Everything you need to know about a SEO Audit
If you own a business that has a website, you’ve certainly seen ads or even received e-mails with offers for an SEO audit. And if you don’t understand the term very well, you might consider those offers as some other annoying spam ads.
However, the SEO audit should be performed regularly for any site, being one of the essential marketing tools, through which you can grow your online business.
1 What does an SEO audit do?
2 What exactly is an SEO audit?
3 How to perform a SEO audit correctly?
3.1 Step 1 – Check to see if your website has an SSL certificate
3.2 Step 2 – Scan your website
3.3 Step 3 – Check the website’s sitemap
3.4 Step 4 – Check the robots.txt document
3.5 Step 5 – Check that you have implemented structural data
3.6 Step 6 – Check that you have implemented the tracking codes for Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
3.7 Step 7 – Check the website’s speed. The loading speed of your website.
What does an SEO audit do?
First of all, an SEO audit is done in order to identify the areas of your website that are not performing well. It is an analysis of how your website is positioned in the search engines. Thus, several essential elements are tracked, such as keywords, content quality and the types of pages on the website.
For example, an SEO audit could reveal that you are not using the right keywords that are specific to your business. Thus, you are not targeting your target audience and you cannot make your business known to the people that might be interested in it.
Following the signaling of such problems, a research is carried out to find the right solution and the best keywords that you can use.
As you can see, an audit is not only a means of identifying and reporting problems, but also implies finding solutions and at the same time applying them. It’s a complete process, the purpose of which is to create an effective SEO strategy, which will place you in the top of Google searches, through organic methods.
SEO audit means more than just keywords
In addition to the keywords, an SEO audit will also analyze on-page SEO elements, such as URL, titles, tags, meta titles and meta descriptions, etc. Then, an analysis of off-page SEO elements and other technical aspects of SEO is followed.
These relate to the sitemap, usability, backlinks, upload speed and other elements.
An SEO audit done with a sense of responsibility, attention and efficiency can take even a few hours, if you want to make sure you reach all the points. Of course, you can do this yourself, if you are good at SEO.
However, if you are not sure or you do not have the time, you can hire an SEO service to audit. This is because you will need an audit, no matter who does it, because your competitors are doing it. And even if you have competitors who have not heard of SEO audit or think they do not need one, it is your chance to position yourself before them.
When you have a website, newer or older, and you want to start online promotion, or you want to see if it is SEO friendly, most agencies recommend you do an SEO audit.
What exactly is an SEO audit?
The answer is very simple: an SEO audit is in fact an analysis of the site through which the optimization opportunities are discovered, identifying all the weaknesses of the site, the missing parts or the elements that can be improved, all for a better performance of the website.
Following an SEO audit, a list will be created with all the elements that can be improved – a checklist – that your team will be able to handle later.
Regardless of your web project, SEO auditing is a very important starting point for a successful promotion strategy. This SEO audit is a basic tool for all SEO experts and regardless of the situation, no one will start working on a website without first resorting to an audit.
How to perform a SEO audit correctly?
Step 1 – Check to see if your website has an SSL certificate
First of all, when you start an SEO audit you will need to check if your site has an SSL certificate.
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is in fact a security certificate, created from cryptographic protocols whose role is to secure the exchange of information on the Internet.
This is especially important for sites that have online payment methods or contain personal databases, and once this certificate is installed, the site benefits from a high security upgrade.
Therefore an SSL certificate encrypts the information in such a way that it cannot be decrypted except by the server to which it is addressed. This ensures that the data is not modified or copied.
When the site has this certificate, a padlock and the phrase “SECURE” will appear in your browser.
Step 2 – Scan your website
Once you have verified that the site has an SSL certificate, the SEO audit will have to continue with a crawl – a site scan. This can be done easily with a free tool – Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
This tool can scan up to 500 pages, and if your site exceeds this number of pages, then you will need a license. There are indeed other tools that can be used, but most do not scan as many items as mentioned above.
After the site is finished scanning, you will see a clear statistics of several elements, such as:
Meta elements: title and description – which do not have the appropriate length or which are duplicated;
Headings – if there are duplicates of them, but also the pages on which they are missing;
404 errors or broken links – the pages that generate this error;
Images – here you will see all the titles of the images, but also the images that lack the “other” attribute;
Wrong code elements that generate loading errors; etc.
