Factors to Consider Before Starting an SEO Audit
Whether you’re a small business trying to optimise your site for organic traffic, or you’re already a well-established business with a large website, it can be difficult knowing where to start with an SEO audit.
In this guide, we’ll explain the factors to consider before starting an SEO audit, allowing business owners, directors and more to understand how the process should work.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is the process of outlining and establishing any problems or errors which could impact organic traffic, potentially preventing your site from ranking highly on search engines like Google or Bing.
Why would you invest in an SEO audit?
Two of the main reasons why you should be investing in SEO audit services are because a well-optimised website will perform much better in organic search, and because search engines also change their algorithms on a regular basis.
If you don’t keep your SEO up to date, you could be missing out on a significant amount of search engine traffic, as well as any attention from potential customers.
What tools will you need before conducting an SEO audit?
In order to conduct an SEO audit, there are a few tools you’ll need. These include:
- SEO software: These include software such as Ahrefs, Moz Pro, Screaming Frog and SEMrush, which will crawl your site to determine its general health. They will also look for inefficiencies that are dragging down your site’s organic performance.
- Google Search Console: There are many ways to use this tool for SEO auditing, including finding issues and/or opportunities in respect to keywords, organic click-through rates, technical fixes and submitting any pages for indexing that you have newly optimised.
Google Analytics: The whole point of SEO is to improve traffic to your site, and so you will need analytics to measure the impact of your actions. This will also help you to prioritise pages which are dropping off.
7 factors to consider before starting an SEO audit
Before getting started on a SEO audit, it’s important that you understand the factors that need to be evaluated.
- Research competitors
An SEO audit should only be conducted after your competitors have been thoroughly researched. You should be looking at how they attract organic traffic for different keywords.You can conduct competitor analysis by finding their keywords, estimating monthly search traffic, their domain authority, inbound links and estimating the value of search traffic.
Compare these numbers side by side with yours to find the gaps between yourself and the competition. This will help you find areas that require improvement on your own site.
- Crawling and indexing
An SEO analysis is not complete without checking for any crawling and indexing issues. Crawling refers to how search engines skim and understand your content, and indexing is the storing and organisation of this information by search engines.Understanding how crawling and indexing works could help you to optimise your site for better results. You can use Google Search Console to check your site has been crawled and indexed.
- Website accessibility
Every SEO checklist should include ensuring that a website isn’t disadvantaged by issues of accessibility. Website visitors may run into several issues when accessing specific pages, such as 404 errors or low loading speeds.You can use Google Search Console for basic insights into your website accessibility, but make sure that you take note of each error that arises.
Ease of use of your website falls under the category of accessibility, so make sure that the structure of your website is easy to navigate for visitors.
- Keyword analysisAlthough you may have already looked at a few keywords whilst conducting a competitor analysis, keyword analysis should really be a key focus of your auditing process.
You should be using software such as Google adWords and Ahrefs to look at keywords and examine the capabilities, popularity and total visits for specific terms.
- On-page SEO reviewOn-page SEO refers to everything on-site, such as content, headings and meta tags to target keywords. It can also include adding alt-attributes to images, creating internal links and designing a responsive design for desktop and mobile devices.
All of the above will send signals to search engines and users that your site serves a purpose, is functional and up to date. It is key to have these elements in line so you stand out in a crowded market.
- Website link analysisUnderstanding how your website connects with other authority sites is essential, as it immensely affects your optimisation efforts.
An in depth link analysis should not only focus on your internal links, but your external ones too. Internal links direct visitors to different pages on your website, whereas external links, or backlinks, lead users from another site to your site.
Backlinks carry a lot of weight, so you should ensure that they are adding value.
- Content evaluationContent evaluation is the process of examining a website’s content for factors which can either boost or deter organic traffic. You should be evaluating your content from the perspective of a search engine, and user.
Content evaluation will help you to detect duplicate content that has been used, such as in titles, introductions or keywords. This is vital for creating a useful strategy in your SEO audit.
What to consider during an SEO audit
Once you’ve actually started your SEO audit, there are a few things you should review and consider. These include:
- Load time: Site speed is crucial in providing good user experience. If a website is too slow, it can negatively impact overall SEO performance.
- Security: A HTTPS encryption on your site can play an important role in how Google ranks your site, as it will show your website is trustworthy and secure.
- Site structure: Another crucial aspect of user experience is an easy-to-navigate site structure. Navigation is helpful for site visitors looking for information on your website, as well as providing a path for search engine crawlers to find new content for indexing.
- Mobile readiness: If your website doesn’t have a mobile friendly design or version, it makes it difficult to access content and links in mobile view. It may also load slowly for mobile site visitors, causing your search rankings to take a hit.
If you are considering an SEO audit, or are actively working on one but could use some support, our team can help. Our SEO auditing services are fully tailored to your website and needs.
Alternatively, get in touch with us if you think you’d benefit from some consultancy from our expert Technical SEO team.