Step-by-Step Instructions: How to Perform Your Own Website SEO Audit
Create Your 2018 SEO & Content Strategy Report
2018 is here and it is time to do a thorough website seo audit. Now is the time to review your website to determine what your current strengths and weaknesses are, identify potential challenges, and plan for world domination. A Website Audit and SEO & Content Strategy Brief should include a comprehensive strategy to improve the overall search rankings and results for your website.
1. Evaluate your basic Website and On-page SEO
The first step to improving your website’s SEO is determining how it is doing right now. The good news is there are a few free and easy tools out there that will tell you what you need to work on.
Evans Design has a free tool that you can use to crawl up-to 25 pages on your website to get a general sense of how your site is doing. You just put the website address you want audited and the email address you want the report sent to. It takes no time at all to get a comprehensive report right in your inbox. (It’s a great way to check up on your competition too.)
Website Grader from Hubspot
The website grader from Hubspot is a great tool that takes a good look under the hood. You’ll get useful feedback and actionable items such as:
- SSL Certificate – Are you currently being penalized for not having SSL installed?
- HTTP Requests – Is your website currently making too many http requests? This can be improved by combining scripts and files to streamline the user experience. Shoot for under 30.
- Meta Descriptions – Are your Meta Descriptions too long, include your page’s keywords more than once, or are you duplicating them on multiple pages?
- Headings – Do all of your pages have unique Heading tags that are relevant to that page’s content?
2. Website and Page Speed
Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool
Google is obviously a great place to go to get input about how to rank better on Google. One of the key ranking factors is page speed and Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool is a great free tool to help you figure out how to make your site faster.
All you need to do is input the page you want to test and the Page Speed Insights Tool will give you feedback based on Desktop and Mobile download speed.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Finding out does your website use AMP is actually pretty easy.
It’s no secret that we are moving to a mobile-first world early in 2018 when Google changes their current index to a Mobile-first index.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are an open source framework for creating lightning fast mobile pages.
- AMP enhances the mobile experience which improves on-site metrics like bounce rate. Mobile pages that load fast encourage engagement which means users will stay on your site longer.
- Google likes sites that load fast and tends to rank faster loading sites higher in the SERPs
There are several WordPress plugins that offer free AMP integration so if you’re leveraging WordPress as your CMS, there is no excuse not to have fast mobile pages.
3. Evaluate Your Website’s Content
Your website’s content is the meat and potatoes of your online presence. Content is why people show up and content is what will get them to come back. Content is King so it makes sense that it needs to be the thing you spend the most time on when performing your own website SEO audit.
There are a variety of tools that will check your website’s content to determine what problems you may have and give you ideas on how to fix them. Evans Design uses SEMRush.com.
Easy things to look for:
- Duplicate Content
- Pages needing an H1 tag containing the keyword
- Pages needing content enriched with semantically related words
- Images needing ALT Tags
- Pages missing Meta Description
4. Redirect Management & 404 Link Reclamation
Another important part of any website SEO audit are redirects, specifically 301 redirects. Whenever you change the URL of a page it is important to create a 301 redirect in order to pass the link equity of an old page on a site to the new page. Without redirect management you will likely lose rankings and traffic.
There are multiple ways to check for 404 errors but the best place to start is your Google Search Console. The easiest way we’ve found to manage URL mapping and 404 wrangling is to pay for Yoast SEO Premium and connect it to your Google Search Console.
This will automatically create a 301 Redirect anytime you change the name of a file and it will also give you a central place inside your WordPress admin to evaluate and fix every broken link on your website.
Backlinks from the right websites are worth their weight in gold when it comes to improving your search rankings. And in the same way, backlinks from the wrong websites can cause damage to your search engine rankings.
Do you know all the places throughout the internet that link back to your site? That is a big part of 404 Link Reclamation but knowing if any of those backlinks are toxic isn’t something that Google’s Search Console or Yoast will tell you. SEMRush.com is what we use to evaluate and disavow toxic links that can potentially hurt our website’s reputation.
5. Internal Link Audit
An internal link is a link from one page on your site to another. They are important because not only do they help Google index your website but they ensure that you don’t have orphaned content.
As Ahrefs points out, the act of creating new content also removes you from the content that you’ve previously created. The gist is, it is easy to forget to go back and link to new content from your older content. This is an important part of enriching your old content and you should make it a habit and schedule it at least every quarter.
Learn how to do an internal link audit with Google Search Console and a spreadsheet by following the step-by-step directions under “Internal Link Audit and Optimization.” This technique is great for making sure you don’t have orphaned content which is important when it comes to making sure all of your content is indexed by Google.
However, this technique doesn’t necessarily help you enrich your content. How content is linked internally within your site is also important and we’ll go over exactly how to do that in the next blog post.
6. Organic Search Rankings
The reason for the website SEO audit is to improve organic search rankings. In order to improve on your organic search rankings you need to know what they are. Google’s Search Console will give you good information about the search phrases you rank for, the number of clicks you get per phrase, the impressions you get per phrase, the pages that get those impressions, and the position those pages show up on the search engine results page (SERP).
However, the information you get from Google will be general in nature and limited in scope. There are better places to get more detailed information and again, we at Evans Design use SEMRush.com.
Website SEO Audit Conclusion
If you follow the step-by-step instructions on performing a Website SEO Audit you will have a thorough understanding of what factors influence your website’s organic search performance. Once you understand why you are or aren’t getting the results you want, you can focus on making improvements.
In the next article we will review what actions you can take based on the results that you’ve gotten. In the meantime, contact us if you have any questions or learn more by reading one of the articles below.