It is no secret that search engine optimization can significantly help your website (and your business) grow. But how do you know that your SEO strategy is working? And if it’s not working, what can you do to fix it? To answer these questions, you’ll need to perform an SEO audit at least once or twice a year. Regular audits are the best way to keep track of how well you’re doing in terms of SEO, which areas you’re most successful at, and what you can improve. They help you adjust your existing strategies and develop new ones to always be on top of business trends and make the most of your website. But SEO audits are not always a straightforward process, and it can be hard to know where to begin. So let’s take a look at how to perform one properly.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is an analysis of your website that takes a closer look at the different factors that affect your visibility in search results. The point of performing such an analysis is to better understand your website, its successes, and its shortcomings. This will help you reexamine your web development and digital marketing strategies.
Why is it important to perform an SEO audit regularly?
These days, virtually any business needs an SEO strategy. But things in the SEO world can change quite quickly, so you can’t just work out a plan when you first start your website and stick with it come hell or high water. Instead, you need to be able to adapt and improve if you want to stay on top. To do that, however, you need to reexamine your strategy every once in a while. That’s exactly what an SEO audit is for, so perform one at least once or twice a year – it’ll help you know where you stand and figure out ways to go forward.
Should you hire a professional to perform an SEO audit for you?
An SEO audit is an integral part of keeping up good SEO practices, so you want it to be done right. Provided you’re not a complete beginner, you can do it on your own. However, performing an audit is only the first step. You also need to be able to interpret the results and apply them to a new and improved SEO strategy. This is where it comes in handy to have the help of experts like digitaldot.us, who specialize in both SEO specifically and digital marketing more broadly. There is also always the option of compromising between the two – you can do most audits yourself but call in the experts at key points (like when you’re just starting, rebranding, or when you notice sudden drops in rankings).
The tools you’ll need to perform an SEO audit
Exactly which tools you use to perform your audit will depend on your website, what you’re checking for, and personal preference. But you should at least prepare:
- Google Analytics,
- Google Search Console,
- and Google PageSpeed Insights.
Other tools you might want to consider are SEMrush Site Audit Tool, Ahrefs, SERP Simulator, and more.
A comprehensive guide on how to perform an SEO audit
Between lockdowns, quarantines, and general avoidance of social gatherings, people are turning to the internet more than ever before. That is how they’re most likely to find your business these days. So SEO is crucial during the pandemic as it makes your website more visible. If you want to take advantage of that, you’ll need a good strategy, and that starts with a good audit. Here’s how to perform one:
Step 1: Check your mobile optimization
More than half of Google searches happen on mobile devices nowadays. Consequently, Google prioritizes websites that work well on mobile (even when the search is coming from a desktop). So if you want to be competitive, you need to optimize for mobile. Whenever you’re performing an audit, check that your website loads quickly, looks good, and functions well on mobile devices.
Step 2: Check for and fix indexing issues
Google can index multiple versions of your page based on minor differences in the URL (such as using www. at the beginning or not). You want to avoid that because it means several of your pages are competing with each other, which hurts your rankings, so redirect everything to one page. You’ll also want to search for duplicate and unnecessary content (such as short posts of under 50 words, archive pages, search results, etc.) that got indexed unnecessarily. Get rid of those – they’re only hurting your rankings by clogging up the results and preventing relevant pages from ranking.
Step 3: Reconsider your website structure
For Google to properly index your pages, it needs to understand the architecture of your website. Which pages are most important? Which pages are related to each other? Are there any pages that somehow got lost in the process and didn’t get indexed? To make it easier for Google to answer these questions, keep your website architecture flat. It shouldn’t take more than three clicks to get from your homepage to any other page on the website. If it does, reconsider your structure.
Step 4: Scan for keyword optimization
One of the most important things in search engine optimization is your use of keywords, so make sure to examine that every time you do an audit. Check which keywords you rank for, which keywords in your field get a lot of traffic, which relevant keywords have less competition, etc. This will help you create better-optimized content.
Step 5: Take a closer look at your content
Speaking of content, you want to examine that aspect of your website more closely too. More content doesn’t necessarily mean more traffic – you need to provide quality content for it to be relevant. So make sure your content is optimized, get rid of duplicate pages, and update or delete irrelevant content.
Step 6: Analyze your (internal and external) link building
Link building, primarily external, is one of the most important white hat SEO techniques out there. External linking adds authority and importance to your website because it acts as a recommendation from other domains. But internal linking is also important because it helps strengthen your website architecture. So you want to analyze your link profile on both fronts to make sure your links are healthy, relevant, and not spammy.
Step 7: Speed up your website
Nobody likes waiting for ages for a page to load – that’s how you lose visitors! So check your page speed when doing an audit. If it takes more than a couple of seconds for your website to load, find ways to speed it up. Use fewer images or lazy loading or choose a more straightforward theme, for example.
Step 8: Analyze recent trends in traffic
In a fast-moving field like SEO, it’s crucial to stay on top of the trends. So take a look at the flow of traffic you’ve had since your last audit. Which pages performed well, and why? Which pages didn’t get many hits, and how can you improve them? Was there a particular topic, keyword, or post that raked for many visitors, and can you repeat that success? Finally, remember to look at your competition as well. What are the leading websites in your branch posting about? What are they doing better than you? And what can you learn from them?
There is no one right way to perform an SEO audit – adjust your process to your needs
SEO is not an exact science. What works for someone else might not always work for you. As part of SEO practices, audits are not exempt from this, so when you perform an SEO audit, adjust the process to your website. If there are specific issues you’ve faced in the past, pay more attention to them now. If there is a particular tool you use on your website that can help you analyze it, then do so. And if there’s something you know is wrong but can’t fix (such as website speed when you’re running a video-heavy website), then focus on improving everything else instead. It’s all about your current needs and how to meet them.