How to Rock Website SEO Audit in 2019? [Step-by-Step Guide]
You must be wondering what could have changed so much in 2019?
SEO is the same, one would think. So, the audit process of SEO should also be the same.
Wrong! In fact, SEO changes EVERY DAY.
Google now uses Rankbrain to improve its algorithms in real-time.
This helps Google algorithms learn new things every INSTANT, improve themselves and deliver better search results for users.
It means that the practices you were using yesterday may fade away in as little as a couple of months or so.
Welcome to self-learning and automation.
But, FIRST …
What is an SEO Audit?
In short, an SEO audit is a process used to help identify the performance of a website in key areas which helps improve the position of the website in search result rankings.
How often should one do an SEO audit?
“An SEO audit is a standard procedure for any website. In fact, if you are serious about your internet business, you will make sure you do it frequently.” – Search Engine Watch
How to do a SEO Audit
Since an SEO site audit is crucial for site optimization, we decided to help explore it for our readers.
By doing a proper SEO site audit and applying the suggestions provided in it, in most cases you can quickly get a 50 percent or so improvement in your organic traffic.
The great thing about an SEO audit is that you can also do it yourself after learning just a few concepts in SEO.
Here are the essential tips you need to know to complete an SEO site audit of your website.
Find Broken/Irrelevant Pages and Remove Them
There was a time when it was considered important to have more pages.
The more content you published, the greater the chance that you would rank higher.
However, that time has passed.
Now, websites that have too many irrelevant or low-quality content pages will get ranked lower by Google.
This is because Google prefers quality websites which have relevant content.
Backlinko suggests finding out pages that are not getting much traffic on your website and deleting them. This will result in a significant increase in the ranking of your website.
So how do you do this?
The first step is to find the pages on your website that Google has indexed.
There are two main ways to find this information.
Either you can use a plugin like SEO Quake, or search your website in Google.
If you want to use the plugin, first install the SEO Quake plugin. Then open your website and click on that plugin.
It will show you all the indexed pages of your website.
There are 339 indexed pages of the website as shown by SEO Quake as well.
Using the alternative way to find indexed pages, let’s search for the site’s name on Google.
Site: SITE.com (We’re using a dummy website for this)
You will have to replace that name with the name of your website.
You have 339 pages indexed.
Go through each one of them to make sure that they are needed for your website.
If they are unnecessary, i.e. have low-quality information irrelevant to the site or do not serve any purpose, delete them from your website and redirect to your homepage.
If you have some technical skill, then the best option is to use free software like Screaming Frog.
Screaming frog will let you find all the pages that are indexed in Google but are either duplicate content, not paginated, or have excess redirects.
Do Your Website’s On-Page SEO
You will need to optimize every page of your website. However, if that isn’t possible, then go to your Google Analytics report and find out the best-performing pages in the last three months.
Now, optimize these ten pages of your website and monitor them for an increase in traffic levels.
If you don’t have a benchmark for your website, then find out the current ORGANIC website traffic in Google analytics.
Your web pages need to have:
- Keywords in URL
- Internal links on all pages
- External links on all pages at least 5
- LSI keywords in the content of each page
- Keyword in title tag and meta description
- Keyword in headings and subheadings
- Keyword in the first 100 words of the content and the last paragraph
Make it Mobile Friendly
Next, check if your website is mobile friendly. There is a great tool provided by Google itself to check the mobile-compatibility of a website.
Put in your website address and see if it is mobile-friendly or not.
The reason Google now prefers mobile friendliness is that almost 60 percent of traffic comes from mobile.
If a website is not mobile friendly, Google will not rank it high, as mobile friendliness is a major ranking factor.
If you are using WordPress for your website, you can easily switch to a mobile-friendly theme.
Alternatively, you can install the AMP plugin on the websites.
The AMP plugin is made explicitly by Google to make your website load faster on mobile. You can read more about this here.
Improve Page Speed
The next thing to explore in the site audit is opportunities to improve the page speed.
There are many testing tools available for page speed and identifying where the issues causing the slowness may lie.
However, the best one is, of course, the one provided by Google.
The website in the picture above is pretty slow. You don’t want that to happen to your website!
You can visit the Google page speed checker to test the speed of your website.
Here are a few things that you can improve.
Most of these things can be improved through various plugins if your website is using WordPress.
If the site is using a custom CMS however, you will need to make multiple changes to improve the site further either yourself or by hiring a developer.
Track Competitor keywords
Website SEO audits also involve tracking a site’s competitors.
There are a few tools that can help make this easy.
The objective is to find keywords that the competitor is ranking for and create content that will outrank them.
