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Updated: January 20, 2023

SEO Audit: A Great Tool When Used Right!

Imagine this: You’ve designed the most amazing website with beautiful visuals, and copy that captures your company’s ethos and sells its products, except no one can find you online. By now, most online businesses have heard of or come across the terms Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which optimizes a website’s visibility and search performance.

Yet, many with existing websites that yield poor results don’t think about conducting an SEO audit. When used correctly, this powerful tool can diagnose website problems and point to areas for improvement and suggest appropriate fixes. This blog explains the value of an SEO audit, what it entails, and why hiring SEO experts is a worthwhile investment.

What Is An SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is a process of evaluating various website elements that impact its performance in organic searches. Performing a site audit is the first step in creating a plan to improve search engine page ranking and Google traffic. SEO audits provide valuable insight into a site performance, the structure and topics of individual pages, and overall traffic.

Internet marketing guru Neil Patel describes it as “a report card of your site’s Googleability”. A thorough SEO audit should analyze a website’s:

  • Core Web Vitals performance (site speed, responsiveness, and visual stability)
  • Quality of current backlinks and referring pages pointing to your website
  • On-page elements like title tags and meta tags
  • Assess current conversion opportunities and site aspects that disrupt users’ experience
  • Crawl waste and crawl budget*

*Crawl budget is the maximum number of pages a search engine can and wants to crawl on any website. This is determined by the search engine’s crawl rate limit and demand. Crawl waste is when search engines can’t crawl a website efficiently, which hurts a site’s SEO performance.

Why Is An SEO Audit Important?

An SEO audit is a bit like scheduling an annual physical for your website’s health. The purpose of an audit is to identify issues that affect your website’s search results. Using an appropriate SEO audit tool like Google Search Console can reveal:

  • Technical and on-page SEO issues
  • Website structure issues
  • Potential off-site problems
  • User experience challenges
  • Content gaps and opportunities
  • Competitive marketplace insights

Any website is a living digital property; as it changes, so should its strategy. Without regular SEO audits, you won’t achieve the right organic traffic or know whether your marketing efforts are yielding results. It keeps your website strategy up to date, exposes errors, and helps recover lost traffic.

Creating an SEO Strategy

Keeping your SEO strategy up to date requires regular auditing. Good SEO audits alert businesses to trends, so they can optimize their content strategies to retain and improve traffic levels. Search engines understand the best websites offer users what they are looking for.

So, if you want to be accessible, relevant, and easy to find online, you need to optimize your website and marketing content. Be it with an external agency or in-house SEO specialist; the cost will always pay off.

A solid SEO strategy is built on keyword research and rankings, backlink analysis, good website design, and valuable content. This develops brand trust and credibility needed to increase leads and drive users further down the marketing funnel.

Improving Your SEO

In recent years, SEO has drastically changed. Search engines, especially Google, make hundreds of updates to their algorithm each year. Thus, what strategies work now will likely be different from what works next year.

Search engines prefer ranking up quality websites. With a complete SEO audit, your SEO will be evaluated to find out how it affects your website’s user experience. You can then determine the best strategies that will both improve your ranking and make your visitors happy.

Good SEO services package should focus on providing the best user experience first and increasing search engine results second. When you focus on the experience of your website’s visitors, you won’t have to constantly analyze each detail of your SEO.

Following Up on a Google Update

Google updates its algorithms several times a year. For example, in June 2021, it rolled out “The Page Experience Update,” intended to bring a better experience to users by prioritizing pages that offer a quality experience.

Major updates can impact organic search results and significantly increase or decrease Google rankings, especially if you haven’t made any major changes to it, but experience a sudden decline in traffic.

When Google announces an update, auditing is a must to ensure web page compliance with new ranking factors. Currently, Google gives preference to sites that load and appear correctly on Chrome and other search engines like Bing, Firefox, etc.

After a Sudden Loss in Positions or Traffic

A sudden loss of search traffic could be because of a variety of reasons. Besides a Google update, it may be due to a change in the market, shifting seasonal demand, a server overload, or competitors improving.

Implementing website changes can also influence performance. Most of the time, design pages affect load times and page speed. Sometimes after a website migration, not all elements are intact. For example, some images may not load properly, an inbound link structure could be faulty, and 301 directs may be incorrectly mapped out.

