SEO audit – A comprehensive step by step guide
Many times we learn about distinct strategies and techniques of SEO abbreviated for Search Engine Optimization.SEO Audit is important to analyze the website health as well as the SEO practice.
The SEO tends your website to be indexed and crawled by crawlers of major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. This eventually assists in acquiring a top position in Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs) for a search query.
The two most essential processes encompassed in SEO Audit are On-Page and Off-Page SEO. Just for your notice, here, I would like to add – On-Page SEO deals with Meta Tag, Meta Description, ALT Tag, etc. Meanwhile, Off-Page SEO includes Backlink creation, Article, Blog, and Press Release submission, bookmarking, forum submission.
We will discuss all about SEO Audit here under below said sub-headings:
• Technical Audit
• On-Page Audit
• Off-Page Audit
Introduction to SEO Audit
The SEO Audit is nothing but a wide-ranging evaluation of a website and its components’ performance in search engine.
You must not bother of a website comprising a myriad of web pages and site landing backlink. It neither is mandatory to analyze every page andcontents nor to create a log of markfor potentially harmful link pointing to your site.
If you are newbie to SEO Audit, nothing to worry about: still you can perform it. Google has launched a wide range of free auditing tools to audit your website, but not at whole. Still, some specific methods are there to implement that an audit tool will not deliver.
Web design and navigation is noteworthy. Thus, sometimes web redesign is recommended in place of SEO audit especially where risk is noticed for website’s sound cliché.
Skills Required for SEO Audit
Prior to go ahead with an SEO Audit, you must be familiar with some technical SEO concept &terms.
You must be well-known through some major SEO terms say as Meta Description, Meta Tag, ALT Tag, URL, Robots.txt, image optimization, and others.
SEO Tools: Some paid and free SEO Audittools are available online, which assist you to perform an effective auditing. The more you acquainted with auditing tools better you go with this audit. Moz, Majestic, Ahrefs, SEMRush, Screaming Frog. etc. are renowned tools recommended by experts.
Objective of SEO Audit
It’s all about to improvise the performance of your website over search engine. When your website is SEO friendly and reflects good performance, establishes top position in search engine ranking in the end. Also, contribute indriving high web traffic, and thus tends to earn high revenue.
Apart from all those things, still, some challenges sits in the way that must be keep watched. Robots.txt, an earnest element of on-page SEO is being neglected until it affects at the bottom line by most of executives. Least but not the last, another common challenge is not to act swiftly towards an action required for healthy SEO and site performance.
Technical SEO Audit
Experts and auditors marked the technical SEO Audit as the foundation of a website. It’s all about the aspect of SEO, which ensures how search engine crawlers crawls your website as well as index the content of your site.
The purpose behind this audit is not only to leave imprints but to identify the actions required for enhancing the website accessibility by robots and search engine. Apart from this, another significant thing to memorize is Indexation.
This becomes hibernate, when all the technical elements are not properly placed or works. So, you must keep your eyes open and take action accordingly.
Now, have look over some essentials of technical SEO Audit, you must be acquainted with.
You can find DNS Setting in Google Search Console, which plays a significant role in determining the error occurred in crawling the website.
Simply, you are required to login in Google search Console and ensure green check for DNS in Dashboard.
Ensure green mark in server connectivity under Google Search Console. If any issue persists, check-in details on sever errors: Crawl, Crawl errors, Server Connectivity to uncover the exact errors.
Robots.txt also sits in the dashboard of Google search console, which authorize search engine spiders to crawl the sections of website. That means, you can allow or block specific sections of your website from crawling by crawlers. While doing SEO Audit, make sure that it is checked with green mark for flawless performance.
404 Handling Errors
This says about the missing pages of your website or 404 error including server errors too. To report the number go through Google Search Console>Crawl>Crawl Errors.
Site Security (HTTPs)
In contrast to non-secured web page prefixed with HTTP, search engine prioritize secured web page prefixed with HTTPs in search engine ranking pages. For secured page most of the web browser like Chrome include a graphic icon of green padlock before URL.
Make sure to ensure a web page is secured, especially, when you are being asked for personal information for a payment.
This is recommended to perform HTML Validation checkup for the website. A free validation tool can be adopted into the practice like validator.w3.org. If you receive an error, nothing to worry. Just you are supposed to hand over the report to the web developer for concerned improvement. A high care must be catered for ‘fatal issues’ if found and should be resolved first.
You must ensure that entire web pages are indexed by Google. Basically, in SEO Audit make sure that the number of indexed pages in Google search is equal to the counting of indexed pages in Google Search Console. Though it is rare, even major discrepancies are required to be analyzed.
This offers a comprehensive report for your website, but seems some time taking process. However, contributes to achieve good advantage in search engine result pages.
XML Sitemap works only for bot or crawlers, which guarantees SEO opportunity to your website. Prior to check sitemap with Google search console, make sure that your website comprises an XML sitemap.
For this, you can also choose online tool says w3schools to check the sitemap of your website. This is uncluttered and straightforward. Addition of optional instructions and tags eventually lowers the reliability of XML and confuse the search crawlers.
Canonical Header & Malware Scan in SEO Audit
This is highly beneficial to analyze your website for headers and possible risk factors. Be known that search engine is competent in identifying malware. To implement this action you can use tools from aw-snap.
Here, you are required to analyze two elements:
1. On the report page find “canonical”. It is very simple to find through pressing Ctrl+F, that must have rel=canonical tag.
