Are you lost? Do you have no idea where to start? Then you might want to invest some time and effort in running a website audit. The audit result will tell you which parts of your site are slowing you down, which pages require sprucing up and which links are no longer active.
What is an SEO audit? Why does your site need one?
An SEO website audit is comparable to a person's full blood work, ECG, EEG, MRI and whatever other diagnostic tests you can think of. The way the collated results of such tests point towards the cause or source of a problem, the SEO audit also points towards the difficulties on the site. The process evaluates the entire website and its ability to appear in the Google SERPs. You can customize your audit according to the resources you have available and the time at hand. An easy way to understand the concept of an audit is by thinking of it as a test of your site's Google-friendliness. Your website might seem clean, seamless and high-end to you and your select few users, but if the leading search engines and their bots cannot read your site, your hard work may forever reside in the deepest corners of the web.
Here’s what a full website audit will give you:
While it is quite impossible to work on all the changes Client Surge SEO suggests, you can work on multiple of these factors over the next couple of weeks.
What should your website SEO strategy include?
Just like any digital marketing or SEO campaign, even a website audit requires a predetermined strategy. A typical SEO audit takes time, several tools, workflow, and significant resources. While you can always run individual checks for keyword updates and technical SEO, since you aim to improve your overall ranking, you should think twice before skipping steps. Google considers over 200 ranking signals for the determination of a site’s ranking. Thus, it only makes sense to run a complete audit that looks at all the aspects of a site responsible for a site’s ranking. Targeting the number one position means addressing a combination of different factors all of which contribute to SEO in one way or another.
A complete SEO audit has several steps. Here’s a comprehensive list of the different things the detailed SEO audit should contain:
Technical SEO check
Adding one keyword to the URL and page post does not do much for ranking anymore. You need a thorough vetting of your site’s technical aspects for an idea of what needs fixing. If you are thinking about a quick site checkup, all you need is a robust tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider. The free version is helpful, but premium service is always better for larger sites handling significant traffic and sales volumes.
Check your site’s Panda and Penguin friendliness. While Panda focuses on banners and content quality, Penguin focuses on the link profile of a site. You need a quick audit to check how optimized your site is for these updates.
Next, work on each page. Make the page titles user-friendly, create informative meta descriptions, change the default URLs to meaningful ones, add meta descriptions and alt titles to your media. Once you complete these steps, run another audit on Screaming Frog to see how the site is performing.
A complete website crawl
Nothing can replace a good old website crawl. A full crawl will give you a list of inactive links, website errors, or the location of pages that might have changed in the last few days. Websites that have been around for a while face the problem of depleting link juice over time. The rise of umpteen updates from Google has caused several once-popular sites to lose ranking, and if your content had outbound links to these domains, then your site's ranking might have suffered too. Several websites have gone kaput in the last few months. That has given rise to multiple dead links and error messages. Running a crawl can help you find out which pages of your site are trying to drag your performance down.
Checking the user experience (UX)
With RankBrain and Hummingbird, Google has proved that search engines are becoming smarter every day. Google can now read user signals to distinguish a website with good UX from one with poor UX. In 2018, almost everything about the web experience is about UX. Thus, if you have not been paying attention to the experience of your visitors, it explains why your website has been losing favor.
You need to think about the colors that match your site, the use of the right language, content quality, use of video content and images, employing infographic content to convey messages easily, mobile-ready displays, and hierarchy of content. When you put a lot of information on one page, you must remember to keep the most important information above the fold. Keep your call-to-action (CTA) above the fold at all costs.
Verifying the DNS settings
Checking your DNS settings will tell you if the bots crawling your site are seeing any errors. You can use the Google Search Console to do that. It is a free set of tools that will give you an idea about your DNS settings. Using the GSC is quite easy. Check the current status of your dashboard. The green check mark signifies a good state of the DNS.
Your website might be bright, informative, and media-rich, but the lack of a mobile-friendly design can drag your ranking down significantly. After mobilegeddon, website users have no excuses to stick to desktop-only designs. Switching to a responsive mobile-ready template is not difficult. You will need the assistance of expert website designers to preserve all site content. It might seem like a significant expense, but it will open the mobile world to you. Today, over 47 million people browse websites from their mobile phones dedicatedly, and by 2021, the numbers will increase to 52 million. Not adopting a mobile-friendly design means losing out the possibility of garnering new mobile-only traffic in 2018.
Inspection of the site’s content SEO strategy
You can run the language and readability checks using tools like Grammarly. In case you are using a WordPress site, you should install Yoast SEO to check the search engine friendliness of your site. It will also give you an idea about your keyword optimization. However, today, that is not enough. You might want to have some dedicated content strategy.
Keyword research, content structure, content quality, topics, titles and language influence the current SEO of a site. While you can always do all of these on your own, it makes sense to hire professionals, who have done this numerous times before. That will save your energy and give you better results within a short amount of time.
Scrutinizing the site structure
Some websites have great content, color schemes, metadata, and everything else necessary for SEO, but they cannot occupy impressive ranks due to the lack of a proper site structure. Many website owners are not familiar with the concept of site structure. You can think of your site as a pyramid. All the leading articles should have links to the other pagers. Each page should have content targeting specific keywords, and each page should have a network of other articles/content.
Checking website loading speed and time
Your website speed will determine how many visitors your site will have. Over 25% of web users leave sites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Too long loading times bounce visitors off the site. You can use one of the several free website speed check tools now available. Any reliable SEO agency, who is running the audit for you should be able to inform you of your site’s loading speed separately.
HTTPS check and search ranking
Does your website have an HTTPS certificate? If not, that can explain why you are not getting as many visitors as you expect. Google has started labeling all sites without HTTPS certificates as "unsafe." That is deterring the users, and with hundreds of other alternative sites available, they are finding their information elsewhere or completing their shopping at other e-commerce stores.
You need to shed that HTTP label and get the "secure" tag from Chrome.
Is your site precisely where you want it right now? Are you still not getting the traffic you expect? Are your competitors getting more visitors than your site, although your website is search engine optimized? These are all signs that your site needs a complete SEO audit as soon as possible. Optimizing the pages will improve your traffic inflow and increase your site's revenue.
Sujain Thomas is a data expert. She has been working with complex database architecture and big data analytics for almost eight years now. She has been helping many leading corporations optimize their customer service and product introductions as per big data analysis and predictive analysis.