— May 6, 2019
Every website owner needs to be concerned about the visibility of their site. A website audit needs to be run on a regular basis. Website audits will make you aware of problems that need to be fixed on the website. It will also ensure that you are not penalized by Google for errors that could have been fixed easily once identified.
Site Audit Definition
A site audit is a thorough examination of all the determining factors of a site’s visibility. Usually, this is done by a professional who has the tools to audit a website and identify the problems that are leading to the poor performance of a website. The problems usually are the reason your website may be failing to attract visitors who can be converted into customers.
The site audit begins with planning a strategy that will help identify all possible problems that may be affecting the website. It is important to research tools that you can use for the audit. The internet has a number of options you can use to audit the site. At the end of an audit, you should have been able to fix all the problems that have been identified and eventually see your website performing well and attracting new prospects.
Here is how you can carry out an SEO audit on your website
Investigate Google Penalties
Google penalties affect your ranking and despite some of the best SEO efforts, if your website is under Google penalties, it is likely you will not see a lot of traffic to your site. When checking for penalties, find out if they are manual or algorithmic.
It is important to know when a penalty was imposed, why it was imposed and then plan to fix the problem that caused the penalty.
To check for penalties, login to Google console and from the menu on the left, click on Manual Actions. A list of the penalties imposed will then be displayed and the reasons for the action taken. Alternatively, you can check for algorithmic penalties by comparing your organic traffic with dates on which Google may have implemented algorithm changes. If you notice a sudden drop or spike around the same time, then there is probably a penalty.
If you discover any faults, you need to fix them as soon as possible.
Technical SEO Audit
Even though this is called “Technical” it is not something that only developers can do. The technical SEO audit is intended to ensure that your site is accessible to search engines without any problems. It is a bit of a long and elaborate audit so it is best to have a checklist to ensure you do not leave out some aspects.
First, ensure that the website is registered on Google Search Console. This will help provide a lot of information about the site and how it interacts with search engines. In a technical audit, you will need to check out the following.
- Website mobile optimization
- Website speed
- Does the website have a translation for other languages
- Site structure optimization
- HTTPs security certification
- XML site map optimization
- Can Google identify the most important pages using canonical URL
- Structured data
- Breadcrumb menu activation
- Robot txt optimization
- 404-page optimization
All these need to be examined and properly remedied if there are any problems discovered.
Check On-Page SEO
This is mainly about the content on the site. Content plays a major role on a site so this audit is really important. It helps search engines understand how important the content on the page is.
Start by checking if the titles are well optimized. It is the titles that can tell a visitor what to expect in the content. You also have to ensure that the formatting is okay — bold titles, headings, and subheadings.
Be on the lookout for duplicate content. You may have created content that seems similar and this will confuse the search engines.
On-page auditing generally is about ensuring that the content on the site is suitable for both the search engines and the people who will be reading it.
This is an examination of how well your website is perceived out there. Particularly you want to see if it is a trusted site. Is Google comfortable recommending your site when an internet user makes a search on a topic related to your content?
Google usually shuns websites that practice black hat techniques. You need to ensure none of those appear on your site whether intentional or by mistake.
Also, ensure you have the right content that would make other websites want to link to you and attract other visitors to your site to find relevant and trusted content.
SEO is about keywords so it is important to carry out an audit of the keywords being used. Compare your keywords to what the competition is using. You need to have high ranking keywords if you are going to attract visitors to your site.
At the same time, you do not want to have too many keywords or to have them stuffed. Sometimes you may realize you have used the same keyword or words in many different pages and the search engine will end up only choosing the page with the best content and ignoring the rest.
You cannot expect to rank high and get many visitors if there are problems with the website. Some problems cannot be uncovered unless you carry out an SEO audit. The audit is like a periodic health check to ensure that the site is healthy and able to do what you expect it to do and that is attract visitors who can eventually be converted into paying customers.
There are a number of tools you can use to audit the website so even if you are lazy, the tools will do most of the work and you can plan how to fix any problems identified.