How To Perform A Complete SEO Audit Process For Higher Google Rankings
An SEO audit is the operation of evaluating your website’s search engine preparedness or put differently; it means examining how optimized your website is for Google and other search engines.
A complete SEO audit is a crucial detective task which can help you recognize weak spots that are sabotaging your SEO, further damaging your search engine rankings, as well as identifying novel SEO possibilities that could be implemented in the foreseeable period and improving them.
But how do you perform a complete SEO audit for your website? There are a bunch of SEO audit techniques out there. It doesn’t matter if you’re an industry professional or a small business owner trying to rank better, the SEO audit process can be somewhat overwhelming for everyone.
Sometimes, even the most seasoned SEO specialists find it challenging to acknowledge where to start the process, whether they should outsource the technical SEO audit to highly reputable marketing agencies, which SEO tools can help them finish the task, and more.
And that’s all right. To cut out the noise and truly help you with your SEO audit process, we’ve nailed down five core elements, or parts, of every highly successful SEO audit. Read through and learn how to skyrocket your search traffic and improve your website’s Google rankings.
Scan The Website For Pivotal Issues That May Be Holding You Back
Every complete and thorough SEO audit should start by addressing the challenges and pivotal issues that might be holding back your potential success. These issues include everything from your website name to indexation and Google penalties.
It’s for the best to start your audit by making sure you’re actually ranking for your website name using one of the many SEO tools available. If not, instantly tackle the issue by optimizing your homepage, claiming your Google My Business profile, building some links to your website, and getting quality citations in local directories.
Other critical issues that may be holding your success back include: inspecting your branded search appearance, checking the indexation of your website and detecting if there are any indexation issues, and seeing if there are any Google penalties. Finally, it would be best if you run a website crawl.
A web crawler, or spider, is a type of bot that’s operated by search engines like Google and their objective is to index the content of websites across the Internet so that these websites can appear in the search engine results.
To check if your website has any ongoing indexing and crawling issues, we recommend you run a website crawl on your own by utilizing some of the best-known site crawler SEO tools and crawl your website as a Google spider would. Upon confirming that Google can access all of the pages you want to rank, you’ve successfully finished with the first part of your SEO audit and can move on to the next.
Performance Ranking Audit
You definitely don’t want to rank only for your brand name. In reality, people are most frequently Googling for other terms or keywords, like “where to…” or “how to… “ to find something or solve a problem. For this reason, the second part of your complete SEO audit should focus on your ranking performance and target keywords.
It would be best if you begin by evaluating your target keywords, as these are the search terms that you’re striving to rank for. To do this, select one of the plethora of keyword research tools and find the right keywords that align with your SEO strategy and goals.
To achieve the best results, make sure to find relevant long-tail keywords instead of general keywords because general keywords like “floor tiles” come with very big competition, and they’re not likely to help you improve your Google rank. On the contrary, long-tail keywords like “modern floor tiles for bathroom” can certainly bring better results and improved search traffic.
Right after you revise your target keywords, take your time, and examine the keywords that you’re already ranking for. You can tackle this task using the free Google Search Console. Afterward, check how your rankings translate into genuine visitors on your website via Google Analytics and determine if your improved rankings mean better search traffic and more visits to your website.
Conduct Technical SEO Audit
Next in line, you will have to conduct a thorough technical SEO audit. This part of the equation is essential, so you can check technical details and ensure that your website is appropriately indexed, and you provide an exceptional user experience.
First, confirm that your website is mobile-friendly, as, in the second quarter of 2020, mobile devices generated over 50% of the global website traffic. Subsequently, ensure that your website is super-fast, cross-check your website’s architecture, make sure that you’re using an optimal URL structure, inspect your robots.txt, validate your sitemaps, assure that you have breadcrumbs enabled, and prop a canonical URL set.
Next in command is the verification that you have structured data-enabled and allow Google to better understand the content on your website.
Ensure that your website is an HTTPS secured website with an SSL certificate that encrypts the link between the server and the browser. As a matter of fact, having an HTTPS secured website is one of the top priorities for Google, so don’t forget to check your URL for the HTTPS tag if you want to conduct a highly successful SEO audit of your website.
Finally, check if you have any redirect issues, which is the final step in the technical SEO audit section.
Carry Out On-Page SEO Audit
If you meet the fundamental technical SEO requirements, on-page SEO is the principal part of the complete audit that gets your website ranked on Google and other search engines. The on-page SEO goal is to optimize your website’s content so that Google can perceive its meaning and the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
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Always perform this part of the audit with special care, and start with examining your tags and meta descriptions. Both are considered essential for your SEO rankings because they work in tandem to generate organic traffic from Google search results. That’s why you should always try to hook your users with a magnetic title and reel them in with a captivating meta description no longer than 160 characters to click through and visit your website.
Also, don’t forget to check your headings and formatting, audit your image SEO, investigate your internal linking, check for broken links, eliminate zombie pages, and appraise the quality of the content.
If you want to see a big traffic boost and better rankings, remove any pages that don’t live up to your website’s standard because low-quality content doesn’t make you look good in the eyes of the search engine and can drag your entire website down.
Besides, check if there’s some duplicate content on your website. Google despises duplicate content, so if you happen to have some, remove it before you suffer significant traffic losses.
Perform Backlink Analysis
As you probably already know, backlinks play a significant role in SEO optimization as they determine the website authority, which is amongst the most powerful ranking factors. Besides, backlinks are an essential source of referral traffic. Since backlinks can make or break your website, we recommend you finish off your SEO audit with a thorough analysis of your website backlinks.
Initially, check your backlink profile through SEM Rush, Ahrefs, Moz, or some other tool of the same caliber and inspect if your backlink count moves in the right direction. Dive deeper into referring domains and discover exactly who is linking back to you. Afterward, check your anchor text distribution, identify the toxic backlinks, and find new link-building opportunities for your website.
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There you have it, a complete in-depth guide on how to perform a comprehensive SEO audit and achieve higher Google rankings. We hope you found this article informative and feel more ready to run your SEO analysis and detect issues holding you back. Check all the areas, tackle and fix the problems, and soon enough, you’ll see an uplift in rankings and get a ton of organic traffic.
Dave is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded Shortlist in 2018, a marketing un-agency that serves as an outsourced dedicated marketing team. He has also co-founded Less.churn, a churn reduction app, prior to selling it in 2018. In 2012, he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries.