In the internet world, search engines are classrooms where webpages are all ranked according to their performance. Some do great and get recognition; others don’t do well and linger behind.
The better you perform, the higher you rank.
If the entire game is to improve and rank high, how do we know what we have to improve?
Simple answer: a thorough and complete website audit
A website audit gives you an idea about the shortcomings of your website.
On the surface, your website might have the most popping graphics; the content is updated to the last second, the look and feel of your website are neat. But still, there are factors that always ready to pull your website down whenever it tries to jump.
Where to begin?
A professional SEO audit begins with a checklist – what are the things you want to improve. Mind it, SEO is a gorge so deep that you can keep going in it yet won’t find an end. So, it is optimal to set sight on fixed goals and work your way to improve them.
For a complete SEO audit, focus on the following aspects of their site:
- Technical SEO
- Content SEO
- Improved user experience
Technical SEO means fixing the aspects of your website that are not visible to your users. They work at the backend to make your website user-friendly and optimize it for the search engines to crawl it easily. A compact SEO audit should identify the following technical issues:
1. Page speed
If there is one most vicious factor in SEO, it is the page load speed. Page load speed can make you lose a race when you haven’t even begun running. According to Google, 53% of users abandoned mobile site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
You can easily test your site’s load speed. Simply go to Google Page Speed Insights and enter the URL. It will give you a suggestion to reduce load time
Search engines use robots to crawl webpages. These robots cannot read a webpage, so they need to be fed what the data is and where to find it. The internal linking of your website will make sure that crawlers understand the data completely.
If your website has a robots.txt file missing or hasn’t tried meta robot tags, you should highlight those issues in your SEO audit.
A broken link of a non-existent webpage is the most infuriating thing for a user. It’s important to ensure that no links on your website give a 404 error. Fixing broken links should be a priority in your SEO audit.
4. Canonical tags
Content duplication on a website can confuse search engines.For a user, the same content with different URLs doesn’t make a difference. But, for search engines, duplicate content causes the problem, and as a result, the search engine lowers the rankings of such content. Canonical tags can help you in that area.
5. Structured data
Structured data is a label that tells the search engine about the type of content present on your website. It improves your visibility in the search engine and increases the CTR. If your website audit shows no structured data, you must fix it.
After identifying all the technical deficiencies in your site, your attention should turn towards the content. Here’s how the content audit should be done:
Keywords bring traffic to a site. If you’re not ranking for the right keywords, then my friend, all your SEO efforts are going down the drain. So, check your content and see if you are using the relevant and high-ranking keywords or not.
Check the placements of those keywords and the frequency. It is important to start with an in-depth keywords research. Here also, Google has the answer in the form of keyword planner:
See, content is not only to fill the blog section of your website. It is to draw the users towards your site. If your content is not engaging users, it’s futile. You can’t have 2-3K words long articles without line breaks or images and expect users to enjoy them.
Analyze the content during the site audit and add visuals to it. After all, visuals increase user engagement and retention.
Another thing to check during the website’s content audit is the placement. Where is your most important content located? Are different sections of your website placed in a good position? Where is your CTA located?
All these factors massively impact the way users interact with your content.
See, one of the mistakes people make when perceiving SEO is that it is only for search engines while overlooking the importance of user experience.
If a user isn’t satisfied with your website and how it works, you can forget about ranking high in SERPs. Therefore it is important to analyze and audit your website from users’ point of view to see what things they like and what aspects should be changed.
1. Color schemes and font
Colors and font can increase the likeability of a website. Believe me, we all like websites with light and soothing colors (with flowers and milk shading) with a legible font. We want to keep coming back to it.
So, user experience starts with seeing what your customers want and what they want you to throw away. A website audit can help you find answers to these questions.
2. Cut blind spots
Your users shouldn’t feel lost at any point while navigating your website. They should be able to jump sections without having the need to close the website altogether.
If your website has complex navigation, you need to put that down on the audit checklist.
It can be my favorite pizza or ice-cream place, but if their website doesn’t open on my mobile, I’ll have to consider finding a new ‘favorite pizza or ice-cream place’.
Responsive web designs are absolutely imperative in today’s day and age. Therefore, your SEO audit must include checking the responsiveness of your website.
A website’s SEO audit checklist can be as long as the webmaster wants it to be. However, the SEO audit points discussed in this blog form a group of core issues that should be fixed on every website – it’s like a minimum benchmark.
We have given you a starting point here with this compact blueprint for SEO audit. Start from here and tell us what other issues you identified during the audit and how fixing them soared your SERP ratings.