If you run a website, you should know about SEO. It’s the lynchpin of your site’s performance. If you want to know why your website isn’t getting the amount of traffic you’d like, why your competitors are consistently outranking you or why your previously well-performing site has taken a nosedive, you need to perform an SEO audit.
Why? Because the answer to your troubles is undoubtedly related to SEO (i.e., Search Engine Optimisation). Think of SEO as if it were a car. A well-tuned engine will have your site functioning property and not breaking down. An annual audit as a means to look under the hood of your site. It’s a valuable way to diagnose any problems or areas of weakness on your website and strengthen what’s already in place.
Put another way, think of an SEO audit is a full-body health check; a standard procedure that should occur regularly, for example, every quarter or at the beginning of a new project. Once the audit is complete, you can set about creating an implementation strategy with measurable results, such as an increase in search engine ranking, bringing with it more visitors, leads, and eventually, revenue.
What is an SEO Audit?
When someone turns to a search engine like Google to find something, there are over 200 ranking signals that its algorithm uses to evaluate to determine where your site should rank in the results page. While these signals do vary in their importance and weight, if not properly optimised, any poor-performing one can hinder your site’s overall performance.
In this way, the significance of an SEO audit cannot be overrated. Such a review will look at all known (they chance constantly!) ranking signals to identify what parts of your site need immediate attention. It’s also the best way to analyse if your website is in accordance with industry best practices. It will identify as many foundational issues – technical, website structure, on-page, user experience, off-site, etc. – affecting organic search performance as possible.
There are three main ways to perform an SEO audit:
- Do it manually; using a comprehensive checklist.
- Cross-reference your site performance in Google Analytics versus the dates when major algorithm updates (Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, etc.) occurred.
- Use an advanced website review tool; just type in your URL and wait for the results to come in.
Benefits of an SEO Audit
SEO has evolved significantly since the halcyon days of merely scattering a bunch of keywords around a website. Now, Google takes into consideration performance criteria on many different levels, both technical and structural. A thorough SEO audit will likely bring to light many areas in need of improvement to the benefit of your overall site functionality. While it can be tempting to jump in headfirst and work on resolving all the suggestions as quickly as possible, it’s worth segmenting the tasks and prioritising the most critical ones. For example, technical SEO issues that are hindering your site, like crawling and indexing problems, are a good place to start. Another key area to focus on is user experience, pay attention to custom favicons, 404 pages and structured data markup.