An SEO audit, when done properly, can reveal critical data that can change the course of your overall strategy, increase your traffic, and create revenue flow often through just a few simple changes. SEO Audits should be very thorough BUT do not have to take weeks to gather all the information together as some suggest. With the right tools you can perform a detailed audit in less than an hour! Before we dig into each step, here is a list of items you will need to complete your audit:
- Google Analytics Access
- Google Search Console Access
- Top Competitors URLs (Up to 10)
- List of keywords you are trying to rank for
- Google My Business Profile Access
SEO Audit Steps
Step 1: SEO Audit Checklist
Klout 9 has consolidated the most beneficial aspects of an SEO audit and the tools needed to complete each task through an easy checklist format. Our Free audit checklist is formatted so you can clearly see what areas pass and what areas need more work. The spreadsheet is prioritized in order of importance allowing you to complete each of the remaining steps in this process one step at a time. After working through each tab of the spreadsheet you will have either: A. A full to do list for obtaining a healthy SEO status paired with a strategic game plan moving forward or B. An easy sales tool to visually show the client you are performing the audit for you.
Step 2: Technical SEO
Just like when building a home, you must first pour a solid foundation prior to building. If you build on a lousy foundation, you will not have stability and are destined to eventually crash. Technical SEO is the foundation for your entire strategy. It includes the behind the scene SEO elements that should have been implemented once your website launched. This step includes ensuring things like Google Analytics account is created and code properly on the website, online conversion tracking is set up, sitemap has been submitted and includes no errors, there is an SSL certificate properly installed, the site redirects to the preferred version, favicons, meta descriptions and title tags, etc.
Step 3: Eyeball Audit of Site
The functionality and flow of your website contributes to overall user experience. This step includes checking to see if their website is mobile responsive in design, if contact information is easily accessible, does the footer contain a sitemap, are their visible call to actions, does the website clearly state who they are, what they do, and why? While your technical SEO elements may tell search engines a lot of this information, you are failing in your SEO efforts if the end user is unable to efficiently interact with your website. While both on page and off page elements are important, if your focus is on the customer rather than search engines, you will find more success with your overall strategy.
Step 4: Internal Linking
Internal linking is exactly what it says it is: Linking to your website from other pages on your website. This is a super simple strategy that can help traffic overnight. In this step you are checking to see if those internal links exist as well as putting recommendations. We recommend you take a look at the best performing pages within Google Search Console and linking both too and from other pages within those pages. The idea is to capitalize on the highest traffic volume pages by sending that traffic to other pages – thus increasing rankings for those other pages.
Step 5: Site Performance
This step includes running your website through a few different tools (Provided in our checklist) that show the overall performance of your website across different locations and browsers. This includes data on server speed, page load times, and more.
Step 6: Indexing
It is important to fully understand what is being indexed by search engines. If you simply type “site:www.YourURL.com” into a google search it will pull up all pages that google has indexed for your website. Review these results and look for things that should maybe not be indexed such as login URLs or thank you pages.
Step 7: Citations
A Google Map citation is very simply a mention of your business name and information on another website. An example would be having your name, phone number, and address listed on directory websites such as Yelp. It is extremely important for these citations to be consistent across search engines. Doing so will increase rankings in the maps listing section of search results.
Step 8: Schema Markup
Check to see if schema markup has been implemented on the website. This semantic vocabulary helps search engines understand the information being displayed on your pages.
Step 9: Duplicate Content
Duplicate content, simply put, is content that exists in more than one place on the Internet. Duplicate content issues can be both intentional or unintentional so it is important to check your site for these issues. If your website has multiple URL variations, or even http versions that have not been directed to https versions you will have content living on multiple URLs thus creating duplicate content issues. “Copying” content from other sites, even from manufactured product information, will also create duplicate content issues. While duplicate content in itself is not necessarily a penalty it can impact your search engine rankings. Google and other search engines strive to provide the most accurate and relevant information to their customers (searchers) and having the same content in more than one place prevents them from knowing which versions to rank above the other.
Step 10: Click Through Rate Optimization
By logging into google search console and reviewing your pages performance, you will see which pages have high click through rates and which do not. Analyzing this data can give you an idea of which pages need a little extra “TLC” to boost performance. Optimizing even the top 10 pages can drastically improve rankings.
Step 11: Link Audit
There are multiple ways to perform a link audit. The tools we recommend are Google Search Console, SEM Rush, and Screaming Frog SEO Spider. You can use one or a combination of the three. SEM rush connects with your search console account and will notify you of any risky links to your website. This platform allows you to view and manage all your links in one place and keep track of communication efforts to have links removed which is helpful if you need to disavow links. Screaming Frog allows you a much more detailed report by extracting data that includes: broken links, redirects, titles, metas, robots & directives, and more. Links are not the sole weight factor in your rankings but it is an important element. The links to your website help build your overall website authority and either give you klout or can discredit you.
Step 12: Competitor Analysis
SEM Rush is an excellent tool for viewing competitor data. It allows you to see the keywords they are ranking for, their site authority, link health and more. Competitor analysis provides much more useful information than you could imagine. Even small things like trying to rank for the same keywords they rank for and utilizing similar structures and methods they use to do so. While you may need a bit of an edge to outrank them, viewing what they are doing that is working is a great first start to join the running in competition for that traffic.
These are the main elements we focus on when performing SEO Audits. For a full list, check out our free SEO Audit checklist. Understanding where you stand is the first step in expanding and building out a plan for progress. After your audit is done you should have a clear path of what needs to be done next to improve SEO Health. If you have any questions or if you would like a free seo audit, do not hesitate to contact us today.