It’s advisable to use Google Analytics frequently to track search traffic changes and Google Page Speed Insights to check for specific onsite errors.

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What Is Included in SEO Audit?

SEO audits evaluate factors that impact the ability to rank on search result pages. These elements include on-and off-page SEO, as well as technical SEO performance.

Technical SEO Audit

A technical SEO audit assesses a website’s technical aspects, including on-page elements, URL structure, website structure, and indexability. It is often done before backlink and content audits because it focuses on resolving technical SEO issues that prevent search engines from indexing or creating your site correctly. Common aspects covered in a technical audit include:

  • Unoptimized pages for mobile
  • Slow loading pages
  • Invalid structured data items
  • Backlink profile
  • Metadata issues (missing title tag and meta descriptions)
  • H1 tag issues
  • ‘Non-indexed’ pages
  • Broken links
  • 404 error pages
  • Uncompressed code

Remember, while it’s tempting to get ahead of the competition, engaging in any black hat SEO techniques that go against Google’s guidelines will result in a Google penalty. This may downgrade a website’s ranking in the search results, or in worst-case scenarios, delist it from the search engine.

On-Page SEO Audit

An on-page SEO audit provides an in-depth look at a website’s indexable content. This type of analysis reveals which web and landing pages are attracting the most organic traffic, which needs to be removed (if there’s duplicated content) or updated. It focuses on how each piece of your website’s content engages your target audience and delivers quality SEO to improve your website’s traffic.

On-page SEO audits are not the same as conducting content inventory audits. An on-page audit is a qualitative evaluation of a website’s content, while an inventory audit examines a company’s repository of existing content assets, including blog posts, videos, and any other content marketing materials produced for lead generation.

Off-Page SEO Audit

An off-page SEO audit is an essential part of any successful SEO strategy. It will help you identify any potential issues that could detract from your website’s visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs).

During an off-page audit, you’ll review several key areas, such as backlinks, social media, and local SEO. By understanding what is and isn’t working, you can make the necessary changes to improve your website’s ranking. Backlinks are especially significant, as they are one of the key factors that search engines use to determine the relevance of your website.

Make sure all backlinks are from authoritative sources and point to relevant pages. Social media is also essential, as it can help build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. Finally, make sure to optimize your website for local SEO.

This means ensuring that your website is listed in local directories and that your address, phone number, and hours of operation are correct. By performing a thorough off-page audit, you can make sure your website is competitive in the SERPs and get the most out of your SEO efforts.

What Should I Expect From an Audit?

An SEO audit process can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks, depending on the size of your website. For instance, a simple website with a few external links will take quicker than a large eCommerce platform with thousands of products and internal pages.

At Comrade, when a company contacts us, we conduct a comprehensive audit that does the following:

  • Measure your website loading speed
  • Evaluate all the backlinks
  • Analyze current search engine rankings (SERPs)
  • Evaluate your web-design
  • Look at website conversion rates
  • Assess the quality of your website’s content

This forms part of a 20-point SEO performance evaluation checklist. Once we have a detailed overview, we suggest several ways to optimize your SEO content strategy. As a leading digital marketing company, we present all clients with the full scope of their current situation and prospective work. We don’t take shortcuts and explain every step of the process, so our clients remain informed and understand why what we do guarantees results.

An SEO audit is the starting point of all digital marketing. Whether it’s optimizing site architecture or a site audit needs to be done first to ensure SEO best practices are followed and digital marketing campaign strategies are a success.

4 Useful SEO Audit Tools

Before we go into the checklist, we’d like to highlight some of our top SEO tools for analyzing your SEO.

Your SEO audit may be sped up with several excellent plugins and websites. However, while the tools below can be extremely helpful, you should be aware that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. In order to get really good results in promoting your business, you still need an agency that can optimize your business for all SEO requirements.

Let’s go through our top picks of SEO audit tools:

SemRush

Semrush is a site audit tool that helps marketers find the best keywords for their SEO and PPC campaigns. This SEO tool includes features such as competitor research, organic keyword tracking, rank tracking, and backlink analysis. It also provides in-depth information about the competition’s organic ranking in SERPs so you can strategize accordingly.

