Getting your website on top of search results gets you the traffic you need. A study shows that the first organic search result gets 10x more clicks than the one on the 10th spot. To keep up with the competition, you need to make sure your on page and off page SEO strategies are constantly updated. That’s where an SEO audit comes in handy.
A SEO audit evaluates the health and performance of your website. It identifies areas for improvement and uncover issues that may be hindering your website’s visibility in search engine rankings. Conducting an SEO audit can uncover opportunities to optimize your website’s structure, content, and technical elements. This can lead to improved organic traffic, higher visibility in search results, and ultimately, more potential customers finding your business online.
It also helps you understand how your competitors are performing and provides valuable insights to develop an effective SEO strategy. It’s a crucial step in maximizing your online presence, increasing brand visibility, and driving targeted traffic to your website.
This article will explain everything you need to know about SEO audits, its benefits, and how you to get started. Read more to kickstart your SEO journey.
What is SEO?
Before we can talk about creating audits, let’s understand what SEO is and what it does for your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing a website or web page to improve its visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). It involves making changes to your website’s content, structure, and other elements to make it more appealing and relevant to search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.
There are four categories you should remember when doing your SEO strategy. This includes:
Category 1: On-page SEO
On-page SEO is one of the easiest ways to enhance your website’s online visibility. You can do this technique by simply adding keywords, title tags, meta descriptions, and images to each web page. You can also create an optimal URL structure, internal linking, and compelling content.
Category 2: Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is another way of optimizing your website. It involves conducting SEO tactics outside of your website, such as:
- Link building
- Constant online activity
- Business directory listing
- Guest blogging
By focusing on off-page SEO, you can enhance your website’s authority, reputation, and visibility in search engine results pages.
Category 3: Local SEO
- Adding your NAP (name, address, and phone number) on your website
- Optimizing your website for local keywords
- Engaging in social media
- Using Google My Business
- Adding your site on business directories
- Creating local content
By implementing local SEO strategies, you can improve your visibility in local search results and attract targeted customers from your local market.
Category 4:Technical SEO
Technical SEO serves as the foundation of your optimization efforts. You can do this optimization technique by crawling, indexing, rendering, and conducting website architecture for your website. This will let you increase your page speed, fix site errors faster, avoid duplicate content, and ensure that your site is mobile-friendly to your clients.
What is an SEO Audit?
Now that you know what SEO is all about, let’s try to cover and understand what SEO audit means.
SEO audit is the process of analyzing your web visibility by identifying numerous foundational issues affecting your site’s organic search performance through a standard procedure.
Your SEO audit should:
- Cover the structural and content components affecting your site’s presence
- Reveal the overall picture of your site’s current state
- Project your business objectives at a glance
- Convey a clear roadmap that recommends actions with projected impacts
What are the benefits of Auditing SEO?
As a website owner, your number one goal is to be seen by your target market so that your website traffic, brand awareness, and authority increase. This is where an SEO audit plays a vital role.
- Improved search engine rankings. Conducting an SEO audit allows you to assess the health and performance of your website from an SEO perspective. It helps you identify the following:
- Technical SEO issues
- Website structure issues
- User experience issues
- Competitive marketplace insights
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Enhanced user experience. SEO audits often involve assessing the user-friendliness of your website. Improvements in website speed, mobile-friendliness, and content quality can lead to a better user experience, reducing bounce rates and increasing user engagement.
- Increased organic traffic. By optimizing your website’s content and technical aspects, you can attract more organic traffic from search engines. This traffic is valuable because it’s often highly targeted and more likely to convert into customers or leads.
- Better keyword targeting. Through keyword research and analysis, an SEO audit helps you identify the most relevant and high-performing keywords for your niche. This enables you to create content that aligns with user search intent.
- Identification of technical issues. SEO audits uncover technical issues like broken links, duplicate content, and crawl errors that can negatively impact your site’s performance. Addressing these issues can improve site functionality and SEO.
- Optimized content. Analyzing your website’s content during an audit allows you to identify opportunities for improvement. You can update outdated content, eliminate duplicate content, and ensure that your content is relevant and valuable to your audience.
- Enhanced mobile experience. With the increasing use of mobile devices, optimizing for mobile-friendliness is crucial. An SEO audit can highlight issues that affect mobile users and help you create a seamless experience across devices.
- Effective internal linking. Internal linking is a crucial aspect of SEO that often gets overlooked. An audit can help you establish a logical internal linking structure, which aids in site navigation and search engine indexing.
- Reputation management. Monitoring and addressing online reviews and mentions of your brand can improve your online reputation. A positive reputation can positively impact search engine rankings and user trust.
- Competitive advantage. By staying updated on SEO best practices and monitoring your competitors, you can gain a competitive edge. Regular audits allow you to adapt to changes in the digital landscape and outperform your competitors.
- Cost-effective marketing. Organic traffic generated through SEO is cost-effective compared to paid advertising. Investing in SEO audits and optimization can reduce your reliance on paid advertising and generate sustainable, long-term results.
- Measurable results. SEO audits provide a baseline for measuring your website’s performance. You can track progress over time, set benchmarks, and adjust your strategies based on data-driven insights.
The SEO process: 12 simple steps to start your SEO audit
Step 1: Define your goals
Before we start, it’s crucial to define your goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your website? Increased traffic? Higher rankings on Google? Clear goals will guide your SEO audit.
When your objectives are well-defined, you can measure progress, make informed decisions, and allocate resources effectively. Furthermore, clear goals aligns your actions to your broader business objectives.
Step 2: Choose the right tools
Selecting the right tools is crucial for a successful audit. Google Analytics and Google Search Console are your trusty sidekicks. They provide valuable insights about your website’s performance. Don’t worry; they’re free and user-friendly!
Step 3: Conduct an on-page SEO audit
Time to dig into your website’s content. Look at your title tags, meta descriptions, and headers. Are they clear and descriptive? Do they contain relevant keywords? Take notes of areas that need improvement.
Step 4: Pick relevant keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases people use to search for information online. They serve as the bridge between what users search for and the content on your website. Analyzing keywords ensures your content aligns with the language and phrases your target audience uses, increasing the likelihood of attracting relevant organic traffic.
Make sure your content includes these keywords naturally. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner can help you find the right ones.
Step 5: Check your content’s quality
Content directly impacts how search engines understand, index, and rank your website. High-quality, relevant content engages visitors and satisfies their search intent. This makes your website appear prominently in search results.
Your content should be valuable and engaging. Remove any duplicate content, fix spelling and grammar errors, and ensure your articles are up to date.
Step 6: Link relevant pages
Internal links guide both search engines and users to explore your content effectively, which ultimately contributes to improved SEO performance. Link relevant pages within your website to guide visitors and search engines. Your visitors will be encouraged to check out your other content while search engines can rank your web pages higher.
Step 7: Conduct an off-page SEO audit
Now, let’s venture off your website. Check your backlinks. These are links from other websites to yours.
By analyzing the quality, quantity, and relevance of backlinks, auditors can gauge the website’s authority and trustworthiness in the eyes of search engines. Quality matters here, so avoid spammy links and build relationships with reputable websites in your niche.
Step 8: Boost your social media presence
A strong social media presence can boost your SEO. Social signals, such as the number of shares, likes, and comments on social media platforms, can indirectly impact a website’s search engine rankings.
Additionally, social media platforms serve as valuable channels for content distribution and audience engagement, indirectly boosting website traffic and improving user engagement metrics—factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.
Pick the right social media platform to share your content. Engage with your audience and watch your website’s visibility soar.
