Organic search results get far more clicks than paid results. If your website doesn’t show up in the top results for your most important keywords, you’re losing business.
Getting to the top of the search results takes a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If you haven’t paid much attention to your SEO, you need to audit your site to figure out where to start.
What is an SEO audit? Let’s take a closer look.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is a “checkup” for your website. Before you can start optimizing your site to improve your Google rankings, you need to know what’s already working, what you can improve, and what might be causing Google to penalize your website.
There are several components to an SEO audit:
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Off-site SEO
- User experience
- Competitive analysis
While these are all related to your website to one degree or another, they also all relate to the user experience for your visitors.
Something to keep in mind when optimizing your website is that while you’re optimizing to get better rankings in Google, what you’re really doing is making your site more user-friendly for your visitors.
Google’s goal is to provide the best possible solutions to people’s problems when they search for something. The better your site meets their needs, the higher it’s going to rank over time.
Technical SEO includes things that, as you can probably guess, relate to the technical configuration and setup of your website such as site performance, a mobile-friendly layout, and security.
Site speed plays a big part in your Google rankings as well as how long people stay on your site. If your site doesn’t load fast enough, your visitors will click away and find another site. This is called a bounce.
Security is also an important factor in today’s SEO landscape. All the major web browsers have started flagging sites that don’t use the encrypted HTTPS protocol and Google is taking this into account when ranking sites as well.
With the huge growth in mobile devices over the last few years, it’s also important to have a mobile-friendly layout. Google has started to look at sites from a “mobile-first” perspective so if you don’t support mobile layouts, it’s a mark against you right from the start.
On-page SEO includes many different parts of a web page such as titles and descriptions, headings, images, and the link structure of your site.
It’s not about repeating your main keyword a certain number of times or including the right meta tags on the page though. Those types of SEO tricks have long since stopped working and can even hurt your rankings.
On-page SEO is all about providing the best experience to your visitors. Good titles, descriptions, and headings make the page more accessible for your visitors. This is particularly true for people who need to use screen readers or other assistive tools.
Using titles and alt tags on your images also help with accessibility for those users.
Having an effective linking structure on your site helps your visitors find information but it also helps the search engines index all the pages on your site. When Google “crawls” your site, it finds pages based on links from other pages. If the link structure is too complicated, it limits how many pages Google will index.
Off-site SEO includes various things on other websites that relate to yours. This includes links from related sites, social media posts, reviews, and mentions of your site in other places.
This is one part of SEO that you don’t have as much control over since it’s all about what people are saying in other places. You can help control the narrative to some degree though.
Make sure you’re active on the social media sites that your target audience uses so you can respond to questions, address complaints, and thank people who post nice things. Reach out to other websites in your market and look for ways to work together, especially websites that have a lot of authority with your audience.
How to Do an SEO Audit
An SEO audit helps you determine how your website stacks up in each of these areas. You need to go through each of the above aspects of your SEO strategy and evaluate your current situation so you can find opportunities for improvement.
There are several tools you can use to test and research this information.
GTMetrix.com will test your page load speed and make recommendations for ways to improve the performance of your site.
Ahrefs.com helps you figure out why your competitors are ranking for a particular keyword and what you can do to outrank them.
Google Search Console has a bunch of tools and reports for finding and fixing problems with your site.
There are also quite a few backlink checking services that will give you a report of all the links pointing to your site from other places on the web. Once you have your backlink profile, you can check the quality of the websites that are linking to you.
Not all links are created equal and if a site that Google considers to be a “bad neighborhood” is linking to you, it can hurt your rankings rather than help. If that’s the case, you can use Google’s Disavow tool to tell them not to consider that link when ranking you.
How to Get a Free SEO Audit
“What is an SEO audit” is only half of the question. The other half is how long is an SEO audit going to take?
Doing the audit manually can take a lot of time and work. It depends on the size of your website but even a small site can take several days to audit properly.
You can save yourself a lot of work by using Clapping Dog Media’s comprehensive SEO audit tool. We’ll do an instant audit on your website and send you a report that shows you exactly how Google sees your site. You’ll get clear, easy-to-implement tips to improve your SEO in a matter of seconds.
Check out our SEO audit tool now to get a free 8-part custom website report with all the details.