- If you want your website to gain visibility and rank high on major search engines, audits need to be a key component of your overall SEO strategy.
- An SEO audit is a detailed check of your site to assess if there are issues that could be pulling your search rankings down. But how does an SEO audit work exactly?
- In this guide, we take you through the key steps involved in a technical and on-page SEO audit so you know what to look out for.
Just about anyone who runs a website knows that search engine optimisation (SEO) is important in order to gain visibility on search engines, rank higher in search results and get more website traffic.
What’s also important is to run regular SEO audits on your personal or business website.
In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at what an SEO website audit is, why it’s important and how an audit can improve your website overall.
First, it’s important to define what an SEO audit actually is.
What Is an SEO Website Audit?
An SEO audit is a detailed check of your website to determine if there is anything that could be preventing it from ranking well on search engines.
Search engines such as Google and Bing have criteria built into their algorithms so that when their bots crawl a website, they search for certain indicators and determine how to rank the site. These bots will also search for things that will deter a search engine from ranking a site well, such as crawling issues.
In the worst case scenario, if your website’s SEO is really bad or there’s something present on your site that search engines don’t like, your website might not get indexed and ranked at all.
Why Are SEO Audits Important?
Without good on-page and technical SEO, your website is going to suffer in the search results.
When an SEO audit is performed, the tools used to do it will analyse your website and pinpoint problem areas. Once these issues have been identified, a strategy can then be devised and implemented to improve your website’s overall SEO.
There could be a number of scenarios as to why and when you might want to perform an SEO audit. A good example is if you’ve just purchased an existing website and want to check it for problems. Another time might be when you’ve made a lot of changes to your site in a short space of time but may not have given much thought to SEO in the process.
If you’ve noticed a severe drop off in organic search engine traffic (perhaps due to a recent Google update), this is a prime time to perform an audit to determine what the problem might be.
How Do I Perform a Technical SEO Audit?
Technical SEO is all about ensuring your website and its structure meet the technical requirements that search engines like to see. This also includes how easy it is for users (and search engines) to navigate your website.
To perform a technical SEO audit, you’ll either need to be an expert in the field or take advantage of some handy tools to help with the process.
What Are the Best SEO Audit Tools?
There are many tools you can utilise to run an SEO audit. How many you’ll need will depend on how in-depth you want to go with a technical SEO audit. Some examples of popular audit tools are:
Issues to Look for in a Technical SEO Audit
Some of the issues you’ll be looking for with a technical SEO audit (apart from what was mentioned at the start of this section) include:
- Pages with 301 or 404 errors
- Duplicate content
- Thin content (short content with no real depth)
- Problems with your sitemap
- Robot txt file
- Crawling and rendering issues
- Loading speed
Technical SEO is exactly that - technical. So, you might want to enlist the help of an SEO expert to fully analyse your site.
How Do I Perform an On-Page SEO Audit?
An on-page SEO audit is when you analyse a particular page (or several pages) of content on your website. An example could be the latest blog post you’ve uploaded.
You’ll want to ensure that on-page SEO is up to scratch so that your content has every chance of ranking high against your competitors.
Things to Look for in an On-Page SEO Audit
Below is a checklist of the key items to review in an on-page SEO audit:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Header tags (H1, H2, H3...)
- Quality content
- Use of relevant keywords and LSI keywords
- White space and subheadings
- Proper URL structure
- Image optimisation
- How fast a page loads
- Pages are optimised for mobile devices
- Internal and external links
The more in line with Google’s algorithms your pages are, the better chance they’ll have of being ranked ahead of your competition. Each time you create content you should run it through an SEO checklist.
How Often Should I Do an SEO Audit?
Some experts say you should do an SEO audit about once a year, but more often is highly recommended.
SEO is a long game. Results don’t happen instantly. Therefore, there’s no point running constant audits of your site if you feel it’s under-performing. SEO strategies take time for results to become apparent.
Running through a checklist for on-page SEO each time you create new content is a good practice to get into, but conducting a full site audit often, including technical SEO, is not necessary or beneficial and could just prove frustrating.
If an SEO strategy has been implemented, perhaps try running an audit after 3 months to see how things are progressing, and maybe every 3 months after that.
As mentioned earlier, if you see a sudden drop in organic website traffic you should conduct an audit to see what’s causing the problem.
You’ll want to give your website and its content every chance of being indexed and ranking highly in search results, and SEO audits give you the best chance to achieve this.
If you don’t have the know-how or the tools to do it yourself, then you should definitely consider enlisting the services of an SEO expert.
Do you conduct regular SEO audits? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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