Did you spend a lot of time and money working on your website, but are you not seeing the traffic you want? Or are you wondering why your competitors have higher rankings than you do? The answer to your troubles is most probably an SEO audit. This can give your website a boost in the search engine ranking to attract more leads, revenue and visitors.
What are SEO audits?
SEO audits are like health checks for your website. Basically, it’s an evaluation of how optimised your website is for search engines. Regularly checking your SEO to ensure that your strategy is up to date and everything is working correctly is therefore very important and should be standard procedure for any website.
Why SEO audits really make a difference
These audits are always a good way to evaluate your performance. It reveals the weaknesses in your SEO strategy and it will reveal what your direct competitors are doing better than you. Your website might be amazing and well-designed but if search engines can’t read it, there’s a big chance the pages you put hard work into may never see the light of day.
8 critical components of a successful SEO audit
#1 Competitor research
Analysing your competitors is critical because it gives data about which tactics are working in your industry and what you will need to do to start improving your keyword rankings. When you know where your competitors are strongest and weakest, you can determine how difficult it will be and the amount of resources you will need. Determining who your top competitors are is obviously the first thing you need to do. You can find these using different SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs.
#2 Crawling and indexing
These are the foundation behind a successful approach to SEO. Crawling is the way Google reads your website. Furthermore, you can only receive traffic when your entire website is indexed in Google. So always make sure your entire website is being well indexed.
It may be obvious, but it is crucial to check if your website is mobile friendly or not. Google considers this as a very strong ranking factor. Anyone using a phone to look for something on the internet is not willing to wait, therefore the faster your website is, the more likely Google is to reward you with organic rankings. In addition, the most common error, the 404 or the ‘page not found’ is often caused by broken links and images within your site. Furthermore, running on https is faster, more secure and is one of Google’s many ranking signals and making the switch is pretty easy nowadays.
#4 Link analysis
Backlinks can make or break your SEO campaign. When you create a new piece of content, do a site search for older, related content which has built up some equity; then find anchor text within the old content to link to the new one. This is a straightforward way to build internal links. You can create domain authority by earning links from other authoritative domains. An easy way to build these external links is to search for unlinked mentions. Any good SEO audit tool is able to tell you where your brand has been mentioned anywhere on the web.
#5 Keyword analysis
Whenever possible, you should make sure your pages are as optimised as possible for keywords that will help you show up in organic search. First step in doing that is conducting keyword research. Search for keywords related to your topic with high intent, high volume (number of monthly searches) and low difficulty (level of competition). In other words, which are the biggest gains in traffic and leads?
#6 Content evaluation
Overall, evaluate your current content from both a search engine and target audience’s perspective. Did it answer all their questions? Are the resources given relevant to the topic? Do they know what to do next? Which blog posts and landing pages are being created to target keywords and bring in inbound traffic?
#7 On-page optimisation
Header tags, alt-tags on images, the length of page titles, meta titles & descriptions and URLs are just a few examples of on-page elements. They help Google determine the content of the page it’s crawling and is one of the biggest factors Google takes into account when determining the order in which to rank pages.
#8 Site architecture and design
Is your site mobile friendly? Secure with HTTPS? Easy to navigate? The answers to these questions should always be “yes”. An evaluation of your user experience and behaviours is another critical part of your SEO audit.
In the end, SEO audits are no exact science, there is no prescription to a successful SEO audit, therefore ‘best practices’ are often inconsistent. Google changes its algorithm almost daily and rarely tells us why or how. So regular audits are a definite must!