A Complete Guide to Conducting an SEO Audit

Have you ever given thought to what you can do to increase your website’s visibility on search engines? If you ever have, you do not have to rack your brains up about it anymore. Conducting an SEO Audit would be really helpful in achieving your goals. It’s critical for entrepreneurs to conduct SEO audits on a regular basis to keep their digital marketing in good shape.

SEO Audits

Conducting an SEO audit is critical for any digital marketer regardless of whether they outsource the services or do it in-house. Running this type of audit will help you to analyze the current state of your efforts at search engine optimization. After the analysis, you are able to take appropriate action from the insights you get.

What is an SEO Audit?

 

Here comes the big question: What is an SEO audit? Well, it refers to the complete analysis and evaluation of all the factors that affect your website’s visibility in search engines. The SEO auditor checks the friendliness of your website by checking it against a checklist and then comes up with recommendations and solutions for what needs fixing.

These recommendations are necessary to improve the performance of your site in search engines. A detailed audit will give you more insight on why your website is not performing as it should be.

It is advisable that you get a professional who will do a manual audit which is more specific to your website. A generic audit conducted by various tools may be cheaper but will not give specific recommendations.

Technical SEO

How Do I Prepare For An SEO Audit?

 

Before you get started, you should take your time to plan things out before jumping into the actual audit process. Basically, you will need to come up with a detailed plan to make sure that everything goes smoothly.

For starters, you need to do your research to find out what tools will make the process a whole lot easier for you. There are tons of audit tools on the market which are guaranteed to help you find out the problem areas that are affecting your website’s performance.

Once you find the right tool that identifies website errors, you are almost halfway done. These tools give the auditors all the necessary information they need to get started.

As part of the SEO-audit preparation, you also need to develop a feasibility audit strategy to help you get a more realistic idea of your goals and objectives.

Why Is It Important To Perform an SEO Audit?

 

An SEO audit goes way beyond improving website’s rankings and pushing it to new heights. Running the audit gives you a clearer picture of what’s working and what’s not as things are always changing in the SEO industry. It’s highly likely that what’s working for you today might not be so helpful in a couple of months. It’s recommended that you carry out an audit at least twice per annum to make sure that your site keeps up with all the latest developments.

There are a plethora of issues that you can improve after running an audit of your website. For example, a thorough audit can help you:

  1. Analyze your keywords.
  2. Keep up with your competitors.
  3. Identify the problematic areas that need improvement.
  4. Fix any technical issues affecting your website.
  5. Keep your website up-to-date with the latest SEO trends.

What Should I Expect From The Audit?

 

There are 3 main things that you should expect after conducting an SEO audit. They include:

  • A full description of the current state of your website. This will give you information on how your website is performing in search engines, social media, number of internal/external links, and any other information that is related to your website’s current state.
  • A complete checklist of all the actions that the SEO audit was based on. The list should be accompanied by explanations for each and every item on the list.
  • An exhaustive report describing a marketing strategy that takes advantage of all the opportunities including SEO, to bring traffic to your website.

How to conduct an SEO Audit

 

If you’re not so sure about where to begin, this guide is for you. We’ll take you through all the steps that you need to take to perform a full SEO audit to make sure that your website is optimized for SEO strategy.

Here are the different types of analysis that should be performed during the audit:

Performing an SEO audit

 

1. Technical Analysis

 

You should start by checking if your site is functioning properly to make sure that everything is in great shape. A bad website will affect the expected audit outcome. There are 3 things that you ought to look into:

Architecture

Ensuring that your website has a solid structure improves your SEO. Great site architecture translates to great user experience.  You should see to it that the user’s journey on your website is seamless so that they have access to all the information that they came looking for.

Having a clear, logical, and organized structure will guarantee a strong site architecture that benefits your SEO.

You should also make sure that the main pages are listed at the top of your home page for easy navigation. Just be sure to reduce the number of clicks needed to move from homepage to destination page. This will make it easy for the user to find everything they need and move from one page to another without much hassle.

Accessibility

 

What is the point of creating a website if users cannot access the content? It is extremely important that you check everything on your website from your meta tags to your robot.txt files. These usually restrict access to certain areas of your website so it’s highly advisable that you check them manually to make sure that everything is in great shape.

The next thing that you need to check is XML sitemaps. Sitemaps tell search engines about all the pages that exist on your website. Format your XML sitemap appropriately to ensure better website accessibility.

