Now that you know why SEO audits are an essential part of your SEO strategy, let’s move on to the practical aspect—how to do an SEO audit.
SEO audits help ensure the success of your website by identifying problems so that you can deploy strategies to solve them.
SEO audits aren’t a one-time thing. They should actually be done regularly to ensure optimal performance, because the internet is constantly evolving. Current best practices for search engine ranking won’t stay the same for long. Same goes for keywords. Did you know that 15% of search terms entered into Google have never been searched before?
SEO audits give you a snapshot of your site’s internet presence and need to be done regularly to keep the picture accurate. The experts at our SEO agency suggest doing an SEO audit around once a year. So, how do you produce a reliable and accurate SEO audit?
We’ll tell you how, but using an SEO agency is usually the best way to get a comprehensive, accurate report. Once your SEO audit is done, you’ll have a solid foundation for building your web marketing strategy, whether you partner with an SEO agency or go it alone.
Step 1 – Decide whether to use an SEO agency or go it alone
Before getting into it, take a moment and ask yourself whether it’s better to do the audit yourself, leave it to a professional SEO agency or hire a freelancer. If you have a website that’s already well-ranked, doesn’t have too many pages and offers a niche product or service, you might be able to take care of the SEO audit yourself. Of course, if you already have the necessary expertise, then you’re all set. Otherwise, a web agency that specializes in SEO can give you guaranteed results. Just take a look at our client case studies!
Take the time to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. An SEO audit is the foundation your web optimization strategies will be built on. If your foundation is unstable or incomplete, you’ll have sub-optimal results.
Step 2 – Get a complete picture of your website
Before you can analyze every aspect of your online presence, you need a complete picture of your website, which you can get by doing a crawl. (Here come the technical terms!) A crawl analyzes your website in a purely quantitative way. You will be able to see your heading tags, titles, meta-descriptions, duplicate pages, robots.txt, error pages, URLs, etc. You can use an online tool like Screamingfrog to do a crawl.
Doing a crawl is an indispensable part of an SEO audit because it gives you an idea of how search engines view your website. It’s also a way to identify key SEO issues like duplicate content, error pages, redirects, etc.
Step 3 – What to analyze in an SEO audit
On-site audit (on-page SEO)
An on-site SEO audit analyzes all of the SEO criteria on your website and provides recommendations based on that analysis. This is the step that takes the most time, because every element of your website must be analyzed. To give you an idea of how extensive this step is, here is a non-exhaustive list of the elements an expert will check during an on-site audit.
A) Technical SEO elements to check during an audit
This part of the analysis requires significant knowledge of both SEO and CMS (Content Management Systems).
- Domain name: Your domain name is your identifier on the internet. The domain name for a company’s website will often be the name of the company. All of your website’s URLs will contain your domain name. A domain name can be divided into two parts:
- Domain name: mylittlebigweb
- TLD (top-level domain): “.com”. There are several types of TLDs, which can be related to your sector or country of origin: “.org” for organizations, “.ca” for Canadian websites, etc.
- Indexing: For more information about indexing and how Google interacts with your website, check out our article on indexing. In short, an SEO expert conducting an on-site audit will analyze your website’s txt, XML sitemap and txt files. Basically, they will check whether Google is reading your web pages correctly and whether you’ve given it the right information.
- 404 error pages: Error pages and redirects are important aspects of user experience that indirectly affect your SEO. During an audit, it’s important to analyze what the error pages are, whether your redirects are correctly done and whether the design of your 404 page matches your website.
- Page structure: Are your web pages organized with a proper link structure? Are they clear and efficient? Are your heading tags optimized and placed correctly on the page?
- The breadcrumb trail: The breadcrumb trail helps structure your website. An SEO audit will include checking these links between pages to make sure they make sense.
- Your website outline: A website outline looks like a family tree. It helps visualize and analyze the general structure of your web pages.
- Pagination: It’s important for internet users to be able to navigate between different pages on your website. Do you have good pagination? Is it efficient and correctly placed?
B) SEO elements related to content
- Content: During an SEO audit, an expert will also analyze the general content of your website. If you have a blog section, analyzing it will take time. The expert will need to check keywords, how your pages rank for those keywords, how your competitors rank, etc.
- Inbound, outbound, and internal links: As you know if you’ve read our article on the essential elements of SEO, links are very important. You’ll need links to other websites, other websites that link to you, and links to your own pages. An expert will be able to tell you how many to use and where to put them.
- Title tags and meta descriptions: This is the first information internet users see on Google when they search terms you rank for. Make a good first impression!
C) Elements related to user experience
Imagine you’re surfing the Web on your smartphone and you come across a website that isn’t mobile-friendly at all. The pictures aren’t displaying properly, words are cut off, the page is slow to load… Would you stay on that website, when there are hundreds of others that offer the same product or service? No way! Part of an SEO audit is analyzing how smooth and pleasant your website’s user experience is across various search engines and devices. This includes checking quantitative criteria like page load time.
2. Off-site audit (off-page SEO)
As you probably know, off-site SEO is just as important, if not more important, that SEO on your own website. And like internal SEO, there are many different factors that need to be analyzed during an off-site SEO audit.
- Link building: Link building is the strategy of getting other websites to link to your pages. An SEO audit will tell you how many links there are to your website from elsewhere on the internet, but most importantly, it will evaluate the quality of those links.
- Local SEO: Does your business appear on Google Maps? Are you listed on local directories? How’s your local SEO?
- Your online reputation: How are you perceived on the internet? Your SEO expert will give you an overview of your online reputation
Step 4 – Use your SEO audit to build your SEO strategy
Performing an SEO audit is good, but using it to optimize your SEO strategy is better! The main purpose of an SEO audit is not just to identify your website’s strengths and weaknesses, but to use that information to adapt and enhance your SEO strategy. Here are a few types of conclusions you might be able to make after an SEO audit:
- My website is well-organized, I have no 404 error page issues, and I’ve followed all of My Little Big Web’s SEO practices, but I have no site traffic. I might need to take another look at my keyword strategy, because the audit shows that my keywords aren’t effective. Next step: how to do keyword research.
- My web pages have a lot of visits and I have no technical problems, but visitors don’t stay on my website long. Maybe my site’s user experience isn’t optimized and I should conduct A/B tests to check.
- I’ve followed all of My Little Big Web’s on-site SEO optimization practices, but Google never ranks me high on its search results. Maybe my external SEO isn’t developed enough. My audit says that my links from other websites are poor quality, so a link building strategy would probably help.
SEO audits with My Little Big Web
As you can see, the work doesn’t stop after an SEO audit. You’ll need to build strategies based on your results and keep monitoring your competition, trending keywords, etc. Ask yourself regularly whether you should have another audit done. Don’t wait until you run into problems before analyzing your online presence. Be proactive.
We hope this article has helped you with your SEO audit. If you decide to use an SEO agency, our experts will be happy to guide you through the process. You can contact us on our website or by phone at +1 514 572 7758.