Most businesses now, whether small or large enterprises, are putting up their own websites. Many are realizing that in this era of digital transformation, those without a website or other web presence are going to lose out in the competition. Some businesses who know a little bit more about digital marketing are aware that it’s not enough to put up a website. You have to know that if internet users can’t find your website, you won’t be able to sell as many of your products or provide your services online.
This is why Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was developed by digital marketing specialists. Different SEO specialists would recommend different ways of doing things to increase your website’s ranking in search results. Some of them would focus on overall digital marketing strategy. Although others may be more concerned with the technical aspects of SEO auditing, you can look up some suggested SEO audit checklist to make sure you’re not missing anything.
Here are some of the important steps that you should take when performing an SEO audit:
- Understand Your Ranking
Before you run a deep dive into technical SEO audit, you should first try to understand why your site ranks the way it currently does. To be able to do this, you would also have to understand what your competitors are doing.
This is true whether you’re auditing a site as part of your marketing techniques or you’re auditing a site for the first time. This would give you a better grasp of why your website or blog reached its present ranking among sites with similar themes, topics, or content. The value of benchmarking is that you would have a better understanding of what your competitors are doing within the same field of action. You could use this information and SEO benchmarking analysis to change your digital marketing strategy as needed. It would improve your chances of achieving your objectives and get a higher SEO rank against your competitors.
- Check Index For Duplicates
After you’ve done the benchmarking, you can start your technical SEO audit by checking if there are any duplicates of your site on Google’s index. It’s entirely possible for your site to have different versions in Google Index, such as:
A user might not see the difference, especially if they know you own all these versions. But this is important in SEO auditing because search engines will treat these duplicates as different variations of your website. If you have different versions in Google Index, this will have a negative impact on your SEO ranking.
- Check If You Have Manual Actions
You should also check if you have received any manual actions from Google. You will typically receive this if your website has violated Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. They were previously referred to as manual penalties. You need to resolve these issues because they will cause your site rankings to drop. You won’t be able to get higher rankings until Google reverses the manual action.
These actions could refer to a specific page or to your whole website. The worst thing that can happen here is that Google might deindex your entire site. You can look it up in Google Search Console. You will find a “Security and Manual Actions” tab and when you click this, you’ll see manual action link if you’ve received any. When you click this, you’ll get to a page where you’ll see the status of the manual actions issue.
- Check Your Site Experience Fundamentals And Vitals
Aside from your technical SEO audit, you should also check your site’s fundamentals and vitals. These have an impact on user experience, so you should do the following:
- Analyze your site speed using Google PageSpeed Insights
- Verify that your site uses HTTPs
- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
- Analyze Indexation Issues
You can use Google Search Console to analyze further if there are any other existing indexation issues. Go to Coverage page under the tab called “Index”. This is where you’ll see insights into issues in coverage and excluded pages. You can also see here whether pages are valid or have warnings.
If you see any errors under this tab, this means that there are issues that could be preventing your site from being properly crawled and indexed. You need to resolve these issues right away. Some of the common issues and errors here are the following:
- There are pages in your sitemap which have a noindex attribute.
- There are pages in your sitemap that are blocked from being crawled in your robots.txt file.
- Your sitemap contains pages that return 404 errors.
You need to clean up these errors as soon as you discover or find what’s causing them. You should also watch out for a list of excluded URLs. These are pages that are on your website but have been excluded from Google’s index. Some of these pages include:
- Pages excluded with a noindex attribute.
- Pages that are being redirected when loaded.
- Anomalies in crawling
- Canonicity issues
- Pages that were crawled but weren’t indexed
- Pages that return an error message of Not Found (404)
- Pages that have been blocked by your robot.txt file
Find out what’s causing the issues and errors before you try to fix them. Some of them don’t need to be fixed. There moolare other possible explanations for them. For one, you might see a number of excluded and redirected pages if you recently migrated to a new site.
- On-Page SEO Audit
You should also audit your website for any on-page SEO issues. It’s important to audit the on-page SEO elements of your site. You should take advantage of these opportunities to optimize your website, especially when they’re issues that you can do something about. Here are some examples of on-page SEO issues:
- Optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags
- Creating optimized content
- Adding useful image alt tags
- Building an internal structure for linking your pages
Unlike what a lot of people think, doing an SEO audit isn’t that difficult. But it does require some fundamental knowledge of how internet search engines work. You would also need to have some technical know-how and skills to do the SEO audit work. The good thing is that there are now a lot of SEO audit software applications and tools available online. Some of them have free versions, but you won’t be able to use the advanced features and functionalities unless you get the premium versions.