Whether you’re doing it for your own website, or for a client’s website, a search engine optimisation audit is an important first step in any digital marketing relationship. SEO is used to maximise a website’s ranking potential on search engines like Google. There are a number of factors which come into play regarding a website’s search results page rank. This means that it is your job as a digital marketer to ensure you’re ticking all of the right boxes. This article gives you a three-step guideline on conducting a simple search engine optimisation audit for a website:
Step 1: Get an overview
The first phase of any SEO audit is to get an overview of a website’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of how well it has been optimised. There are many excellent paid online SEO audit tools out there for marketers to use. If you’re still somewhere at the beginning of your career, there are countless free tools to choose from.
One such SEO audit platform is sitechecker.pro. Simply paste a website’s home page URL in and click on ‘analyze’ to start the magic. After a minute or so, you’ll be given a summary report which can conveniently be downloaded as a PDF or a CSV file. The summary shows a website’s SEO score out of 100. You can then view all of the pages to get a score for each one.
Sitechecker breaks the report down into three main categories: critical errors, warnings, and notices. Critical errors are issues with a website that are extremely detrimental to its SEO ranking potential, while warnings and notices are problems that don’t have much impact on SEO but should be addressed.
Regardless of which online SEO auditing tool you use, they should all detail the issues that are hindering a website’s ranking, and offer actions you can take to remedy these.
Step 2: Find the gaps
Once you have an overview report that you can show a client when discussing their website’s search engine optimisation status, the next step is to drill deeper for issues that might not appear on the report. They can be broken down into off-page and on-page factors:
These factors are the contributors to SEO that are not found on a website page. The most important off-page SEO factor to assess is that of linking. A well-optimised website features both internal links (linking from one page to another page on the same website), as well as external links (other websites linking to the website being audited).
By using a link assessment tool like seotoolcheckers.com, you can get a detailed breakdown of all internal and external website links. Here you can see which website pages do not feature internal links, as well as where any external links are coming from.
These are the SEO factors found on a website’s pages, and include things like metadata (title tags in addition to meta descriptions), as well as images and their accompanying ALT tags. You want to make sure that each and every website page features a title tag and meta description, as these are what show up on search engine results pages.
Use a metadata assessment tool like Screaming Frog to show you where your pages are missing these essential SEO elements. The free tool lists all of your website pages, and shows you which ones require metadata. You also want to ensure that each page features a relevant image, and that there are sufficient headings containing the page’s focus keyword or phrase.
Step 3: Assess keywords
Speaking of keywords, a final step in the SEO audit is to assess a website’s keyword strategy. This involves using a tool like Yoast SEO on WordPress websites to see if a website has assigned a focus keyword or phrase for each page.
Even if there are focus keywords assigned for each page, you want to make sure that those keywords are found throughout the page’s body copy, and that the keyword is actually relevant to the information. If there are no keywords assigned, you can use keyword tools like SEMrush or Keywordtool.io to get keyword popularity statistics and find the best ones for the website being audited.
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