Have you ever wondered how you can improve your site performance? Does it seem that no matter how much money or time you invest in it, there is not enough traffic? And no matter how hard you try, the competitors are always one step ahead of you?
The beginning of an answer to your problems is an SEO audit.
What is an SEO audit?
In the simplest words, an SEO audit is a process of evaluation of your website in terms of its ability to appear in search engine result pages (SERP). The purpose of this process is to identify all the factors that can affect organic search performances of the website.
The SEO audit will reveal:
- Technical SEO issues
- Website structure issues
- On-page SEO issues
- Potential off-site problems
- User experience issues
- Content gaps
- Competitive marketplace insights
How to perform an SEO audit if you’re new to the matter?
If you are a beginner when it comes to SEO and don’t know where to start when performing an SEO audit, here are the three main factors you should look at.
First, back-end factors such as indexing. Second, front end factors such as content, keywords and metadata. And third, link quality and outside references.
Where do I start with an SEO Audit?
The first thing you should do when performing an SEO audit is the crawl of your website. Crawling is the process during which you can find out whether all your web pages are indexed or not. If some page is not indexed, it means that search engines cannot crawl it and you lose the opportunity to rank for that page. Besides this, you will be able to identify problems such as duplicate content, low word count and unlinked pages. In order to crawl a website you can use tools such as Ubersuggest or Netpeak Spider.
Always double-check that only one version of your site is browseable. Consider all the ways someone could type your address into a browser.
Only one of these versions should be browsable. Otherwise, Google will receive mixed messages and the crawlers won’t know which address is the right one.
On-page SEO Audit: Step by Step
When the crawling of your site is finished and you checked the results, there are some things you need to look into and see if your site is properly optimized. This is the so-called on-page SEO check. You can start with looking for duplicate pages, checking headers, title tags, and move on with keywords and meta description.
If you want to find out if there is duplicate content on your site, the good news is you don’t have to do that manually. You can use tools such as Copyscape to solve potential problems arising from duplicate content.
The next thing is title tags. Make sure that title tags are relevant to your content. They should also be positioned in a way that answers what your target audience is seeking.
You would also want to check your meta description because, although it doesn’t influence the ranking of the site, it is important for attracting your audience.
Every page on your website should have a focus keyword that is included in the first 100 words. It is also advisable to repeat the keyword throughout the page, but you should avoid stuffing because you could be penalized.
Examining Internal and External Links
Once you are finished with on-page SEO checks, it is time to move on to examining internal and external links. Examining this, you are supposed to find out if there are any broken links on your website. This, too, doesn’t have to be done manually. There are many tools that can help you detect broken links. Some of them are Xenu Sleuh or, if you are using Mac, Integrity. Once you find all the pages with broken links, you should fix these problems. You will replace the content where necessary, redirect the broken pages to relevant live pages or leave as 404 for pages with no backlinks.
Checking the Site Speed
Next you would want to check is the speed of your site. This is very important because the longer it takes your website to load, the higher are chances that people will bounce. If the loading speed is less than good, you might want to take some actions, like optimizing your images, leverage browser caching, etc. To check the speed of your site, you can use Ubersuggest. You just need to copy your URL, click the Search button and then click Site Audit. When you scroll down, you will get the results for the loading speed of your site, both on desktop and mobile phones.
Off-site SEO Audit and Backlinks
Off-site SEO represents all those actions taken outside of your website that have an impact on the ranking. These include other people mentioning your brand or linking your website pages. It is important for SEO because it shows Google that your page is relevant and useful to the other users and, in this way, Google gets the sign that your website is trustworthy. So, when you perform an SEO audit, you should also check off-site SEO and backlinks. There are many tools for performing backlink audits. Some of them are SEMRush, Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. Backlink audits are helpful because:
- You can see how your current link profile affects your site.
- It is possible to identify areas where you can get more valuable links.
- You can spy on your competitors’ number of backlinks and work to outnumber them.
Indexing of the Site
Not being indexed on Google means no ranking. As simple as that. To check if your site and all pages are indexed, you can use Google Search Console. In this way you can check if the number of indexed pages corresponds to the number of all pages on the site. If the number is not the same and there are fewer indexed pages, you should discover why that is so and what are the issues that have to be resolved.
Why is an SEO audit important?
Whether you like it or not, an SEO audit is a very important process if you want your site to perform better and have more traffic. Search engine algorithms, best practices, market trends, and competitors are always changing. So, if you perform SEO audits, keep your website up-to-date and solve the issues that appear, you are on the right way to improve the ranking of your website.
This article was written by Milica Jovanović, a junior digital marketer @ RCMT IT Europe