How To Perform an SEO Audit Like a Pro

How To Perform an SEO Audit Like a Pro

Why do an SEO Audit?

Simple answer: because your competition has done it and they’ll outrank you all day, every day.

It’s important to understand where your site stands versus the competition. I remember doing SEO 15 years ago on a multitude of websites where keyword stuffing and any old backlink would help rankings. Not so much anymore, and your competition has figured that out also.

SEO requires research and analytical work, and if you’re looking for positive rankings for your business website or lead generation website, you can’t overlook a site audit.

Through a detailed SEO audit, you’ll collect data that can be used to leverage your position in search engines and ultimately help rank your site faster. Every decision you make for your site will be backed up with statistical information and can multiply your ranking gains. