An SEO Audit is a documented process of evaluating how Search Engine Friendly is one website. With over 200 Search engine ranking signals to consider, making a comprehensive SEO Audit can be a difficult task. In addition, SEO audits require a list of detailed information to create the best analysis. In this article, you will learn about the information needed to create the best possible search engine optimization audit for your website. But first, let us talk about the 3 things to expect from an SEO audit.
- A comprehensive report on the current state of the website. This includes a detailed list of the website information like Domain Information, Content, Social Media, and backlink profile. This should be presented with a gauge at what is working and those that needs improvements.
- List of action items for each website element that needs optimization. Each action item should come with description and a time frame for it to be handled.
- Out of the box internet marketing strategy. SEO audits should also contain non-SEO related strategies to maximize the growth of any website. A clear example is optimizing a website for social media sharing and exposure.
Now that you have this under your belt, it is time to get to the meaty stuff. Here is the list of website information to check in order to create the best SEO Audit based on this checklist:
Knowing the domain age will let you know how old the domain is. This information is critical as its history will tell you how useful or how “dirty” the domain is. Here are the steps to follow to check a prospected domain:
- Go to godaddy.com/whois
- Type in the domain.
- Look up the age of the domain
Keyword in Top-level Domain
It has been a long debate with regards to the keyword being present in top-level domain as being a strong ranking signal with Google. It is still worth the shot to have this attribute checked when choosing your domain as it might give you an additional boost in terms of click-through rates from SERPs.
Keyword as the First Word in the Domain
A keyword appearing as the first word of the domain is simple to check. Just note if your main keyword appears on the first word of the domain you are selecting.
Registration Length of Domain
The relation between registration length of a domain and its value is simply stated as “ Valuable Domains are registered for long periods”. A simple way to check registration length is through godaddy.com/whois and place the domain to check.
Keyword in Subdomain
Keywords present in subdomain are often used to present topics on the website. It would be wise to check for availability of existing subdomains for the website.
This information is vital before purchasing a domain. It is of utmost importance to know the history of the domain. Information like link profile, usage, and ownership will tell you if the domain is credible enough to be bought. Tools like Whibse.com, HosterStats.com, and several link checking tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, and SEMrush will help you get the right information on the domain’s history.
Exact Match Domain
Since a Google update in 2012, exact match domains are given less priority in the search results if the overall website is providing little to no value to its users. On the other hand, if the domain to be purchased has exact match but provides great value to users, there might be a little boost from search engines.
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On-Page Website Factors
Evaluating and Optimizing Website elements would require you to use special tools called crawlers like Screaming Frog. This tool will scrape all on-page elements on any website and present to you the information in a form a table. There are multiple ways on how to use this tools and the information they provide you. For this tutorial, here are the basic and advanced configurations for the Screaming Frog Crawler:
Step 1. Run the Screaming Frog Application
Step 2. Make sure to set it as a “Spider” to fully crawl all website resources. Options available at Mode>>Spider
Step 3: Configure Crawler as presented below. Options are available at Configuration>>Spider
Step 4. Enter Domain and Run the Application
After finishing the crawl, download the “internal” and “external” tabs to be used in your future analysis. For internal or on-page website data, make sure that all important fields are being filled up to have a well optimized on-page website. Check the following information with the crawl data you have compiled:
- Keyword in the title tag
- Title tag starts with keyword
- Description tag has the main keyword
- Keyword appears in the H1 tag
- Keyword is most frequently used phrase in the document (do not abuse this concept)
In addition, you can also check for this on-page resources and their attributes.
- Canonical URLs (Use to avoid duplicates brought by multiple versions of the website)
- Image Alt-text (Text descriptions of images in your website)
Identification of Thin Content
Keyword for this information is Word Count. Although it’s not a precise science when identifying thin content on the website, it is a good start to filter pages. Word Count is available through the Screaming Frog Crawler. Use the Filter>>HTML and arrange the list of pages based on word count. In simple analogy, more word means more value. This is what this information provides. Higher word count pages often deliver more value to the website. It would best to optimized this pages to their full potential by adding elements like Page Titles, Descriptions, Schema, etc. In addition, evaluating thin content on pages will provide you a list of pages that needs additional text, image, or multimedia content. It would be a best practice to use all available website resources to improve the quality of the page and not focus only on textual content.
Technical SEO Elements
With nearly 60% of all online traffic are now coming from Mobile devices, it is a must to have a website that is both compliant with mobile optimization but also user-friendly for mobile users. Google and Bing offers their own mobile-friendliness tool that provides insights on optimizations that are needed by the website to be compliant. In this optimization, it would be best to have your website development team on board for this process. Always start with your targeted landing pages for the mobile optimizations.
Page Load Speeds
Based on a study, users often abandon the website when it does not load within 3 seconds. Having a fast website are also favored by search engines through a small ranking boost. Building a fast loading website also contributes to better bounce rates and conversion rates. You can check your page load speeds through Google PageSpeed Insight tool. This tool checks both mobile and desktop page speeds for the landing page. This tool only checks pages one by one so it would be wise to have your priorities lined up when optimizing page load speeds. With the recent update on mobile optimizations, AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages comes as a new guideline to follow. This allows Search Engines like Google to present search results friendly to mobile users as well. If your website is AMP-ready then search results will be richer in terms of presentation with the perspective of mobile users. Here is a link about what AMP is and a website checker as well.
Search Engine Tracker Code Requirements
One of the first thing to do when doing your audit is to check for Search Engine tracker code on the website. It’s a must to have the codes embedded in all your pages to have the proper tracking and proper collection of data for analysis. To do this, have your website team register your website on top search engines like Google and Bing and retrieve the code to be embedded on the pages on your website.
Robots.txt and Htaccess
These website resources are essential to how your website interacts with Search Engine Bots (Crawlers). Indexation and security are the concepts influenced by this files. Robots.txt file sets rules for search engine crawlers what to crawl and what not to. Make sure to consult your website developers when optimizing this file. Htaccess is used to provide rules for website browsers on how to interact with the websites. Redirections are the most common actions done this file. Again, consulting your website developers is key to have the best possible implementation.
Summary of Resources needed
To have a clear view of the many resources needed to create the best SEO Audit for any website, please refer to the list below:
- Screaming Frog Crawler Tool (Free and Paid Subscription)
- SemRush (Free and Paid Subscription)
- Moz Tool (Free and Paid Subscription)
- Google and Bing Mobile Friendly Test Tool (Free)
- Google PageSpeed Insights (Free)
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