How to Perform SEO Audit
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to SEO. And, as you know, if any of those parts are out of whack, your website will not rank as well as it could.
That is why SEO audits are quite essential. A site is not different from any working machine. You do not wait till it stalls to take it to the technician. It’s more prudent to do regular checks on the engine and other parts’ performance.
An SEO audit is important because it helps you identify any potential problems with your website that could be holding it back from achieving its full potential in the search engines.
By conducting a site audit, you can find and fix these problems, which should help to improve your SEO rankings and visibility.
There are many different aspects of SEO that you need to focus on, and if even one of them is not up to par, your SEO efforts could be wasted.
That’s why it’s so important to perform a comprehensive audit covering all aspects of the SEO audit process.
So performing site SEO cannot be over-emphasized. In this blog post, we’ll talk about what an SEO audit is, and walk you through the steps involved in conducting one yourself.
We’ll also discuss what SEO is, some of the most common SEO problems that can occur, and explain why it’s so important to find and fix them.
What Is SEO?
Before we get into the details of conducting an SEO audit, let’s briefly review what SEO is.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of your website in search engines.
The higher your website ranks in organic search, the more likely people are to find it when they look for a target keyword related to your business.
There are many different factors that contribute to your website’s ranking in the search engines from the SEO perspective.
These include things like the quality of your content, the site’s structure, and the number of internal and external links.
By optimizing all of these factors, you can improve your domain authority.
SEO is important because it can help you in succeeding in your digital marketing.
If you want to increase website traffic, for example, SEO can help you to rank higher in the search engine results pages, for relevant keywords. And this can result in more people finding and visiting your website.
If you want to increase sales or leads, SEO can help you to rank higher for keywords that are related to your product or service. If more people find your website in organic search for these keywords, this can lead to more sales or leads.
In short, SEO is important because it can help you to achieve your business goals.
Technical SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines.
This includes things like optimizing your website’s code and structure, making sure that your pages load quickly, and ensuring that your website is accessible to both humans and search engine crawlers.
Technical SEO audits are important because they can help to improve your site’s ranking and visibility in the search engines.
By optimizing your website for search engines, you can make sure that your pages appear higher in the SERPs, which can lead to more traffic and more sales or leads.
In a nutshell, a technical SEO audit is about optimizing all the SEO audit checklists, that search engines look for when ranking websites.
This includes things like:
- Site security
- Website’s code and structure
- Site load speed
- Content quality and uniqueness
- Quantity and quality of links
- 404 pages
Basically, a technical SEO audit ensures; faster page speed, most pages indexed, proper internal linking structure, no duplicate content, internal links, external links, etc.
Additionally, it shouldn’t be missing key pages such as 404 or 301 redirects pages critical for navigation, in cases where site visitors follow dead links in your site.
That said, technical SEO should be handled as you would spice your cooking. Too much of it can spoil everything. For that reason, though, for the site’s performance regular SEO is recommended, do not overly dwell on the technical SEO bells and whistles.
What Is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is a comprehensive review of your website that looks at all of the different aspects of SEO. The purpose of an SEO audit is to identify any potential problems that could be holding pages on your site from achieving their full potential.
Once these problems are identified, they can be fixed so that your entire website can rank higher in the search engines and get more traffic.
For a successful SEO audit, it is important to look at all aspects of your website, some of which we identified above.
By looking at all of these different factors, you can get a complete picture of your website’s health and identify any areas that need improvement.
There are many reasons why you might want to conduct a page SEO. Maybe you’re not happy with your website’s current ranking in the search engines. Or, you’ve noticed a decline in SEO traffic or a decline in digital marketing results.
Probably, you just want to make sure that your website is as optimized as it can be for organic search. Whatever the reason, a technical SEO audit can be a valuable tool for improving your website.
By identifying any potential problems, you can make the necessary changes to fix them, and help your website achieve its full potential.
Software to Perform an SEO Audit
When conducting an SEO audit, there are quite a few tools that you will need. These tools will help you to collect data about your website and analyze it so that you can identify any potential issues.
This is an SEO audit tool that will help you to track your site visitors and see where they are coming from. With this insight, you are able to know which part of the website is performing as per the indicators, and which needs improvement.
Google Search Console
With the Google search console, you are able to see how your website is performing in the organic search. It will show you the keywords that your website is ranking for, as well as any errors that have been found.
