When we talk about digital marketing, a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) audit serves as one of the most significant tools which can provide in-depth overview and analysis of the actual state of your website. Basically, SEO audit is the process of strengthening and altering a website’s online relevancy. This process normally covers important constituents of a website like site architecture, content-related issues, indexing, social-media engagement and backlink analysis. SEO Audit helps in understanding such components and how they work. It also aids in detecting the strength, weaknesses, and capabilities a website has in the search engines.
Remember, if your website is not appropriately optimized for search, you are surely going to miss out on a significant amount of search engine traffic, as well as attention from potential customers.
What Is A SEO Audit?
Let’s put in simple words – SEO audit is an assessment of the search engine friendliness of a website in a number of areas. It basically detects the areas for improvements on your website; and is used as a basis for an action plan to keep your website up-to-date with newest developments in search marketing. Generally, an in-depth SEO audit strategy includes 4 key parts:
- Technical Analysis
- On-Page Analysis
- Off-Page Analysis
- Competitive Analysis and Keyword Research
Why Do You Really Need To Perform A SEO Audit ?
There are a number of reasons to why you really need to perform an SEO audit for your website. Check out a few of them:
- Algorithms Changes
Popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, constantly update their algorithms to provide better search results. SEO audit helps to recognizSEO Audit Toole such changes so that you can make the alterations to your website content in view of that.
- Website Errors
Broken links or error messages can be a huge drawback for your website, performing SEO audits helps to expose such errors, empowering you to redirect them and recuperate lost traffic.
- Webmaster’s Guidelines
Webmaster tools from Google and Bing undergo continuous changes, to ensure compliance you need to perform an SEO audit.
- Titles and Meta Data
Title tags and Meta descriptions play a very important part in search engines. These are the first thing visitors would read about you when they find you in their search results. SEO audit ensures these are relevant.
- Outdated Content
Providing fresh content to the search engines is important. If visitors are not coming to your website in 6 months, it means you have nothing new to offer to them. SEO audit helps to re-evaluate your content and get rid of the outdated ones.
What Does An SEO Audit look At?
Using effective keywords is one of the most important factors to build a strong SEO strategy. Your ranking success depends largely on SEO centric keywords research; hence understanding your websites core keywords is indispensable. Keyword analysis using an SEO audit tool is basically finding out the answers to the below questions:
- Which keywords can bring in high-value search traffic?
- Where does your company rank for these keywords?
- Which keywords are currently bringing in search traffic?
- How is this traffic converting to customers?
It is very important to know which keywords your website ranks for – and spot the ones they should rank for. Another important thing to look for is the words used by your customers to describe your products and services; these are undoubtedly the most important keywords for you. Researching on keywords used by your competitors can also help you in aligning your overall keyword strategy and also divert traffic from your competitors’ to your own website.
Keyword research is one of the most time-consuming areas of SEO audits, but this area is the one which exposes maximum insights.
- External Factors
SEO being one tantalizing process is affected by several factors which can sometimes be out of your control. Google and other search engines use signals from your website, these include some external signals like backlinks, brand mentions, and social media to judge the quality of your website. These signals can be considered as third-party validation where search engines consider positive comments/mentions as a positive signal that your offerings are of good quality in your industry. Social media platforms have the potential to add spice and vitality to your SEO efforts.
- Backlink – These are one of the most important ranking factors to search engines. It works on a very simple idea, i.e. the more trustworthy, relevant resources link to a website; the more valuable that page must be and hence deserves higher rankings. Similarly, “Bad” backlinks are considered to be indicators of poor quality, weakening the page’s value and authority in search engines and can also result in ranking penalties. This is why evaluating your site’s backlink profile is one of the first steps you need to take.
- Brand Mentions – These refer to when a brand name is referenced to in any manner. Brand mentions include information like, link, phone number, address and other info related to the company’s name. These are very important as there are several businesses across the globe which can have similar names. The advantage of brand mentioning is again similar, positive brand mentions equal to pluses and negative ones can cost you your rank in search engines.