Step 9: Manage your online reputation
Search engines consider user-generated content, such as online reviews and social media mentions, as signals of a website’s credibility and authority. Negative reviews or a tarnished reputation can deter potential visitors and lead to a higher bounce rate, ultimately affecting your site’s ranking.
Actively monitoring and addressing online reviews and mentions can foster a positive online image. A positive online reputation builds trust with your audience and search engines.
Step 10: Conduct a technical SEO audit
Time for some technical stuff, but don’t worry; it’s not rocket science. Check your site speed, the faster it is, the better. Ensure it’s mobile-friendly. Don’t forget to fix broken links.
Step 11: Create an SEO audit report
Summarize your findings in a report. An SEO audit report is a comprehensive document that summarizes the findings and recommendations of your audit. It provides a detailed analysis of a website’s current SEO performance, highlighting areas of strength and weakness.
List the issues you found and provide recommendations for improvement. This report will be your roadmap for action.
Step 12: Implement your plan
After conducting a thorough SEO audit and compiling a detailed report, it’s time to put your optimization plan into action. Fix those issues, improve your content, and watch your website climb the search engine rankings.
As you implement these improvements, keep a close eye on the impact they have on your website’s performance. Over time, you’ll likely see your website climb the search engine rankings, attract more organic traffic, and deliver a better user experience.
Free SEO audit tools
If you’re looking for free SEO audit tools to assess your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement, there are several reliable options available. These free SEO site audit tools provide valuable insights and recommendations to enhance your website’s SEO performance. While they may have limitations compared to their paid tools, they are excellent starting points for SEO beginners and small website owners looking to improve their online visibility.
- Google analytics. Google Analytics is a fundamental tool for tracking website traffic, user behavior, and conversions. It provides insights into your site’s performance, helping you understand which pages are popular and how users find your site.
- Google search console. Google Search Console offers valuable data on your website’s performance in Google search results. It provides information on search queries, indexing, and any issues Google encounters while crawling your site. It’s an essential tool for SEO.
- Bing webmaster tools. Similar to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools offers insights into how your site performs on Bing and Yahoo search engines. It provides data on crawling, indexing, and search queries.
- Google PageSpeed insights. This Google tool assesses your site speed on both desktop and mobile devices. It provides insights and suggestions for optimizing page load times.
- Google mobile-friendly test. As mobile optimization is crucial for SEO, this tool checks if your site is mobile-friendly and suggests improvements.
Paid SEO audit tools
When you’re ready to elevate your SEO game with more advanced tools, several paid options provide in-depth analysis, detailed reports, and comprehensive recommendations. While free tools offer basic insights, these paid tools are geared towards professionals and businesses serious about maximizing their website’s SEO potential.
- SEMrush. A comprehensive SEO toolkit, SEMrush offers insights into organic search, paid advertising, link building, and content optimization. Their Site Audit tool dives deep into website performance, highlighting issues and providing actionable recommendations.
- Ahrefs. Known primarily for its backlink analysis capabilities, Ahrefs also provides a Site Audit feature that uncovers SEO issues on your website. It offers a detailed look at your backlink profile, organic traffic, and keyword performance.
- Moz Pro. Moz Pro is an all-in-one SEO suite, encompassing keyword research, site audits, and link analysis. Their Page Optimization Score offers actionable recommendations to improve the SEO health of individual pages.
- Screaming Frog SEO Spider. A desktop-based crawler, Screaming Frog SEO Spider is essential for larger sites. It provides insights into broken links, duplicate content, server errors, and other technical SEO issues.
- DeepCrawl. This cloud-based crawling tool provides actionable insights into how Google and other search engines see and rank your site. It offers visual reports, performance metrics, and detailed recommendations.
- Botify. Focused on technical SEO, Botify offers in-depth analysis of a website’s architecture, performance, and content. It’s especially suitable for larger, more complex sites looking to optimize their crawl budget and enhance overall site performance.
Incorporating these paid SEO audit tools into your optimization strategy will empower you with comprehensive data, aiding in better decision-making and maximizing your site’s online visibility.