Google Pagespeed Insights
When performing an SEO audit, this tool will help you to see how quickly your website’s pages are loading.
Google Schema Markup Testing Tool
This tool will help you to see if your website is using the correct schema markup.
Some of the more popular ones include Moz, SEMRush, Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, and DeepCrawl, Site Audit Tool. Any SEO tool with crawl features that can diagnose site health, and report general site weaknesses should work fine.
Steps of an SEO Audit
Now that you know what an SEO audit is and what tools you need to conduct one, it’s time to take a look at the different steps that are involved.
1. Run a Site Crawl
The first step is to run a site crawl. This will help you to identify any potential problems with your website’s structure or code. A site crawl can be conducted using a tool like SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool.
This is a paid SEO audit tool, but they have a free version that works just as well. To start the crawl, enter the Url your site and follow the following brief steps:
- ‘Add new project
- Adjusting audit settings.
- Start the site audit
- Finally, the crawl report is displayed
Once you have the crawl report it is now time for analyzing the SEO audit checklist, essential for the proper running of any site.
2. Do a Manual Search of Your Site
Alternatively, you can do a manual search of your site. This will help you to identify any potential problems that are not picked up by the site crawl.
To do a manual search, simply enter your website’s URL into the Google search bar, and see what comes up.
Here are a few potential issues that might emerge:
- Your website does not appear in the organic search
- The site search shows an error message.
- Sometimes the search engine results appear but with a warning message
For more specific search engine results, you can search, “site:root domain”
Here is an example of how the results should appear on an organic search.
The organic search results show how many pages have been indexed. But that doesn’t mean pages not appearing have been left out of indexing. Sometimes indexing takes time, and it is possible these pages might appear in subsequent searches.
However, if all pages on your site are completely missing, when you enter these search terms, there is a deeper problem that needs further investigation.
3. Have Only One Version of Your Site Indexed
When you enter your website’s URL into a search engine, you might notice that there are multiple versions of your site that appear in the results.
For example, some of the different versions of your website that might appear in the search results include:
This might not make a difference to site visitors, but to the indexing bots, these are different versions of the same site. This is one of the major technical SEO audit issues that needs attention. The appearance of different URLs creates confusion for the search engine crawlers.
As a result, they might abandon indexing, or de-rank the pages altogether. If you realize several versions of your site, you can remedy this by 301 redirecting all the versions to a single one.
Luckily, there are several WordPress plugins that can be used to solve this issue.
4. Check for Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is one of the issues that may come up in the SEO audit. Sometimes this happens especially if you have been publishing a lot of closely related topics.
This may present a problem with indexing, as the bot may not know which content to include or not, in the indexing. Consequently, all the web page contents will have difficulty in ranking.
Just as in the case of the duplicate versions of the same site above, this problem can be rectified by 301 redirects, with the most authoritative becoming the canonical version.
There are several tools in the market that can help in identifying and dealing with duplicate content. The two most popular include Grammarly Premium and Copyscape.
5. Check for Google Manual Penalty
A manual action is a message that appears in your Google Search Console account, resulting from a manual review by a Google official, that shows you’re in violation of the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
If you have received a manual action, it will be located under the “Security & Manual Actions” section of your Search Console account. Common manual actions include things like thin content, pure spam, and hacked sites.
Depending on the severity of the issue, this can be a simple fix or a more complex process. If you have received a manual action, take immediate action to avoid further function.
6. Analyze Your Site Speed
Considering site speed, Google has previously stated, “Slow loading pages can frustrate users and hurt your business.” To affirm their emphasis on its importance, they have released a site speed-themed algorithm update not once, but twice in the last four years.
In 2018, they released the PageSpeed Update, and soon after, the Page Experience Update. Therefore, as you do an SEO audit, know it is one of the major ranking factors.
In a study, Google found a clear correlation between increased bounce rate and slow loading speeds.
In addition to causing frustration, slow page speeds can also lead to lower rankings in the search results. Fortunately, Google has a tool that allows you to test your website’s speed. Simply enter your website’s URL into the Google Page Insights and click analyze.
The tools will generate a report and recommendation, which you can work on to improve site speeds.
7. Check for Mobile-Friendliness
This is another critical item in the SEO audit checklist. With the increasing importance of mobile traffic, it is more important than ever to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly in your SEO audit.
