How to Perform an SEO Audit
An SEO audit may not ring a bell for someone who does not consider himself a web design expert, but it is a task that anyone with basic SEO knowledge can perform. Ask anyone who knows a thing or two about how business websites should perform to succeed, and you will realize how critical a regular audit is.
A business or brand that is trying to achieve relevance through digital marketing must learn to embrace the competition. The only way to keep up is to create and run a website that brings in traffic and conversions. This is where the concept of search engine optimization comes in.
You may be able to build a website and apply an SEO strategy for it, but you do not expect your site to run on autopilot. In other words, you must have a clear understanding of how your website is performing based on the SEO strategies you are using. Hence, the sole purpose of an SEO audit is to figure out how well is your business website performing.
The audit will check the health of your website with an emphasis on the presence of spam. Doing SEO audits regularly makes sense because Google has this habit of altering its algorithms in ranking websites. Simply put, you are doing it to keep up with what is new.
SEO Audit Coverage
An SEO audit is likened to that of multiple-point car inspection. It examines your website to see how it functions and performs compared to the rest of the market. The audit essentially covers the following:
- Keyword Use – You must know if the way you are using your keywords is on point. The keywords must bee optimized for them to help in directing traffic to your site.
- LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) – LSI defined as the context of a search. It still has something to do with keywords, specifically long tail and secondary keywords.
- Competition – You also would want to know how you perform against the competition, especially in the aspects of links, meta tags, keywords, and overall SEO ranking.
- Organic Search Rank – Companies that need to keep the costs down may have to reconsider their PPC strategy. If you decide to focus on your website’s organic search rankings, you need to perform an SEO audit to see your chances.
Enough of the introduction, here are the components of a comprehensive SEO audit:
1 – Site Crawl
A site crawl is the most efficient method of assessing the state of your website in its current form. It also gives you a preview of the issues that may need to be resolved sooner than later. Site crawling essentially creates an outline for the entire SEO audit.
The site crawl will cover areas like the structure of your URL, content, meta descriptions, images, links, and the structure of your website. You ask questions like how well your content is formatted and if it is fresh. Do you have a unique meta description per page? Does your website have enough links per page and do all of them work?
Furthermore, site crawling should also include the analysis of your landing page and its relationship with the inner pages. The landing page is where your site builds an initial impression, so it needs to be user-friendly and intuitive.
2 – Page Speed Analysis
Page load speed plays a critical role in keeping your site visitors motivated in browsing your site further. 60% of users will find their way out of a website when it takes more than three seconds to load. So, if your website takes too long to load pages, it will have a negative impact on conversions and will increase bounce rates. In performing an SEO audit with an emphasis on page speed, you can use a handful of free tools, including Google’s Page Speed Insights and YSlow. It is crucial to learn about your page load speed since that is the only way to figure out if there is a need to fix some elements in the design.
3 – Site Architecture Assessment
Your website needs a solid structure for it to rank high in Google. It is merely about using the right keywords and relevant content. One aspect that you should focus on is user experience, and for you to ensure that prospective clients end up liking your site, you must improve its architecture.
So, how do you improve site architecture? As you have guessed it already, you must perform an SEO audit. The audit examines things like the sitemap and URL structure. The result of the audit will also tell you if your main webpages are listed and positioned correctly and if site visitors will not have a hard time navigating through the inner pages and links.
4 – Content
Content plays an indispensable role in the effectiveness and success of your website. The failure to refresh or update content will hurt your site’s rank, so it is not merely about inserting unique and relevant information. Even if on-page content is unique and relevant, it still needs to be updated regularly since Google looks at it with a critical eye. Hence, your SEO audit should include an examination of your content.
See to it that you are using the keywords in your content naturally. It also must be consistent since the objective is to prevent being labeled as spam.
Part of examining your content is taking a closer look at the tags. Check if title tags have two salient qualities – concise and descriptive. Be reminded that extra-long titles are never a good thing for search engines.
5 – Checking the Backlinks
You probably know by now that backlinks are a crucial element of SEO. Google will grade the quality of your website based on the quality of the sites that link to it. It was prevalent back in the day to exchange reciprocal links with other websites to improve SEO. It is no longer an effective practice today, but backlinks are still relevant. This time, backlinks are more about quality instead of quantity. Therefore, you should verify in your SEO audit if the websites that links to your site come from reputable domains.
Tools for SEO Audit
Like I said at the beginning of this post, SEO audit does not have to be an overwhelming task. You can do it with the help of a tool that is readily available online. All you must do is pick the right one based on your budget and specific needs.
The first and most sensible option is Google Analytics. As someone tasked to market your brand and optimize a website, this tool is a must-have. It does not only help you by providing critical indicators of SEO metrics but will also hand out a user-friendly guide in performing SEO.
Another option is Google Webmaster Tools. It is a platform that offers a handful of reasonably priced tools needed for an SEO audit. Its most notable advantage is that you can check your website’s SEO performance based on how Google sees it. Since you are hoping to have your site ranked on top of Google, then it makes sense to use this tool.