15 Essential Steps to an SEO Site Audit
If you want your website to generate more customers and revenue for your business, you have to know where to start. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine what you need to improve right away.
That’s why it’s essential that you perform a comprehensive SEO site audit. An audit will tell you everything you need to know about your site, including what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.
On this page, we’ll provide you with 15 areas to include in your 2020 SEO audit. If you need help auditing your SEO, call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist. We provide SEO services to clients across the country, so whether you need SEO services in Washington D.C. or SEO help in Tampa, we've got you covered.
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What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is a review of your SEO campaign and strategies. With an audit, you have the opportunity to identify what you’re doing well and uncover areas of improvement.
The goal of an SEO audit is to identify weak points in your campaign. An audit helps you identify where there are points of weakness in your campaign and how those points hurt your site’s performance.
When you conduct an SEO audit, you receive a list of action items you can fix on your site. It’s a great way to help you improve your site’s performance and drive better results for your campaign.
So, when should you conduct an SEO audit?
It’s a good idea to audit your campaigns when you launch them to make sure they’re set up for success. In addition, you may consider auditing your SEO on a quarterly basis. If you partner with a digital marketing agency like WebFX, your SEO plan may already include monthly reporting and optimization.
It’s important to remember that SEO takes time to show results. If you audit it every quarter, you can monitor issues or changes in your campaign and make the necessary changes.
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Your SEO audit checklist for 2020
When you start conducting your SEO audit for 2020, you may wonder what you should focus on auditing. Here are 10 aspects to analyze when conducting your audit.
1. Google Analytics tracking code
It’s essential to track your website’s performance. That’s what Google Analytics does, and all you need to do to get started is add a small string of code to all of the pages you want to track.
If a page doesn’t have that tracking code, you won’t be able to see any statistics about it, including page visitors, time on page, and other metrics that indicate performance.
When you do this for all of your pages, Google Analytics also doubles as a full catalog of every page on your site. That means you can quickly and easily see how many pages you have, what they are, and more all in on location.
With Google Analytics on all of your pages, you can move to the next step of a site audit.
If a page has a robots.txt file with specific instructions inside, it may block Google and other search engines from indexing it.
That means pages with this file and those instructions won’t show up on Google, but if you’re tracking them, they’ll show up in your Google Analytics account.
If there’s a discrepancy between how many pages you see in Google search results and Google Analytics, check your pages for robots.txt files that may be responsible for blocking Google’s crawlers.
Keywords are a crucial part of SEO. They determine when your site appears in the search results. When you conduct your SEO audit for 2019, you’ll want to analyze the keywords you target.
First, take a look at the keywords you’re using on your website. The best types of keywords for your campaign are long-tail keywords. These are keywords that contain three or more words.
An example of a long-tail keyword is “bakeries near Harrisburg, PA.” This specific keyword will attract leads interested in bakeries near Harrisburg. Similarly, other long-tail keywords help you drive more qualified leads that are looking for your business.
When you audit your SEO campaign, revisit your keywords. If you have a majority of short-tail keywords, which only contain one or two words, you’ll want to rethink your strategy. You can drive more valuable leads by using long-tail keywords for your campaign.
You’ll also want to make sure that your long-tail keywords are driving valuable results. If keywords are driving traffic to your page, consider swapping them out for higher value keywords.
In addition, you should integrate keywords into your titles and meta descriptions. This will help your pages rank higher in search results for those keywords.
4. Branded keywords
Now that you’ve verified that all of your pages can be indexed, it’s time to search for branded keywords. That means you should look up phrases that include your brand name followed by your product or services.
So for WebFX, branded keywords would be something like “WebFX SEO services.” Once you have the results for your company, look at what pages are included in the results.
If there are pages missing, you may have incurred a penalty from Google for some reason or another. Take note of any page that’s obviously missing, because you’ll have to work on it later. The reason this works to check for Google penalties is because using the command “site:[yoursite]” reveals all of the pages that Google’s indexed.
