Do you have a website that needs to rank higher in search engine rankings? If so, then an SEO audit is for you!
There are many benefits associated with this type of online investment. This blog post will list some of them, as well as provide information on how to get started and what types of issues might be found during such a process.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO Audit is a detailed look at the current health of an individual web property’s search engine optimization. It includes things like keyword research, technical on-page optimizations, and link analysis.
An SEO audit will help you identify the weak points in your current SEO strategy, and will highlight where you can improve for better search engine rankings.
What an SEO Audit Should Include
An SEO audit should be a comprehensive report that includes both on-page and off-site optimizations, such as the quality of your backlink profile. Your recommendations for improvement will depend entirely on what you find during your analysis. Here are some common issues that can lead to organic ranking problems:
• Duplicate content (titles, descriptions, body content) – this is an issue where you use the same content across your website
• Poor internal linking structure – it may hurt user experience if users cannot easily navigate between sections within your website
• Broken links/404 errors – broken links prevent crawlers from indexing all valid pages in their entirety
What an SEO Audit Should Not Be
An SEO audit should not be a one-off project that you only do once and forget about. It requires ongoing maintenance as your website changes. As you you add or remove pages, you may need to update the recommendations for improvement.
It’s important to note that an SEO audit is just part of the equation when it comes to increasing organic ranking potential in search engines. However, it can provide insight into other issues, such as user behavior on mobile devices (which Google recently announced will have more weight than desktop searches).
What Is Analyzed in an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit analyzes a website’s on-page optimization, such as the URL structure and page titles. It also provides recommendations to fix any issues that may be preventing search engines from crawling and indexing your content properly.
You should have an SEO expert or marketing team member conduct this type of analysis because there are many technical aspects involved in determining if you’re optimizing correctly for search crawlers.
If you do not want to hire someone specifically for that task, it is advisable to use an automated tool like Screaming Frog instead (which can crawl up to 500 pages per site).
Related: What is a Meta Description?
What to Expect During and After an SEO Audit?
You can expect to receive a report that includes both on-page and off-site optimizations, such as the quality of your backlink profile. Your recommendations for improvement will depend entirely on what you find during your analysis.
SEO audit results should also include potential technical issues, like crawl errors and accessibility problems. You’ll get a scorecard at the end of the report so you know where to start making changes.
Some SEO firms will end the work there, whereas others will put together a plan and execute it for you. The latter is more common and recommended if you want the best results.
How to Conduct an SEO Audit?
Google allows marketers and website owners to request a site review through Webmaster Tools, which will inform you if there are any problems that may be negatively affecting your search engine rankings.
That being said, conducting a DIY audit can be time-consuming and requires knowledge of the many different factors that go into optimizing for search engines (e.g., HTML tags).
If you have limited resources or experience with this type of task it might make sense to outsource this project – just ensure whoever takes on the job understands exactly what needs to be done so they don’t miss anything important!
Here Are a Few Things You Might Find During an Audit
• Inappropriate redirects – these can prevent crawlers from ranking certain pages or make it difficult for them to crawl all the content on your site.
• Duplicate content – this is typically found in blog posts that are repurposed from other sources and/or pages on your site with the same or similar title tags.
• Low domain authority (DA) – Google’s PageRank system works like a link popularity algorithm, so sites with high DA scores tend to rank higher than their competitors because more people have linked back to them. Sites with low PR often struggle for organic rankings
• Bad or over-optimized link anchor text – using keyword-heavy links can cause your site to be penalized for “over-optimization”. If you use the same keywords repeatedly within links, it will make it look like that is all your website focuses on. Use natural link variations and patterns when linking from other websites.
• Broken links – these should be fixed as soon as possible because they can cause search crawlers to break, leading them to miss important pages on your site or even the entire website altogether.
• Page speed issues – Google’s algorithm prioritizes websites that load quickly. If your site is slow, it won’t perform as well in search engine results pages (SERPs).
