Before we start this current article about SEO audits and how to successfully do them in 2020, we would like to get one thing straight. We already talked about some of the leading factors of On-page SEO in our previous article and we know that it is only a part of “the whole puzzle” named search engine optimization.
Today we will explain what an SEO audit is and we will give you some starting points on which you can figure out why you are lacking in SEO results and improve your website’s keywords analysis, technical analysis, content analysis, get more quality backlinks from your competitors and elevate your user experience (UX) to incredible heights.
What is SEO Audit?
As you see the keyword “audit”, you already know it is the process of analyzing something. In our case, it is dissecting our own website components and fix problems that are keeping us from potential results, increased search traffic and website conversions.
If we have to put what an SEO audit is in one sentence, it would be something like this: “SEO audits is the process of fixing underlying problems with one’s website when it comes to its structure, content, design, user experience and availability in search engines.”
Think of SEO audits as just a single part of the whole SEO strategy. No matter how broad the process may seem to be, it can be a strong foundation on which to build and evolve a stunning website.
Always start with the audit, fix all existing issues with the website. Then, you can continue with other pivotal parts such as keyword research, competitor analysis, writing top-notch content, optimizing UX and starting a successful link-building campaign.
If you get your SEO audit under control and improve your website with some of the tips we are going to discuss now, you will be more than satisfied with the SEO results and your project will thrive.
When it is time for an SEO audit?
As soon as you get to work and optimize on a website, you should start with an SEO audit. If you are working in an agency, you already know that is the first thing to start with. But if you are working on your project and do not know with which move to start, take this from us – “SEO audit on your website is the way to go.”
Knowing what problems a website faces already is the first step to creating a step-by-step audit guide on which to execute until reaching positive results. When you figure out all the strong and weak points of a website it is easier to determine how much time it would take to solve the problem and continue with search optimization.
Create a long-lasting strategy
Following an efficient strategy in search optimization and especially website SEO audit is not an easy task too. As you already know, everything in the world of search engine optimization is about consistency, improving skills and long-lasting results.
Knowing what your long-term goals and desired accomplishments are will help with the process of website SEO audit.
Keyword Analysis is exactly that: “Key”
Targeting your niche keywords and especially the right ones is one of the most important steps to succeed in search optimization.
That is why here comes the SEO audit. It can help you with finding keywords that are easier to rank to and use them as “low-hanging fruits” to beat the competition.
Keep your keyword research tight, target no more than 10-15 keywords and stick to a plan. If your business is in a truly competitive niche, rely on these keywords, optimize for them and reap some remarkable results.
As we mentioned before, we recommend using Ahrefs Keywords Explorer. It gives a fantastic and fast opportunity.
Also, you can use some of your competitor keywords by doing a competitor keyword analysis.
Go for keywords that are in your reach, especially if your website is new. Do not rank for the most competitive keyword in your niche. Chances to succeed at first are low.
Here are some simple but effective tips to follow in your keyword analysis:
- Create a table (we use MS Excel)
- Place your keywords
- Track the progress of your keywords
- Optimize according to budget
- Make corrections if needed
- Set a deadline
When we talk about competitor analysis you need to understand that one of the main goals here is to find more keyword and link opportunities and create a plan on which to execute.
Again, if you have a new website, you should stick to the strategy which will lead to the “low-hanging fruits” and the benefits coming from them. Try to rank for long-tail keywords with lower search intent. It is a good strategy that surely impacts your rankings if it is done correctly.
Use Ahrefs to make competitor analysis and make a good list of links and keywords that are going to fulfil your overall SEO strategy. Just click on “Export” and then download the file. It will help you tremendously with the creation of your link-building strategy.
Technical Analysis – what you need to know
With Google’s broad range of free tools, you can check the speed of your website, is it mobile-friendly, are there any code errors in its structure and more.
Starting with the loading speed, you can use Google Page Speed Insights.
And the results are simply…
…showing us that page speed is a factor our team has to work on. It is “good” but not “perfect”. But the main point is that you know now how easy is to check out your page loading speed with the help of trusted tools.
Mobile-friendliness is another important factor that you need to check. As more and more user visits come from mobile devices you should make the time fix all errors if any, that occur when visiting from a smartphone. Google offers a free Mobile-Friendly Test
that can show you instantly if there are problems with the website or single page.
Here are what the results should be like:
Let’s also not forget that Google offers free guides to optimize your website and make it more mobile-friendly. Most of the steps are easy to achieve.
Does your website have an XML sitemap?
Some would say that if you are running a blog, sitemaps are not necessary. But the truth is, it is pivotal to have one. It helps with indexation and it can help users to find out easily exactly what they are looking for on your site.
If your website is a WordPress-based one, then let it all in the hands of Yoast. It will automatically make one for you, as soon as you install this plugin. Also, there are some other good XML Sitemap plugins you can use and install in just seconds.
Do you have a lot of duplicate content on your website?
You can easily check that with a tool named Siteliner. Just add your URL and scan your website. IT might take a minute but the tool is pretty accurate. Here’s an example:
Do you see what is written above the red line? Of course, you do. It shows that our “Duplicate Content” is about 19%, which is not bad at all. Well, we can work a little bit more to reduce it somewhere between 10 % and 15%. Remember that the tool crawls all text on the website, including headers, footers and information. So, it is fine to have identical text, just make sure you do not use duplicate text in your main posts and content.
We would not talk about content analysis in this article, as we have already covered the topic of original content in some of our previous ones. We will just give you some guidelines to look for when updating new text and blog posts to your website:
- Upload well-researched articles
- Double-check grammar and spelling errors
- Engagement and accurate information are key
- Create shorter but clear sentences
- Check your anchors and links once again
- Count on originality and leave your unique perspective
- Be better than your competitors
Follow these steps and you will always be one step ahead when it comes to providing killer-quality content.
Content is also the biggest factor in the bounce rate of your website. If you write engaging text, add original photos, infographics, diagrams, video, statistics and media, you will benefit from amazing results.
If your website is bland, has no content value and bad design, then that means users will leave in just a matter of seconds. To hold your users and make them come back and care about your content, you need to put some quality work. It is the only way.
No thin content ever and stealing directly from other websites lead to great results. Know this and you will want to master the art of updating only original, quality content. Always.
Website SEO audit conclusion
If you want to keep users and make sure they care about your business service, product or just to read your high-quality blog, you need to care about them too.
The best job you can do is to be content with where your website is right now and where do you want to take it. The short would be: “To the top positions of Google and increase my organic search traffic.” Well, that’s a good goal but nothing great comes easy, especially in the digital world where there is pretty stiff competition.
Just a little reminder, you can revisit our article about how to generate organic traffic.
You have to work yourself to the top by providing quality content, by fixing all errors your website faces and make it even better. Speed, mobile-friendliness, design – all these components are just a small part of the whole process called “website SEO audit”.
We gave you some tools and starting points on which you can upgrade your knowledge and skills to boost your website presence in search engines.
Users want to engage with websites that are made simple, informative and can solve their problems.
Is your website one of them? Is it really?
Answer this to yourself and improve, build and engage. Be in love with the process and succeed.