This time we will learn in detail how to do an SEO audit and you will find out that not all audits are a nightmare.
Why Do You Need an SEO Audit?
When you think how much time an SEO needs, you will find it difficult to answer. Although it may be true for so many SEO activities, such as getting thousands of low-quality backlinks is not only a waste of time, but can really damage your ranking, but it is different from an SEO audit. SEO audits will definitely not waste your time. Yes, a comprehensive audit for a large site can take days or even weeks.
Basically, the main purpose of an SEO audit is to provide an idea where your SEO efforts have reached the extent of. Without this knowledge, it doesn't make sense to do an SEO activity, because you don't know what you get back from them. This is why an SEO professional occasionally needs to do an SEO audit (but it's better to do it regularly).
Browse Your Site
Before you start with the steps of SEO audit analysis, you need to do some preparation. The first is to explore your site. This step will tell you if your site has a section that is not accessible to the search engines. If you find a page or section like that, you immediately know why they don't have a good ranking, in fact they don't have a rating at all because they are not included in the database search engine.
To explore your site, you need help with tools. There are already quite a number of tools for crawling or browsing, but among them we recommend the Search Engine Spider Simulator. A simple tool that can tell you which parts are indexed from your site and which ones are not.
Check What Search Engines Say about Your Site
A roaming tool gives you rough information about which parts of your site are indexed and which ones don't, but not all of that data is needed. The fact is that a page that can be crawled does not always mean it is included in the database search engine. Therefore, we need to check whether the pages that can be crawled are included in the search engine database or not.
But to do this, we need to hack the database from Google, Bing and other search engines and this is certainly not the right way.
Simply use Webmaster Tools which are offered free by search engines. If you are not familiar with Google Webmaster Tools or Bing Webmaster Tools, this is the time to start and use regularly. The data they provide is not all, but enough to do an SEO audit.
Time for Seo Audit
After you finish checking the above and see the webmaster tools report, now we can start the SEO audit itself.
1. Analysis of Accessibility and Indexation Capabilities
The first step is to make sure that you do not block the roaming tool from your site, even by accident.
- Analyze Robots.txt
- Check 404 errors and redirects
- Check the XML Sitemap
- Web Design / Audit Development
- Check the Number of Pages Indexed by Search Engines
To check if you have not blocked the roaming tool, open your Robots.txt file to see if there is a user agent that is prohibited, or the part of your site that must be indexed is entered by an error in the banned area. You can check this in your own file or use Google Webmaster Tools to see which URLs are listed as banned.
An XML sitemap is something that is too important to ignore. This is why, SEO audits are not complete without checking whether your XML sitemap is up-to-date, easy to read, and functioning. Your XML sitemap must contain only the pages that actually exist on your site and all the pages you want to index must be included in the sitemap. Every deviation from this rule has the potential to be a problem, so you need to find and solve it now.
Also, check whether your XMLmap is submitted to the search engine. You might have an XML sitemap that is perfect but if it's not used by search engines, it makes it a waste.
If your site takes a long time to load or often down, this is also something that makes human users and search engine spiders lazy to come to your site, so this problem also needs to be corrected as soon as possible. Just find a good hosting place and your problem is over.
Besides accessibility, the indexibility of a site is also something you need to check, when you do an SEO audit.
The simplest way to check the number of pages indexed by a particular search engine is to type this in the search box:
where you replace yoursite.com with your site's real name
This command gives you the number of pages from your site indexed by search engines. If the number of pages indexed by search engines is similar to the actual number of pages on your site, this is the best thing because it shows that your site is indexed successfully.
If the number of pages indexed by search engines is much smaller than the actual number of pages on your site, this indicates that many pages are not accessible and you need to check why this is happening.
If the number of pages indexed by search engines is far greater than the actual number of pages on your site, this shows you have lots of duplicate content that needs to be cleaned up as soon as possible. Just use site: yoursite.com & start = 990 to see if Google will report duplicate content.
If you find nothing when you type the command site: yoursite.com, you can feel panic because (unless this is a new site) this usually means one thing - you have been excluded from the search engine index. This is the most severe penalty you can get for a site.
2. Analyzing On-Page Ranking Factors
The on-page ranking factor is very large and also important. We can add more on-page factors but here are the basic things that you should not miss:
- Site URL
- Page Content
- Outbound link
- Meta Tags
The site URL must be user friendly (no dynamic URL, if possible), with relevant keywords in it, and not overlapping (i.e. no two URLs point to the same page, unless you use redirects because for this search engine duplicate content).
Page content is a topic in itself because you can devote a lot of time to doing SEO audits on your content. There are many things to consider but the main ones include:
Is your content thin (pages that are only a few words / sentences from content)?
Is your content unique (Do other sites in your niche have the same things or not)?
Is your content full of keywords (do you have a good keyword density for your target keywords)? But without having to do keyword spam
Does your keyword appear in the right place (i.e. in the first title and paragraph)?
Do you have duplicate content on the page and / or on the website - that is, if you use the same footer / sidebar on each page, this is also counted as duplicate content, though certainly not too severe compared to having two or more of the same articles on the site.
The quality of outgoing links is very important. This is why you need to check that you don't have more than 1 outbound link per 500-1,000 words from the text and this link points to a reputable site. Of course, you can use nofollow for outbound links but still this is no guarantee because not all search engines (even Google itself) respect that at any time.
Meta tags are often underestimated but they are indeed important for making good rankings. For example, you might want to make sure that each page has a unique meta description. You also have to check that the title tag is filled in with the name of the destination page.
Analyzing Off-Page Ranking Factors
The on-page factor is important and the analysis they need certainly takes a lot of time. However, the off-page ranking factor is equally important but the good news is that the analysis needed for the off-page ranking factor is not too time consuming. Here are some off-page ranking factors that you need to consider.
- Number and Quality of Backlinks
The number and quality of backlinks is very very important. This is why, when you do an SEO audit, you have to check these things:
- Are your backlinks from well-known sites in your niche?
- Do you have many unique backlink domains or do your links come from only a few unique domains?
- Do you have toxic backlinks (example links from bad / spam)?
- Do you have nofollow backlinks? (you have to have them because if not, this is very suspicious)
- Does your backlink have keywords in anchor text and are the keywords different from each other?
If you have a large number of backlinks, you may need a lot of time to analyze them. To make your work easier, you need a good backlink checking tool
Even if your site has a good backlink profile, that doesn't mean it's a good ranking site. Apart from ranking you with Google and other search engines, one more factor to consider about your position on the Web is how leading ranking services, such as Alexa, PR, Page Authority, Domain Authority etc.
Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social networks (and some social bookmarking) sites are good indicators of your site's popularity. If you have many followers on the site and a good number of reposts, this is a plus.
4. Compare yourself to the competition
Finally, the final step in the SEO audit process is to see how you are compared to your competition. This is also a time-consuming step, especially if you have many competitors but you can't just skip it.
This SEO Audit definitely takes a lot of time and effort but this is not in vain. You have valuable information that can save you long hours of work. Now, put all audit conclusions in writing, save the files in a safe place, so that when you decide to carry out another audit in the future, you have something to compare. SEO Audit can be very time consuming, but it would be better if you do it regularly, ie once a month or every three months