If you’ve noticed a considerable decline in your leads, traffic, or unique visitors, one of the reasons could be compromised website visibility. Aside from the fact that Google’s algorithm updates several times each year, it is not uncommon for some websites to have a lot of bugs or errors that mess up the site’s online visibility. These errors can be found anywhere. From that one typo in the HTML code to a broken link on page 86 of your blog/articles section and these lapses often go unnoticed. This denotes why an SEO audit is so important.
What is an SEO Audit, and What Are Its Benefits?
For starters, an SEO audit is a strategy used to uncover technical components that can help improve your website’s visibility and ranking. It can determine any issues or lapses that hinder your SEO strategy from driving positive results.
Once you find out the factors that affect your website’s technical structure, you can come up with a plan to eliminate your site’s weaknesses and improve overall performance.
In the same way, an SEO audit can identify the strongest points of your site, helping you zero in on certain areas that should be kept in your holistic strategy.
If you want to achieve the best possible results, running an SEO audit and taking immediate, decisive action following the outcome is imperative. That’s why we’ve put together a 10-point SEO checklist to help you boost your website’s visibility.
Grab an SEO Crawler/Analyzer/Audit Tool
If you don’t have the immediate time, resources, or expertise to run a manual website audit, you can always use an SEO Analyzer or SEO Audit tool to get an overview of your website’s health. What these tools do is analyze your website, give it a “health” score, and then tell you what is and isn’t working on your website.
Various tools may word things differently or prioritize different elements, but they all can tell you what’s right, what needs improvement, and what needs immediate fixing.
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of paid and free SEO Audit tools online. SEMRush is a popular one, as are Woorank and Moz. Even digital marketing expert Neil Patel has a comprehensive one that scores your on-page SEO, your organic keywords, and your backlinks.
Perform a Website Crawl on Multiple Tools (if you can)
Now that you’ve got your SEO Crawler/Analyzer/Audit Tool of choice, perform a site-wide SEO audit immediately. Run it using two or three times using different tools, if you can.
This will give you a great starting reference point regarding your website’s strengths, weak points, and potentially fatal flaws. Once you know what works, you can dedicate your resources to fixing what doesn’t.
Check Your HTTP/HTTPS URLs
While you’re waiting for the SEO audit to finish, you can actually check a couple of site elements manually. For instance; your website’s unique URL. It starts with either http:// or https://. Whichever you’re using in your URL, you need to make sure the variation provides an immediate 301 redirect to your actual website.
Say your URL is https://thisyoururl.com. If someone enters http://thisisyoururl.com (without the ‘s’), they should be automatically redirected to your website. If not, you risk losing potential visitors and clients to an error page or broken website.
Analyze Your Website’s Accessibility Using Three (3) Major Aspects — .txt files, meta robot tags, and HTTP status codes
These three aspects of a website can tell you a lot about how accessible your site is. You won’t get as much traffic or visibility as you can if your site isn’t accessible on all fronts.
These files tell search engine crawlers which pages they can and can’t access. However, there are cases where they often block the wrong from being crawled, thus heavily affecting your SEO rank. Use a webmaster tool to ensure that search engines have access to the right pages.
Meta Robots Tags
Much like the robots.txt files, the meta robots tag tells search engines which pages they can and can’t index or follow. Again, if the wrong pages are being kept from the search engine, your website’s SEO is in jeopardy.
HTTP Status Codes
These are essential to your SEO audit. As mentioned earlier, you need to make sure that the HTTP variation of your URL is a 301 redirect. People get discouraged if they receive a page error, and most first-time visitors probably won’t think to change the http:// or https:// in the URL.
Click to Different Pages from the Homepage
While you’re on your website’s homepage or landing page, try to assess how easy it is to navigate to different pages. These include your Contact Us page, About Us page, and blog/content pages.
If it takes far too many clicks or too much searching just to get from one page to another, visitors may end up frustrated with your website and leave without properly interacting with your content. This, in turn, could compromise your SEO score.
Related Content: UPDATED: An Ultimate Guide to Conducting a Content Audit [FAQ]
Test How Fast Your Website Loads
You can do this by accessing it through different means. Consider via direct URLs, search engine links, social media links, backlinks, and so on. The longer it takes your site to load, the higher the chances that people will visit a different website rather than wait it out.
Make Sure The Important Pages of Your Website are Indexed
Indexing is the process of adding web pages to one significant catch-all reference that Google refers to. If a web page is indexed, it means that Google can freely access that page to crawl it. In turn, this means that Google can return it—and the site it belongs to—as a relevant search query result. Indexing all your relevant pages can increase your chances of landing on the first SERP, consequently improving your visibility.
Shorten Your URL
In a nutshell, when it comes to on-page optimization, focus on the URL and content of your site. URLs play a huge role in rankings, and Google typically prefers shorter URLs. If you can make it just your business name and maybe a keyword that you want to rank for, all the better.
Check Your Backlinks
Backlinks are an important element in off-page SEO. Aside from attesting to your website’s quality and credibility, they’re also a great source of third-party visitors and referrals. However, Google’s algorithm has gotten pretty strict regarding backlinks. If you’ve got more junk backlinks (i.e., links from other sites that aren’t trustworthy or credible) than high-quality backlinks, you could seriously hurt your SEO score.
Your SEO audit should warn you if your backlinks seem problematic, but it won’t hurt to go through the list yourself and double-check.
Related Content: 3 Ways Offpage Optimization Helps in Getting Traffic
Triple-check Your Website for Spam or Malware
The biggest turn-off—and the biggest reason Google have to drop-kick your site to the bottom of the very last SERP—is a website with a virus. The moment a visitor suspects your site as the possible source of the new Trojan or malware living on their computer, it’s all over. That’s why it never hurts to run a regular sweep through your website to make sure it’s as clean as it can possibly be.
These are only some things you can do during an SEO audit, but trust us, they can make all the difference. The process may seem challenging or intimidating at first, but it’s extremely essential to your website’s health and credibility. By keeping track of your site’s visibility, you can better understand how to grow and improve your website moving forward.