SEO Here’s How You Should Conduct An Effective SEO Audit
Why do we need an SEO Audit?
Theoretically, the purpose of conducting an SEO Audit is to check a site’s search engine friendliness by identifying its strengths and weaknesses.
But for me, an SEO Audit is more about exploring further growth, turning weaknesses into strengths, and strengthening what’s already strong, which leads to our first motive: Growth.
Generally, SEO Audits can go on for weeks before enabling us to produce a report and allow us to ponder over various aspects of our site.
However, it is more than necessary to conduct an SEO Audit of your site regularly -there’s no harm in that. BUT, it requires time, and we need to save it as much as we can, leading to our second motive: Saving Time.
So, the focus of this guide is on justifying the two motives mentioned above. Hence, the pointers are both growth and time driven.
Here’s everything that we will cover in this guide:
- Fundamental Issues Restricting Your Indexing
- A Comprehensive Analysis Of Your Site
- All-Inclusive Off-page Issues
- ___________ is King! (You know the answer)
- Current State Of The Traffic
So, let’s begin with the Audit!
Step I: Fundamental Issues Restricting Your Indexing
- Redirect (switch) from HTTP to HTTPS
Did you know, when you search for Gogle.com or Gooogle.com, etc. you are redirected to Google.com?
If you haven’t, try it now.
Google has purchased those domains because they sound phonetically the same.
Oh! I am not suggesting you take 301 redirects to such a large scale (although you can if you find it necessary enough). Just focus on the two primary aspects: HTTP and HTTPS.
If people search for http://yourwebsite.com, they are redirected to https://yourwebsite.com.
Since user data protection has become a priority, every domain must have HTTPS rather than HTTP. Having HTTPS indicates the user and assures them that providing information to a particular domain is 100% safe (as in HTTPS, the data provided by users are encrypted).
Example of an HTTP-enabled site;
Example of an HTTPS-enabled site.
- Any active Robots.txt files?
If your site or its pages are not getting indexed, what good will SEO do, let alone the SEO Audit?
Robots.txt is a file that tells the search engine crawler which pages of a site to crawl and which not to crawl.
Active Robots.txt can be used when your site’s pages are under maintenance, stuffed with keywords, or have misleading content (reasons depend upon your necessity). Due to Robots.txt, a crawler will never crawl a site without your authorization.
You need to check how many pages of your site have an active Robots.txt file to see if the appropriate files are contained from being crawled.
Enter the code https://www.yourwebsite.com/rob\ots.txt in the address bar to check active and inactive Robots.txt on pages.
Here’s what you will get:
Confused about what the results imply?
Have a look at this:
Now you know what each code signifies.
So, let’s move on to the next one.
Step II: A Comprehensive Analysis Of Your Site
- Quickly check on-page SEO of the important pages of your site
What’s the most important page of your site?
The majority, if not all, will entitle it to be the homepage. After all, the home page is a medium that quickly leads a visitor to their destination.
Now, you need to see the on-page for the selected significant pages of your site.
Visit those pages and click Ctrl+U and look at the source of a page, OR you can right-click on the page and select view page source:
Now, you need to look for essential elements of SEO: title, H1 tag, meta description, alt tag, etc.
Note: Go to the source page and press Ctrl+F, and type the element you want.
All of these elements must be present in the source code of your site. They send out signals to the crawler and help it gauge the context of the content.
The keywords should be carefully placed across these elements to help the SERP rankings.
Also, while checking for those tags, never forget that they should not be stuffed with keywords, plus only one H1 tag should be available in the entire code.
Other than that, there’s the website’s design as well; Whether a soothing color palette has been used or not, and how strong is the internal linking structure, so the audience can locate what they are looking for effortlessly.
- Conduct a detailed on-page audit
The website that is taken as an example: https://www.chatterbuzzmedia.com/
As the purpose of our guide is to save time and produce enough actionable data to grow your business, that’s why we will use the Website Analyzer by RankWatch (absolutely free).
Note: However, if you want an extensive amount of data and conduct a far more in-depth audit, you can do it on the Site Auditor and analyze more than 110 unique parameters of your site.
The website analyzer will produce a report:
It will point out the significant and moderated errors of your site, pulling it from getting ranked.