• Outdated content – your website should be constantly updated with relevant, high-quality information that is optimized for specific search queries. Poorly written or outdated pages will cause a loss in organic rankings and traffic.
• Crawl errors – when search engine crawlers cannot reach certain pages on your website because of incorrect DNS settings, broken links, or other technical issues this will result in lower rankings and traffic to those URLs.
• Poor keyword targeting – keywords that do not accurately describe your page(s) will lead to a lack of relevant traffic. Users and crawlers expect you to target specific search queries, so make sure you are using them correctly when writing content for your website.
• Unnatural linking patterns – if all or most of your backlinks come from one source (or use unnatural link building), this may trigger an alert within Google’s algorithm. Make sure you have other sites linking back to yours naturally as well!
Benefits of an SEO Audit
1.) Reveal current weaknesses
An audit provides you with a clear picture of where your website stands. You’ll be able to see what areas of your website are weak and need improvement, as well as find out how you measure up against industry standards. This can save time, money, and frustration as you go about making improvements.
2.) Discover keyword opportunities
Keyword opportunities are very important when it comes to SEO. An audit can help you determine if there are any opportunities for improvement in this area, as well as provide insight into which keywords and search terms your website is currently ranking best for.
3.) Understand user experience
Site navigation is an important aspect of SEO. Your website’s user experience (UX) should be a priority for your business when it comes to how you optimize your site for search engines. An audit can help you understand which areas need the most improvement in this regard and provide insight into ways that you can create more navigable, intuitive, and user-friendly sites.
4.) Identify technical issues
An audit will help you identify technical issues that may be affecting your rankings. This is often the case when it comes to websites with too many broken links, missing alt text or title tags, and other similar problems. These are all things that can seriously hinder a site’s performance in search engines.
5.) Create a plan of action
After receiving an analysis of where your website stands, you’ll have a better idea of which areas need improvement and how much time/money should be invested into making changes.
You’ll also find out if any updates are necessary on behalf of third-party plugins, scripts, or applications used by your business (eCommerce sites especially). With this information at hand, creating a plan for action becomes easier than ever.
6.) Assist with link building or link outreach
This is one of the most common types of audits. Backlinks are still extremely important when it comes to SEO and can make or break your rankings. An audit typically identifies which areas of a website are link-worthy, as well as what types of sites might be interested in linking back to yours.
This is beneficial because instead of wasting time on outreach that isn’t likely to yield positive results, you’ll be able to focus only on those opportunities that will have the greatest impact on your business.
7.) Assist with content upgrades
An audit may identify some weak points within a website’s content. These issues can often be resolved by adding more robust CTAs or displays where relevant links should exist throughout this type of content. When done correctly, these upgrades usually result in an increase in conversions.
This is important because it helps to ensure that your website’s content continues to provide value and remains relevant, as well as bolsters the site’s performance with search engines.
8.) Analyze your competition
One benefit of an SEO audit that many forget to mention is the ability to analyze your competition and discover what they’re doing right. This can help you identify which changes should be made, as well as provide insight into how other businesses in your industry operate and succeed online.
9.) Understand site structure
Site structure is important when it comes to SEO. An audit can help you understand how your site’s architecture works, as well as find any pages that are dead or otherwise don’t exist anymore (broken links). You’ll also be able to determine if there are any existing issues with pagination and such.
10.) Determine if there are any issues that need immediate attention
If there are any serious issues found during an audit, then it might make sense to address these problems before going forward with further recommendations. Issues like hacked websites (with malware, viruses, etc.) and hacked user accounts should be dealt with as soon as possible.
11.) Identify new traffic trends
An audit can help you determine if there are any traffic trends that your website might be able to capitalize on. This information is important when it comes to developing SEO strategies and tactics for the future.
12.) Get insights into user behavior, such as bounce rates, time on site, etc.