If users are unable to browse freely, they will most likely hit the back button. This is not good for business. Work on improving anything that may contribute to a high bounce rate.

Index-ability

 

Index-ability has to do with how your web pages are shown within search engines after accessing them. Some pages may not be visibly to users especially if your site is on the wrong side of Google as a result of Google Penalty.You will have a higher chance of being indexed in no time if you occasionally post exceptional content. Other factors such as ease of accessibility also affect your index-ability.

2. On-Page Analysis

 

At this point, you should have finished your website’s technical analysis. The next step is focusing on general content issues. To check if your website is now optimized for search engines, you need to take the following factors into account:

Titles and Descriptions

 

These should be unique for each page. They should also be within the specified length. Your website visitors should be able to tell from your title, what the page is all about. Basically, titles and descriptions act as advertisements for what your page has to offer.

URLs

 

First off, make sure that your URL is well-written. It should be descriptive of the content on your page. Whenever possible, include the main keyword in the URL. However, good URLs are not stuffed with keywords. Check to see that the URLs for each page are properly formatted. Include hyphens to separate the words. They should have no more than 225 characters.

URL structure

Keywords

 

Most bloggers experience issues with keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization refers to when the blogger focuses too much on ranking for a particular keyword from several different pages.

When they do this, Google will only focus on the best page and disregard the others as useless. Your content needs to contain relevant LSI keywords. These will help you rank high in Google Search.

Content

 

By now, you already know the importance of good content when it comes to winning the top spot in Google SERPs. All the content on your page should be created with visitors in mind; it should always be relevant and appealing.

You should always create content that is relevant to your website’s main idea.Use Google Analytics to find the most popular pages on your website and make sure that they have fresh content.

Check pages that have out-of-date content and come up with a publishing plan to help you update them regularly.

Writing content for SEO

You don’t have to post on a daily basis. Just make sure that you maintain a steady posting schedule.

Again, you should write longer articles that add more value to the readers. Make sure that the text is well formatted using H1 and H2 headings. Lists are also quite necessary.

Internal Linking

 

Links are great for SEO. They improve the content quality which is useful for both the user and the search engines.

Always ensure that you’re indeed linking pages that you want to rank better. You should include about 2-10 internal links on a page. Also, you don’t always have to use keyword anchor texts; you can use non-keyword anchor texts as well as the full page title.

Broken links

 

These have a negative effect on the overall user experience and are, therefore, not good from an SEO perspective. You can check and fix the broken links using the “Crawl errors” report in your Google webmaster tool.

Broken Link Building

Doing 301 redirects to a valid URL is another way that you can use to fix broken links. You also have the option of removing them completely from your website.

Images

Images not only make your content attractive but also easy to read. However, if they increase your website’s loading time, they will work against your SEO strategy. Compress the images to reduce their sizes.

The images’ file names should also describe what the image is about.

Page speed

 

Handling page speed is a important SEO factor. Slow page speeds affect your ranking and your conversion rates. Make sure that your website loads faster than those of your competitors. Here is what you need to do to make sure that your website loads fast:

  1. Compress your images
  2. Remove all unnecessary JavaScript from your pages
  3. Use a compression plug-in
  4. Reduce HTTP calls via sprites and browser caching
  5. Minimize your CSS and HTML to make them smaller

3. Off-Page Analysis

 

Off-page analysis mainly focuses on what impact your website has in the cyberspace. Your website’s popularity depends on the trust factor. This simply means that your website has earned Google’s trust which is sort of a big deal.

You can help your website gain more trust from search engines by avoiding all unethical SEO techniques. Besides that, it will increase the traffic to your website, increase the retention rate, and reduce the bounce rate.

Therefore, the off-page analysis gives you a better view of the impression that your website leaves on users.

4. Competitive and Keyword Research

 

In essence, your ideal keyword should be stand in between difficulty and traffic. A high-performing keyword should have medium difficulty and medium volume. These should help boost traffic to your website and beat your competition.

You should consider different keywords before making the final selection. Keywords are the backbone of your website and that’s pretty much all you need to reach to new heights.

Conclusion

 

From our guide above, you can see why an SEO audit is important for the long-term success of your website. because when you conduct an SEO audit, you’ll have a clearer understanding of your website’s performance. Once you know exactly what is wrong, you will be in a better position to resolve the issues accordingly. After which you will notice a huge difference in the performance of your website.