- An SEO audit is the process of checking the health of a website and identifying issues that can prevent the site from ranking in search engines Don’t use the audit as a checklist. Remember that it just offers diagnosis and advice, and you (or an SEO expert) will have to devise the strategy.
- You can do as many audits as you want, but we recommend running an audit no more than every six months. SEO takes time!
- Always make sure you’re using accurate data. Use SEO tools and reporting software to get the correct data.
When digital marketers say “you need to optimize your website,” we’re not saying it without reason. Before making any strategy pitch, it’s important to establish if a website needs SEO services. Otherwise, we’re trying to tell you to fix something that isn’t broken.
From keywords to links, an SEO campaign relies on data at every step of the way. Therefore, a thorough site audit is your campaign’s starting point and foundation.
What is an SEO site audit?
An SEO audit is the process of checking the health of a website and identifying issues that can prevent the site from ranking in search engines . An audit identifies the pre-existing problems and opportunities on-site to develop resolutions for website optimization.
The accuracy of SEO audits comes from crawlers or tools that check the website. Later in this blog, we’ll provide you with a list of tools to use when checking websites.
What’s the purpose of an SEO audit?
The audit’s goal is to uncover issues that could be affecting your organic search performance. An SEO audit highlights:
- Technical SEO issues
- Website design issues
- On-page SEO/content issues
- Off-page SEO issues
- Problems with UX
Extensive audits can also identify:
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Competitor insights
An audit should be part of your SEO standard procedures that occur at regular intervals.
Why do you need an SEO audit?
The most obvious reason is to have a better understanding of how well your website is functioning, what areas require improvement, and what opportunities exist. An SEO website audit is more than just a “check it and then move on” procedure. It’s the starting point of an SEO campaign.
All the data and information gathered provides:
- Action items to incorporate into your SEO plan
- Data for comparing past and current website performance
- Insights on whether or not your present SEO efforts are effective.
- Insights into competitor performance
While an audit might give you data to help you enhance your site, it is not the end-all and be-all of your SEO approach. Instead of using it as a step-by-step guide, use it to lay the groundwork for your SEO plan.
Who can use an SEO audit?
SEO consultants, digital marketers, and SEO specialists will benefit most from an SEO website audit. But, almost anyone with a website can benefit from one. If you’re looking to understand how your website is performing, you can use the audit as a diagnostic tool. Use it as a guide for making informed marketing decisions or as a supplementary document for a report to clients/management.
How often should you do an audit?
Some believe an audit is one-time. It isn’t. We recommend performing an SEO assessment in the following situations:
- Pitching to new leads – Some agencies use the SEO audit to set up meetings with potential clients. This initial audit can be used as a lead magnet by digital marketers or SEO experts to examine a lead’s website. This can be included in your sales kit when pitching comprehensive SEO services to clients.
- Starting a new SEO campaign – It should be normal practice to perform an SEO audit when starting a new SEO strategy. This report is vital for establishing a starting point and helps set expectations and make decisions based on the campaign goals. This is the first step to developing a winning strategy and delivering results.
- Every six months of the campaign – SEO takes time. Waiting six months between audits helps you track if the website’s organic performance has improved. Don’t stop optimizing simply because you’ve ranked for desired keywords. The second audit can help you find new ways to rank and improve.
The different types of SEO audits
A wide range of SEO topics can be included in a website assessment. There are some specialists who combine them into a single SEO audit strategy, while others divide them into separate audits.
These are the common types:
Technical SEO audit
This audit covers indexability, website architecture, URL structure, and on-page features. A technical SEO audit will uncover low CTR Metadata and check for proper XML sitemap and robot.txt implementation. Technical SEO focuses on fixing issues that prevent search engines from crawling or indexing the website properly. As a result, technical SEO audits generally come before content or backlink audits.
Local SEO audit
A local SEO audit may have the same components as a technical SEO audit but focus on a website’s performance on local search results. An example is to check if the business has accurate Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) across major listings. Local SEO audits provide a baseline of how they can rank locally and how well they follow local SEO best practices.
An SEO content audit examines a website’s indexable content in greater detail. This can help you decide which pages or materials are converting, which should be updated, and which should be removed. An SEO content audit can also detect duplicate material on a site. That helps your content team find gaps and opportunities to improve website rankings.
