The growing number of businesses striving for the limited space at the top of the search engine rankings has created the need to maximize your efforts on SEO. Most online marketers make SEO as their top priority and ignoring this will be like ignoring sales. Although you may be interested in implementing the best SEO techniques, where exactly should you begin?
The first thing you need to is to assess the current SEO of your site and the best way you can do this is through an SEO audit. This gives you an insight into the ranking of your current site and you can make an assessment of what you need to do to improve it.
Although beginners may find this to be intensive, this article gives a detailed guide on what needs to be done. Before we go into many details, it is important to understand the basics of the SEO audit.
An overview of SEO Audit
The primary goal of an SEO audit is to identify the weak areas in a campaign and determine ways on how you can improve your SEO campaign. It is a process that provides you with a list of action items that need to be fixed. People who visit your site should find content that is relevant to what they were looking for.
SEO tactics that were used before have become outdated and won’t be useful either. There have been dramatic changes in the criteria and ranking factors over the past decade. Your site will be favored by the search engines only if the pages are well-optimized and are mobile-friendly. The crawlers go through each accessible page of your site to figure out whether it offers legitimate and useful content.
Search engines also check the ease of use, speed and if your site is secure. The ranks awarded to each page determine how high it shows up when people are searching for related keywords in the search engine results.
When Should You Do An SEO Audit?
It is important to perform an audit when bringing on a new client and a current campaign needs to be audited every quarter. This allows you to identify new problems and ensure that you didn’t miss anything.
The best way to evaluate your performance will be to use an audit and there are two times you need to perform an audit; once a quarter and at the start of every new campaign.
3 elements of an SEO Audit
The three key factors you need to consider when performing an SEO audit include:
- Front-end factors like metadata, keywords, and content
- Backend factors like indexing and hosting
- Outside references and link quality
The 8 Steps on How To SEO Audit Website in No Less Than One Hour
- Begin with a crawl
Crawl is the most essential factor to consider when performing an SEO audit and it should only take you 5 minutes. Some great tools that provide a great foundation include Ahrefs and SEMrush. The primary task of crawlers is to identify unlinked pages, duplicate content, page title issues, poor images, bad keywords, and excess redirects with broken links.
If you were using a tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider, you can explore the criteria of the crawl by clicking configuration and then Spider on the toolbar. The crawl criteria can be configured once you purchase Screaming Frog. You can get an idea of your crawl budget from the Google Search Console to understand the pages that are crawled often by Google.
- Ensure your website has a single version that is browsable
The different combinations of the same URL should be functional on any website. If your website contains multiple versions of itself, it gives a mixed message to the search engines about how to crawl your website. When this occurs, the crawler wouldn’t have much information on the most appropriate.
Your SEO ranking will have a negative impact if the search engines lack an idea of displaying your site to prospective traffic. There has been a decline in revenue for some sites that use AdSense after switching to HTTPS. It is important to ensure your website only uses a single version that is browsable.
- Perform an on-page SEO check
Your site should be optimized correctly especially when evaluating it and the results received from the crawl. You can always start by looking for title tags, pages, and duplicate headers. Some content may show up on your crawl if you always publish several contents with similar themes. However, you will be searching for duplicate content.
If you want to assess a potential SEO problem that arises from duplicates of the same content, then you can use the Copyscape tool. It makes it possible to examine a few fundamental criteria evaluated by Google in their ranking.
- Check your internal and external links
Broken links on your site may arise from deleting or moving some web pages to a different address. Although the process seems to be a little bulky, you can always use great tools such as Integrity. It is downloadable and useful in identifying links that have been broken on your site.
For example, if you want to use Integrity tool, enter your URL in the blank text bar provided and then click Go. It initiates the testing of all links that are found on your site before giving you the results. The number of links checked and those that were bad usually reflect on the snapshot report at the top-left corner. This step only takes 10 minutes.
- Get to know your website speed
Google is always aware of the fact that people become impatient the more your page takes time to load. No one wants to waste time waiting and they will most likely get off your website immediately. When assessing your website rank, speed is one of the most crucial factors examined by the Google search engine.
Google’s PageSpeed Insights allows you to compare your site with others, and takes a quick look at the speed of your site. Afterward, it gives recommendations on how you can improve your speed. It only takes 10 minutes to determine your website speed.
- Compare site metrics and utilize your analytics
This process only takes 10 minutes and your primary focus should be to figure out if the report provided is a live metric data. If it is reporting a live metric data then you installed your code correctly. However, if it is not reporting live metric data, then it is time to fix your code. Each web page can have a tracker code placed on top of the header when using Google Analytics.
After everything with the analytics service is all set, then you need to compare the metric data found to the results of your earlier search i.e. site: root domain. The number of pages showing up here should be the same as the number of pages that reflect on your metric data. If this is not the case then there are high chances that certain pages are not accepting the crawl request properly.
- Check whether your site is indexed well
A website will only get a large traffic if the pages have been indexed in Google. It is always important to ensure that your entire website has been indexed correctly.
Start by auditing your robots.txt file to allow effective crawling on your site since some website owners accidentally block the search engines from performing this action. Look for the command “Disallow” in your robots.txt.file. It could prevent the work of crawlers and this could be the start of your downfall.
- Perform a backlink audit and check your off-site SEO
If you want your SEO to be successful, then you need to consider your backlinks. Websites that have good backlinks give Google the impression that your page is relevant and that it will be useful to other users. The crawlers also look for brand mentions besides the hyperlinks.
That is the main reason why you need to be cautious of what is happening on your site and off your site. The best way to create backlinks and engagements is by using Social Media. It can improve your SEO by increasing the number of your backlinks and your brand awareness as well.
It is important to audit your SEO performance if you want to keep up with the current competition. Most of the different tools used in performing an SEO audit have been debated by the search engine optimizers.
However, it all boils down to whether your website is up to date because your competitors, market trends and search engine algorithms are always on the move. This one-hour SEO audit checklist will help you make quick adjustments to address these issues and pivot your strategy quickly.
Copyscape will help you to eliminate any duplicate content while the Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool will help you start your audit. The more you fill your social media and website presence with well-organized and valuable content, the more you get a higher ranking.