What is SEO Audit?
Before you begin the process of SEO audit for your website, you need to understand what it means. SEO audit is a process with which you can evaluate your website’s search engine friendliness. There are many tools you can use for the SEO audit for your website.
It is important for you to do an SEO audit of your website once in a while because it improves the website’s performance online. The SEO industry is changing regularly and it is important to keep your site updated. SEO audit is an important procedure that helps your website to stay in sync with the regular updates to Google’s ranking algorithm.
Now that we have a brief look at what SEO update is and why it is important, let’s jump into how to perform an SEO audit for your website!
The entire process can be divided into five simple steps-
- First step: checking for Google penalties
- Second step: checking out the search appearance of your website
- Third step: Performing technical SEO audit
- Fourth step: Performing On page SEO audit
- Fifth step: Performing Off-page SEO audit
1: checking for Google penalties.
The first thing you need to do when performing an SEO audit for your website is to check if your website is in any way penalized by Google. Being penalized by Google puts a negative effect on your website ranking and traffic. So, how do you find out if your website is penalized or not? There are two easy ways.
The first way is very easy- all you have to do is to log in to Google search console and select ‘Manual Actions’ situated in the left menu. You’ll see the reasons if your website has any manual penalty on it.
The second way, you are going to log in to Google analytics, and then proceed to Acquisition/ All traffic and then select Source / Medium situated on the left menu. By doing this you are going to compare the Google organic traffic for the dates when Google released an algorithmic change. If there a sudden drop or increase in organic traffic, then it means your website was affected by the algorithmic changes.
If you find your website to be penalized by Google, the best way to proceed is to find out the reason for the penalty and rectifying it during the auditing process. Doing this will not only help with your ranking but would also make your website more reliable for the users.
2: Check out the search appearance of your website
Now you have to go online and run a simple Google searched for your website or blog, and check the list of things below to see how your search appearance for the website looks:
- Is the first item on the result page your homepage?
- Are the descriptions below the homepage and other pages accurate?
- The name and other information on the GMB page- are the correct?
- The pages listed on the first page of Google results, are they relevant?
- Is Google showing site links with your listings?
Now scroll down to the bottom of the search results page and look at the related searches results
- Are these related searches relevant to your brand?
- Are there any relevant searches for which you can create a page and utilize it?
If there is some problem with your search appearance, then it means that there are a number of issues for your website. You need to fix these issues before getting on to the next step.
Claim your Google my business page and make sure all the information there is accurate. Also, review your site structure, and homepage SEO. Once you’ve dealt with these issues, it’s time to move on to the next step, which is technical SEO
3: Performing Technical SEO audit
Now that you’ve done a Google penalty check and a search appearance check, it’s time to do a thorough website review with Technical SEO audit.
For a layperson, this may seem scary, but there is no need to be scared. The steps are quite easy. A Technical SEO audit is important in order to make sure that search engines have proper access and they can index your pages without any problems.
Go through the list and check out if your website has any issues with its technical SEO.
- Your website- is it registered with Google search console?
You need to have your website registered to Google search console. It is a free tool from Google that gives information to the webmasters about their own websites. Things such as the number of indexed pages, the keywords for which the site ranks, security and indexing issues, all can be found in the various tool options and reports. It is imperative that you have your website registered with Google search console to keep up with everything.
Is the domain name specified for your website?
To avoid a duplicate content issue, make sure that you’ve specified your preferred domain name in Google search console and website setting. Google considers websites with ‘www’ in front of the domain, and without ‘www’ in front of the domain as different. Such as- ‘https: //www.w3webschool.com’ and “https://w3webschool.com’ may be the same website, but due to the absence of ‘www’ at the beginning of the second link, Google would consider it as a different website. So make sure you have specified your domain.
The robots.txt file
Websites have robots.txt file which controls which pages are accessible by search engine crawlers. You need to make sure that there are no problems with the file; otherwise, there can be serious optimization issues.
The URLs. Are they SEO friendly?
Review your URL structure to see if they are SEO friendly. The URLs on each page need to be unique and properly formatted. Good URLs include keywords, but they are never keyword stuffed, use hyphens ‘-‘ to separate the keywords, have less than 255 characters, and are unique to each page. See if your URLs match all these criteria’s before moving onto the next step.
The breadcrumb menu- activated or not?
