An SEO audit is vital for finding opportunities to improve a site’s search performance and overall page rankings. It involves finding on-page, technical, content and link related issues that need to be fixed or improved.
While each SEO audit may vary from each other, there are basic issues that site owners should always look for.
What should an SEO audit cover?
An SEO audit is the process of assessing how well your site is optimised for search engines, such as Google and Bing. The process outlines and analises potential problems or errors that will most likely impact organic performance.
There are a few key parts that an SEO audit should cover, including:
- Checking your site for on-page SEO issues
- Analysing the strength of current on-site, off-site and core technical elements
- Ensuring your site is being crawled correctly, indexed and rendered by Google
- Verifying that your site has good UX design (user experience)
Elements of technical SEO in an audit
A technical SEO audit examines various technical aspects of a website, ensuring they are following the best search operation practices. Technical audits are simply just a type of SEO audit, but they focus on issues related to your website that happen behind the scenes.
Elements of a technical SEO audit include:
- Identifying crawl errors with a crawl report
- Checking a sites load time
- Ensuring a site is mobile friendly
- Optimising titles and metadata
- Checking images for accurate descriptions and ALT-text
What does an SEO audit include?
SEO audits can vary slightly from one another, but each one should analyse the basic technical SEO elements like server errors and metadata. However, every SEO audit should include technical and on-page audits.
In general, SEO audits should include:
- Full website crawl
- Site analytics
- Site and page speed testing
- URL structure
- Mobile SEO analysis
- Backlink profiles
- Site content structure
- Keyword use and research
- Metadata analysis
- User experience
- Image and video optimisation
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SEO audit checklist
While each SEO audit process can differ since there is no universal approach, there are a handful of basic issues that you should be looking for.
We’ve outlined below the essential features of SEO audits that you should be including in your checklist.
- Check for manual actions: Manual actions are when a human reviewer at Google has determined that your site doesn’t comply with their webmaster guidelines. The result of this is that some or all of your site won’t be shown in Google’s search results. You are unlikely to have manual actions unless you’ve done something seriously wrong. However, it should still be the first thing you check because if you have one, you’ll be stuck before you even start.
- Check organic traffic: Google updates its search algorithms all the time, meaning it’s important to check organic traffic drops coinciding with the updates.
- Check for HTTPS-related issues: HTTPS is a secure protocol for transferring data to and from visitors. You should be checking each page on your site using HTTPS by visiting them and ensuring there is a lock icon on the address bar.
- Check indexability issues: Google search results come from its index, which is a database of web pages. Your pages need to be indexed to stand any chance at ranking.
- Check for mobile-friendliness: Mobile-friendliness has been a huge ranking factor everywhere since Google moved to mobile-first indexing in 2019.
- Check page speed: Page speed has been a small ranking factor on desktop since 2010 and mobile since 2018.
- Check for broken pages: Having broken pages on your site is never good, and if these pages have backlinks, they are effectively being wasted because they point to nothing.
- Check for sitemap issues: A sitemap lists the pages that you want search engines to index. It shouldn’t list things like redirects, non-canonicals or dead pages, as those send mixed signals to Google.
- Check for declining content: Rankings will rarely last forever since content can become outdated, meaning the search traffic will often start to drop off. You can solve this by updating and republishing old content.
- Check for content gaps: Content gaps occur when you miss important subtopics in your content. Not including this content means you won’t rank for as many long-tail keywords and potentially won’t rank as high as you could for your main target keywords.
What to expect after an SEO audit
Before you dive into conducting an SEO audit , you will want to know what to expect. Once an SEO audit has been conducted on your site, you will receive an audit report which is a final document outlining all of the issues with your current website.
This report will be analysed in order to identify low-hanging opportunities to improve your site in one of the five key areas. These areas include technical SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, competitor analysis and keyword research.
Using the data, SEO experts will interpret the raw data and suggest opportunities and strategies you can use to increase your overall traffic and visibility.
What is the difference between SEO analysis and an SEO audit?
SEO audits are long term processes in which you need to audit your entire site on-page, off-page, technical, user experience and other factors. It is the method of identifying your site’s fundamental issues which are affecting its performance and ranking.
SEO analysis however, observes all the factors above and determines how well you’re carrying out the site’s SEO strategy. It is almost impossible to make correct decisions in improving your site’s ranking in search engines without SEO analysis of your site.