If the thought of uncovering your website’s SEO issues is intimidating for you, relax! You can rise past your competitors by getting professional guidance regarding SERPs and using the right tools. After reading this blog post, you can quickly know why and when to get your site audited. You will also learn about essential free SEO audits of your website, taking the next step toward implementing improvements, and interpreting essential SEO data.
What is a Basic Site SEO Audit?
An SEO audit identifies errors and issues that prevent your site from ranking on Google and other search engines. Different parts makeup and SEO audit. It includes:
- Ensuring the website is correctly rendered by Google, indexed, and crawled.
- Checking the site for on-page SEO issues.
- Examine your off-page SEO for potential errors on others’ websites that link or relate to your website.
- Verify that your website has a good user experience, i.e., both desktop and mobile.
- Keyword optimization of your content
- Setup and maintenance of comprehensive reports to track your site’s performance.
Why is Site SEO Audit Important?
Site SEO audits are crucial to help your business and site to avoid:
- Losing organic traffic due to website health problems
- Losing sale options or a competitive edge over other merchandise.
- Improper indexing of your site; hence the searchers would not be able to find it.
- Having issues with toxic backlinks and penalties from Google for those backlinks.
Precisely, auditing your website can bring up problems that might cost you sales and traffic.
Popular Site SEO Audit Tools
You would not need many SEO tools to perform an SEO audit. Here are some of the best audit tools that you can use:
- Semrush Site Audit tool is a top-down and comprehensive tool for your website’s performance.
- Google Analytics provides data and metrics about a website’s performance in its search engine.
- Google Search Console shows if your website is appropriately indexed and how it appears on the SERP.
- Google PageSpeed Insights measures the page performance of your website for both desktop and mobile platforms.
- Google Schema Markup Testing is something you will need to ensure that the code is correct if you are building schema for your website. This tool lets you test and verifies the error-free schema.
How to Perform a Basic Site SEO Audit?
Perform a site crawl with a site auditing tool before starting to work through the audit process. Here is some insight into the report that you can follow. However, it can take some time, depending on the size of your site, to complete the audit.
- Go to the Site Audit tool.
- Click on Setup present next to an existing project. Or you can Add a New Project at the top right of the screen.
- Complete the audit settings, i.e., basic settings like Crawl source and Limit of Checked Pages.
- You should not need any editing in the settings except the limit of the checked pages. This depends on the size of your website. In other scenarios, you might require removing URL parameters, allowing or disallowing, or bypassing restrictions.
- Begin your site audit and let the crawler run.
Once the site crawl is finished, you will see a dashboard with findings. Now that you are aware of what to do before a site audit, here is how to do it:
Understand your competitors and benchmark your rankings accordingly: before diving into the on-page audit or technical SEO, you need to understand the competition. Knowing what other players are doing while you are working for the first time or auditing as an ongoing strategy, the better the chance of success. You must benchmark your website’s profile and rankings against the competition. All of these functions can be performed in the Semrush toolset.
Benchmark Your Website
You are now coming to benchmarking; if you have not done it already, set up position tracking for your site. Head towards the Position Tracking tool and do a new project. Build your campaign by selecting your language, search engine—device, and location after filling out your business name. Now add in your keywords to track. You can add keywords from Google Analytics, Semrush, or a campaign. Ranks across keywords can be viewed after you start tracking.
Check for Competitors.
About the competitors, you need to navigate to the organic research tool for a general overview. Please enter your domain in the competitor’s tab and click it. It will show a Competitive Positioning map and a report of 100 competitors based on Competition Level.
Check Google’s Index for Duplicate Content
It is one of the most basic checks you can run on your website. However, it is necessary to ensure that Google is indexing one version of your website entirely.
Your website can be sitting within:
There is little difference here according to the user except (that they might see a warning for a non-secure site in their browser). These are different versions of the website for a search engine. There should be a single version indexed only. Hence, you must check for duplicates.
You have a potential issue to address if you find a mix of your website versions. Plus, you can consider an alternative to entering every URL version in your browser. Also, you must expect to be redirected to a single version of your choice. If you do not do that, 301 will redirect all versions to a single one. Hence, we can say that running a site search is essential. You can get a quick insight into any subdomains that are being used. Also, it is not uncommon to find duplicate site versions on the subdomains set up for the affiliates.
Check Indexed URLs for Errors
It is a check that you run at the same time as the step mentioned above. However, it warrants its section. Look at the number of indexed URLs running a “site: search” on Google. You might be surprised to see the number of pages that Google has indexed.
How many products have you listed if you are running an eCommerce store? How many posts and pages have you published in the CMS if you have a simple lead-generating website?
It is all about quickly checking the number of indexed results and your expectations. One thing to note is that these must be the URLs you have registered with the Google Search Console.
For instance, it is unusual for an eCommerce store having 5000 items to see multiple indexed URLs unexpectedly. It is caused by faced navigation that can be indexed.
Similarly, if the result is lower than expected, you might find that your site is not being indexed or crawled as it needs to be.
