An SEO Audit Can Dramatically Improve Your Website’s Effectiveness – Here’s How
I was talking to an entrepreneur friend about accelerating SEO performance on his site. I suggested what I thought was basic advice: Get an SEO site audit to understand what is currently working and where there could be benefits.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eli schwartz is an SEO expert and consultant with over a decade of experience in large B2B and B2C companies.
He immediately dismissed the idea, saying, “We already have an SEO software tool, so we’re good.”
I was stunned. The fact that he didn’t distinguish between a tool and an audit made me realize that a lot of people probably ignore him as well.
An audit can be the best thing for your SEO strategy.
Let’s take a look at the difference between a software tool and an audit, why humans are the best listeners, and what an audit looks for.
An audit is a careful review of all of your SEO efforts by an experienced practitioner. Software tools are not people. What I mean is that while tools like Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Conductor, Clarity, and Searchmetrics are all great for seeing progress, they lack the human intellect needed to clarify the Why or why not behind the metrics.
A better way to understand this is to use a health analogy. Basic wearable devices like Fitbits are great for helping you stay on top of common health stats like activity, heart rate, and sleep. However, the numbers are not a substitute for a complete physical examination by a healthcare professional. Your heart rate monitor will not detect an arterial obstruction.
Likewise, a daily SEO stats tracker like the tools above reports activity metrics well, but it won’t catch an impending site-wide SEO “heart attack”. Creeping URL changes or misconfigured canonical links could suddenly explode, and none will be detected by the software.
When a website has an organic issue, it’s time to ask a seasoned professional to take a look around the site and conduct an audit to find out what’s causing it pain.
What will an audit look for?
Once you have decided to implement a site audit, what can you expect? Each audit will eventually diverge because the auditor follows the architecture of the site. However, each audit will include at least one review of these high-level areas.
Penalty analysis: Are there any unexplained drops in metrics that correspond to manual Google actions or known algorithmic updates?
URL structure: Do URLs have a nice and clean structure to make it clear to users and search engines what is on each page?
Duplicate content and canonical use: Duplicate content issues force Google to make a decision on which URL to index. This might not be the URL you want, so canonicals can help declare the preferred URL. Improper use of canonicals can be detrimental to the site.
Internal links: Are internal links working for proper crawling and indexing? (In many ways, internal links can be more important than external links, so this step is essential.)
Back links: Which sites link to our site, and are they helping or harming us? For a large site, understanding the backlink mix can be an audit in itself.
Indexation: Is the site correctly indexed in the search? What is holding him back? In my opinion, this is the most important part of any verification.
Use of keywords: What keywords are used and what gaps exist? Keywords are the backbone of any SEO campaign, and their mapping can often lead to opportunities.
SEO on the page: What title tags (titles, descriptions, H1, H2, etc.) are used? Good title tags are the foundation of any effort, and it’s always surprising to me how many opportunities can be discovered by spending time in using them.
Content quality: What content is used and of what quality? SEO is driven by content, but poor content can actually be harmful. A stranger’s point of view can accurately assess the quality.
Robots.txt: How effective are the instructions to the search engines on which pages of the site can be crawled? Doing too much will lead to important pages with no traffic, while too little will lead to crawling unnecessary pages.
Site maps: How effective are current XML and HTML sitemaps? They are both useful and necessary for page discovery, and this analysis will highlight opportunities for improving the current setup.
Site speed: How fast do the pages and the site load? Page and site speeds are factored into Google’s algorithm for very slow sites, but even though there is no algorithmic issue, very slow loads lead to poor user experience and poor conversions. .
Spam: Is there? Even the most trusted and secure websites have had spam issues. While this probably doesn’t lead to a search performance issue, it’s definitely not a good user experience.
Schema markup: Where is the current markup and the available markup to help us find new growth opportunities? In a world of voice assistants, schema markup is increasingly important because it helps search engines understand context.
Mobile vs. desktop: How will mobile search experiences interact with the site? Mobile devices often approach search in fundamentally different ways, so it’s no surprise that mobile SEO can be different as well.
International: How do all of the above domains work in different countries?
An audit will be your BFF
The most important point to remember in any SEO audit is “So what?” “. I’ve seen audits run over 100 pages, but they’re light on action items. Creating an unnecessary book is of no use to the creator or recipient.
To this end, the audit should be performed by someone who can discover the action items. The best scenario is an employee, as the audit will guide them in their understanding of the website in the performance of their duties.
It’s never fun to see where your SEO strategies fail, but since digital marketing is by nature a fast-paced industry, audits performed by real people (not tools) are crucial when working on more strategies. effective.