How to Conduct an SEO Audit
Conducting an SEO audit can be tricky — especially for beginners or first-timers.
- What tools would you need?
- Where do you start from?
- What do you need to fix first?
In this blog post, we answer all these questions and more.
SEO Audit Tools That You May Need
You can use a variety of tools to conduct an SEO audit. There are a few free tools you should definitely consider using. For example:
- WDL Free SEO Checker
- Google Search Console
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Google Analytics
- Screaming Frog
Then there are some paid tools that can help you dramatically decrease the administrative burden of conducting an SEO audit. The choice of using such paid tools for your SEO audit depends on the scope of the audit and your current budget. However, we do recommend these tools as they make the entire process significantly easier.
A couple of popular options are:
15 Items to Look Out For
An SEO audit can be very comprehensive. You can dig deep and find plenty of issues on most websites. Because of its daunting, seemingly endless nature, it can become very difficult to scope it out and manage the entire audit process.
To simplify it for you, we have narrowed this down to 15 items that you should look into during and after an SEO audit. Fixing these potential issues can hand you some quick SEO wins.
1. Manual Actions
First things first: make sure there is no manual action or penalty against your website, because that can be hard to recover from.
Log into your Google Search Console account. Browse to Security & Manual Actions in the left sidebar menu and click on Manual Actions. If there is a penalty, take the necessary actions to fix the problem.
In the future, make sure you are following Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines to avoid manual actions against your website.
2. Duplicate Website Issues
In the next step, double-check and make sure that only one version of your website is being indexed in Google.
Sometimes, Google may index multiple versions of your website. That happens because there are multiple ways Google and users can reach your website:
There should be only one canonical version. The rest of the versions should be 301-redirected to the main version.
3. Indexation Issues
Can Google find and index all the pages on your website? If not, you may be losing a lot of traffic and potential customers.
Check possible crawling and indexing issues and try to resolve them one by one.
4. HTTP vs. HTTPS
It’s 2021, and your website must be using HTTPS. There are no excuses.
HTTPS is a modern security protocol. It is not only a search engine ranking signal now, but not using HTTPS can also affect your credibility as well as the conversion rate on your website.
Learn more about the differences between HTTP and HTTPS.
5. Mobile Friendliness
For many websites, more than 50 percent of traffic comes from mobile devices. Moreover, Google now uses a mobile-first index. So, if your website is not mobile-friendly, it is not going to rank well on search engines.
You can use the Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console to see how your website performs on mobile devices.
6. Page Experience and Loading Speed
Your website should not take more than a few seconds to load. If it does, you have some work to do.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights for a detailed analysis of page experience and loading speed.
7. Backlink Analysis
You’ll probably need one of the paid SEO audit tools to conduct an in-depth backlink analysis.
Here are a few steps you can follow:
- First, compare your site’s backlink profile with that of your competitors’.
- Shortlist the sources from which they get backlinks and you don’t.
- Make sure you have the right, link-worthy content in place.
- Start reaching out to those websites and try to get links from them.
Fix any internal or external redirects. Just replace the hyperlinks with the final destination, and you’re good to go.
9. Internal and External 404s
Over time, it is natural for a site to have internal and external 404 errors. Compile all the 404 errors and fix the issues by replacing the links with active URLs.
10. Duplicate Content
Make sure to fix all duplicate content on your website — whether it is duplicated from internal or external sources.
11. Thin Content
Does your website have thin, low-quality, low-performing content?
Compare it with the pages your competitors have for the same keyword phrase and on the same topic — especially the pages that rank above yours on the SERPs.
Use those pages as inspiration to improve yours.
12. Orphan Pages
Orphan pages are those that aren’t linked from anywhere. These can be hard for search engine crawlers to find and index.
Create contextually relevant internal links from other pages to any orphan pages you find in the audit.
13. Meta Content Optimisation
Make sure each page on your website has unique and keyword-rich meta content. This includes title tags and meta descriptions.
14. Structured Data
Next, check if your website has structured data and that it is properly formed. You can use Google’s Rich Result Test to test existing structured data on your site.
15. Clean Up Your Sitemap
Check if your sitemap needs any work.
Once you have updated your website, removed duplicate pages, and fixed indexation issues, clean up your sitemap, remove any incorrect pages, and re-submit it to Google via Google Search Console.
As mentioned earlier, there is a lot more that you can do when conducting an SEO audit. But if you fix these 15 issues, you will see significant improvements in your website’s performance and search rankings.