An audit provides insight into where users go once they arrive at your website from search engines. This data should give you a better idea of which areas need improvement in order to avoid high bounce rates and keep visitors engaged for longer periods of time.
13.) Recommend SEO factors outside of current implementation strategies
An audit may reveal weaknesses within a business’s overall online marketing strategy or existing utilization of SEO practices (e.g., keyword research). These are issues that should be addressed for maximum success when it comes to boosting a website’s rankings in organic SERPs.
It also provides insight into whether or not there might be key aspects missing from an existing plan or whether you’re focusing too much on certain areas while neglecting others altogether (i.e., link building vs outreach).
14.) Assist with conversion rate optimization (CRO)
An audit can help to identify issues with a website’s CRO (e.g., faulty CTAs, irrelevant content), as well as opportunities that might not be readily apparent otherwise. This is especially helpful for eCommerce sites where every conversion point – along the entire user journey from discovery to purchase – should be optimized for maximum success when it comes to making sales and increasing revenue.
This information also assists in creating landing pages or other types of webpages that are converting at a higher rate than others on your site currently do (i.e., identifying problem areas).
15.) Discover potential revenue sources
Finally, an audit can reveal your website’s revenue-generating potential. By looking into things like which pages are currently ranking best for certain keywords and search terms as well as how site traffic is performing overall, you’ll be able to better understand where the marketing opportunities exist on your site.
This information will provide insight into what content areas need improvement in order to increase conversions and make more money from your business’ online platform.
Benefits of Hiring an SEO Company to Conduct an SEO Audit?
1.) In-depth analysis
A good company can provide a detailed analysis that is broken down into several sections (keyword research, onsite optimization checks, competitor analysis) as well as provide recommendations and actionable steps the business owner should take to improve their search engine ranking positions.
2.) Advanced tools & technology
An experienced company knows how to use tools such as Screaming Frog or SEMRush to locate issues with meta data, site speed etc., so they’re not lost when it comes time for implementing changes.
3.) Time-saving benefits
From start to finish, the process of conducting an SEO audit is time-consuming and requires a good deal of research. This means that by hiring someone to conduct an audit on your behalf, you’ll save hours upon hours of valuable time.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to things like search engine ranking positions or page views/clicks, working with qualified professionals will increase your chances for success every step along the way.
On-page SEO Audits for Ecommerce Stores
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing individual web pages so that they rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This can be done through a variety of methods, including improving the title tag, meta description, header tags, images, and other elements on the page.
1.) Evaluate your keyword usage
It is important to find the right keywords when you’re optimizing your site, particularly if you want it to show up in Google. There are many tools that you can use to research keywords, including Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool. This tool is very useful for finding new keyword suggestions.
Don’t choose too many – it can be overwhelming to try and rank for hundreds of terms, you should focus on the most valuable ones that you can confidently “win”.
2.) Analyze your title tags and meta descriptions
Your title tags and meta descriptions are important because they both impact how people will see your website in the SERPs. Try to make sure that you’re using keywords naturally, not stuffing them into titles or writing overly-long copy (like an essay).
3.) Evaluate your on-page content strategy
It’s important to have a strategy in place for your on-page content. This means that you should have a good mix of images, videos, and text – as well as different lengths of content to keep things fresh. You also want to make sure that you’re not duplicating content across your website!
4.) Check for duplicate pages
Duplicate pages can be bad news for your ecommerce SEO. Not only do they confuse Google’s indexing process, but they can also lead to penalties from the search engine giant. Make sure that you’re not accidentally duplicating any pages on your website.
5.) Inspect your header tags
Header tags are another important part of on-page optimization. Try to use keywords in your H tags, and make sure that they are different on each page of your website. This helps Google to better understand which keywords are most relevant for each page.
Off-Page SEO Audits for Ecommerce Stores
Off-page SEO is the process of optimizing your website for search engines outside of the website itself. This can be done by building links, which are basically endorsements from other websites that point back to your site because they know it is relevant or helpful to their audience.