You will be informed about how the heading tags have been used;
Whether the title tag has the required character limit or not;
Furthermore, the tool analyzes the images and records data related to the presence and absence of Alt Tags.
Clicking on ‘View More’ or the error itself shall result in a pop-up that lists the links to the content, image, etc. with those errors.
..and the pop-up consisting of the links.
You need to visit the links and manually correct every error, be it the missing alt-tags or multiple H1 tags. Fixing these errors should be your priority before moving further with the audit.
- Is your site’s loading speed fast enough?
People would hardly spend time waiting for a site to load. If your site does not load fast enough, visitors will go for substitutes.
Check in the Website Analyzer’s page speed section a list of tips that would increase your site’s loading speed.
Apart from this, you can also rely on Google’s Page Speed Insights tool.
It is a tool that specifically focussed on identifying the issues that result in slow loading of your site.
First, it informs you about the loading speed of your website;
And then, it lists the various opportunities that can help your site load faster.
Leveraging these opportunities can help your site load faster.
- Is your site Mobile Optimised?
The majority of the searches being performed on Google are via mobile devices, so it has become crucial for websites to have a mobile-optimized version. Moreover, Mobile-First Indexing is one of Google’s 200 Ranking factors.
Use the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google to discover whether your site is mobile optimized or not. It will give you a straight answer.
www.chatterbuzzmedia.com is a mobile-friendly site.
If you check the mobile-friendliness of your site in the tool and it comes out negative, you need to conduct a mobile SEO audit and start optimizing your site for mobile-first indexing right away.
- Keyword Research
To gain knowledge regarding the keywords you are targeting and their performance, you need to use SEO tools: RankWatch, Moz, etc.
They will tell you about the performance of your targeted keywords. And suggest you with keywords that can drive traffic to your site and have more search volume.
Also, RankWatch has this unique Low Hanging Fruits feature that compiles a list of keywords for which you are ranking in the top SERPs but are unaware and not optimizing in your content.
So, start optimizing for those LHF terms and position yourself at #1.
Step III: All-Inclusive Off-page Issues
- Run A Backlink Analysis Test
Got to Link Explorer.
Enter your site to start the analysis of your backlink profile.
Link Explorer informs you about the active links that are present and lead to your site.
Uncover information related to the referring domains;
Anchor texts for each link;
No-follow, do-follow, and deleted backlinks.
You must approach sites that have deleted the links leading to your domain, with the motive of getting linked to again.
Also, the link building process should not be stopped; it should consistently run as it increases the Domain Authority, signifying trust.
- Check For Broken Links
Backlinks leading to 404 Errors (Page Does Not Exist) can negatively impact your site’s DA, traffic, and bounce rate.
Run a broken link analysis to check how many links on your site lead to error pages. You need to approach the sites with those broken links and provide them with the working links.
Step IV: Content Is King!
- Removing Duplicate Content
For checking Duplicate Content on our site, I trust Copyscape. You just have to enter the link to your site, and it will produce a list of duplicate content.
You must remove the duplicate content pieces or provide canonical links so that the bot can differentiate between the original content and duplicate content.
Also, the low performing posts are to be removed or improved depending on your discretion.
Step V: Current State Of The Traffic
- Use Google Analytics
There’s no better answer.
Google Analytics is the best free website analytics that provides you a detailed account of how your site has been performing. And that’s not it.
GA provides you with information about the people visiting your site: How much time are they staying? When do they leave your site? And at what time do they subscribe to your site?
Through that data, you can track your content’s performance and zero-in on the reasons compelling visitors to exit your site.
You can also monitor your returning users and strategize to retain them using special offers.
Finished With The SEO Audit
Each step of this audit is essential; skipping even one of these steps would lead to an incomplete SEO Audit.
While doing the audit is presumably that you will discover various opportunities that might have positioned you to the #1 Search Engine Ranking. Although, I would suggest that you emphasize each step equally.
Every time I have done an SEO Audit, I have always paid extra attention to Keyword Research and analyzed the traffic and the audience. So, I would suggest you do the same.
If you have any doubts regarding the SEO Audit and have suggestions about it, the comment section is open for discussion.
And I will try to resolve every query you have.