How to do an SEO audit
Maintaining and improving your website's visibility and traffic rate requires constant attention. It's like tending a garden or daily housework tasks. And sometimes, just like a home, a website needs the occasional deep clean and refurb to keep it fresh and attractive.
We're talking about a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) audit. It's the digital equivalent of the annual spring clean or health check-up. And while it can feel like a daunting (and maybe even an unpleasant) task, an SEO audit is something you can't put off any longer.
Without one soon, you will lose traffic, and you will slip down the Google search page rankings. Not good.
An introduction to SEO audits and why they’re important
Technical and content SEO audits evaluate how your site's keywords and website specs are helping it (or preventing it)rank near the top of Google's search engine.
The goal of SEO optimisation is to push your site up Google search engine rankings until it reaches that all-important 1st page. And it is important. Ranking on page 1 should be your main priority during an SEO audit. More than 7 out of 10 people never scroll past the first page of Google.
Step by Step guide to performing an SEO audit
Whether you're doing it yourself or outsourcing to an SEO audit service, an effective SEO evaluation focuses on four key areas:
Domain Authority (DA) is a search engine ranking score developed by Moz. A DA predicts how high a site will rank by scoring it between 1-100. The higher your site scores, the higher it ranks on Google.
Backlinks are hyperlinks you find on a blog post, web page, or any other piece of content. They take you straight to another related site or page. Google's search engine algorithm loves backlinks to high-ranking sites. It sees them as votes of confidence, signs that other people find your content valuable and trustworthy.
Integrating keywords and popular search terms into your content is a major ranking factor if you want Google to promote your website over your competitors. A solid keyword review is a big step toward driving more organic traffic to your site.
Google’s ranking algorithm evaluates your website's technical specs. It wants to know that every page works as it should before promoting your site or content. It looks at page speed, load time, and any 404 errors or a 301 redirect for pages that are unavailable.
And the algorithm wants to know how well your site works on mobile devices. In March 2021, Google switched to a mobile-first policy. Google now uses the mobile version of your landing page for indexing and search engine ranking.
Tools you need for an SEO audit
Start by downloading an SEO audit template or technical SEO audit checklist. There are loads of free versions online. They outline what steps you need to take and in what order—guaranteed to make the job much easier and absolutely essential if you're doing the audit in-house.
You'll also need:
Google Analytics: A web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. It provides metrics and data about your site's performance in Google searches.
Google Search Console: An analytics tool for monitoring, maintaining, and troubleshooting your site's presence in Google Search results. Use it to check your website's index status and see where you need to improve.
Google Page Speed Insights: Measures the speed and performance of every page on your site for desktop and mobile platforms. An excellent tool for making your site' mobile friendly.'
Google Schema Markup Testing Tool: An advanced tool that helps Google and other search engines pick up on the context of your keywords and content. Really, really useful, but requires technical expertise and, ideally, coding experience. Best left to the professionals providing a technical SEO audit service or digital marketing agencies with a strong technical focus. Don't try schema markup at home. There are better ways to waste a few hours of your workday.
SEM audit tools: SEO audit software scans your site for errors and creates a custom to-do list. Many offer free trials, but you'll have to subscribe for full functionality.
What to look out for in your SEO audit
Keep an eye out for common technical SEO problems. They're easy to spot, and many are 'quick fixes.' Look for:
● Duplicate content
● Slow load times
● Broken links
● Too much or poor link building, i.e. low-quality links stuffed into content
● Missing tags and descriptions
● Mobile usability errors
Pay close attention to your crawl stats when using Google Search Console. They show how many requests were made to your site, your server response, and any availability issues. The console also generates reports on indexing (how your site ranks on Google) and user experience.
An SEO audit is about evaluating your current keyword performance and looking for any keyword optimisation opportunities. Google Search console is excellent for this. Once logged in, click the performance tab and scroll down the page. You'll find keyword data for every page, showing which attract the most views and clicks and which pages need work.
Every business in your industry is fighting for space on Google's 1st page. So check out your competitor's SEO approach, then identify any gaps, weaknesses, or winning strategies. When analysing rival websites, take careful notes on which pages rank for the most keywords, which pages have the most traffic, and which pages have the highest percentage of their overall traffic.
And how is your PPC (pay-per-click) advertising working? Are you using the right keywords and phrases? How do your click rates compare to your conversion rate? You won't know unless you run a full PPC audit.
The AdWords Performance Grader is a free tool that performs an instant PPC audit, comparing your performance in key areas to competitors and other advertisers with similar PPC budgets.
How to set up SEO reporting
Begin by outlining your objectives. Do you want to improve your backlink profile, increase conversion rates, or attract more traffic? Then establish measurable KPIs to track progress and wins. These will be the focus of your website and individual page SEO audits and reports.
A good SEO report should include clear information on:
● What progress has been made
● What activities have been undertaken and their impact
● Recommendations to drive further growth.
Examples of what good SEO auditing and reporting looks like
The same rule applies to technical SEO audits and keyword audits: Good auditing is measurable, actionable, and reflective.
So audit and report the metrics that matter. Assess all progress against predefined KPIs. Focus on what contributed to your successes, troubleshoot what didn't work, and highlight what you've accomplished and what you want to do next.
The SEO audit experts
A targeted SEO audit will help you rank higher on Google. That's just a fact. But many companies don't have the time, resources, or technical expertise required. There is a simple solution... Let the experts do it for you.
We are a specialist digital marketing agency in Manchester offering a complete SEO audit and reporting service that guarantees success. And we mean guarantees. Our clients achieve an average of 200% lead growth in the first year of service.
Your audit includes a 3-month plan to help your company rank and attract more leads. Our monthly SEO packages come with detailed tracking reports on website traffic, social media engagement, and any other website performance metrics that matter to your business.
You'll always know how you're performing (and succeeding) against your business objectives.
Ready to double your monthly organic traffic rate?
Then get in touch with AXD for a free SEO audit discovery call.