Many web-developers would tremble in fear of the word that starts with A…audit. Oh yes, the SEO audit used to be one of the most annoying tasks that a site owner had to do. Although a few years ago there were only a handful of people who could tackle such a big task, nowadays, there are so many tutorials and programs available, that anyone can do it. Anyone who is willing to commit to the task, that is. If you are a site owner, and you don’t have enough cash to hire a specialized agency to take care of your SEO audit, you can do it yourself.
First of all you have to create a list of the most important factors that you want to check, use the appropriate tools to track them, and create a strategy that will remedy the issues. Easier said than done. If you are ready to go on a SEO audit frenzy, you should definitely prepare for it beforehand, because it will take an enormous amount of time, and nerves.
How to Prepare for an SEO Audit
I mentioned earlier that an SEO audit is a long, arduous, and annoying process, and I wasn’t lying. Although most developers like to jump to the analysis part, you should make sure that you let nothing slip through the cracks. The first thing you have to do is to crawl your entire website. There are many crawling tools available online. Some offer a certain amount of free crawls, while others have a price. If you are the do-it-yourself type of person, you can always write custom crawling and analysis codes. I am not the do-it-yourself person so I usually use Screaming Frog for this phase. It is the newest crawler software, and it works perfectly. Other notable crawler tools include Alexa Site Audit, SEOMoz and Xenu’s Link Sleuth.
The next step is to look at your site through the eyes of the search engine. Obviously, Google doesn’t want to share its vision with us mortals, but you can do the next best thing: Webmaster tools. If you aren’t already using these amazing tool, it is time to remedy the error. Google Webmaster is without a doubt one of the most efficient and powerful online tools, and it is free. Last but not least, get input from the site’s visitors. In other words, you have to check the analytics tabs in order to find more about the organic traffic and types of users.
Starting Your SEO Audit
Nowadays, site optimization is an essential step for those who wish to become successful in their online venture. According to a recent study, Amazon achieved a 1% increase in revenue for every 100 milliseconds that were taken off from the load time of their pages. There are a million, valid reasons that will definitely convince you to do a SEO audit of your site. That being said, in order to evaluate the performance of your site, find the flaws and better your techniques you have to conduct an extremely extensive analysis of all elements. Here are a few things you should consider when conducting a SEO Audit:
1. Better SEO and Link-Building
Even if you hire the best web-developer in the world, chances are that at some point your site will encounter a few problems. Ask yourself how your site is performing, and what you can do to make it better. Only by identifying weaknesses can you provide with future improvements. Title tags, for example are extremely important both for the search engine, and for the potential visitor. Are they catchy or are they keyword stuffed? What about relevant keywords and brand mentions? Meta tags, should not be forgotten. They provide short description of your website, or article, and more often than not they determine potential readers to click on your link. Heading tags, high-quality content, internal links, SEO optimized images, and robot movement throughout the site are only a few examples of things you should try to understand and accomplish.
2. Broken Links and Dead Pages
Links also die, as do all living things. It is inevitable, but this doesn’t mean that you should let outbound and internal links on your web-site. Not only are they annoying for the reader, but they also decrease the SEO performance of your page, because Google and other search-engines crawl the web link-to-link. If a crawler encounters broken link, it will leave the site, and if it hits too many broken link, it might consider that the page offers a poor user experience. Xenu’s Link Sleuth is perfect for broken links, because it can easily crawl errors. In order to remedy the problem you should implement a 301 redirect.
3. Make it Easy for Google to Index Your Page
OK, so Google has this little “tool” called “site”, which supposedly helps you see how many pages on your site are indexed on the search engine. However, the information is not always accurate. Obviously, it is important to be indexed to a search engine, and this is why there are better tools to monitor your indexability. Google Analytics offers accurate analysis on the subject.
4. Duplicate Content
What Google really hates, is duplicate content. It may be admitted for news sites, where there are time sensitive articles to be posted, but most of the times, search engines penalize duplicate content because they lead to a poor user experience and poor content quality. Find the duplicate content, and eliminate it as soon as possible.
5. Conduct a Competitive SEO Audit
Most marketers are interested in how their competition is doing, and it makes sense. Every successful online business, especially one who is starting out with search engine optimization, should have an idea of what the others are doing. The first step to conducting competitive SEO analysis is to articulate your buyer persona. In other words, find out what services you can provide, and which are most appreciated. Next, identify the key competitors, and try to study them. The best way to approach the issue is by conducting keyword searches. There are many more methods that will help you understand your competition, and once you do you will be able to make informed decisions.
All in all, these are some of the things you should keep in mind when conducting the mind-boggling SEO audit. Once you are done, you can create a presentation with the recorded information and check it when you conduct your next Audit. This way you will have a better understanding of how things evolved.