If you’re looking to improve your website from a technical perspective, but are intimidated by the thought of uncovering all of your site’s issues, don’t be!
With the right professional help, you’ll soon be rising past your competitors and attracting more traffic.
In this guide, we’ll explain the in’s and out’s of an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) audit, allowing business owners, directors, marketing managers and more to understand the steps necessary to optimising a website.
An SEO Audit is the process of outlining and analysing potential problems or errors that will most impact organic performance, potentially preventing your site from ranking highly on search engines such as Google and Bing.
There are a few key parts which make up an SEO audit, including:
- Checking your site for for on-page SEO problems
- Analysing the strength of current on-site, off-site and core technical elements
- Ensuring your site is being correctly crawled, indexed and rendered by Google
- Verifying that your site has good user experience (UX)
Why would you need an SEO Audit?
One of the most important reasons to utilise SEO audit services is the fact that search engines change their algorithms on a regular basis.
It is vital that you keep your SEO strategy up to date, otherwise, you could be missing out on a significant amount of search engine traffic, as well as attention from potential customers.
Below are several reasons why an SEO audit would be necessary for your business online:
- Webmaster guidelines: Popular webmaster tools from search engines are continually changing, so you need to make sure you’re compliant.
- Algorithm changes: As we’ve mentioned, search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to provide better search results. You need to be aware of these changes so you can update your site content accordingly.
- Outdated content: You may have content on your site that is outdated. It’s important to provide fresh content to search engines to give them a reason to come back.
Damaging elements: There may be some technical elements to your site that are actively harming your organic rankings. Core issues, such as broken links, duplicate content, unoptimised pages and poor site speed, can have significant negative impact.
What is an SEO audit tool?
SEO audit tools are used to make the work of Search Engine Optimisation much easier – auditors do not need to spend valuable time doing manual checks on every web page, as the tools help you to identify the problems on your website and categorise them for further, crucial analysis.
Many SEO audit tools can examine your sites health, recognising technical issues and critical errors such as broken links and redirects, which can harm your sites rankings.
Most Technical SEO agencies will utilise SEO auditing tools to allow them to spend more time analysing, proposing and fixing core site issues, which is what will bring businesses the most value.
What does an SEO Audit include?
While SEO audits may vary slightly, each one should analyse basic technical SEO elements such as sitemaps, server errors and metadata.
Some audits may also include indexation, optimisation and accessibility. Every SEO audit should include technical and on-page audits.
Technical audits will likely include:
- Full Website Crawl
- Site Analytics
- Log File Analysis
- Status Codes and Redirects
- Structured Data Testing
- Site and Page Speed Testing
- URL Structure
- Crawlability and Indexability
- Mobile SEO Analysis
- Backlink Profile
- Competitor Site Comparison
On-page technical audits can include:
- Site Content Structure
- Keyword Use and research
- Meta Data Analysis
- User Experience
- Image and Video Optimisation
What to expect during an SEO Audit
An SEO audit varies depending on website size, quality and issues found; the core elements of data gathering and analysis typically takes around 6 weeks.
During this time, a Technical SEO expert will be analysing and uncovering technical issues and opportunities on your website.
During an audit, there may be a few low-hanging opportunities to be discovered and acted on. This gives you the opportunity to recover visibility whilst the remainder of the audit is being carried out.
After the audit has been completed, you will receive a full comprehensive report of your site’s health, which is fully customised to you and your specific situation. Further actions can then be decided upon, depending on how severe the issues are found to be.
How are SEO Audit results analysed?
Analysing your SEO results can take some time, and there are many factors involved.
A technical SEO expert will run through an audit once complete, categorising key issues in terms of priority, current harm to the site, difficulty of repair and time required.
It would then be down to the business to decide how to proceed, but if you are considering analysing and working through an SEO audit yourself, following a checklist can help you to run through your SEO audit and ensure that you are working towards optimising your site efficiently.
For technical optimisation, you should be:
- Actively working to fix high-risk issues
- Working through any redirects
- Working on issues found through Robots.txt files and the site map
- Removing or altering any harmful, pages, links and content
- Optimising core SEO elements in the back-end of your site
- Setting up any missed analytics
- Adding in missed elements, such as page schema
For on-page optimisation, you should be:
- Researching top performing keywords
- Creating a content plan including these keywords
- Optimising titles, meta descriptions and headings
- Writing original, long form, well optimised and well researched content
- Adding internal links
- Making your content easy to scan
For off-page optimisation, you should be:
- Evaluating your backlinks
- Looking at your competitors backlinks
- Improving your internal linking
- Fixing broken links
- Finding link building opportunities
- Posting your content on social media, if relevant
- Generating backlinks with guest blogs
Depending on the results of an SEO audit, there may be a lot of work to be done. The work on core, on-site technical issues should come first, as without a technically sound website, your future marketing efforts, no matter the scale, will have far less of an impact.
Further work on content production, links and PR will all be backed up by a well-optimised, technically-sound, fast, high performing website.
Google will be far more likely to rank content on a site that ticks all boxes when it comes to technical SEO, and link building and PR efforts will be easier when you have a great site to showcase.
Whether you choose to analyse and work on the issues found within an SEO audit yourself, then move forward with on-site and off-site work, or enlist the help of an SEO agency, the initial auditing services are vital to the progress and success of your business online.