A mobile-friendly website is one that is easy to read a web page and navigate on a smaller screen. This means having a responsive design that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes, as well as making sure that all of the content on the website is easily accessible on a mobile device.
Google has a tool that allows you to test whether, or not your website is mobile-friendly.
Simply enter your website’s URL into the Mobile-Friendly Test tool, and Google will analyze the web page and let you know if there are any issues that need to be fixed.
In addition to using Google’s mobile-friendly test, it is also a good idea to check your website on a variety of different mobile devices to make sure that it looks and functions as it should.
8. Check for Broken Links
Broken links are another important issue in the SEO audit checklist, that can come up during a site audit.
Broken links can occur for a number of reasons, but most often they happen when a page is moved or deleted without setting up a redirect. This can happen for both internal and external links.
When a bot crawls your website and comes across a broken link, it will generate an error message. These error messages can eventually add up and result in a penalty from Google.
In order to avoid this, it is important to regularly check for broken links on your website and fix them as soon as they are found.
There are a number of tools that can help you with this, including Screaming Frog and Xenu’s Link Sleuth, and Integrity. To use Xenu’s Link Sleuth, download the program and install it. Next, add your URL into the text bar and click enter.
It will generate a report similar to the one above. You can then act on the issues, such as the “404 not found” links. Having these on your site is bad for your user experience which degrades your ranking.
9. Find Out the Your Bounce Rate
A high bounce rate is an indication that something is wrong with some pages on your site, and it needs to be fixed.
There are a number of reasons why a page might have a high bounce rate, but some of the most common include:
- The page is not relevant to what the user’s broken links are looking for.
- The page is not well organized, or easy to navigate.
- Page on a slow loading site
- The page is not mobile-friendly
To check your rate head over to your Google Analytics Account, and click on Audiences, then overview.
If you see that a particular page has a high bounce rate, take a look at the page and see if there are any changes that you can make to improve it.
10. Do a Competitor Analysis
Competitor analysis is an important part of off-page SEO audit. By understanding what your competitors are doing, you can learn from their successes and avoid their mistakes.
There are a number of different ways that you can go about doing a competitor analysis. One way is to simply take a look at their website and see what they are doing that you are not.
Another way is to use a tool like SEMrush, which will give you insights into your competitor’s SEO strategies. Once you have a good understanding of what your competitors are doing, you can start to make changes to your own website to improve your ranking.
One aspect is to do keyword tracking. The aim is to get into the secrets of what keywords your competitors are ranking for. Seo audit tools, such as SEMrush or Ubersuggest can help in generating such reports.
To do this enter the competitor URL in the tracking tool and click start up tracking.
From there you get a report with keywords and backlinks that you can try to optimize for your own site.
Here are a few things you can learn from the report.
- Monthly keyword searches
- Google search ranking of the URL
- Keyword difficulty. The higher, the more difficult it is to rank for the term.
Every web page on your site is competing with every other for the organic traffic for ranking.
This means that you need to make sure that each and every page on your website is high-quality and relevant to the topic at hand.
11. Identify Thin Content Pages
Pages with thin content are those that don’t offer a lot of value to the reader. Like duplicate content, they are more harmful to SEO, as they confuse search engines and turn off the users.
However, thin pages also depend on the topics as well as search intent. While some topics might require a few hundred words others will require thousands to adequately address the searcher query.
For instance, someone searching where to buy laundry detergent may not be interested in so much information, other than the specific place where he can get the product.
So writing a few words on this cannot be considered thin content. As you can see below the first page of this term is dominated by pages with mainly few words of product descriptions.
But a searcher on “how to..” probably expects a comprehensive guide blog post on what he is searching for.
In your SEO audit, if you encounter thin content take a look at them and see if there is anything you can do to improve it.
Some things you can do include:
- Adding more relevant information
- Including images or videos
- Breaking up the text into shorter paragraphs.
- Prevent them from getting indexed by Google bots.
12. Fix Issues With Orphan Pages
In your SEO audit, you may discover orphan pages. These pages are not linked to any other page on your website.
This can happen for a number of reasons, but typically it is because the page is new and has not been properly linked to, or because the web page has been moved and the old URL redirects have not been put in place.
Unlinked pages, downgrade internal linking which is considered an essential ranking factor. To fix this issue, you need to first find all of the orphan pages on your website during your technical SEO audit.
