You want to be able to maximize your potential in the online world. The importance of SEO cannot be understated, especially when it is the core to any successful website. That’s why performing an SEO audit is crucial in keeping up with your competition and search engines’ demands. Whether you’re looking to improve your organic ranking or using a paid marketing strategy, your website requires a strong foundation.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is an actionable plan to review to see the search engine friendliness of your website. An audit covers all aspects of your website, from on-page, off-page and technical strategies. It helps to identify any issues that need to be fixed or improved while seeing how you compare to your competitors. In the end, an SEO audit will give you a general overview of the SEO efficiency of your website.
Start with a Crawl
The most important part of an SEO audit is crawling your site. An SEO analysis is how you determine what part of your website is working well and which part needs some improving. A crawler works in the same way as a search engine spider as it gives you important information about your current SEO setup.
SEO crawlers can find multiple errors on your site like broken links, poorly optimized images and duplicate content issues. Without an SEO crawler, you’ll never know how to improve your website.
Some helpful SEO audit tools include Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool, SEMrush, and Beam Us Up (Free). These tools provide both on-page and technical SEO analysis of your website.
Test Your Site Speed
Today, everything is at our fingertips in a matter of seconds. Your customers don’t want to wait any longer than they have to and Google knows this. In 2018, Google released their “Speed Update” noting that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. If a page takes longer to load, the more likely your customers will bounce.
That’s why knowing how fast your site loads is crucial in keeping users on your site and your . A helpful site audit tool to check your site speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. PageSpeed Insights will show you your performance score while offering opportunities for improvement.
You can even look at both your mobile and desktop performance while testing multiple pages. It will be helpful to test more than just your homepage, but the pages where most people will visit like service pages, category pages and blog posts.
Fix Broken Links
Search engines are about providing users with the best experience and a solution to their problem.
Having broken links is frustrating for users who are looking to find information about a product or topic. If you have broken links and pages, this encourages users to move on to the next site rather than stay on your website.
Broken links are also a problem for search engines as they can stop spiders from crawling and indexing your site.
You can identify broken pages on your site using the Google Search Console. It provides an index report of all the links Google has visited, or tried to visit. Being able to identify and fix any important broken links is essential in keeping your site in good SEO standing.
Optimize for Mobile
It’s no secret that more people are using their mobile devices to search and visit websites. Having a mobile-friendly website is a critical part of your online presence. Over 60% of Google searches are done on mobile devices.
As a result, Google recently implemented their mobile-first indexing. This means that Google predominantly uses the mobile version of your site for indexing and ranking.
Again, you can use PageSpeed Insights here to check how your website stacks up from a mobile perspective. You can also use another Google tool called Mobile-Friendly Test.
Test results include a screenshot of how the page looks to Google on a mobile device, as well as a list of any mobile usability problems that it finds.
Check for Duplicate and Thin Content
Duplicate content generally refers to content on a website that matches other content or are very similar. Duplicate content is something search engines, like Google, hate to see. It makes it difficult for Google to crawl pages that have duplicate content. If you have pages with similar content, search engines will see these as duplicate and will choose one page to crawl, marking the other pages as duplicates and crawling them less often.
You can find duplicate content issues on your website by using Copyscape. Simply enter a URL and you will see a list of sites with duplicate content.
For this search, there is only 1 result, however, this is not a big issue. The content is our company bio featured on a partner site about a business dashboard software we use.
A bigger issue is if you saw other websites scraping content from your website. In the end, it’s difficult for Google to decide who is the original author, which can cause the wrong pag to be ranked.
Thin content is content that offers little to no value and fails to meet users needs. The purpose of search engines is to provide the best results to match a user’s search intent. Whether your website is covering a topic on healthy recipes or a certain type of shoe, if you’re not willing to write extensively on the topic you’re trying to rank for, it won’t be possible.
Simplify Your Site Architecture
Your site architecture is how all the pages on your site is organized and how they connect to each other. A good site architecture makes it easy for users and search engine crawlers find what they’re looking for without getting lost.
Site architecture tells search engines which pages on your site are most important. In general, the closer a page is to your homepage, the more important it is. When you have a messy site architecture, it makes it difficult for search engines to index all of your pages.
It’s best to use a flat architecture for your site so that it’s possible to access each page on your website easily.
A good rule of thumb when creating your site architecture is that it should not take more than 3 clicks to go from your homepage to any other page on your site.
Check Your Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
A title tag is a piece of HTML code that tells search engines the name of your page. It is the first thing search bots see so the title tag is a strong signal to understand what your page is about. Title tags are also important for your audience so they can also understand what your page is about.
When reviewing your title tags for your webpages, make sure they are relevant to the content that will be found on the page. Your title tag should include the keyword which you’re trying to rank for and which your content is about. The optimal length for a title tag is between 50-60 characters.
Below is an example of one of our title tags and meta descriptions for an article on Google Ads. Here you see our keyword “Google Ads” front-loaded in our title tag.
Even though meta descriptions don’t directly affect your ranking, they are still important and can affect your click-through rate which is linked to SEO and your rankings.
Meta descriptions help users looking through search results determine the content of your page and helps them decide whether your site will be helpful to them. Like title tags, make sure you optimize your meta descriptions with keywords. The optimal meta description length is between 145-160 characters.
Related Content: The Complete SEO Checklist for Your Website
Identify Link Building Opportunities
You can approach link building from a competitive research perspective. When you create a new piece of content, it’s important to research older and related content before you even create it.
Using the Skyscraper Technique helps to identify similar content where you can create something better. Once you create new and unique content, you can then find anchor text within the old content to link to new content.
HTTP to HTTPS
If your site is running on an HTTP connection, it’s time to switch to HTTPS. HTTPS is not only faster and more secure but it is also one of Google’s ranking factors. HTTPS helps prevent intruders from tampering with the communications between your websites and your users’ browsers.
A secure site is a must if you require customers to submit sensitive information like credit card information, personal addresses, or email address.Even if you don’t require customers to share personal information, you should always protect all of your websites with HTTPS.
You can check to see if your website has been properly redirected by simply entering the different non-HTTPS URLs of your website. For example, www.yoursite.com, yoursite.com, http://www.yoursite.com. If you already use an HTTPS connection, you should be redirected to your site.
If you haven’t switched your HTTP site to HTTPS, you can purchase an SSL certificate to secure your site.
Make sure only one version of your site is browseable
It is possible to have different versions of your site and almost every website will have four versions of itself:
But, only one of them should be accessible in a browser. Google may see each version of your site as separate properties, causing indexing issues. The rest should be 301 redirected to the canonical version.
By using Google Search Console, you can verify each version of you site as separate properties. In the Google Search Console site settings you can set your preferred domain.
An SEO audit is crucial in establishing a strong foundation for your website. By following these steps, you’ll be able to discover opportunities for changes you can make to your website to improve your organic traffic and rankings. A full SEO audit takes a lot more time but this guide is a good starting point. SEO audits are necessary in order to keep up with your competition and search engine algorithms.