Every business with an online presence ignores SEO at its peril. We all know this, but what may not be clear is what is involved, and which factors may be working against us in the SERPs. Many things can affect the SEO of your website and, consequently, your overall page rank. Some of them may not even be directly related to your site. An SEO audit can tell you what is working and what isn’t, and from there, you can evaluate the problems and figure out how to solve them. But what is an SEO audit anyway? In this article, we’ll explore what it is and how it can help you improve your website’s SEO and page rank.
The Meaning And Nature of an SEO Audit
An SEO audit analyzes a website and measures how well it is optimized for search. It looks at all the variables that go into SEO and evaluates how your site can rank better in the search results. In a nutshell, it means assessing the current online standing of your website and analyzing the sites’ potential for improvement. The analysis involves a probe of your entire website and a disciplined examination of all the off and on-site factors that directly or indirectly affect your site’s search ranking. Also, this whole audit process can be performed at regular intervals.
The Scope of Applicability
You might wonder why you should get an SEO audit of your website, especially if you believe you’re doing well in generating traffic and revenue. The thing is, no matter how good you think your site is performing, it can always do better. An SEO audit can point out areas of weakness so that you can strengthen them and help you see problems coming down the road so that you can fix them before they happen. Of course, should your site not be performing well, an SEO audit can be an invaluable source of information to help you improve your position in the SERPs and may become the difference between a failing online business and a successful one. Let’s put it this way: whenever you run a new ad campaign, you probably do split testing to find out which ads are performing well, and which are not. You would never just throw up a couple of ads and let them run without tracking them to see how they convert, so why would you optimize your site without testing to see if your optimization is working as expected? Monitoring your site through an SEO audit is essential to making the most out of your SEO. Now, to perform this audit, a series of steps are required to be followed with the utmost care, so that the analysis does not miss anything We will take a closer look at these steps in the next section.
SEO Audit — Aspects And Areas
Here, we cover the entire process and steps involved in performing an SEO audit. To avoid becoming tangled in technical jargon, we are going to break up this whole procedure in smaller sections. The best place to begin the audit is with the website itself. To do this, we must analyze how well the site functions — in other words, we need to determine how accessible it is.
In a nutshell, accessibility refers to the user-friendliness of a website. You want your visitors to have a good experience when they visit your site. This means you don’t want pages hanging due to poorly optimized code or overlarge images, and you want all the features, such as your online checkout page and search functions operating smoothly. Accessibility greatly affects your site’s authority and search result ranking. An SEO audit studies the overall layout of the website and marks all the segments that adversely affect this metric. So, what if the audit uncovers problems with your site’s accessibility? How can you improve it? Here are some recommendations:
Keep the number of redirect portals to a minimum. If the user must go on a link-clicking spree to access a particular page or a piece of content on your site, chances are your site will lose a huge chunk of online credibility. Go with fewer redirect windows that lead users to their desired page.
Categorize your content properly. The online audience prefers sites with neatly arranged content. Take the example of a library if you are looking for motivation. Arrange your on-site content under appropriate categories to make it easier for users to find what they are searching for.
Provide relevant information. Make sure that your content meets the users’ expectations and answers the question they came to your website to resolve. This is the primary intention of anyone who visits your website. Not finding what they seek can easily frustrate visitors.
Make sure your website is fast. Surfing through a website that’s laggy and has a speed that matches a century-old turtle would kill the reputation of that site. To avoid this sort of scenario, proper and regular testing of the website is advisable.
Every search engine crawls through a website, reads it completely and evaluates the relevance of its content to a search query. That’s a simplistic explanation of what indexing is. Now, to make your website more indexable, you should make it more readable. Here are some ideas for improving your website’s indexability:
Optimize the robots.txt file: This little file determines the crawlability of your website by search engine crawlers. The honest mistake of not optimizing your robots.txt file can turn your site near invisible to Google.
Optimized anchor texts: Good anchor links make navigating the content on your website comfortable and easy for users without the hassle of searching manually. The same could be said for the indexing bots.
Avoid a penalty: Google and other search engines can penalize your website if they find that your site breaks any of their guidelines. Don’t break the rules. Any advantage you can gain from doing so will be short-lived and can get you quickly de-indexed.
Various Aspects of an SEO Friendly Model
An SEO Friendly Model is about the various SEO methods employed according to the best practices. Here, the emphasis is placed on marketing your website. SEO helps in increasing the radius of attention a website receives by boosting its search result ranking. Let’s now understand you can tune your website’s design to make it more SEO-friendly. Proper keyword use is the first step towards optimizing your website for search results. Now, this area requires balance. We can’t stuff our website with targeted keywords, nor can we completely isolate our site from them. Adding keywords in the appropriate amount is the point of equilibrium here.