You can do this using a tool like Screaming Frog, which will crawl your website and generate a list of all the pages that are not linked to.
Once you have a list of the orphan pages, you need to decide
- What to do with each page.
- Do you want to delete it?
- Do you want to redirect it?
- Or do you want to add links to it from other pages on your website?
13. Engage in Social Media
Social media is also a great way to boost your SEO success. Social media increases engagement such as comments, likes, and social shares creating a buzz around your brand.
This accounts for the implied links which confer authority on the site. Authority is especially valuable as shown by Google’s Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness(EAT) guidelines on evaluating web pages in 2014.
In a nutshell, social media is valuable for SEO by:
- Improving link-building effort as it attracts social audiences who can link back to the content, once they click through the links.
- Increases brand reach by spreading the brand story through mentions and social shares.
14. Examine Your Sitemap in SEO Audits
An XML sitemap issue is a critical to-do item on the SEO audit checklist. Site maps tell Google and other search engines about the organization of your site content. Web crawlers like Googlebot, read this file to more intelligently crawl your site.
During site audits, with a Site Audit Tool, you can generate a sitemap report that can help in picking errors related to improperly configured URLs.
15. Optimize on Page Features for Ranking
When it comes to on-page SEO, you want to make adjustments to on-page features for both human users and Google.
Such include meta tags and linking such as:
- Proper header and title tag
- Well-optimized meta description
- Adding image alt tags
- Internal linking audits and building
On-page technical SEO audit is an easy-to-do task. And with tools like an On-page SEO checker, this should be a breeze.
16. Audit Your Backlinks Profile
Backlinking is a key factor when it comes to ranking and getting traffic to your site. Backlinks show that your site is valuable and trustworthy, and it helps Google index your site so that people can find it more easily.
Unfortunately, not all backlinks are created equal. There are good backlinks, which come from high-quality links, and then there are bad backlinks, which come from low-quality or spammy websites.
Bad backlinks can actually hurt your ranking, so it’s important to do a backlink audit regularly and remove any bad backlinks and fix broken links.
You can do this manually by checking each link individually, or you can use the backlink audit tool to weed out the bad ones.
Once you generate a report, you can use it to take any of the following actions on the toxic links.
- Contact the linking site to have the link removed.
- Disavow the links
- White list good backlinks
Benefits of an SEO Audit
Enhance Overall Site Health
As we have seen above, SEO audits touch on a wide variety of site issues. That means by conducting an SEO audit you improve the overall site performance. This is because, in the process of the audit, you uncover weaknesses, which need to be worked on to improve the overall site health.
That is why a site SEO audit is not an event but a process as some of these issues may keep on recurring.
Embrace New SEO Practices
Technical SEO audit is important as it helps you to keep up with the changing Google algorithms.
With a site audit, you can know when your website is not in line with the current trends and make changes where necessary. This will help improve your ranking on on-site search and get more traffic to your site.
Monitor SEO Progress
SEO audit enables you to track your progress over time. This is because an audit report can be used as a benchmark when conducting future SEO audits. By comparing the two reports, you can see which areas have improved, and those which need more work.
SEO audit does not only improve rankings but also helps improve your sales, and an ROI audit is important as it helps you to keep track of your SEO progress and improve your ROI and overall website health.
Find Out Your Top Ranking Keywords
Also, an SEO audit enables you to find out which keywords your site is ranking for. This information is important as it helps you to know whether the keywords you are targeting are working for you or not.
If they aren’t, then you need to adjust your SEO strategy. This is by using keyword research tools, to find keywords more beneficial for your SEO campaign.
Seo audit can help in fixing the issues discovered to help improve your traffic. This is because you will get more organic traffic to your site as you improve your ranking on SERPs.
As we’ve found out, an SEO audit is a process for evaluating the health of your website from an organic search perspective.
A comprehensive SEO audit will cover both on-page and off-page SEO, and it will give you actionable insights that you can use to improve your website. From this audit, you can then understand what improvements you need to make to boost your ranking and get more traffic.
Therefore, it is an important part of any good digital marketing strategy. That is why it is critical to do an SEO audit regularly because it can help you identify and fix any problems that are hurting your ranking, or preventing you from getting traffic from organic searches.
Luckily, with the right SEO audit tools, you can easily conduct an audit and identify areas for improvement. And by making the necessary changes, you can ensure that your website is visible and attractive to potential customers.