SEO audit: How to Perform an SEO Audit
If you want to succeed online, you need to pay close attention to search engine optimization and maximize your existing strategies with the help of an SEO audit.
Today, the team at WishDesk explains what an SEO audit is and how to perform an SEO audit to boost conversions.
What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?
Search engine optimization means the implementation of techniques and strategies aimed at increasing website rankings in search results. If you want your site to be displayed on the first page of Google results, you need to dive into search engine optimization and perform regular SEO audits.
What is an SEO audit?
Before getting into the details of an SEO audit performance, it is necessary to understand what it is.
An SEO audit is a process aimed at evaluating the website search engine's optimization level in various areas. Unlike regular audits, an SEO audit is performed only for marketing purposes in order to increase traffic and conversions.
Why is it important to perform an SEO audit?
You should also understand why it is important to perform SEO audits on your website:
- Algorithms changes. Google, as well as other search engines, regularly update and improve their algorithms to provide the best search results possible. You need to keep up with all the algorithms changes and improve your search engine optimization based on them after an SEO audit.
- Website errors. It is important to perform regular SEO audits in order to find broken links or crawl errors. After the check, you’ll be able to redirect broken links and recover the lost traffic.
- Outdated content. There is probably content on your website that is outdated. An SEO audit helps find it. Updating content is important for ranking highly in search results.
How to perform an SEO audit?
If you want an SEO audit to be efficient, you should look at the following factors:
- on-page ranking – on the website
- off-page ranking – off the website
- technical ranking – coding elements
Stage 1: The analysis of on-page ranking factors
- website content
- website performance
- website accessibility
An on-page analysis is the most important stage of an SEO audit that helps you control and increase traffic to your website.
Key on-page elements you should check while performing an SEO audit:
- web page URL – the URL has to be search-friendly and easy-to-read for users. The best solution is to use the main keyword in the URL.
- meta title – a page title that appears in the search results. It should also include the main keyword in order to let users and search engines identify the main content of a web page.
- meta description – the text which is displayed under the meta title in search results. It provides more detailed information regarding the page’s content.
- heading 1 tag (H1) – a title that is shown on top of the web page (H1 should also include a keyword).
- heading 2-6 tags (H2, H3, H4…) – subtitles that structure the content on the page (H2-H6 should include variations of a keyword). Although the usage of H2-H6 is not obligatory, we recommend you include the H2 and H3 tags.
- analyze the uniqueness of your content – use special services like Quetext and never plagiarise your content, otherwise Google will decrease your ranking.
- analyze the relevance of your content – if Google sees that your content is not relevant to the keywords you have used, your website will be ranked lower.
- optimize for user intent signals – search intent or user intent is the main goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine (e.g. informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional). In order to optimize content for user intent, you need to perform a content gap analysis, update previous content, and strive to create new posts following the principles of user intent.
- optimize for featured snippets – featured snippets, or answer boxes, are the parts of content shown by Google at the top of an organic search. You should identify the most common questions your customers have and optimize your content so it provides relevant answers that could be chosen for snippets.
- optimize for voice search – as more and more people are using voice search, it is crucial to use special techniques in order to optimize your content for voice search.
- images’ ALT text – the description of what is displayed on the image. With the help of ALT text, people with visual disabilities or those who use screen readers are able to discover what the image is about. Also, ALT text is displayed on a page when the image can’t load.
- internal links – hyperlinks to other pages within your website. Internal links are important for SEO, as they help keep readers on your platform longer. Besides, by adding internal links you increase the authority of your site from the point of view of search engines. When performing an SEO audit, make sure that all links lead to the existing pages and are still relevant.
During an SEO audit, make sure that all these elements are included in your on-page ranking factors and make sure that they all are relevant and updated.
Stage 2: The analysis of off-page ranking factors
- external linking
Improve your search engine rankings by providing links to authoritative websites. If you don’t link to external sites, Google will identify your content as having no value. Check if all anchors are relevant. Don’t overuse external links or you will turn your content into spam.
How do search engines determine the value of external links?
- The credibility of the linking domain.
- The popularity of the linking web page.
- The anchor text used in the link and its relevance.
- The relevance between the source page and the linking page.
- The number of links to the same web page.
- brand mentions
Conduct research to find out whether other websites link to your site and mention your brand. Social engagement on third-party sites is crucial to SEO success, as Google ranks your platform as being of higher value.
- social signals
Social signals are the web page's social media visibility, such as shares and likes. Social signals increase organic search ranking. They are perceived as backlinks by search engines. See if you have share buttons, contact us buttons, and blog section on your website if you want to improve your SEO.
Stage 3: The analysis of technical ranking factors
When analyzing technical ranking elements, you should pay close attention to the following:
- XML Sitemap – this is a list of links to all important pages on the website. With the help of XML Sitemap, Google can view the website content and makes access to web pages easier for users.
- robots.txt – this is a file that gives search engines information regarding what pages they can crawl.
- mobile-friendliness – see how your website looks and functions on mobile devices. We strongly recommend that you build any platform with mobile-first design strategy in mind, as such websites have a lower bounce rate, a higher percentage of visits, and are ranked higher by search engines.
- duplicate content – find and fix duplicate web pages. Take into account internal duplicate web pages, which means pages with www. and without, with HTTP and HTTPS, URLs with index.php, index.html, index.html. For example, if a web page opens with www. and without, this is a duplicate page. While performing an SEO audit, check if more than one version of your site is indexed.
- canonical web pages – set a canonical URL for a web page if you have a single page accessible by multiple URLs. Otherwise, Google will identify the content as duplicate.
- redirects – check if all redirects lead to the existing web pages.
- hreflang attributes – these attributes tell Google about localized versions of your page, so the search engine can show results to users in the particular language.
- AMP pages – create accelerated mobile pages to improve the mobile user experience and submit Google to index them.
- HTML code – try to compress and reduce the size of HTML code.
- duplicate meta tags – make sure there are no duplicate meta tags during an SEO audit.
- security – users’ privacy and security are important for search engine optimization. Add the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate to ensure that visitors’ data is kept secure. Google also ranks HTTPS sites higher.
- website speed – page loading speed directly influences SEO rankings. Websites that load slowly get less traffic and, as a result, fewer conversions, because people are impatient and don’t want to wait more than 3 seconds for a web page to load. You can check your website load speed with the help of WebPageTest service.
It’s time to perform an SEO audit with WishDesk!
Although all these elements can be checked by you, it is better to hire a professional to perform an SEO audit on your website. WishDesk SEO specialists know exactly what data to check and how to improve the site’s search engine optimization. Contact WishDesk to perform an SEO audit!