Check Manual Actions
Your website might receive a manual action warning from Google if your website is violating any of Google’s Webmaster Quality Guidelines. It was referred to as a manual penalty which means that your website’s ranking will drop, and you will not be able to rank as you previously did. This action can be at sitewide or page level. The worst case is when your website will be deindexed, and you will never be able to rank for your brand name.
As such, it is a good idea to pay attention to such warnings and fix them as necessary.
Analyze Your Website’s Speed
Site speed has been an essential part of WP for a long time. Google rolled out a dedicated Page Speed Update in 2018 that introduced speed as a mobile ranking factor. Later Google rolled out its Page Experience Update in 2021. However, now UX is more entirely ingrained in SEO success than it was before. We cannot deny that its speed is critical. By looking at user behavior, Google published data to show that the chance of a user bouncing increases when the page loads slowly. From SEO and UX perspectives, the website must load fast. You can check the Site Performance report from the Site Audit dashboard. Navigating the Core Web Vitals Report can highlight issues related to the LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift), and TBT (Total Blocking Time). Move to Google PageSpeed Insights to get recommendations on specific actions to see the improvements.
Check if your website is Using HTTPS
It is a wise idea to switch to HTTPS if your website does not already use it. The S in HTTPS used to stand for “Socket Security Layer,” now called “Transport Layer Security.” Hence, you can place that S in an encrypted HTTP protocol version. It will add a layer of cyber security for anyone who visits your website. Next, you can head towards the HTTP report in the Site Audit.
Here you will see a score for your site and the potential errors. You can address or ignore the problems if the page only displays green checkmarks. Since HTTPS has been a ranking signal since 2014, you must implement an SSL certificate if your website is still running on HTTP.
The good news? VeeroTech offers free SSL certificates on all its hosting plans!
Check for Mobile-Related Issues
While living in a mobile-first world, if your website is not mobile-friendly, there is a good chance of losing viewers. Mobile friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015. The reality is that most sites use dedicated mobile-optimized versions or are now responsive. However, it does not solve all the issues, so you might need to manually look for some CSS or JS issues on mobile devices.
Analyze and Solve Indexation Issues
Sometimes, you may run into indexing issues when doing a site SEO audit. Such common errors are:
- Pages submitted in a sitemap or have a nonindexed attribute
- Pages included in a sitemap but blocked from being crawled in your robots.txt
- 404 pages submitted to a sitemap.
You should clean these issues if you find them on your website.
Auditing On-Page SEO
On-page SEO relates to:
- Optimizing header tags, Meta descriptions, and title tags
- Including proper image alt tags
- Making optimized content
- Creating an internal linking structure.
Site SEO Audit Quick Wins
A successful site SEO audit is a long shot. It will not be easy to put in so much effort to have the results trickle in months after implementing them.
Fix the broken internal links
Broken links create a poor user experience. They expect to be taken to the page they are clicking, not a 404 error. Apart from that, it sends negative quality signals to search engines. To fix this issue, you can remove or update the internal link to the correct URL.
Clean your sitemaps
Your website’s XML sitemap shows Google the primary pages on your website to the index. In your website audit report, you will see errors related to incorrect URLs in your sitemap. Sitemaps containing URLs that lead to pages with the same content return non-200 status codes or redirect to a different webpage.
Check the redirects
Errors are often found in redirects. However, fixing them once you find them is a quick fix.
- Redirect chains and loops: the crawl error occurs when redirects are not set up adequately.
- Temporary redirects: you need to use 301 redirects instead of 302.
Auditing site content
Content is the king of SEO that keeps the visitors engaged and helps them earn. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that your content is performing well in search engines, sound, and thorough. Therefore, audit the site to know what issues to fix.
Search and fix duplicate content errors
Duplicate content causes issues that can prevent you from ranking high. It sends confusing signals to search engines. Hence, search and fix duplicate content errors.
Mark the thin content pages
Although it is not a direct ranking factor, you must ensure the content offers enough information and context regarding the topic you chose to write about. Hence, the thin pages issue can be solved by:
- Improving these pages by creating unique and helpful content
- Add a non-index attribute, so the pages are prevented from being indexed.
Fix issues on orphan pages
The pages that are on your website but not linked to any other page are the orphan page. It does not receive topical authority passing via internal linking.
Compare your content with other top-ranked pages
The most crucial factor that SEO experts have focused on in past years is searcher intent. Spend time checking the top-ranking pages for the targeted search terms. You might need to consider a content audit to rework your page with searcher intent in mind if you can see a stark difference between the pages and content that rank at the top of Google.
Run a Backlink Audit
Links are always a key ranking factor, apart from planning a tactic to build better links than the competitors. However, running a backlink audit can check for potentially toxic links.
Conducting an SEO audit helps you put solid tactics together at the beginning of a new site or project. You can fix problems that prevent your site from achieving its full potential by fixing the issues. You can gain a great insight into your site’s overall health by auditing other areas.If you have any web hosting questions please feel free to reach out to us. We're happy to help.
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