Any smart digital marketer knows that for a website to succeed in this age, proper SEO techniques have to come into play. Failure to do so will see your competition leave you at the same spot, which means that you cannot make sales.
However, you ought to note that there are SEO strategies that work better than others. To establish if the tactics that you implement work in your favor, you need to conduct an SEO audit.
If you do not know how to do an SEO audit, this article will walk you through the step by step process.
What is an SEO Audit?
If you don’t know what an SEO audit is, it is the process of assessing whether various aspects of your website are friendly to search engines. You can rely on specific tools to conduct an SEO audit, but the best way to go about it is to follow a step-by-step guide.
After a website audit is conducted by an SEO auditor, he or she will find the problems and come up with recommendations to fix the issues found.
A proper SEO audit will enable you to change some things to boost the performance of your website on search engines.
Now, the question is…
How to Perform an SEO Audit – Step by Step
Simply follow the steps mentioned below and you are all good to go.
Step I: Start with a Website Crawl
When performing an SEO audit of your website, you should ensure to start with a crawl. It is a critical step in any audit, and you could do it by relying on various tools available like Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, etc.
Why is a crawl so essential?
Well, the tools that you use help you to find several errors in your site such as:
- bad keywords
- broken links
- page title problems
- poor images
- unlinked pages
- duplicate content among others etc…
Such errors could adversely affect your website’s performance on search engines, and a crawl helps you identify what needs to get fixed.
Step II: Ensure that only one Version of your Website can be Browsed
After conducting a crawl, you also need to ensure that only one version of your website can be browsed. So, how do you go about it? Well, you need to keep into consideration all the ways that users could type your website’s URL in a browser.
- website.com etc…
After trying all the possible ways, only one should provide access to your site. The rest need to be 301 redirected. Multiple versions of your site send mixed messages to search engines, and crawlers can’t establish the right one.
It is also advisable to use https:// because Google prioritizes sites that have an SSL certificate. If you want to install an SSL certificate using Cloudflare for free then watch this short tutorial:
Step III: Check if your Site has Indexing Issues on Google
Another crucial stage when performing your SEO audit is establishing if your website is indexed in Google. If your pages aren’t indexed, then that means that your site will not get any rankings.
You should check if your website is indexed by going to Google Search Console, go to Google Index, then proceed to Index Status. If you don’t find any results, that means your site has issues, which means that you won’t get any organic traffic.
Step IV: Perform Basic On-Page SEO Checks Manually
Technically, this step involves checking on a couple of on-page fundamentals in your site. You should focus on your homepage, plus other pages that generate more organic traffic. You should do these basic checks by right-clicking on a page to view the source.
Some of the fundamentals you need to look out for include the title tag; check if it is well-crafted. Also, you need to assess whether the Meta description is optimized for optimal click-through rates. You should also look out for the H1, H2, and H3 tags to affirm that they are optimized.
You can also check other deeper on-page issues such as content quality, outgoing links, and social tags.
Step V: Look for Duplicate Content
One of the things that can greatly affect your site’s ranking is duplicate content. As a result, checking for duplicate content is a must do when conducting an SEO audit.
Content that is duplicated on your site will affect your performance on Google, but it is way worse when your content is duplicated in another site.
Furthermore, you need to ensure that your site has adequate content. Thin content is regarded as an unreliable source of information, and that could affect your rankings. Your content needs to be at least 300 words.
Step VI: Check the Page Load Speed
Even as Google keeps updating its algorithm now and then, some aspects remain constant when it comes to ranking websites and one of them is the page load speed.
Both search engines and users prefer a page that loads within a matter of seconds. A page that loads fast deliver a better user experience compared to a page that loads slow. Conduct an audit to ensure that your pages load fast.
Step VII: Look for Structured Data Errors
Every website has to contain structured data, and it is crucial for this data to be error-free. That’s why it is vital for you to check for structured data errors when you’re conducting an SEO audit for your site.
You can rely on some Google tools to assess errors in your structured data. After analyzing for errors, you will receive feedback, which will indicate whether your site has errors or not. In case you notice any errors, ensure to fix them.
Step VIII: Check for Organic Search Traffic
One of the primary reasons for implementing the right SEO strategy for your site is to generate more organic traffic to your site. As a result, any audit should involve analyzing your website’s traffic and finding ways to increase it. You should also put a critical focus on SEO keyword ranking to discover the keywords that could bring more traffic to your site.
You can also utilize a tool such as Google Analytics to discover the pages on your website that get the most organic traffic. It allows you to see the most relevant keyword(s), and you can maximize on that to optimize your site’s rankings.
Step IX: Ascertain that your Rankings are Headed in the Desired Direction
Besides looking at your organic traffic, you also need to determine if your site’s rankings are headed in the right direction. And that’s where an SEO audit comes into play.
There exist tools to help you out with this task, and if you observe that your rankings are increasing, that implies that you are on the right track.
However, if your rankings are falling, your site must have an issue such as a Google penalty or outdated content.
Step X: Identify Pages that Rank from Position Five to Ten to see High-Volume Keywords
When you’re conducting an SEO audit, it is crucial that you find pages that fall between position 5 and 10 to identify the high-volume keywords.
The number might sound impressive, but there is much more that can be done to ensure that your pages rank higher than before.
If you aim to push the pages to the top spots, there are several things that you can do. You could add more internal links to the specific pages, update your content, build new backlinks to the pages, or ensure to optimize on-page for a particular keyword.
Step XI: Check for the Backlinks in your Site
When it comes to ranking websites, search engines consider backlinks an important aspect. There exist high-quality backlinks and toxic backlinks. You should ensure that your site has only high-quality backlinks.
That’s why an audit is important to help you identify toxic backlinks so that you can remove them. Toxic links may exist in your website through a couple of ways, and if Google identifies them, your site may get penalized, affecting your search engine rankings.
An audit should help you make your profile clean.
Step XII: Find any Broken Links on your Site and Fix Them
Broken links could be problematic to your website, and that’s why it is imperative to conduct an audit to ensure that every link to your site takes users to a relevant page.
In case you find a broken link, you need to fix it as soon as possible. During the audit, you can rely on specific tools to help identify the issue so that you can carry out the necessary fixes.
If you find a broken link, you can redirect it to a relevant page or you can replace the content.
Step XIII: Locate a Keyword that your Competitors Rank for and you Don’t
During an SEO audit, you need to establish the content gap in your website. That is the keywords that your competitors rank for, but your site doesn’t.
When doing so, ensure to look at your closest competitor and fix the issue by including the keywords in the form of subtopics, for which your competitors are ranking but you don’t.
Conducting an SEO audit of your website is critical to help your site rank higher on search engines. However, any audit needs to focus on critical areas so that you can achieve the desired results, which include boosting your organic traffic.
I hope that this article has helped you perform an SEO audit of your site properly. If you liked this guide then don’t forget to share it.