In 2017, more than 79% of all global desktop searches were completed by Google. Bing came in second at 7.27%.
This means that if you want to win at search engine optimization, you’ll need to play by Google’s rules. And this will often require an SEO website audit to see just where your website stands, and where you can improve SEO.
Read on to learn exactly how you can run your own SEO audit, and what to do with the results.
Why Run an SEO Audit?
Just like regular dental and medical checkups are essential to keep yourself healthy, regular SEO audits are crucial for keeping your website healthy. Audits take into account your website’s on-page content, technical foundation, and off-page factors. This helps you assess its content readability, search engine visibility, and user experience.
By running an SEO website audit, you’ll be able to determine any issues with your site and perform any recommended fixes.
Regular SEO audits are important for a few different reasons. First, Google is constantly updating its algorithms, so you need to ensure your website is keeping up so you can rank well.
SEO trends and rules are continually changing as well. Staying up-to-date will make sure your competitors can’t inch ahead of you when it comes to site visits or search engine ranking.
SEO audits allow you to fix any errors that are causing you to lose traffic. They also allow you to clean up your link profile. This means you can see where your website is being linked from, and get rid of any bad or toxic links.
How to Conduct Your SEO Website Audit
Conducting a comprehensive SEO website audit isn’t difficult, but it can be time-consuming and a little confusing if you’re not quite sure where to start.
The trick is to know what to focus on so you can understand your website’s performance. Here are the main steps for your audit:
Start By Crawling
Before you begin your audit, you need to crawl your website. This is what Google does to determine your ranking, and it will give you a clear picture of where your website stands.
There are a number of free SEO tools like SEO Spider by Screaming Frog. Just make sure this is the first step you complete. While that’s running in the background, you’ll move on to some other steps.
This isn’t the most exciting part of a website audit, but it’s one of the most important steps. If users and search engines can’t access your site, you’re going to have problems.
As part of this step, you need to see which pages could be blocking crawlers. You’ll need to check your robots.txt file to see if its restricting search engines from crawling parts of your site.
Next, check for URL errors and broken links. You should also make sure that you’ve created an XML sitemap.
Check Your Homepage
To start, this will be a manual check. Go to your homepage, and right click. Select “View page source.”
Here are some things to check:
- Does your homepage have a clickable, well-crafted title? Is it conforming to SEO best practices?
- Do you have one H1 tag?
- Have you used proper subheaders like H2 and H3?
- Do you have a custom meta description? Has it been optimized to increase click-throughs?
Analyze Your Crawl Report
Now that you’ve crawled your website, you’ll have a list of issues to check out.
You’ll need to go through them one-by-one to check that your on-site SEO is as good as it can be.
You’ll see a list of your page titles in your crawl report. These should target one particular topic, and contain your site name or website slogan at the end. Look out for any duplicate or missing page titles.
Next, check your meta descriptions to make sure they’re inviting people to click on your website.
You’ll also be able to see your canonical URLs. this shows Google the source for each page. Check that these are matching the regular URLs and you’re not missing any.
Check User Experience
Search engines continue to get smarter every day. Now, they can read user signals and recommend sites that have a good user experience.
That means that if your user experience is bad, not only will you have a high bounce rate, but your search rankings and SEO will also suffer. Luckily, you can improve UX in a number of ways.
The goal is to make changes that will make your site easier to view and navigate:
Do these represent your brand? Do they have a particular color scheme so they don’t distract readers from your content?
Videos and Images
There should be a good balance between photos and text on your site. Scan your site to see places where you have too much text or too many photos in a small space.
Optimizing your website design will boost engagement. But you’ll need to focus on the parts of your site that visitors will see first.
Make sure you have a call-to-action above the fold. This means users can see it without needing to scroll down.
Optimize Your Content
Your content must be unique. Copyscape can help you check that all your pages are unique, and you can then de-index or remove duplicate content.
Google Analytics is also helpful to see which pages are the most popular, so you can ensure they have high-quality content.
This means that your content is properly formatted, free of grammar and spelling errors, keyword optimized and promoted on social media.
It’s important that you’re posting often on your site to keep it fresh and show Google that it’s being updated.
While there are many steps to take in a full SEO website audit, the above is a great place to get started.
By using the above suggestions, you can be sure that your site is easily accessible to potential customers or clients. You’ll also be able to prevent any issues or mistakes that would impact your search rankings.
Need help with your SEO audit? We can answer your questions. Get in touch today to learn more.