Catchy Header Tags and Meta Descriptions
They both might not add to the overall ranking of the website, but they are quite resourceful in helping a website catch the reader’s eye. A creative and unique meta description coupled with a precise header tag can help attract users to your website.
Whether practicing SEO tactics or not, a website must always host pristine quality content. Your content is like a product you are selling — the higher its quality, the higher the returns. High-quality content offers something of value to the reader: it answers a question, solves a problem, or otherwise gives the reader something to take away from the experience.
Off-Site Aspects And Determinants
For the off-site factors, the SEO audit looks at those that indirectly influence the website’s online ranking. These include backlink number and quality, social media presence, and online review chart.
The Backlink Audit
A backlink audit employs metrics to inspect and study the entire backlink structure of a site. The measurements of citation flow, trust flow, domain authority, page authority, etc. all come under this analytical model. The SEO audit utilizes the data from these metrics in its thorough inspection.
Assessing Backlink Quality
This involves reviewing the overall quality of the backlinks a website has. Not all links carry the same authority, and some may even damage your site’s reputation. Like the way that associating with shady people makes you look bad, links from spammy websites or sites with a suspicious outlook will degrade your website’s credibility. Search engines like Google are less merciful towards sites with these sorts of backlinks. Good links are generally from high-authority sites within your niche. They are generally from prominent bloggers, the official sites of the big names in the industry, or a popular online media portal.
Assessing the Number of Backlinks
Here, we calculate the total number of backlinks a website has. This is done to check the number of authoritative sites that point to us. This analysis also extends to investigating the low-authority sites that are added to our backlink chain so that they can be removed from the list.
Social Media Presence
While not necessarily a part of the SEO design framework, reviewing a website’s social media profile is valuable. A firm standing on social media platforms can add more to the overall influence of a website. Since an SEO audit involves inspecting every factor affecting the ranking of a website, examining a site’s performance on social media becomes necessary. A proper SEO audit will assess three variables when examining your site’s social media presence. These include:
Presence on different platforms: Being active in more than one social media platform helps to generate traffic and raises a site’s reputation. Being represented on all of the big names such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook is a must.
Use of platform-specific content: Every platform caters to a crowd with varied tastes and interests. So, content must be platform-specific to appeal to its target audience. For instance, you might share image-centered content on Instagram while your content for Twitter must be concise and to the point.
Making the most of social media; To attract the right attention on social media, you need to be consistent across various platforms. This means posting distinctive content regularly. A posting schedule could help here.
The Online Review Chart
Many research models tend to overlook the online review sphere. Reviews matter, especially when it comes to the ranking your website. The analysis of this category requires a thorough look at the opinions of various individuals and related websites. Checking the favorability of the reviews is the first step. This involves assessing the friendliness and positivity of reviews. This also extends to understanding the opinion that the online community in which your website resides holds towards your brand. Probing the negatively reviewed sections of the website comes next on our list. This demands us to fix the areas on our website that users find inconvenient. It could be the speed of the site, nature of the content, or any other part of our website that is problematic. Marking the fake reviews is the final stage of the assessment. That not all reviews are genuine is a well-known fact. A thorough investigation will separate any bogus reviews before they can damage your site’s reputation. Playing the negligent card here can seriously hamper the growth of your website. Reading, understanding, and evaluating these reviews is an important aspect of SEO audit. So, exercising vigilance here is important.
Cost and Efficiency
Up until now, we have focused on the analytical aspects of the SEO audit. It’s time now to talk about the cost and efficiency of this whole process. Here, we won’t take any specific monetary values into account as different SEO experts have divergent price models, and picking one as a mean value is not possible. However, this section tries to provide you with a glimpse of how the cost is determined. First, we need to understand that all SEO audit experts or agencies carry out the process in their own ways. Although there is some commonality, no two agencies will look at the same things during their audits. The aspects of your site on which they choose to concentrate decide the price structure. While you can carry out this procedure yourself, with the level of detail and analysis at play, it’s safe to ask for the help of experts. As an SEO and digital marketing agency, Atastic provides our clients with an audit to start an overview of what needs to be adjusted and optimized. You can ask us for a free SEO audit anytime you wish. To aptly summarize, like any other service, the price structure of SEO audit depends on the scope of the analysis. The more aspects it covers, the pricier it will become. The more expensive models do not merely study your website and create a report; they also dig further to find suitable fixes for any or all problems they come across during your website examination.
The Bottom Line
An SEO audit is the first step in assessing your website’s rank and determining what optimizations are necessary to help you achieve a higher rank in the SERPs and all the benefits it confers. Without measuring how your site is performing with your current setup, you can’t properly do SEO. We hope this guide gives you a clear idea of what SEO audits are and how they can help your online business.
Atastic provides SEO services that increase organic results and give our clients high quality ratings. With our help our clients get better visibility and can achieve greater results in any given market and industry.