Moreover, the SEMRush Keyword Tool allows you to enter a word or phrase related to your website’s niche and displays how many global monthly searches there are for keywords similar to yours. It also shows how much organic traffic you will receive if your page ranks on page one of Google’s results for these queries.

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a web crawler that helps you identify the design errors in your website. It can crawl through your website and report various issues, such as broken links, 404 errors, duplicate content, etc.

The crawler is easy to use and can be launched on demand. You can also schedule it to run automatically and monitor the progress of the crawl through its dashboard.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free web analytics service that helps businesses understand how visitors engage with their websites. This tool has three main features:

  1. Real-time reporting of site activity
  2. Site analytics to track conversion rates and user interactions
  3. Audience insights to see the demographics and interests of your visitors

It also provides a number of additional tools for marketers and business owners, such as Google Optimize, Google Data Studio, Google AdWords, and more.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free web-based service from Google that provides webmasters with the tools they need to monitor and optimize their sites in Google Search results. Webmasters can use GSC to:

  1. Track rankings for up to five websites for free
  2. Get insights on indexing status and search performance
  3. Fix crawl errors, site misconfigurations, security issues, duplicate content, and more

GSC is a valuable resource for SEOs looking to improve their site’s visibility.

Can I Do an SEO Audit by Myself?

Truthfully, as a business owner, you have access to tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, and Ahrefs, which can help you conduct an SEO audit of your site. However, there are innumerable benefits to hiring a professional SEO expert. They have the knowledge and expertise to conduct it properly and offer solutions to improve your SEO efforts.

Ask yourself: Once you’ve conducted an SEO audit, do you know how to best leverage the findings? And do you have the time and expertise to follow through with fixing broken pages updating a meta description, among countless other improvements, to boost your site’s ranking in an organic search?

Once you answer these questions for yourself, the decision of whether you need an SEO specialist or not becomes really obvious. In the same way that most people hire mechanics to fix their cars, most successful businesses seek professional SEO help.

SEO Audit Checklist

The examples in the brief section below hold all the information you’ll need. Ahrefs’ and optinsomster’s articles are your best friends.

1. Check for Indexing Issues

Indexing is a process by which search engines find and list websites in their indexes. Indexing is typically performed by automated software, often referred to as search engine crawlers, that crawl the site’s content and follow links to related pages.

A website’s ranking in search results depends on how many pages from the site are indexed by the search engine. If a search engine has only indexed a few of your site’s pages, then your website will not rank as high for relevant searches.

Here is a list of indexing issues that need to be checked before publishing content:

  • Check the title and meta description.
  • Check the URL.
  • Check the page title and meta description.
  • Check your target keywords.
  • Update any broken links.
  • Add any missing images or videos to your blog post.

2. Check for Duplicates on Your Website

Duplicate content can be a real problem for website owners. It is important to check your website regularly and make sure that you are not publishing the same information twice. This can lead to Google penalizing your site, and it will also confuse your readers.

It is very easy to create duplicate content by accident. It might happen if you have multiple authors or editors working on the same page or if you have copied an article from somewhere else without realizing it.

3. Check for Crawling Issues

Crawl issues are something to look out for if you have a website that is performing poorly on search engine rankings. These issues could be anything from broken links to duplicate content.

If your website has crawling issues, then it will not perform well on search engine rankings. This will make your site less visible to potential customers, and this can lead to a decline in revenue.

You should check for crawling issues on your website before they become too big of an issue and affect your search engine ranking and revenue.

4. Check for Manual Actions

You should check for manual actions if you have been hit by an algorithmic penalty, as it may be time to evaluate your site and look for any issues that may be triggering the penalty.

The purpose of manual actions is to reduce spam, abuse, and other violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Manual actions are issued when Google detects something unusual on your site or if they detect something that violates their Webmaster Guidelines.

5. Check Your Site Speed

Website speed is one of the most important factors in an SEO audit. It is not just about how fast your page loads but also how quickly it responds to user interaction.

Thus, it is important for every business owner to check their site’s speed and make improvements if necessary.

The first step in improving your site’s performance is identifying where it might be slow.

You can use Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Tools to get an idea of where your site may be slowing down.