When you just use branded keywords, Google is still pitting you against your competition. So if you have a page that shows up when using the “site:” command, but it doesn’t show up for a branded keyword, you’ve probably received a Google penalty.
5. Page speed
Site speed is an important ranking factor for search engines like Google. People hate to wait for slow loading pages. If your page takes too long to load, you risk losing leads to your competition.
Google favors fast loading sites too. They want users to have a positive experience, so you need a site that loads quickly. People will bail on your pages if they take too long to load, so you’ll want to optimize your site speed to give your audience a good experience.
So, how do you find out your site speed?
With Google PageSpeed Insights, you can check your page speed and see where you can optimize your site to improve its speed.
If you choose to use this tool, you must make the changes to the backend of your site on your own.
You can also invest in page speed services from a digital marketing company like WebFX. With this option, you can worry about running your business while your digital marketing company helps improve your site’s speed.
6. Indexed pages
When Google crawls through your site, it “reads” your content and indexes your pages. Indexing is crucial to your page appearing in the search results. If your pages aren’t indexed, they won’t appear in the search results, and it will hurt your SEO.
During your SEO audit 2019, make sure your pages aren’t being accidentally blocked by Google.
You’ll want to check your index status report in the Google Search Console. In this feature, you will see the number of pages that Google has crawled on your domain. If you notice that the number of pages isn’t increasing, there a good chance that some of your pages aren’t getting indexed.
When you check your pages, you can search your site to retrieve a list of indexed pages. In addition, you can type “robots.txt” at the end of your URL to see pages that are disallowed, or not indexed. It will look like this: http://www.yourwebsite.com/robots.txt.
This trick will help you see which pages are indexed and which ones are skipped. It’s an efficient way to help index your pages, which will improve your SEO.
Another alternative is going to Google and typing in the following command:
For example, you can see every page that Google has indexed from WebFX by typing “site:webfx.com”.
When you have your results, compare the total number of pages on Google to the total number of pages on your site. They should be exactly the same, unless you use robots.txt.
Mobile-friendliness is a crucial part of your SEO strategy. Considering that 61 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from mobile-friendly sites, it’s crucial that you optimize your site for mobile.
Google has a mobile-first indexing approach. This means that mobile-friendly sites rank higher in search results.
One of the easiest ways to make your site mobile-friendly is by using a responsive design. A responsive design ensures that your website adapts to whatever device a user is using. Your website will display properly on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets.
This creates a positive experience for your audience and allows them to easily browse your site. When you conduct your SEO audit for 2019, check that your site is mobile-friendly.
When you conduct your SEO audit 2019, you must make sure your site is secure. People don’t want to enter sites where their information is at risk. Likewise, Google doesn’t rank sites unless they are secure for users.
Upon auditing your site, check to make sure your site is encrypted with HTTPS. This is the signal for a secure site. As long as you have that designation, your site will be secure for your audience, and Google will allow your site to rank.
Upon conducting your SEO audit, you’ll want to analyze your competitors to determine how you stack up against them.
If dozens of competitors already rank for a certain keyword, you may want to rethink your targeting strategy to focus on keywords that will deliver higher value results.
This is also an opportunity for you to find keywords you may not rank for currently.
When you analyze your competitors in your SEO audit for 2019, you’ll also want to look at their content. Content has a large impact on your SEO performance, and it helps your site attract more leads and perform better in the search results.
You can see what type of content is performing well for your audience. By doing this, you will be able to discern how your content compares to the competition. You should also take this time to analyze competitor content to develop ideas for your own content.
By analyzing the competition, you’ll have a better idea of how you can help your site stand out and outperform them in search results.
10. Voice search optimization
Voice search is rapidly growing as a popular way for users to conduct searches. If you want to stay ahead of the game, it’s important that you audit your site content to make sure it is voice search-friendly.