But some SEO experts mix up content audits and content inventories. Auditing a website’s content is qualitative while inventorying existing assets is a quantitative evaluation; examples are blogs, videos, newsletters, and marketing materials. An audit looks at how each piece of content engages the audience and impacts SEO.
An SEO link audit examines a website’s link profile to determine its quality – are there good or bad links pointing to it? A link audit identifies gaps and opportunities for a link-building strategy. Most significantly, performing frequent SEO link audits can help remove spammy, low-quality links.
Some tools can catalog referring domains to a specific site, which can guide your link acquisition strategy. For example, you may want to target links to high DA referring domains that appeared on a competitor’s website. We recommend the skyscraper technique when targeting competitor links.
What tools do you need to perform an SEO audit?
Every professional SEO consultant or SEO specialist will audit a website and highlight different components of the report. It depends on the campaign’s goals or the firm’s specialty.
An SEO audit isn’t based on guesswork. Like we said before, every component of your SEO strategy is dependent on vital data. However, to obtain that data, you need some tools outside of your website.
We recommend the following SEO audit tools:
Semrush is one of the most popular SEO tools. Its user-friendly interface and site audit feature offer an easy-to-understand analysis of the overall health of a website. Best yet, it also includes an on-page SEO checker, which provides actionable recommendations to help a website’s performance based on Google ranking factors. Semrush also offers exceptional competitor analysis, with the ability to monitor visibility and keyword rankings for multiple domains.
Points of emphasis:
- On-page Audits
- Off-page Audits
- Competitor Analysis
Screaming Frog is more popular among SEO specialists because of its robust suite of tools and ability to analyze any size website.
Screaming Frog is more of a website crawler than a dedicated audit tool, but it can still detect potential SEO issues. If you’re auditing a website with up to 500 pages, we recommend this tool. Screaming Frog can detect problems like unoptimized metadata, missing links, duplicate content, blocked robots.txt., and missing alt text.
Points of emphasis:
- Technical SEO Audits
- On-page Audits
SEO audits and Core Web Vitals
Google’s “page experience” score is essentially Google’s way of measuring your page’s overall UX, including a subset of characteristics known as the “Core Web Vitals.” They are made up of several different metrics, including page speed, user interaction, and security.
While you may get unlimited information from a thorough SEO audit, you need to prioritize the elements that matter the most to your SEO strategy. Focusing on these vital metrics can be a good place to start.
Because of Google’s emphasis on a positive user experience, websites with many problems will have fewer visits and will be ranked lower than those that are more user-friendly. Understanding a website’s usability can lead to strategies for increasing the amount of time users spend on the site.
Usability metrics cover the following:
- Page speed – Loading time influences how users engage with a site. 40% of people quit websites that take longer than three seconds to load. Quick bounce rates mean less traffic, and less traffic means lower chances of ranking high in search results. Page speed analysis is critical to improving the overall user experience.
- Mobile-friendliness – Mobile traffic is growing as more people use smartphones and apps to search online. A website audit should therefore include checking for mobile friendliness. Note: a recent Google update has amplified desktop user experiences.
Users enjoy browsing safe websites because they can feel secure when transacting online since secure sites protect their information and are less prone to hacking. As a result, Google considers security a key indexing factor, making it vital for SEO.
- HTTPS implementation – Google can tell a website is safe if the URL contains HTTPS. An audit can reveal if a website has a valid SSL certificate.
Our thoughts on SEO site audits
Consider SEO website audits as routine website maintenance—a great way to see if the website is performing well or needs a little more help. Websites are dynamic digital assets that should not be stagnant. We recommend annual website audits at a minimum.
After your audit, you should systematically address the identified SEO issues to stay competitive. After all, a solid technological foundation isn’t the end of the road; keeping up with the latest search engine best practices and local SEO best practices is critical. Therefore, an audit and continuous SEO maintenance should be part of every successful SEO plan.
The SEO audit is now in your hands. If all of this sounds like a lot to handle, Redefine Marketing Group focuses solely on boosting organic traffic. Learn how we can help your website thrive by getting in contact with us!