Best SEO audit tips practices
You’re almost ready to do your own SEO audit. But before you get started, here are some additional tips to ensure your website follows the rules set by search engines.
Determine link building opportunities
Building links is vital for strengthening your website authority. Internal links are ideally made by finding an anchor text within your newly created content and linking it to your old content, which is relevant or related to your keyword.
On the other hand, external links feature other websites with high domain authority (preferably between 80%-100%). So, when conducting an SEO audit, see to it that your website is properly interlinked internally and externally.
Check site structure improvements
Next, audit your website’s Information Architecture (IA). Ensure it’s structured properly without compromising your user experience (UX). You can add more blog posts per page to bring older posts closer to your homepage. Or you can improve your site structure by checking for duplicate or overlapping links and replacing them with links that go to other pages that pass equity.
Fix thin content
After checking your IA, you should also check the length of your web content. Blog posts and other articles with “thin” content usually contain a 300-word count.
However, it’s unrealistic to have 1,000-2,000 words on every page of your website since images and call-to-action buttons will dominate the pages closer to your homepage. So, see to it that your content’s word count balances throughout your website.
Remove duplicate content
When searching and removing duplicate content from your website, you may stumble upon the same subsets of pages with thin content. When that happens, you may opt to delete that page or update it with an optimized one.
Scan for keyword optimization
Now that you have audited your content links, site structure, and content length, it’s time to scan for keyword optimization for your updated blog posts. Search engines will not recognize your website if it contains a short word count or hardly has SEO keywords to increase its SERP ranking.
So, conduct a keyword search for your writers to integrate into your website to boost its online visibility. Your keywords should be in your site’s URL, title, H1, H2, meta title, meta description, and body.
Optimize meta tags
Your meta tags comprise your meta title and meta description. Their purpose is to help search engines identify the content of the page it crawls, allowing them to determine your website’s SERP ranking while helping your clients see your web page title, URL, and description.
Optimize your meta tags by keeping meta titles to 50-60 characters and meta descriptions to 155-160. This ensures that Google displays your tags correctly on the SERP after truncating the rest with an ellipsis.
Update web pages
Any web page updates done will signal search engines to crawl that page. That said, regularly updating your webpage will help your site remain fresh and relevant to Google. Specifically, your top pages and opportunity pages should be constantly updated to gain a relevant traffic increase.
If your page ranks outside the top 10 listed websites on SERP, update them religiously for them to rank higher until they move to the first page.
Run page speed analytics
Website visitors have little patience for slow-loading websites, often abandoning them if they take too long to load. In fact, 90% visitors leave a site if it loads longer than 5 seconds. Running a page speed analytics can identify bottlenecks and areas of improvement so you can take steps to optimize your website for faster website speed and better visibility.
Scan for website errors
Error 404, or “page not found” error, is caused by broken links or relevant data deleted from your site. When that happens, your internal linking structure may fracture, which deters your clients from further exploring your website. As a result, your SEO ranking may decrease due to lesser site traffic.
Switch from HTTP to HTTPS
Finally, your clients prefer to navigate secure websites, making hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) a big no-no in today’s digital marketing landscape.
Switching from HTTP to HTTPS (hypertext transfer protocol secure) will let the search engine know that your website is using a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. An SSL is a standard security technology that authenticates your website’s identity and encrypts the data from your browser to the website server.
Boost your site’s ranking with a solid SEO audit
Congratulations, you’ve completed your SEO audit! Regular check-ups and improvements will keep your website healthy and competitive online.
Remember, SEO is a long-term investment that needs serious commitment. Unlike other forms of online marketing, it takes more than just a few clicks to see its results. However, when done properly, your business gets big returns.
Start auditing your SEO and boost your site’s ranking to the top, or let professionals handle all the heavy lifting in your SEO strategy today.
You can get started for free using our SEO Checker tool!