The breadcrumb menu is shown at the top of the page and helps us to navigate easily to the homepage following the menu links. It makes the site easier to the users, so make sure that the breadcrumb menu is properly working.
The structured data and if it is enabled:
The structured data helps Google to understand the context and meaning of the content on the age and gives your website additional ranking benefits. It is used by Google to enhance the presentation of any website in search results, or voice searches. So while doing the technical SEO audit you need to see if you have structures data enabled for your homepage, breadcrumb menus, articles and products.
Canonical URL for all the pages:
Canonical URL helps the webmasters to deal with duplicate content issues and also helps Google to identify which are the most important pages of a website. Every page of your website must have a canonical URL.
404 pages are shown to the user when they try to find a page that is not on your website. Make sure that your website has 404 pages optimized for smooth and easy user experience.
XML sitemap optimization:
The XML sitemap contains all the website pages that are important for your website and Google needs to know about. Once the XML sitemap is generated by your CMs, it’ll be submitted to Google through Google search console.
Does your website have HTTPS?
HTTPS means that a website has a secure certificate installed and the URLs that start with HTTPS have a better advantage over non-secure websites. Making sure that your website is HTTPS will only make your rankings better.
How fast is your website?
It is important that your website loads faster than your competitors. The website page speed is a difficult task to handle, yet one of the most important, as the speed with which the website page loads especially on mobile effects your ranking. There are a number of things you can do to speed up the loading speed-
- Compress all your website images
- Consider using a CDN if you have lots of images
- Use browser caching to minimize HTTP calls
- Make the size of CSS and HTML smaller by minifying them
- Use page speed service or caching plug-in to serve the cached pages to your users.
- Update PHP to its latest version
- Update website and software to the latest version.
A mobile-friendly website?
People are using mobiles more than computers and laptops to search for websites these days. So obviously your website needs to be optimized for mobile. Google mobile first index excludes those websites from mobile searches that are not optimized for mobiles. So check if your website is mobile friendly with Google mobile-friendly test tool.
Your website available in more than one language?
If your website is available more than one language then it should have the necessary SEO setting in the HTML, if not, Google would consider all the translated content as duplicated content. So make sure you have the proper SEO settings in the HTML codes.
Optimizing the website structure:
4: Performing On-Page SEO Audit
Through the use of keywords and on page SEO elements, you need to give the search engine crawlers right signals.
Here is a brief list of all the things you need to check during your on-page SEO audit-
Check your titles and descriptions and optimize them: this includes your titles and descriptions, make sure that they are relevant to your website. Make sure that they are SEO friendly.
Proper text formatting: make sure that the tests on your pages are not plain texts. You should use H1 for the main title and H2 for the main headings.
Check out the SEO content: check your SEO content for uniqueness and freshness. Make sure all the contents on your pages are unique and fresh, and not copied from anywhere. Update your website content on a daily basis.
Functional internal link structure: having a functional link structure helps your website to rank better. Make sure that you have linked related pages together; each of your pages has 2-10 internal links
The image SEO: having a lot of images on your page may make it attractive, but make sure that they are all compressed to the minimal size so that the loading time of the page is not long.
Check Broken Links: you can use the crawl errors report in your Google search console in order to find the broken links in your website. Fix them by doing 301 redirects to a valid URL or by fixing the links. There are many tools that also check all your external links to find broken links
5: Performing Off-page SEO audit
Off page SEO audit, often referred to as link building refers to methods used to promote the website on the internet. You need to be careful while performing off page SEO audit because if you make any mistakes it can be really risky.
Make sure you evaluate your incoming links and find out which ones are the toxic links. There are many tools to do this. Or you can use links to your site report from Google search console.
Answer the following questions while you review incoming links report
- How many domains are linking your website
- Are these domains considered to be trusted?
- Number of links pointing to your homepages and internal pages
- Which pages have most incoming links?
- The percentage of the links based on keywords
- The toxic score of each link
Corrective measures need to be taken based on the answers to these questions. If there are only a few domains linking to you, you need to get links from websites and blogs that are related to your subject. Create a list of websites and blogs you can use for guest blogging or outreach campaigns.
Make sure not all the links are pointing towards your homepage, but some of them point towards internal pages as well.
The links need to be more natural and not keyword based. Use only your domain name, and things like click here, or link etc.
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