Are you aware of how well your website works? For your website to rank well in search engines, you need to conduct regular SEO audits. Conducting an audit can be intimidating, especially if you only have a basic understanding of SEO. However, your skill and knowledge should also continue to develop as the marketing industry grows.
In this article, we’ll discuss what SEO audits are, why they’re essential, and how to conduct a comprehensive SEO audit step-by-step.
What Exactly is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit examines your website’s overall health and identifies areas for optimization to improve search engine rankings. It is essential to conduct regular audits since search engines, like Google, frequently update their algorithms based on new technology and user search patterns.
A thorough SEO audit is a critical first step for any digital marketer, whether in-house or outsourced. It allows you to evaluate your current SEO efforts, regardless of their extent, and take necessary actions based on the insights obtained.
Why is an SEO Audit Significant?
Evaluating a website’s health and usability internally and externally is crucial. To accomplish this, you must internalize various factors, such as the sitemap, anchor text, and social media platforms. In addition, an in-depth audit can reveal red flag issues that require your attention, including load time and Google penalties resulting from unintentional SEO mistakes.
Undertaking an external audit is equally essential, as it provides detailed feedback on best practices for content and linking. While a complete SEO audit may be complicated and technical, it can significantly boost your revenue when done correctly.
It is essential to investigate your website’s overall performance regularly. Consider performing a monthly check using some tools and having an expert review your website annually. Although it may not sound exciting, it’s a critical step to ensure your website is functioning at its best.
6 Steps Guide to an SEO Audit
A comprehensive SEO audit will assist you in identifying areas for development and creating a road map for success. We’ll lead you through the essential steps to conducting a full SEO audit in this 6-step guide. It will cover everything from evaluating your website’s present status and assessing on-page and off-page optimization to reviewing your backlink profile and analyzing your analytics metrics.
Step 1: Analyze your websites status
Firstly, assess your website’s design and layout to ensure it’s visually appealing and easy to navigate. In the next step, check your website for any broken links or errors. Otherwise, it will have a negative impact on users, and they will most likely leave your website. You can use Google Analytics and Search Console to identify and fix those errors. Another major thing for SEO is site speed, don’t forget to test it. There are specific tools to do that, Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix.
As mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, over the years dominated web surfing, verifying their mobile compatibility is essential for SEO. Not only that, but apparently, search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites in their search results, and they would be most likely to rank higher than those who don’t have it. Additionally, research shows that customers prefer to stay longer on a site if it is mobile-friendly.
Step 2: Assessing on-page optimization
For those who need to become more familiar with the on-page optimization concept, it refers to optimizing individual web pages to rank higher on Google and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. It involves optimizing website page elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, content, images, etc.
First thing first, you check title tags and meta descriptions that users see on search engine results pages (SERPs). Ensure title tags and meta descriptions are concise, unique, and accurately reflect the page’s content. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze your website’s title tags and meta descriptions. They could identify any opportunity for improvement.
Secondly, analyze header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.); they help search engines, and users better understand the content’s structure. Essential to check if each page has only an H1 tag and if other titles go hierarchically. To make it easier for you to analyze header tags, you can use tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
Thirdly, as you may know, content is king and doesn’t differ regarding on-page optimization. You must ensure that your website content is high quality, up-to-date, meaningful, informative, and naturally includes the target keywords. Tools that will help improve your content are the same as for tag titles and meta descriptions SEMrush and Ahrefs.
And lastly, verify schema markup for engines better understand a website’s content. Did you know that Google offers better results to searchers when it knows entities on a deeper level? To verify that your website’s schema markup is correctly implemented, use Google’s Schema Markup Testing Tool.
Step 3: Examining off-page optimization
Off-page optimization refers to factors that impact your website’s ranking that are not directly related to your website’s content. It includes elements like backlinks, social media presence, and mentions on other websites.
Examining off-page optimization might take time, but it’s vital to improving your website’s visibility and search engine ranks. Off-page optimization can be explored with the following tools and techniques:
Backlinks: The most important element of off-page optimization is backlink analysis. Using Ahrefs or SEMrush, you can determine your website’s backlink profile. Consider the number of backlinks, the connecting websites’ quality, and the linking content’s relevance.
Social media presence: Maintain an active and engaging social media presence. Why? Well, social media presence can provide valuable external links to a website, helping to increase its authority and visibility in search results. Use platforms like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to manage your social media presence for better results.
