How to Conduct an SEO Audit? – An Ultimate Checklist
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One of the most difficult aspects of doing an SEO audit is determining where to begin.
Even once audits are finished, putting the recommendations into action might take a long time. In reality, some SEO audit recommendations are never followed through on.
Audits don’t have to be hundreds of pages lengthy, and they don’t have to be solely for the most technical of individuals to understand.
A good SEO audit should clearly present a prioritized set of tasks and arguments that outline the measures that must be completed to enhance organic search results.
That’s all there is to it.
In this article, we will take you through the process of conducting an SEO audit step-by-step.
Our Jacksonville SEO experts will show you how to audit your site, uncover and prioritize issues that may be slowing down your site’s performance, and help you understand the measures you need to do to increase organic traffic. Let’s begin.
What is an SEO Audit?
Before we go into the details of assessing your site, let’s define what an SEO audit is and why it’s so crucial.
Simply defined, an SEO audit is a process of discovering flaws that may be preventing your site from ranking well in Google and other search engines.
You’ll be missing out on organic traffic if your site can’t be crawled and indexed effectively, your content doesn’t compare to your rivals, or you have poisonous links (to name a few typical issues that an audit might reveal).
To discover more, see The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist.
Domain factors include the domain name, age, history, and any other relevant information.
Learn what counts when evaluating E-A-T, headlines, keyword cannibalism, user interaction, and more at the page level.
Content length: Your SEO audit should look at material length, image links on certain pages, and how content is structured across the site.
Issues with duplicate content: As part of your SEO audit, learn how to rapidly detect these issues so you can address them later.
Website updates: Discover why it’s critical to keep track of ongoing website modifications and how to spot serious problems that may arise.
Learn how to identify and prevent harmful connections from hurting your profile, as well as some of the best tools to employ.
Learn how to recognize the most frequent on-site technical SEO concerns.
Competition and Sales
If you’re not getting enough traffic, you’re not getting enough purchases. This traffic and conversions will be enjoyed by your competition.
Knowing that your rivals may be stealing traffic and conversions that you could otherwise be reaping the rewards of is a powerful drive to go audit your site.
If you don’t audit your site on a regular basis, you risk missing out on chances for growth, difficulties that surfaced during the most recent development roll-out, or simply things you might have done better. The following are some of the most prevalent reasons why you should audit your website:
- You’ve recently signed a new SEO customer and are planning your expansion strategy.
- You’ve begun a new job and, like the last example, and are formulating a plan.
- You’ve purchased a website and are trying to figure out what to do next.
- You’ve seen a decrease in organic traffic and need to figure out why.
- Regular audits should be a part of your ongoing SEO strategy to allow you to rapidly identify and resolve concerns (we recommend quarterly).
SEO Audit Tools
Keep things as simple as possible. To conduct an SEO audit properly, you do not require a big number of tools.
We at our Jacksonville SEO Company will only use four tools during the audit process:
- Site Audit Tool by SEMrush
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- PageSpeed Insights from Google
Get Your SEO Audit Started
Run a site crawl using the SEMrush Site Audit tool before you start going through the audit process.
- Go to the Site Audit tool and fill out the form.
- Select ‘New Site Audit’ from the drop-down menu (top right of your screen).
- You’ll be invited to start a new project. Now, fill up your domain and project names. Except for the number of checked pages’ limit, which will vary depending on the size of your site, you shouldn’t need to change any parameters. You may need to delete URL parameters, bypass limitations, or allow or block certain URLs in some cases. Start your site audit and wait for the crawler to finish; we’ll return to this later.
- You should also make sure that your website is confirmed in Google Search Console if it isn’t already.
As we work through each phase, we’ll resort to information from this report, and it may take some time to finish depending on the size of your site.
When your site scan is done, you’ll get a dashboard with the following information:
Possible difficulties that may prohibit your site from being crawled and indexed effectively, as well as major flaws that may be producing regions of worry.
Let’s begin the audit by going through the items that you really must examine.
1. Analyze Your Rankings and Know Who Your Competitors Are
You must first comprehend the competition before diving into a technical or on-page audit.
The more you know about what other players in the same sector are doing, the higher your chances of success are, whether you’re working on a new site for the first time or auditing as part of your ongoing plan.
You should compare your site’s rank to the competitors and assess your success.
All of this is possible using theSEMrush toolset.
- Benchmarking the Rankings of Your Website
You should set up location monitoring for your site if you haven’t previously.
Create a new project by going to the position tracking tool.
You must now complete your campaign by selecting your area, device, search engine, and language, as well as entering your whole business name.
