There are many methods for performing an SEO audit of a website whether it’s a small business trying to optimize its site for natural searches or an agency doing the same for a client, challenging to know where to start, what depth of analysis should be expected and what tools to use! In this article, we have defined some essential elements for a successful SEO audit. Whether you are an SEO expert or not, follow these steps to conduct your audit successfully and get your website on the right track.
WHAT IS AN SEO AUDIT?
Before going into details on how to perform an SEO audit, it is necessary to understand its meaning and know what to expect as the end result. An SEO audit is a process for assessing the usability of a website in search engines in many areas. While there are different tools you can use to audit a website, the best approach is to audit by following a guide (like the one you are currently reading).
START WITH A CRAWL OF YOUR WEBSITE
This is the first thing that should be done when auditing a new website. Starting to analyze the entire site is an important step in understanding how search engines crawl that site. Search engines crawl your website to discover its content.
This includes evaluating your internal architecture and other elements of your exploration framework (such as an XML or HTML sitemap). You can use free tools, such as Screaming Frog, for smaller websites. It will be able to extract key SEO features, such as:
- Internal links
- Duplicate content
- Http status codes
- HTTPS vs. http
- Site errors
Overall, internal links are essential for any website. Site analyzes can usually reveal errors or flaws in your internal links, such as links pointing to error pages or insecure pages.
Also, analysis reports should reveal any duplication issues, primarily through title tags and meta descriptions. This will help any website administrator to investigate and diagnose duplicate content issues and to understand if pages should be uniquely optimized or if pages should be removed from crawling and the search index.
CONTINUE BY TAKING A TOUR IN THE GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
The Google Search Console is the management tool for webmasters and an essential place for you to communicate with Google. In the GSC, you will be able to monitor your site’s analysis errors, the state of the indexing, and the organic traffic. Google always provides the reference keyword in GSC in the search analysis section.
However, it is important to keep in mind that GSC provides sampled data. So, it may not be an exact match with your organic traffic analysis, but it can give you a good idea of the best keywords to a specific page. Performing a comprehensive GSC review can help identify referral opportunities, such as:
- Correction of analysis errors
- Traffic indexing and trends
- Click-through rate and keyword ranking
- Improved mobile compatibility
- Duplicated content
- Structured data issues
- Top external links pointing to your site
When evaluating your site and the results of your analysis, there are many things to check to make sure your website is optimized correctly. To get started, look for duplicate pages, headers, and title tags. If you have published a lot of content with similar themes, seemingly unrelated content will appear in your analysis. You then look for duplicates.
You can use a tool such as Copyscape to help you assess potential SEO issues related to duplicate content. From there, take a close look at a few critical criteria that Google rated in their ranking:
A title tag is an HTML code linking the page title to the search engines. This information will be displayed in the SERPs. Make sure these are relevant to the content of your page. Content should also be positioned to meet the expectations of your target audience. The optimal length for title tags is between 56 and 60 characters.
Although your meta description does not directly affect your ranking, it is still extremely important. You need to make sure that your meta description attracts your customer. It must be convincing, engaging, and give a taste of what the user will find on the page. Google recently extended the limit from 160 to 320 for descriptions, which now gives you even more space to present the page.
You want to make sure that your content is organized, with a clear hierarchy on the page. This way, Google will quickly analyze your site and index it for search.
Each page of your site must have a keyword defined and included in your text’s first 100 words. This helps Google understand the goals of your page.
CHECK YOUR SITE’S BACKLINKS
Examining the backlinks of your website is an important step in an SEO audit. It can help you identify potentially problematic links before they become a problem…
Be sure to keep a clean and healthy backlink profile to avoid any unwanted action from the search engines. This can be more or less worrying about your website, depending on your SEO strategy and backlink tactics. You can examine backlinks in different ways:
- Check your site’s spam score in Moz’s link explorer.
- Manually review the links in the “Sites pointing to you” report in GSC.
- Use SEMrush to audit backlinks and identify toxic backlinks.
CHECK THE SPEED OF YOUR SITE
The speed of your pages, and your site in general, is an important ranking factor for search on mobile and PC. Page speed also contributes a lot to the user experience and conversion rates, so it’s very important to pay close attention to it.
Historically, Google said that pages should aim to load in less than 3 seconds for a computer and less than 1 second for a mobile. However, for page speed as a ranking factor, Google has indicated that this will only negatively affect the slowest websites.
Use Google Page Speed Insights to get an indication of how fast your website is loading. It is a basic tool, but it can tell you if the loading times of your site are fast, medium, or slow, thanks to color codes (green, orange, or red). The advantage here is that Google also gives you the improvements to apply on your site so that the loading speed improves.
SEO AUDIT IS NOT AN EXACT SCIENCE!
There is a reason why no specific recipe is prescribed for a successful SEO audit. This is the same reason why “best practices” in SEO are so often inconsistent. Google is a mystical beast. He changes his algorithm almost daily, and he rarely tells us why or how he does it. That said: rest assured, the above steps are essential to the success of an SEO audit. Correct the flaws they reveal, and you will be well on your way to achieving the supremacy of organic research.
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