Every SEO analyst across the globe knows that consistent results from SEO take time. Websites need to be optimized every now and then to guarantee that they stay at the top of the rankings. On-page and off-page SEO trends come and go with every passing day, with the competition getting fierce at times.
In such a competitive environment, what can you do to step up your SEO game? The first step to being on the road to the top is self-assessment. In general terms, we call it introspection. In the world of SEO, it’s called an SEO audit.
SEO Performance Review
If you’re relatively new to the field of SEO, then you’re probably wondering what exactly an SEO audit entails. The short answer is that it’s a report of sorts, where you take stock of what works and what doesn’t on your website. The end goal? Improving your website’s ranking in the SERPs for your niche.
Heading into an SEO audit as a fresher can seem like quite the daunting task. Truth be told, there are a lot of factors to account for, so it requires a certain degree of meticulousness. If you split it into separate aspects and address them one by one, however, you’ll find that it’s actually quite simple! Whether you’re a veteran or just a beginner, it’s always ideal to stay up-to-date with the associated steps of an SEO audit.
This article will walk you through everything you will need to keep track of to conduct a cracker SEO audit for any client. Let’s go over the process with a systematic approach.
Understanding The Breakdown
Technically, an onpage SEO audit should take you quite a while. Depending on your work pace, it could take you anywhere from a day to a week. If you streamline the process, however, it can be over in a matter of a couple of hours. At its core, an SEO audit can be simply broken down into broad strokes that revolve around specific aspects.
The Logistics – This involves the technical aspects of the webpage metrics. In short, you’ll be going over everything from page speed to crawlability and mobile optimization.
The Content & Elements – Basically, this involves all the on-page elements of your website. From the content relevancy to the general schema of the page and user experience, this audit involves checking how user-friendly and accessible your site is.
Connections and Links – Time to analyze the kind of connections you’ve made online and the bearing they have on your SEO rankings. Here, you’ll be doing a complete rundown of your page’s trusted links, any brand affiliations as well as partner websites that you may have ties with. It’s vital that this section is clean and tidy if you want a good ranking.
The Meta Aspect – Once you’ve taken stock of what works on your page and what doesn’t, it’s time to look at the bigger picture! Here, you’ll face the question, what is my website’s current ranking, and what are the websites above me doing right to get a high ranking? Then, you analyse whether you can adapt a similar model to your website to boost its rankings further.
Now that we’ve had a look at the basic aspects of an SEO audit, let’s dive deeper into a dedicated walkthrough of the process, from start to finish.
SEO Audit Under the Clock
Depending on the size of your site and its complexity, an SEO audit should take you at least a day, or even a week in some cases. While it’s important to run a thorough off-page and on-page SEO analysis for a comprehensive audit report, sometimes you just don’t have enough time on your hands. In such situations, it’s essential to strike a balance between efficiency and time management. So without further ado, let’s hop into the step-by-step breakdown of how to streamline your SEO audit.
1) Base-level factors
Start with the essential factors, the ones that are deal-breakers for your website performance.
- Analyse your website’s loading speed.
- Check for any inaccessible pages. (404 errors and the like)
- Scan through your content (including keywords) to check for relevancy. Make any updates that you might need to do to suit the current scenario. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to check up on your website’s general structure.
- Take a look at your website URL and make sure it reads well. This has more importance than you may think!
- Run a quick check on your website security measures, including the SSL and any encryption factors you might have in place. Nobody will visit a website that has questionable security!
- Don’t forget to check optimization for accessibility on different platforms! Most people browse websites solely on mobile these days.
- Conduct a quick run-through with the Google Search Console. Few other interfaces will give you such comprehensive feedback on performance under a single window.
These factors will give you an idea of what is majorly wrong with your website. Once you have checked all of these, your website will be functional on a basic scale. To help your site really hit the big leagues though, you need to take things a notch higher. That’s where phase 2 of your on-page and off-page SEO analysis begins.
2) The Fittings
Every element on your page is an indicator of how it will boost your rank in the SERPs. Take time out to analyze each page element individually, as even slight changes could go a long way in propelling your rankings forward.
- Analyse your page headings closely. They hold a prominent spot in your page, so tweak them to fit your niche better, based on trends.
- Do your keyword research and make it as comprehensive as possible. Don’t shy away from restructuring your content a little bit to incorporate currently relevant keywords.
- Don’t forget to scrutinize your images too! They have a great bearing on the first impression (and ranking) that your page will get. Update them (and the links associated with them) accordingly.
- Take a closer look at your internal link structure. People want a seamless browsing experience when surfing your website, and low accessibility on that front can be a major dissuading factor.
- Check every page’s meta description and make sure it provides a crisp description of that page’s purpose. This helps people get where they want to go on your site much faster.
Now we’ve more or less covered the analysis of your onpage SEO techniques. With this step, your website as a whole is accounted for in the audit. What about the performance of your website in comparison with the other players out there? That’s where we scrutinize the meta performance of your site.
3) The Statistical Links
For this portion of the audit, you will need to rely on tools like Moz and Google’s very own Search Console.
- Scout through every backlink on your website and check for authenticity. The quality of your backlinks impacts your website’s rankings significantly, so make sure they are legitimate!
- Take a look at your website’s authority scores. Once you’re done with that, double back and check every major page’s authority score as well. Moz’s interface will give you an accurate estimate of how much clout you wield over your domain.
- Look at the broader perspective of your website’s traffic flow. Namely, look at the links that drive the lion’s share of links to your site. If your authority score is low, then you might need more backlinks driving the right audience to your website.
- Do a little competitor research and see what they’re doing right to get the ranking they have. Explore their website structure to get inspiration to streamline your own.
- Finally, browse through your website from top to toe to check the general flow of how it will feel for the average internet user. Ultimately, this is what will decide whether people stay on your site or not!
After this step, you’re ready to round out your SEO audit! Tabulate all your findings in a crisp table for easy understanding, and you’ll be good to go!
Cracking a comprehensive onpage SEO audit that also accounts for other performance factors of your website is fairly simple. Approach each aspect of your site with the motive to unearth every issue, and resolve to find the solution to it. With the right approach, you can create SEO audits that provide your clients and superiors with crystal-clear information on how to make your website better!
Sorav Jain is the founder of soravjain.com, echoVME and Digital Scholar, all geared towards the common goal of exploring the full potential of digital marketing in a modern world. He is an established technical SEO expert, with years of experience in the field of SMM and content creation as well. You can follow him on his social media handles for all the latest updates on digital!