If you want, you can download all these problems in a .xls document, which you can then modify and highlight the elements that require a more important or less important approach.
If this tool seems to you to be quite complicated to use, all these elements can be checked manually, using the source code (the page that opens when you press the CRTL + U keys).
Step 3 – Check the website’s sitemap
As you well know, the sitemap is a very important part of any website because it is the element that informs the search engines, about the structure of your site and helps them identify its new content.
If your site doesn’t have this very important document, talk to the development team and add it as soon as possible.
Be very careful when checking this document, because it is very important for it to:
not contain errors, Redirected or blocked URLs;
be always updated, especially after you add new content to the site;
not to exceed 50,000 pages, because Google will not access it if it exceeds this number (except in certain cases) to be clean and to have a medium / small size;
sign in to your Google Search Console account
Step 4 – Check the robots.txt document
This is very simple and you do not need any program. First of all you have to type in the browser, the link of your site and add the robots.txt extension. Therefore, the link should be in the form: www.yourdomain.com/robots.txt
When it opens, you will have several rows that will reveal the indexing conditions of the site.
These conditioners in the robots.txt file you will need to pay close attention to because they must be applied by an SEO specialist, so as not to miss the opportunity to access certain SEO opportunities that play an essential role in indexing the site.
Step 5 – Check that you have implemented structural data
You’ve probably heard about structural data or … maybe not. Well, structural data is data that helps search engine robots, to a better understanding of the content and structure of the site.
Basically, once the structural data is implemented on the site page, the search engine will know and have a clear and correct image of the content classification on the respective page.
These structural data are very easy to verify. All you have to do is access the free tool provided by Google, enter the site link and check. Simple and to the point, it will show you exactly if they are installed correctly.
The procedure is as follows:Visit https://search.google.com/structured-data/testing-toolEnter the address of the site and start the verificationOnce the verification is completed, in the screen on the right, the program will show you exactly the results of the verification.
There are 3 possibilities:
1.If the structural data are not implemented on the site, a white page will appear on the right.
2.If the structural data are correctly implemented, several categories will appear here, and each one will display different data.
3.If there are implementations, but there are errors, in the right side next to the respective categories will be displayed the number of errors, highlighted in red. When you click, they will open and you will be able to see exactly the elements that need to be corrected, so that the entire content of the page is correctly understood by Google.
Step 6 – Check that you have implemented the tracking codes for Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
You’ve probably heard of the two free programs offered by Google, to track site traffic and errors – Google Analytics and Google Search Console?
Well, if you haven’t heard, these two tools are very important and give you very clear statistics about: the keywords that rank the site, the pages that contain errors, the most watched pages, demographic and geographical data, and many more. other elements that will help you in the future to optimize your site and create strategies that will give you the desired results.
If you need an SEO audit or you need more information about a web project, you just have to contact the Plum Media team and we will be with you to advise, guide and help you throughout. during the project!
If you do not have the two tracking codes installed, don’t think about it, create your accounts and install the codes as quickly as possible in order to benefit from Google statistics.
Step 7 – Check the website’s speed. The loading speed of your website.
Site Speed or Site Loading Speed is a very important thing to check.
Why do we say this? Well, you have to know that, when the loading speed is low, you will have big traffic losses, and besides the fact that no user will stay long on your site, if it does not load quickly enough , the site may be penalized by Google.
If you want to see how fast your site is loading, you need to know that there are free tools that can provide such verification. There are two options: the first option is provided by Google, by accessing the https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights link or any other free tool, such as: https: / /gtmetrix.com/ or https://www.webpagetest.org/.
Once accessed these sites, you just have to enter the link of the site or page you want to be verified and let the process go.
In a few seconds the report will be generated and you will be able to see exactly what the page loading speed is and you will receive details about what you will have to optimize if the speed is improper.
Once the report is generated, you will know exactly what you will need to ask the developer to optimize. The list you will give can contain the following:
optimization of the site database;
optimization of images on the site by compression;
compression of files containing JS and CSS codes;
activation of caching systems at platform and server level;
implementation of the CDN.
These are the first important steps of an SEO audit, and the next article will contain the next steps to follow. Therefore, keep an eye on four and follow us to find out all the steps for a complete SEO audit!
If you need a SEO audit done correctly and quickly do not hesitate to access our SEO services page.