- Traffic – Another important external factor your SEO audit needs to consider is the “Traffic” – where is it coming from. Here we are not just talking about the organic and referral traffic, but also the traffic from social, email, direct, display, paid, and others. Understanding your website’s traffic profile is vital not only for SEO but it can be helpful across other digital signals too.
- Website Construction, Architecture, Design, and Speed
The structure of your website defines its hierarchy, it is important to arrange these pages in a manner that it reflects the most important aspects of your business. Asking the below questions can clear out what you need to look for in your website build-
- How many clicks does it take the user to get to what they are looking for?
- Can you improve this?
- Is your site mobile friendly?
- Secure with HTTPS?
- Easy to navigate?
The answers to all the above questions should be “YES”. If your website fails here, then it could be subject to negative changes with recent Google algorithmic updates.
Site architecture is one of the most important aspects of your website in terms of usability. Another important factor to note is the speed of the site; this is not just for Search Engine Results Page (SERP) but also for visitor’s usability. You need to audit the site speed both on desktop and mobile.But before doing anything you need to ensure that your site can be accessed by search engine crawlers. If not, there is no point having a website or performing an SEO audit in the first place.
What does content do? Well, it helps you drive business. SEO audit should tell you what your content doing to help you drive business, which blog posts and landing pages are constantly created to target keywords and bring in traffic. When auditing content you need to find out:
- Are your keywords reflected in the title tags?
- Is the content more geared towards search engines (overly optimized) or towards site visitors?
- Are the Meta description tag and H tags working with or against the content on-page?
- Are there spelling mistakes or poor grammar?
Audit your current content based on two perspectives, i.e. search engine and users. Take your findings and adjust your SEO content strategy, this will not only keep you moving forward but also ensure that you will create content that both your visitors and search engines would want to read.
To identify duplicate content on internal pages you can use Screaming Frog, Siteliner or Google Webmaster Tools. Remember, duplicate content is a very serious issue and has to be tackled as soon as possible or it will eventually suffocate your website and worsen its rankings. Checking for duplicate content issues is an inseparable part of every website audit.
Plagiarism tools typically compare words that appear on a page against words that appear on another page rather than exact match phrases.
As a result you will find some pages have a high percentage of “duplicated content” which is not 100% duplicate.
Benefits Of SEO Audit:
Following an all-inclusive SEO audit of a website highlights the details of any present issue as well as lists down recommendations which help to achieve business goals in the best possible way. Let’s list down some of the benefits performing SEO audit:
- Know competition well and stay ahead of them.
- Know the current health status of your websites.
- Spot what is hindering your business’s online visibility.
- Upsurge your domain authority by putting on the right SEO strategy.
- Fix page issues.
- Increase online traffic.
- Improve sales, conversions, and leads.
- Understand the negative factors which disturb your website’s search engine ranking.
- Identify all the web pages which search engines can crawl and index.
For more detail on the benefits of SEO Audit you can refer to SEO Website Auditing and get to know more about it.
Armed with all the above information, you just need to derive insights and apply them in your SEO strategy. However, this is not a comprehensive list, as there is many more information SEO audits can reveal. But, I believe by now you have tones of insights which could lead to ideas on how to alter your site and increase your rankings in search engines to get more traffic, leads, or sales.
Remember, these are just a few basic suggestions on search engine optimization. At ReportGarden, we help you with complete SEO Reports which unlock the full potential of SEO and unleash the power of your brand.
If you take the time and effort to conduct a thorough SEO audit, you want to have something to show for it .
Positive SEO results are the best reward of course.
But you also need an actionable SEO audit report otherwise all the improvements you diligently identified to put in place will be left and forgotten about.
Did I miss anything in this detailed website audit guide? Have you ever tried ReportGarden’s new SEO audit feature ?Let us know in the comments.