6. Make Sure You Use HTTPS Protocols

HTTPS protocol is an essential part of your website and search engine optimization. HTTPS protocol is the secure version of the HTTP protocol. It provides better security for your website, especially when you are collecting sensitive information from users.

Google made it clear that HTTPS is important for SEO. Google said their search engine had given preference to sites with HTTPS over those with HTTP for ranking on their search engine results pages (SERPs).

7. Check if Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Mobile-friendly sites are not only important for the user experience. They are also crucial for SEO.

On April 21, 2018, Google released an algorithm update for mobile devices that affected mobile search results. On mobile smartphones and tablets, this has had a big impact on how people find information.

After this update, a website’s mobile-friendliness is now an important factor when ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). It signals to Google that a website is optimized for viewing on a mobile device and, therefore, can deliver the best possible experience to its users.

8. Perform a Complete Link Audit

Link audits are an essential part of SEO and website maintenance. They help you find broken or outdated links, resulting in improved website performance and user experience. A link audit should include both internal and external links, as well as backlinks.

Internal links are those that link to pages within your own site, while external links are those that link to other websites. Internal links help visitors navigate around your website, while external links can boost your domain authority by showing that other websites are linking to you. By optimizing the use of internal and external links, you can improve your SEO, increase traffic to your website, and get more conversions.

Backlinks are incoming links from other websites pointing to your website. They help search engines understand the relevance and authority of a website and its content. Moreover, you can increase your website’s visibility and improve its SERP rankings by building high-quality backlinks. This will result in more organic traffic, which can lead to increased sales and conversions.

9. Check Your Website’s Traffic

When it comes to improving your website’s performance, checking your website’s traffic should be at the top of your list. It is important to understand how visitors interact with your website and what kind of content they are looking for. Knowing this information can help you optimize your website for a better user experience and increased conversions.

By understanding where traffic to your site is coming from, you can also identify areas that need improvement or areas where you could focus more effort. Additionally, checking traffic on a regular basis can help you stay on top of changes in search engine algorithms, as well as changes in user behavior and preferences. This way, you can make sure that your website is up-to-date and optimized for maximum performance.

10. Check Your Title and Meta Descriptions

SEO is an essential part of any website or online business. As such, it is crucial to ensure that your title and meta descriptions are optimized for search engines. It will help your website rank higher in search results, allowing more people to find your content.

The title and meta descriptions are the first thing potential visitors see when they search for something related to your site or business. They should be carefully crafted so as to accurately represent what you offer and entice people to click on the link.

By checking your title and meta descriptions regularly, you can make sure they are up to date with the latest SEO trends and best practices. It can help you gain more organic visitors from search engines, which will raise your sales and profits.

11. Make Sure You Have High-Quality Content

High-quality content is essential for any business’s SEO success. It’s no secret that high-quality content can help to improve your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). Why? Because search engines use algorithms to determine the relevance of a website and its content to user queries, and quality content helps to demonstrate that relevance.

High-quality content also helps to keep users engaged on your website and encourages them to interact with it. This interaction signals back to the search engine that your website is helpful, which can lead to higher rankings in SERPs. Additionally, quality content encourages readership and social sharing, which further boosts your SEO efforts.

By ensuring you have high-quality content, you can ensure you are making the most of your SEO efforts and helping your business reach its goals.

12. Monitor Your Rankings

Monitoring your rankings is one of the key components to ensure that you are making progress with your SEO efforts. Keeping track of your rankings can help you understand how well your website is performing in terms of SEO. Moreover, it will also allow you to make changes if necessary. By monitoring your rankings, you can identify areas where improvement is needed and take action accordingly. It will ultimately lead to better search engine visibility and higher organic traffic for your website.

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Conclusion

To keep your website ranking high on SERPs, it’s crucial to habitually conduct a site audit for broken internal links, duplicate content, inactive content publishing, and off-site SEO that results in poor user experience.

When you improve your website’s health, you improve its overall performance. At Comrade Digital Marketing, we also offer SEO consulting services for our clients. As a committed digital marketing company, we deliver a 2.5x increase in organic traffic on average. Why not start your SEO audit today?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Stan Bogdashin
Stan co-founded Comrade Digital Marketing and serves as its marketing strategist and IT expert recruiter.
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