The first part is ensuring that your content is easily readable. If a speaker is going to read your content out loud, you want to make sure your content is clear. Review your content to make sure the information is concise and easy to digest.
Also, ensure that you’re providing your audience with the information they want. If someone is conducting a query like “What’s the best way to cook a turkey?” your content should answer that question directly.
When you provide your audience with relevant and direct information, you have a better chance of appearing in the featured snippet. This is a block of text that appears at the top of the search results.
You want to earn the featured snippet, also known as “position zero,” because voice search devices pull information from these featured snippets. When you optimize your content, you help your site perform better in voice search results.
When you conduct an SEO audit, it’s important that you crawl your site to identify errors.
If you want to crawl your site, you can use a tool like Screaming Frog. This helps you recognize errors on your site and fix them to improve your site’s performance.
You can start by identify pages that are not currently indexed and fix errors preventing Google from crawling them.
In addition, look for broken pages that produce an “Error 404” message. This happens when pages get deleted or the URLs change. Creating redirects for these links will help prevent your audience from getting error messages.
By fixing errors and disallowed pages, you’ll help send visitors to the relevant information and keep them on your site. Your website’s SEO will improve as a result of your hard work.
12. Broken links
A broken link is any link to a page that no longer exists. Broken links (or “dead links”) are common whenever you fully delete a page from your site without using a redirect.
Broken links are common throughout the Internet, and any time you see an error message saying “404,” it’s because a link no longer connects to a page. If you have a lot of broken links on your site, you no longer provide a good user experience, and that means you’ll see a gradual decline in traffic and conversions.
It’s also possible that you’ll lose rankings in Google search results since Google is dedicated to providing a positive user experience for its searchers.
Regardless, if you find broken links, replace or remove them as quickly as you can.
13. Duplicate content
When you create content, you don’t want to duplicate your content. Duplicate content dilutes the authority of your page, and it hurts your SEO rankings.
To prevent this from happening, you’ll want to use canonical link tags. These tags indicate “master copies” of pages. By using canonical links, you’ll help organize your site and index your most important content first.
14. Low-value pages
When you create content, you want to ensure that your pages contain original content that is informative and relevant. It should have relevant keywords and pertain to the topic at hand. If you want your site to perform well, you must nix your low-value pages.
With pages that aren’t robust, you’ll want to beef up the content or redirect them to content-rich URLs. To do this, de-index the low-value pages and focus on your high-value pages. When you de-index low-value pages, people can still visit them, but they don’t affect your site’s performance.
15. Miscellaneous on-site factors
This last item takes a while because it includes so much. On-page SEO ranking factors include elements like title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and more.
Your pages should each have unique titles, headings, and meta descriptions that include unique keywords describing their content. It’s important that every page you have targets unique keywords because if they target the same keywords, Google won’t know which one to show in search results.
That can be disastrous for a business trying to grow online, which makes it even more important that you perform an SEO audit regularly to keep your site in tip-top shape.
It may take a lot of time and effort, but it’s critical to your company’s online success.
WebFX will help you conduct a comprehensive SEO audit
An SEO audit will help you create a better campaign for your business. It will help you optimize your SEO campaign to drive better results. At WebFX, we have over 20 years of experience optimizing SEO campaigns to drive better results for our clients.
We’re a full-service digital marketing company that specializes in SEO audits. We have a team of 200+ experts that will bring their knowledge and expertise to your campaign. We’ll help you create a campaign that drives results for your business.
If you’re looking for a company that drives valuable results, look no further than WebFX. In the last five years, we’ve driven over $1.5 billion in sales and over 4.6 million leads for our clients. Our team will help you audit your SEO campaign to help you drive more valuable results.
We’ve worked with hundreds of clients to improve their websites in the past, and we’ll do the same for you! Contact us today to completely audit your website so you can earn more revenue from the Internet!
Ready to start using SEO to attract customers and earn more revenue online? Call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today to learn more about how WebFX can help with your SEO challenges.