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An SEO audit is the process of determining how well your website complies with best practises to rank high for keywords and keyphrases on search engine results pages.
It’s the first stage in finding out what you need to do to get your website seen by your users using search and also by Google and co.
In this post I’ll show you how to do an SEO audit of your website and how this will help you gain more organic search visitors.
We’ll cover the tools you need to use and things to watch out for when reading the data that will have the most impact on improving your standing in search results pages.
What is an SEO audit?
semrush.com defines an SEO audit as “the process of identifying issues that could prevent your site from ranking on Google and other search engines”.
The goal of an audit is to find as many foundational faults as possible that may affect the organic search performance of your website on Google.
Using tools to find issues and a process of working through them one by one, you can identify the issues you’ll need to work on to improve the visibility of your website with search engines like Google.
It can be comprehensive or as light as you like, but I have found that the more comprehensive you can make it, the more you find data that can tell you why your site may not be ranking as highly as you’d like for certain keywords or keyphrases.
What will an SEO audit reveal?
If you have just gone live with your website recently, an SEO audit will reveal any gaps in content and on-site configurations that you may have missed.
If your site has been live for a while, then it may give you some answers as to why you’re not ranking as high as you’d like.
You could discover issues that Google has in crawling your website or off-site issues that may affect the appearance of your site in search.
It could even highlight issues with user experience that you hadn’t thought of or provide opportunities for content to create for your website
TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO CARRY OUT AN AUDIT
set up ahref.com account for free
Sign up with a free ahrefs.com account here: ahrefs.com/website-checker
You can import your website from the Google Search Console or add your site manually.
To prove ownership of your website you’ll need to verify that you own it.
The easiest way to do this is by authorising your Google Search Console account.
If you can’t do this then adding a meta tag to your website’s header code is the next easiest option.
Once verified, you’ll be able to set up a project by adding your site domain and creating a project name.
Once you have set your project up, run the audit.
It can take some time, so walk away and come back in 24 hours.
You’ll be able to see the site in the ‘sit audit section.
By clicking on the project, you’ll be taken through to the report overview.
Look for the areas on the report labelled ‘errors’. These will highlight any issues that will need addressing first.
In particular, look out for the following:
- Issues concerning http and https
- That your site is fast / not slow to load
- That it’s mobile friendly.
- There are no issues indexing the pages
- No broken links
- Meta description tag missing or empty
- Pages with no links
- Optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and H tags
- Missing image alt tags
- Internal linking issues
You can use a combination of all of the tools above to get answers to these questions, not just limit to arefs.com.
pick 5 things to work on at once
If you see any big errors, head over to the Google Search Console and review the errors in the ‘Coverage’ section:
Work on those first!
Issues with crawling and indexing should be a priority, followed by any on-site issues.
My advice is to stick with the elements you can control like updating links, titles and meta descriptions.
Then review and check site speed and security.
You could limit your total tasks to 5 so as not to get too overwhelmed. You can always revisist the audit the following month or quarter.