Then you may start tracking your keywords.
You may manually enter keywords from a campaign, SEMrush, or Google Analytics, among other options. You can see how you rank across the keywords you’ve entered once you’ve started tracking.
- Knowing Who Your Competitors Are
When you run your domain through the Domain Overview tool, you’ll see a clear visualization of a competitive positioning map that will help you understand who you’re up against; you can then go away and investigate their site’s performance further.
2. Check Google’s Index for Duplicate Versions of Your Site
This is likely the simplest check you can perform on your site, but it is critical to guarantee that just one version of your site gets indexed by Google. Confused?
It’s possible that your website will be hosted on:
There isn’t much of a distinction here for a user (with the exception that they may see a warning for a non-secure site in their browser).
These are distinct versions of the webpage to a search engine. You should only have one version of your site indexed, and you should check for duplication. This is extremely simple to accomplish.
Go to Google and type in site:domain.com. This gives the URLs for your domain that have been indexed.
If you see a mix of site versions, you may have a problem that has to be resolved.
Alternatively, you may manually type each URL variation into your browser. Regardless of the browser you use, you should expect to be sent to a single version. If not, use a 301 redirect to go to a single version.
Running a web search, on the other hand, is critical. You’ll immediately learn about any subdomains that are in use, and it’s not unusual to uncover duplicate site versions on subdomains that have been put up for affiliates or similar purposes.
3. Examine the URLs that have been indexed on your site.
This is a check that may be done at the same time as the previous step, but it deserves its own section.
Examine the number of indexed URLs after performing a “site: search” on Google.
When you see the number of pages that Google has indexed, you may be surprised.
How many goods do you have listed in your e-commerce store? (in case of an e-commerce website) How many pages and articles have you produced in your CMS if you run a simple lead-generating site?
We are only running a quick check here to see whether the quantity of indexed results matches your expectations.
If not, you may have a duplication or thin content page problem that has to be addressed (we will look at this further into the audit).
For example, it’s not uncommon for an e-commerce site with 5,000 goods to have hundreds of thousands of indexed URLs all of a sudden – the culprit is generally indexable faceted navigation.
If the result is lower than you expected, it’s possible that your site isn’t being scanned or indexed as thoroughly as it should be. We’ll go through this in greater depth later.
4. Examine for any manual actions.
If your site is found to be in breach of Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines, a manual action can (and will) be taken against it.
This was previously known as a manual punishment. It implies that unless the action is canceled, your site’s rankings will decline and you won’t be able to rank as highly as you used to until the action is revoked; this action can be taken at the page or site level.
In the worst-case situation, your entire site will be deindexed, and you will not be able to search for your brand name.
In Search Console, you may discover if a manual action has been taken against your site. Enter a ‘Security & Manual Actions’ tab and the manual actions link may be found on the left-hand side menu.
When you click it, you’ll be transported to a website where the status is plainly shown.
Hopefully, you’ll see a green tick, indicating that no problems have been found. If you find an issue identified, follow the steps in this guide to resolve it and revoke the manual action.
Read a complete guide on how to identify and recover from Google penalties to learn more.
5. Examine the speed of your website
For a long time, site speed has been vital.
In fact, Google released a special Page Speed Update in 2018 that made speed a mobile ranking criterion.
Fast forward to the present, Google has recently revealed that a Page Experience Update will be released in 2021. This supports what many have thought for a long time: UX is now more important than ever in SEO success.
And there’s no denying that speed is crucial.
In fact, Google has published data showing that the slower a website loads, the higher the probability of a visitor bouncing.
Your website’s speed is more crucial than ever, both in terms of SEO and user experience.
Slow pages will be marked on the list of faults, along with load time data, in your SEMrush Site Audit report’s issues tab.
The Performance report is also accessible through the Site Audit dashboard. This will highlight any problems, and you can then go to Google PageSpeed Insights for tips on how to fix them.
An SEO audit is a process of discovering flaws that may be preventing your site from ranking well in Google and other search engines. If you don’t audit your site on a regular basis, you risk missing out on opportunities to grow and increase your website’s traffic and conversions. SEO audits should be part of your ongoing SEO strategy to allow you to rapidly identify and resolve concerns. To conduct an SEO audit properly, you do not require a big number of tools. We will only use four tools during the audit process: Site Audit Tool by SEMrush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and PageSpeed Insights from Google.
If you’re working on a new site for the first time, or auditing as part of an ongoing plan, you should benchmark your site’s performance. These are distinct versions of the webpage to a search engine. You should only have one version of your site indexed, and you should check for duplication. Here you complete your audit fully and now can begin with fixing the issues.