You can use Ahref, SEMRush, or Ubersuggest for this purpose.
I will be using the free tool, Ubersuggest, to explain the whole process.
We searched for keywords which our website ranks for using Ubersuggest. The top ones it is ranking for appear below.
Now, we will search for its competitors by looking up these keywords in Ubersuggest as well.
You can use any tool of your choice; Moz, Ahref, and Semrush.
As you can see, these are the top competitors of this website.
Using this information, we can create a strategy and incorporate the following factors to outrank them:
- Domain authority
- Keyword rankings (of top keywords only)
- Competitors backlinks
Now create a sheet and add all this information in separate columns. This information will help you later in the process.
Next, analyze your website backlinks.
Backlinks play a crucial role in improving the performance and rankings of a website. The better backlinks that a website has, the more rankings it will get and eventually more traffic back to the website.
In this example, we will be using a FREE tool called Backlink Checker.
You can export the information returned in a CSV file and import it into Excel for more filtering options.
You can check the backlinks through Moz and Ahref as well.
One limitation of Backlink Checker is that you can’t check the spam score of a backlink. Try to use a paid tool to see the spam score of your domain and that of the backlink.
We are using Moz for this purpose.
You can see that one of the backlinks has a high spam score of 60%. This needs to be disavowed.
Improve Site Structure
There is a saying that the definition of a good website is that nothing should take more than three clicks to reach.
Now, if a website has numerous pages and they take more than three clicks to reach, then the website structure is probably flawed.
The reason behind discouraging this is that the greater the depth of the structure, the higher the chance that it will adversely affect the crawl rate of Google search bots.
Moreover, a user usually leaves a website if it takes him more than a few clicks to reach the topic they want to read.
This is a good website structure. Why? Because it helps the reader reach the topic they want to read within three clicks.
Another thing to know here is that a good site structure also impacts the site links in Google searches.
Google highlights all those links that get the most traffic. This is only possible when the site structure of the website is neat and clean.
Also, make sure that there is an opportunity to create topic clusters easily. Here is one way of creating topic clusters on your website by following this structure.
Only One Version Should Be Browseable
A website can be using HTTP, HTTPS, www or non-www.
However, you need to make sure that only one of these versions is indexed by Google.
All other versions should redirect automatically to the other versions.
Let’s learn how you can find that.
Google shows the option of which domain method you should choose.
Please select the one you want and stick with it. Google and other search engines will only index pages with that domain name.
Run Your Site Through a Free Audit Tool
You should also run the website through a free audit tool because this way, you can easily understand what changes you need to make to the website to make it better.
The site analysis will provide the answer in detail. We found a great SEO audit tool here. The tool offers insights such as store anchor text, titles, descriptions, use of images, and much more.
These will offer you an idea about how many keywords you are ranking for. At the same time, you will be in a better position to know which keywords you should rank for further.
FAQs Related to SEO Audit Process
There is a huge difference between reading about the SEO site audit process and doing it for real. The problem is that most people do not understand how the actual SEO process works when they start to audit their websites. This can lead to some serious problems.
So, here are a few questions that you should know the answer to.
Why do I need an SEO Site Audit?
Whether you have a small website, an e-commerce store, a listing platform, you will need organic traffic to get revenue from it. However, if your website isn’t optimized for it, it won’t be able to bring the revenue that you aim for.
That’s the sole purpose of an SEO audit process.
Here are a few things that the SEO audit process will offer you.
- Find out where your website stands in search engines
- Find loopholes within your website to make it better
- Learn about dead pages that are increasing your bounce rate
- Find ways to make your website more welcoming
- Finally, increase your revenue by fixing errors highlighted in the SEO Audit process
How Much Should I Pay for SEO Audit?
The SEO audit process can range between $200 to $2000. It also depends on the website you have and the type of SEO agency you are hiring for your business.
Can I Do SEO Audit Myself?
Yes and no. SEO The SEO audit process can be conducted by oneself. However, that doesn’t mean that you will be able to solve all the issues highlighted in the audit.
Many companies could do the initial SEO audit of your website free of charge. You can also get tools to do an SEO audit of your website. A free tool to audit your website for SEO changes is SEO Quake.
You can get the chrome extension for the initial auditing. It will also provide suggestions and fixes that you can make to your website.
We have mentioned some of the best ways to complete an SEO audit in 2019.
Now, you can either do it yourself or get your site SEO conducted by a company that offers website SEO audit services.
In both cases, you are now aware of the whole SEO audit process. Also, you are now in a better position to see and point out if the SEO misses something.