Local Listings: Local listings such as Google My Business, Yelp, and Facebook Local might impact your site’s visibility in local search results. Review your local listings to ensure they are correct and thorough. Make sure the info is not outdated, and you are updating it regularly.
Brand references: Brand references are instances of your brand being mentioned on other websites. These mentions can have an effect on how well your website ranks in search engines. Tracking brand says with systems like Ahrefs or Google Alerts allows you to contact webmasters for backlinks or other opportunities for partnership. Building backlinks and collaborations can boost your website’s authority and visibility in search engines.
Analyze your competitors: Analyzing what your competitors are doing in terms of off-page optimization strategies may provide substantial insights and opportunities for advancement. Using tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs, examine your competitors’ backlink profiles, social media presence, and other off-page SEO features.
Step 4: Keywords research
In the world of SEO, the significance of keywords cannot be emphasized enough. Using the appropriate keywords can attract the right audience to your website. So, the first thing you need to do is to know your audience; what are they searching for? What questions are they searching for? Are they searching for problem solutions that your company may offer?
After you know your target audience, you have to pick the right keywords to match their needs. For keyword searching, you can always brainstorm ideas with colleagues. Share your ideas of potential keywords that you’re your target audience might search for to find your website on search. Some useful tools can help you generate ideas: Google Keywords Planner, Semrush, or Ahrefs.
You got your keywords; what’s next? You must research your keyword’s search volume and competition level. In order to rank highly on search engines, you should choose keywords with high search volumes and low competition, as these will be easier to rank for and more likely to generate organic traffic.
Analyzing your competitors’ websites can also be helpful for identifying potential keywords. You might consider targeting similar keywords in your own content based on what keywords your competitors rank for.
Finally, once you have done everything mentioned, you optimize your website and content according to those keywords and strategically place them in the meta description, title tags, or header tags.
Step 5: Reviewing the website’s backlink profile
Backlinks are links that point from one website to a page on another website using anchor text. They are also known as “inbound links,” “incoming links,” or “one-way links.” Search engines like Google view backlinks as “votes” for a specific page, indicating its relevance, quality, and authority. Pages that have a high number of relevant backlinks tend to rank higher in organic search engine results.
Here’s how you can review your website’s backlink profile:
Use backlink analysis tools: There are several backlink analysis tools available, such as Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, and Moz. These tools allow you to check the number and quality of backlinks to your website. Analyze your backlink profile and identify any low-quality or spammy backlinks that may harm your website’s ranking.
Check for broken links: Broken links can negatively impact your website’s user experience and search engine ranking. Use a broken link checker tool to identify and fix any broken links on your website.
Monitor competitor backlinks: Analyzing your competitor’s backlink profile can provide insights into potential link-building opportunities for your website. Use backlink analysis tools to check your competitors’ backlinks and identify any opportunities to acquire high-quality backlinks for your website.
Focus on quality over quantity: It’s essential to focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks rather than a large number of low-quality backlinks. High-quality backlinks come from reputable and relevant websites in your niche.
Disavow harmful backlinks: If you identify any toxic or spammy backlinks in your backlink profile, you can disavow them using Google’s disavow tool. This will help to ensure that these backlinks don’t harm your website’s ranking.
Step 6: Analyzing the website’s metrics
The final step is to analyze the metrics of the website, it can help you identify your most popular pages and content, discover areas you could improve, it will help you understand users’ behavior better for who they are most interested in. The main goal of this step is to understand your website performance, like the traffic you get, bounce rates, conversion rates, and session durations.
Ahrefs ir Semrushor Google Analytics are useful tools for maintaining high performance. It will help you to optimize your website’s search engine visibility and enhance user experience.
In conclusion, conducting a comprehensive SEO audit is critical for any website owner or digital marketer who wants to improve their website’s search engine ranking and visibility. By following the 7-step guide outlined in this article, you can assess the current status of your website, evaluate on-page and off-page optimization, review your backlink profile, and analyze your analytics metrics to identify areas for improvement.
Regularly conducting SEO audits can help you stay ahead of your competitors, adapt to changes in search engine algorithms, and ensure that your website is functioning at its best. So, don’t hesitate to start your SEO audit today and take the necessary actions to achieve online success.
The Fortis Media team can help you develop an effective SEO strategy that leads to online success and growth. Just contact us and get a free audit.