One thing I have noticed that most site are not optimized for search engines. Site owners not focus more on site audit.
Research proves that site who perform SEO audit will rank better than the site who does not perform SEO audit.
Process that check the health of your website in many areas called SEO Audit.
In this process auditor check your site and come up with suggestions about what needs to improve.
Performing SEO audit of your website is important for various reasons:
You can make an accurate evaluation of the health of your website.
Identify the problematic areas that need to improved,
Design an action plan to correct them.
You could use the tools like RankJane site auditor, or could also take the help of an SEO auditor who could help you do an extensive audit.
An auditor will point out three different things
- How your site is perform on search engine, internal and external links, social media etc.
- An actions based list on the SEO site audit checklist, with step by step explanation for each action.
- Final report describe complete marketing strategy.
SEO audit ensure that;
You build a strong solid foundation for the future online marketing efforts.
Maximize your return on investment and;
Increase your search engine ranking.
There could be various things which could be affecting a site’s performance like;
|Crawl issues||Keywords||Page titles|
|Content||Meta tags||Duplicate content|
|Page load time||Image optimization||Blog optimization|
|HTML||XML site maps|
Step by step checklist for SEO audit.
Most of site owner does not know how to perform site audit. If you have correct checklist and right guide to follow then it will be much easier. Today I will go through step by step point on how to perform SEO audit. At the end of this post you will download the Three SEO Audit Checklist template.
- Site Architecture Checklist
- Technical- Server Issues Checklist
- Content Review, Keyword, Social Media Checklist
Title and Description:
Here are the checklist you should follow for your title tags:
- Does post title unique to that page?
- Note: Don’t use the same title tag on multiple pages.
- Use the primary keyword of that page. Try to use keyword twice if space allow.
- Does post title roughly 50 to 65 characters in length?
- Is your title clear enough to tell what the page is all about?
Check whether the URLs of pages are exceptional and are properly formatted.
Example of Non Optimized URL: “www.demo.com/12234/badformattedurl/121356786”
Example of Optimized URL: “www.demo.com/good-example-for-url”
Good URLs –
- Are unique for each pages.
- Has primary keyword.
- Has hyphens (‘-‘) to separate the keywords.
- Must have less than 255 characters.
Check the 404 errors and redirects. While you crawl your site, pay attention to these errors and if you find any, correct them immediately.
Do the text formatting properly,
- Every page must have H1 tag. H1 tag help search engine to determine the topic of a page.
- H1 tag only contain text. Note: H1 page never contain logo or images.
- H1 tag contain primary keyword.
- Using bold and italics wherever relevant.
- Paragraphs should never be longer than 6 lines of text.
- Use sub heading to break up a page every 2-3 paragraphs
Copyscape and check your content for duplicacy. Your content must be unique or else you have to remove the content and pages. Check content length and freshness, and remove old content.
Maintain a schedule for steady posting. You do not have to post daily. Check for good keyword density, and proper usage at relevant places.
SEO audit is not complete without checking your XML site map. The XML site map has to be readable, up-to-date and functioning.
Also, check whether the map submitted to the search engines. You might have a perfect site map, but it is pointless to have it, if it is not used by the search engines.
Page Load Time:
From my personal experience talking to clients, Most of non-technical people find page load speed a difficult task.
Site load time is also an important factor for both users and search engines. Many study showing that site speed affect both search ranking and conversion rates.
I personally use google PageSpeed Insights that gives recommendation about page speed. In general what you can do is following.
- Compress images or use a CDN
- Minimize Http calls by using sprites and browser caching
- Minify CSS and HTML to make their size smaller
- Use a compression plugin or page speed service
Images are helpful to reduce site bounce rate. Images must be unique and if you use stock images you must mention author name or site in resource section. Images are useful for make the page more attractive and easier to read but sometimes images increase page load time and affect your SEO performance. Follow this points when it’s come to image optimization;
- Image files have descriptive file names. You could use keywords for the filenames.
- Image should not contain any numbers.
- All images should have the ALT tag.
- All images have to compress to reduce their size. I personally use tool form yahoo to compress images.
- If image is use for link then use ALT tag to describe anchor text. Never use primary keyword for anchor text.
<a href=”http://www.exampleturl.com/”><img src=”http://www.example.com/images/primary-keyword.jpg” alt=”Image description” /></a>
A page Meta description does not help in site ranking but it does affect the page click through rate in the search engine results. The biggest mistake I see companies making with their meta description is keyword stuffing. Follow these guidelines create
- Does it contain keyword once per sentence?
- Meta description should not more than 160 characters in length including spaces and punctuation (140-150 is ideal), but no fewer than 51 characters
- Does your Meta descriptions are unique and relevant to that page?
- Does it contain 1-2 complete sentences with correct punctuation?
- Does they written as descriptive ad text, with a call to action?
The number and quality of backlinks is also important. Check whether your site have backlinks from reputable sites. I use ahrefs tool to check my site backlink profile. In general you need to check 3 thingd for backlinks;
- Do they come from many unique domains?
- Do you have spammy backlinks?
- Do you have dofollow links?
Google and other search engines crawl your site link to link. If they found broken link, crawlers immediately leave your site.
If google find many broken links, it may think site has a poor user experience. This will affect your site crawl rate and both indexing and ranking rate.
Now we know that broken links are bad from SEO perspective. To avoid search engines and user problem you must routinely check broken link using google webmaster tool and Bing webmaster tool.
You can fix broken links by remove them completely or redirect them to a valid URL. You can also fix them by doing 301 redirect.
Ads are good to generate revenue, same time it is very important to optimize ads type and placement.
- Is any other banners are present on the web page?
- Is there a way to make your banner stand out?
- Is your banner ads relevant to content on the page?
- Is your banner placed in body text? Note: Banners in the body text get the best click performance
- Does banner fight for attention?
Make sure your site is user friendly. There are few Check for user friendly area of the website like
- Does your site have clear and well defined menu?
- Can users find what they want?
- What happens when a user types a wrong url?
- Does your site have user sitemap?
These checks prove that website is easy to navigate and user friendly.
Social Media Checklist:
Social media affects your SEO efforts both direct and indirect for creating more natural links.
- Check if your site has proper presence in the most important social media channels. i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Pinterest.
- Check for Social media buttons on each pages of your website. This will help sharing to other groups or people who follow the same niche as your website is easier.
- Check if you have separate business pages on Google +, Facebook and other social media channels.
- Social media buttons on all pages?
Record each and everything you do: if you find any error or made any changes to your website, always document it. Keep records for things you have changes and fixed so that when you perform next audit you will get some idea about what progress has been implemented. If more than one person performing audit include their name and who was responsible for each changes that was made. Create an excel spreadsheet and note down all changes that you can always refer back.
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What’s the #1 takeaway point you got from today’s post?
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