2. You must ensure that header code are not expired and is still valid.
The speed of your site is an essential element for SEO improvement. Even minor speed transformation contributes a massive negative impact over visitors, index ability as well as ROC. It is assumed that a website consumes more than 3 seconds to appear; 40% of visitor dumps the website as well as 80% won’t return driving high bounce rate in analytics report. This can be done by Google PageSpeed or other speed checking online tool.
Here are the things require to improve the website speed
• Page size of 1.5 MB or more should be avoided to elevate the risk of slow load time.
• The incorporated images in the page should be compressed and must ensure that it is below 75% of the entire page. It is more potential to kill the speed of your website.
• It is highly recommended to employ code script minification or externalization to enhance the site speed.
• Including massive cruft eventually kill the site speed. Therefore, special care should be endowed for code to text ratio.
• Caching plays a significant role to steal worthy seconds of page load timing. This ensure caching is installed, optimized and enabled would literally accelerate the site speed.
On-Page SEO Audit
On-Page SEO Audit retains its own significance in SEO and ensures proper employment of unique content and keywords. This is considered as the backbone of SEO. Without this your site is just like texts on a plain paper and might be concealed from search engines’ crawlers.
On-Page auditing tends auditors to procure a spreadsheet with insight data and notes on each page of your website. A myriad of paid and free tools are available to employ for this practice. However, it is recommended to go through page by page analysis to meet your objectives.
Layout and menu navigation along with intuitive web design has earnest role to achieve a good SEO practice. Moreover, it is recommended to have a check list that says about simplicity, focusing over navigation keyword, logically fixed or not and comprehensiveness of the content.
In case, your website comprises footer navigation at bottom, it is suggested not to embed lots of links, lots of copy with raw keywords and external links. Also, may lead to violation of best user experience, risk of sites penalization and duplicate content. Make sure that the footer section in every page remains static.
In good SEO Audit practice, URL retains its own place that is follow by search engines. It says what the page is all about and keep the below said things in your mind-
• Presence of keyword
• Avoid symbols and numbers as well as capitalization
• Keep Concise
• Words separated with underscore and dashes
• Main Page Content
• Special care should be caters on SEO content for your website’s page and must look after the following:
• Focus on correct and enriched keywords for targeted audience and business.
• Presence of keywords that should be delivered in healthy frequency under guidelines of good SEO practice as well as repetition and stuffing must be avoided.
• Ensure acceptable ratio of image and text, as images retains good visual engagement, but to retain the search engine and users attention written content are worthy. It is recommended that, a homepage of a website must emboss with minimum of 400-500 words.
Under this section of SEO Audit, you are required to take in-sight analysis for each and every webpage concerned to below said elements.
Page Title: Every webpage has got a page title that should be featured which relevant keywords under optimal length of 30-55 characters with space.
Meta Description: Each page of your site should focus on relevant keyword description targeting the audience or business. This makes audience engaging and eye-catchy. It works behind the curtain and appear with title in search engine ranking page.
H1: It is recommended to insert H1 with relevant targeted keywords.
Keyword Focus and Presentation: A unique keyword should be focused for each page represented in page title, H1 and body content.
Alt Tags: employed for image optimization and should be used with targeted and relevant keywords.
Internal link: Highly recommended to make sure that every webpage has at least one internal link pointing towards other internal pages.
Unique Content & Typo: It is worthy to proofreading for every webpage that ensure unique body content, page title, H1, which must not be duplicate as well as scan typos for any error and accuracy.
Off-Page SEO Audit
Off-Page SEO Audit is all about the backlinks, which has been adopted as one amongst the robust force in SEO practice. Also, it demands elevated level of data synthesis, informed opinion as well as information based on experience amongst all sections.
The auditor of off-page audit should be well acquainted with backlinks, which rest within other web pages social media platform. To analyze the backlinks several tools are available to adopt. This eventually drags in-sight details of backlinks driving web traffic. For backlink analysis tools like Moz, Link Research Tools, MajesticSEO etc. are noteworthy, you will have two options for conducting an audit as per experience.
1. Stay with a single tools and analyze through the graphs, data, charts and images, you acquire.
2. Analyze backlink through tools and make your own assessments, conclusion and recommendation.
In addition, it is obvious to gather website’s link referrals and data and that can be downloaded from Google Search Console>Search Traffic>Link to Your site
Under ‘who links the most’ click More> ‘Download more sample links’
Incoming search Traffic
Google “search analytics” endow with an insight report on web traffic source that assist for website audit as well as make you comprehend the actions of inbound link for each page of the site.
Incoming links of a site are basically of three types i.e. Redirect, Follow and No-Follow link. Moreover, in order to ensure the effective and fruitful off-page audit, you should also focus on spammy links and link attrition.
Though, anchor texts are worthy and result oriented in SEO, but care must be taken to saturate within 50% of page content. ‘Search Analytics’ also endow an insight report for social media platforms backlinks to access, analyze and act accordingly
So, we all are now acquainted that availing simply a website is not enough to make our brand renowned, but to crack the competition and touches the peak of success SEO plays a very crucial role. You will be afraid to know even adopting a good SEO practice sometimes make your site performance dull. So, the need of SEO Audit becomes crucial, which reflects how the SEO practices being implemented are performing as well as make your site capable to build your own brand with higher conversion rate.