The internet is fast-moving and what works today might not work next month. So staying on top of your SEO is important!
There are a number of good reasons why you should carry out an SEO audit…
- You will find and fix any technical problems
- You can improve user experience
- Helps you create a solid content strategy
All of which will drive higher volumes of relevant organic traffic to your site.
But the common misconception about SEO audits is that all you need to do is run your site through a tool, fix the issues and you’re done.
No… there is much more to it than that if you want to complete a way more effective SEO audit.
And, it’s really not that difficult.
I will show you the steps I take when completing an SEO audit and the results from my last audit.
Step #1 – Find Out What Your Visitors Are Thinking
An SEO audit isn’t just about fixing technical errors on your site, it’s also about finding the problems your users have and making their experience better.
Just hit up social media or create a reader study and ask some basic questions, such as:
- What are your likes & dislikes about my website?
- What content/topics do you think I should be writing about?
- What format would you prefer me to deliver that content in?
And trust me, you’ll be surprised what you find out. But swallow your pride and listen to your audience.
Make a list of any issues/problems that are highlighted to you and move onto the next step…
Step #2 – Manually Observe
So now you have a list of issues your visitors face when using your website… now you need to take off your SEO hat and put yourself in their shoes.
Review each point of feedback and decide from there which ones are causing you to lose traffic. You may even spot a couple of problems yourself.
Remember, search engines are becoming more and more focused on user experience so not only will fixing these issues make your visitors happy (and increase conversion rates) but the search engines will thank you for it too (and move you up the rankings).
You will finish this step with a list of problems and the solutions you need to fix them.
Step #3 – Technical Spot Checks
The next step of the SEO audit is to complete a few spot checks on your site. These checks focus on the most common problems you’ll come across if you are struggling to rank.
You need to pick 5 of your website URL’s. Usually your homepage, a category page and your heaviest page should be used (plus 2 random others)
#1: Check your mobile indexing.
If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you will be struggling to see the first page of the SERPs.
Simply go to Google’s mobile-friendly test and enter in your homepage URL. Run the test and view your results. Hopefully they look like this:
#2: Mobile & Desktop Page Speed
Next you want to take a closer look at your desktop and mobile page speed
Page speed is critical to the success of your site. The longer a page takes to load the more visitors you lose. Every second counts.
Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get a reading on your site speed.
#3: Performance Metrics
This spot test focuses more on the speed of individual pages. You need to aim for your pages loading in 3 seconds or less.
Use GTMetrix to test the page speed for all 5 of your URL’s and check your scores.
#4: Review Your Structured Data
You need to check if any of the structured data on your site is causing you any problems.
Google has a structured data testing tool which you can enter each of your URLs into to see any issues.
You have just completed some quick and easy checks and to make it even easier I have created a spreadsheet you can use to track these results. (You’ll find it on my full tutorial)
Step #4 – Use An SEO Audit Tool
Now it is time for you to use an SEO audit tool.
I would recommend either of these tools:
This step is very simple. Just run your website through the tool’s dedicated SEO audit feature, grab a drink and when you get back, make a note of the issues the tool/s finds.
Step #5 – Create Your Plan of Attack
This is the step where you need to bring all your findings from the previous steps together.
Rank them in order of priority. I suggest your priority should be whatever is going to improve your user experience the most.
Don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Having a solid plan in place to fix, improve and create a strategy going forward will save you time and money.
As Promised: My Results
I was suffering from a year of steadily declining traffic. So I followed these SEO audit steps and was able to increase my website traffic by 45 percent compared to my worst month that year.
This meant my website began to rank better than ever before.
Some of the points on my plan of action were:
- Completely re-design my homepage
- Audit all my content
- Simplify my site navigation
- Work on my site speed
- Fix the technical SEO issues
This SEO audit will uncover a different set of issues for each site but it is the best way to find out what is not working and build a solid plan to put it right.
You should complete an SEO audit a few times a year or if you see a plateau or steady decline in traffic like I did.