If you own an online business, you must be well aware of the importance of SEO to make your website successful.
And the only way to ensure that your website’s SEO is in shape is to perform an SEO audit.
What Is An SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is the process of evaluating a website to identify SEO issues that can create hindrances to ranking it higher on the search engine results pages.
It is essential to conduct SEO audits on your website regularly to identify the latest SEO issues and take necessary actions to fix them.
To ensure an in-depth website SEO audit that covers all the vital areas, you must break down the SEO audit process into several parts and handle each of them methodically.
How To Do An SEO Audit?
The following are the essential parts of a successful SEO site audit.
Check For Existing Penalties
Before you start the SEO website audit, you should check whether Google and other search engines are already penalizing it in any way.
You can check the same using any of the following two methods,
- Using the Google Search Console to check for Manual Actions placed against it.
- Using Google Analytics (or any similar tracker) to analyze traffic patterns from search engines and identify any significant changes that could indicate your website has been penalized.
If your site indeed has been penalized, you should try to identify the reason for the penalty.
SEO Technical Audit
The purpose of an SEO technical audit is to make sure that search engines can access, browse, and index pages on your website without any issues.
A simple way to go about it is by following the SEO audit checklist below:
Register with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools
It is essential to use tools like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools to analyze your website data.
These tools provide you with reports showing data on the traffic your website is receiving, and the keywords searchers are using in their search queries to find your website.
That, in turn, boosts your campaign’s performance and enhances your SEO strategies.
However, Google Search Console comes with data limitations, and you need to overcome that hurdle first.
But how is that possible?
Here comes the RankWatch console, the most sophisticated tool that can let you utilize GSC to its full potential by overcoming all limitations.
You need to add your GSC account to RankWatch Console by following the steps,
- Log in to your RankWatch account and go to the dashboard.
- Click on the ‘Console’ tab.
- Select your Google search console account and profile..
- Add your GSC account to the RankWatch console.
Make Sure Only One Version of the Website Can Be Browsed
Site URLs can be of various types, such as,
To any human, it would be evident that each of those URLs refers to the same website, but not to search engines.
That is why you must use 301 redirects and set the preferred domain in the Google Search Console to ensure only one version can be browsed and indexed by search engines.
You can check your URL redirects to ensure they point to the correct web pages using RankWatch’s online redirect checker tool for free.
Ensure SEO-Friendly URL Structure
An ideal URL structure should describe the purpose of the web page to search engines and must include relevant keywords.
https://yourwebsite.com/content-title-in-brief is an SEO-friendly structure, but https://yourwebsite.com/44/3/contenttitle/414445/ is not.
Search engines prefer websites that use HTTPS to provide a secure connection. If you haven’t already migrated your site to HTTPS, it should be a top priority.
Ensure Fast Page Loading Speed
If your web pages take longer to load, users will leave them in no time, resulting in a higher bounce rate.
The first step to achieve a faster page loading speed is to ensure that the page size is within the average permissible limit of 3 MB.
You can check the size of your web pages using RankWatch’s Web Page Size Checker tool for free.
Evaluate The Mobile-Friendliness Of The Website
With the increasing number of mobile users, Google and other search engines prioritize the mobile version of a website over its desktop version while indexing.
That is why ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly has become a mandatory requirement of SEO auditing.
You can run a mobile friendliness test using the Rankwatch tool to measure the mobile responsiveness of your website.
Check The Website’s XML Sitemap
Creating and submitting XML sitemaps will help search engines locate all the pages that are part of your site.
As part of the technical SEO audit, you should check that the XML sitemaps are appropriately formatted, updated, and submitted to Google and other search engines.
Check The Robots.Txt File
Every website has a robots.txt file, located at yourwebsite.com/robots.txt.
It tells search engine bots how they can (or can’t) access your site, and is, therefore, an essential part of website audits.
If you want you could manually check the robots.txt file, or you could use the tool in the Google Search Console.
Start Using Structured Data
Structured data is gradually starting to replace sitemaps as a way to provide search engines with additional information about the content on web pages.
Nowadays there are different types of structured data available, and Google’s guide to adding structured data is an excellent resource to get started.
One-Stop Solution For Your Technical SEO Audit
If you are looking for a one-stop solution to perform a technical SEO audit on your website, you must try out RankWatch’s website auditor.
On-Page SEO Analysis
On-page SEO plays a vital role in site audits. The main aim of on-page SEO is to describe the intent and purpose of your web page content to search engines.
RankWatch’s SEO IQ feature is the best on-page SEO checker that is capable of taking care of all your on-page SEO requirements.
However, you must ensure the following to implement on-page SEO during the website auditing.
Unique Title of Right Size
The title of your content is the first thing a searcher views on the SERPs.
Hence, writing a compelling and punchy heading with targeted keywords is your first chance to attract readers. Your title should ideally be within 65-70 characters.
RankWatch SEO IQ provides you with the details of the usage of exact keywords in your title and also suggests if it requires any further improvements.
Split The Content Using Subheaders
You must break your content using H2, H3, and H4 tags and insert the auxiliary keywords in those subheaders to rank your content higher.
RankWatch SEO IQ suggests the changes your sub-headers require.
Writing Clear Meta Descriptions of The Right Size
Meta descriptions briefly describe what searchers can expect by landing on your web page.
The meta description should be clear, to the point, and ideally within 150-160 characters.
Including your targeted keywords and search phrases in the meta description is essential. Google makes them bold when used in meta descriptions. That, in turn, can increase your click-through rate.
RankWatch SEO IQ provides you with the details of keywords used in your meta title, meta description, and meta tag. The tool also suggests the necessary actions to optimize further.
You can achieve image SEO by adding alt texts in the images in HTML. You must write alt texts in such a way that they can describe the image to the crawlers.
RankWatch SEO IQ recommends keywords to be included in the image alt texts for better optimization.
Remove Duplicate Content
You must ensure that your web page does not contain any duplicate content. If you find any, you must remove or de-index it.
Identify And Fix Broken Links
You can identify the broken links using the Google Search Console. You can find them under the ‘Crawl Errors’ as URLs not found.
You can either fix them directly or use 301 redirects to correct them.
Off-Page SEO Evaluation
Arguably the most difficult part of any SEO audit is the off-page SEO evaluation. You need to check the links pointing to your website and identify any issues.
In particular, you need to:
- Check the number of links that exist.
- Analyze the breakdown of the types of links (no-follow and do-follow).
- Identify any links from bad neighborhoods that could be toxic.
- Compare links against competitors for various keywords.
RankWatch’s free backlink checker tool can serve all the above purposes in the blink of an eye.
By the time you’re done conducting your site audit SEO, you should be able to pinpoint any issues, identify areas that need improvement, and make sure your website is better positioned to rank well.
On top of that, you may be able to spot some opportunities that will allow you to plan your SEO strategy more effectively and target the right keywords.
Keep in mind that as SEO evolves the factors that need to be evaluated in your audit may shift – and you need to stay up to date with the latest developments at all times.