A search engine optimization audit is the process of analyzing how well a web presence relates to best practices. Performing an SEO audit is typically the first step in creating an implementation plan to increase performance. That plan will include actions that boost search engine rankings to attract more visitors, leads, and revenue. The audit provides better insight into a website’s performance, structure and topics of individual pages, and overall traffic.
It’s important to frequently run an SEO audit on a website for its long-term success. This can be thought of as a health check or report card for a website. For example, if a search engine such as Bing or Google changes their algorithm to provide better search results for users, an SEO audit would identify where a website’s content can be adjusted to increase its rankings with the new algorithm.
What to Look For
Do you know where your website stands in terms of search engine optimization? By periodically analyzing how your website is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs) and conducting a website audit, you can make adjustments to your on-site SEO strategy and improve how your website ranks in search engine results.
An audit should be comprehensive. It should cover both structural and content components affecting your SEO visibility. It should provide an in-depth view of what is happening in your current state. Any missing pieces could result in unnecessary or improper recommendations.
Your audit should be easy to understand. As a business owner, you should be able to connect the dots as to how SEO issues are affecting your online priorities, goals, or revenue. Any and all recommendations should clearly ladder up to your overarching business objectives.
Finally, your SEO audit recommendations should be actionable. There should be a clear path to completion; prioritized with projected impact and effort associated with each recommendation. The output of any SEO audit should accurately convey an easy-to-follow roadmap.
Below are seven major things to check when conducting a website SEO audit.
- Load Time
- Site Structure
- Mobile Readiness
- Keyword Rank
- Site Content
Site speed is a crucial factor in providing a good user experience, which means a slow website can negatively impact overall SEO. In fact, the bounce rate probability for a site that takes between one and five seconds to load is about 90%. Considering user experience factors like site speed are part of Google’s Core Web Vitals, high bounce rates and slow load speeds could lead to poor performance for your website in SERPs. To check your site performance, you can use tools like PageSpeed Insights, which analyzes both mobile and desktop versions of your website and breaks down performance using Core Web Vitals metrics.
An HTTPS encryption on your website can play an important role in how Google ranks your website in SERPs. While an HTTPS encryption may not automatically give you a boost in search engine results, it does tell Google that your website is trustworthy, which can help your site’s SEO performance. In order to get an HTTPS distinction, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate. Without this certificate, users may get a security warning while trying to visit your website, which could convince them to leave altogether.
Another crucial aspect of user experience is a clear and easy-to-navigate website structure. Not only is navigation helpful for site visitors looking for information on your website, but it also provides a path for search engine crawlers to find new content for indexing. Ideal site navigation should look like a pyramid and include breadcrumbs that allow users and crawlers to travel from top-level pages to pages deeper in your website structure. If pages don’t utilize internal linking, or your website doesn’t have a sitemap, you could be missing out on valuable content indexing.
Google rolled out its mobile-first index in 2021, which means all websites are now indexed and ranked based on mobile-friendly website standards. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version or utilize responsive design, makes it difficult to access content and links in mobile view, or loads slowly for mobile site visitors, your website’s visibility in SERPs for relevant queries will most likely take a hit. Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to check mobile performance, including Mobile-Friendly Test and Google Search Console.
If keyword optimization has been an important part of your organic SEO strategy, you’ll want to check your ranking keywords to identify where you have opportunities for improvement. Start by looking at keywords in Position 0, also called Featured Snippets, and Positions 1-3. These are the keywords that are performing well for your website optimization efforts. For new opportunities, however, review keywords in Positions 4-10. While these keywords mean your website content is appearing on the first page of search results, they’re also below the prime spots, which means you have room to move up with better implementation.
When auditing your website, you’ll want to check on your SEO content marketing efforts as well. Take a look at website metrics like organic sessions, average time on page, and bounce rate to get an idea of how your website content is performing in SERPs. During your content audit, you should also note how frequently you’re adding new content, if there are opportunities to update existing content, and whether webpages and blog posts are hitting the recommended SEO word count.
Search engines use metadata like title tags and image alt text to better understand what kind of content is on your webpages, which means missing metadata can hurt your website’s chances of appearing in relevant search engine results. With SEO audit tools available through Target Points, Ahrefs and Semrush, you can crawl your site and identify any webpages and images that need metadata added or better optimized.
Target Points offers a free website SEO checking tool to see how your website stacks up to a competitor. We help point out ways to improve site performance and what you can do to optimize your website for visibility. After your audit, we work with you on areas that need improvement to ensure your website is running as efficiently as possible. Reach out to our team today so our SEO experts can get your business on track!