase organic traffic.
This audit involves optimizing on-page elements such as images. The audit also looks at the speed of the site and the security. A website SEO checker will identify areas to fix, get rid of, and reorganize code. The technical SEO audit will also help prevent spam and switch between HTTP and HTTPS.
On-page SEO audit looks at the page’s backend elements. Thus, ensuring its optimized for search crawlers. This SEO audit checks meta titles, meta descriptions, alt images, and compression.
Off-page SEO audit looks at other pages and domains that link back to your site. They may center around quality, quantity, and distribution. It also looks at the recency of those links.
Your business should rank in local searches if you operate within a given geographical location. The local SEO audit analysis looks at all the elements that help your website improve ranking in local searches. It will look at off-page listings, locally-focused content, and local on-page keywords.
There are various tools that you can use to conduct SEO audits. Some of these sites include:
Whether you have hired an SEO company or are using an SEO audit tool, below are the things that you must check. These areas pose a potential issue that could prevent proper site crawling and indexing.
Before looking at the issues on your site, it is good first to understand the competition. Conducting an SEO competitor analysis helps you know more about them and what they are doing better. Benchmarking the competition leads to better success rates as you can profile your performance against theirs.
You can use SEO audit tools such as SEMrush or Google analytics to set up your website’s position tracking. Once you have filled in your details, you can add the keywords you want to track. You will see how you rank across the keywords entered once you track performance.
You can also run your competitors’ sites from your preferred audit tool. The tool will give you a visual presentation showing a competitive positioning. As a result, you will understand who your competition is, and you can dig deep into their site to analyze how their site performs. The tool will also indicate who links to those sites, giving you more insights.
One of the basic checks you must perform is ensuring you only have one version of your site. There are many places that your site could sit. Having multiple website versions confuse the search engine affecting the crawlers. They fail to identify the correct website meaning they can’t show its potential traffic. As a result, it affects your website’s ranking negatively.
Your site could have warring mobile and desktop versions or duplicate HTTPS and an HTTP version. However, how HTTP and HTTPS impact SEO is still under debate in the SEO circles though Google provides a comprehensive guideline. You can search your site on Google, run a site:domain.com search and look for differing versions.
If you see multiple site versions, you can put that in the SEO report as an issue to solve. Alternatively, you can enter the URL versions of your site on the browser. If there are other versions, it will redirect you to a single website.
It is no longer acceptable for a site to run on HTTP. You need to use the faster and more secure HTTPS. It is also a leading Google ranking signal. You can search the HTTPS version of your website to check what your site uses. If it remains HTTPS protocol, there is no action required. If it redirects you, it means you should resolve that issue. Search engines also show an insecure icon on your URLs.
Another checklist when conducting website SEO analysis is to check the site’s speed. It is part of a technical SEO audit. It is an important mobile ranking element. User experience is an integral part of SEO, and speed is crucial. According to Google, there is an increase in bounce rate for slower pages.
For this reason, pages with better SEO ranking are fast and have a better UX. If you want to check your page speeds, you can access SEO analytics tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights and paste your web address. It will highlight speeds both on mobile devices and desktops. It will also give you recommendations on how to improve the speed.
On-page technical SEO analysis is another check you should conduct. You should look for duplicate pages, headers, and title tags. Additionally, you should audit page titles. A title tag is the HTML code telling search engines the page’s title. They display this information on the SERPs.
The audit should let you know if the title tag is relevant to the page’s content. It should also answer a user’s questions as fast as possible. The audit should tell you if they have gone beyond the optimal length of 50 -60 characters. The ideal number of characters for meta description is 150-160.
Organizing your content in a clear hierarchy is crucial for meeting the ideal SEO score. It makes it possible for search engines to analyze your site’s content. Ideally, your page’s placement should make sense.
If you offer services, keep all the pages in one tab. It ensures users do not have to go through multiple pages before finding what they need. The search engines and users, by extension, should quickly find what they are looking for.
Each page on your site should focus on a particular keyword indicated in the first 100 words. For this reason, Google and other search engines can understand the post’s focus. A comprehensive keyword audit lets you know how you have placed them throughout the content.
Ideally, you should include a keyword in the title, alt tags, URL, subheadings, and meta description.
Websites need to be mobile-friendly. Our world is fast-paced, and mobile phone penetration is at an all-time high. Projections show that this figure will continue to increase. For this reason, Google has been ranking mobile-friendliness since 2015.
Many sites now use mobile-optimized versions. One of the things you can check when performing SEO rank tracking against your competition is mobile friendliness. Your site will rank poorly on the search engine if it fails to perform well on mobile devices. Additionally, it leads to lower traffic and ranking.
Content is a leading metric if you want to pass the SEO test. Below is the checklist for a content audit.
An SEO audit should identify duplicate page content. Duplicate content sends confusing signals to the search engines, thus affecting your ranking. A search engine will not tell which page to display if there are duplicates.
Additionally, search engines can term this content as an attempt to manipulate rankings. However, this is less of an issue than it once was. The site audit report will indicate duplicate content on the errors tab.
Conducting a website SEO check also identifies existing orphan pages. These are pages not linked to any other page. If a page has no internal links, it does not receive topical authority. You will find such pages on the site audit report. Adding key pages to the site’s navigation or one internal link quickly solves the problem.
Thin content is also an issue when it comes to SEO ranking. The content offers little or no value to all the site’s visitors, spreading its authority thinly. When conducting an SEO audit, you want to identify the pages with thin content and fix it.
Create great, unique, and captivating content. A blog with 300 words about a complex subject may be termed as thin content. You can also prevent indexing of those pages by including a no-index attribute. You will see this information within your Site Audit error tabs. The SEO analyzer website indicates them as pages with a low word count.
A comprehensive SEO audit report identifies links that have an issue. Furthermore, it shows you opportunities for building links both internal and external.
These internal and external links allow users to navigate the site. An audit should show you deleted pages; it also identifies broken links that annoy visitors. Using SEO analytics tools allows you to identify these issues and resolve them.
If you have a site with a lot of content and links, you may need to review the results link and page. You need to change links highlighted with the ‘404 not found error. Leaving these dead-end links on the page negatively affects your SEO ranking.
Backlinks show your site is relevant to others, thus making it crucial for SEO success. Therefore, it is vital to focus on what happens off-site as well. SEO audit tools such as Ubersuggest perform a backlink audit; it assesses the backlinks’ nature linking back to the site.
The backlink audit helps you to know how your link profile affects your site. It also identifies key areas to draw your focus and receive quality and high-value links. Conducting a backlink audit on your competition also helps you know how you can outperform them.
Once you complete a comprehensive SEO analysis, highlight the list of issues you need to fix. These will form part of your SEO strategy as you resolve those problems.
Moreover, you need to understand the tasks to prioritize based on their impact. The resources and effort taken to fix those issues are also crucial considerations. It is as simple as following the URLs on the SEO audit report in some cases. While in others, you may need to work with a developer to implement the fix.