1.) Analyze your backlink profile
Your total number of links will impact how you rank in Google’s SERPs. If you have a large number of links, then this is good for your website! You do want to make sure that they are natural though – if it looks like there’s been an unnatural spike in the number of links pointing to your site (or if all of them come from one source), then Google may penalize you.
It’s important that most of your links are from authoritative websites. These are generally websites that have been around for a while, and they tend to be the most reliable sources of information. This tells Google that your site is trustworthy and that it provides valuable content.
The links should also be highly relevant. For example, it won’t do a tennis blog much good to win backlinks from a finance website. This is because the two websites are targeting different audiences, and Google knows this.
2.) Evaluate your link building strategy
Your link-building strategy is important because it’s how you’ll be acquiring those all-important links. Make sure that you’re targeting the right websites, and that your content is of the highest quality so that people will want to link to it. You also want to make sure that you’re not violating any Google Webmaster Guidelines.
3.) Evaluate competitor link profiles
It’s a good idea to look at what sites are linking to your competitors’ websites. This will help you to get an idea of the types of links that are most valuable to your industry. You may be able to snag some of these high-quality links for yourself!
4.) Disavow bad links to your site
If you do find any bad links pointing to your website, then you can disavow them using the Google Disavow Tool. This will tell Google not to count those links when assessing your website’s SEO.
Technical SEO Audits for Ecommerce Stores
This is the final piece of the puzzle – making sure that your website is technically sound and that it loads quickly. This is especially important for eCommerce stores, as shoppers will often leave a page if it takes too long to load or isn’t secure enough to input their payment information.
1.) Check website speed
It’s important to make sure that your website loads quickly – if it doesn’t, then you’re going to lose visitors. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an idea of how well your website is performing, and then make the necessary changes.
2.) Analyze your site for robots.txt and XML sitemap errors
These are two very important files that tell search engines how to index your website. If they’re not set up correctly, then it can cause all sorts of problems with your SEO. Use the Google Search Console to check for any errors in these files and fix them as soon as possible.
3.) Check for 404 errors
404 errors are caused when a visitor tries to access a page on your website that doesn’t exist. This can be caused by a broken link, or by deleting a page and forgetting to update the links on other pages of your website. Use Google Search Console to find any 404 errors on your website and fix them as soon as possible.
4.) Analyze your indexability and crawlability
Your website needs to be indexable and crawlable if you want it to rank in Google’s search results. This means that the pages on your website need to be accessible to Googlebot and that they should be included in the search engine’s index. Use the Google Search Console to check this information and make changes where necessary.
If you want to maximize your SEO, make sure that you’re organizing your content into SEO Content Silos! Click on the link to our blog post to learn more.
5.) Check for mobile-friendliness
Mobile-friendliness is a very important part of SEO. In fact, Google even has an algorithm change that’s specifically designed to reward websites that are mobile-friendly! Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how well your website performs on mobile devices and make changes where necessary.
6.) Ensure your site is secure
If you want to rank for expensive keywords, then it’s a good idea to make sure that your website is secure. Hackers typically target websites with lower security levels because they know that there are vulnerabilities that could be exploited.
Why It’s Important to Audit Your Website on a Regular Basis
An SEO audit is a great way to discover easy optimization mistakes before they start hurting your rankings. If you think about it, websites are constantly changing – new pages get added and/or old ones removed, urls change with redesigns, or adapt as the site’s content changes over time.
Regular audits ensure that these updates don’t negatively affect user experience by decreasing crawlability for search crawlers because of broken links or other technical issues on-site. They also help pinpoint areas where your website can be improved and receive better organic rankings in search results.
Final Thoughts on Why to Perform an SEO Audit
In conclusion, there are many benefits associated with hiring a professional company to conduct an SEO audit for your website. While there may be some initial investment, the time and money you’ll save in the long run will certainly make it worth every penny!
Related: Top Tips for Managing a Blog.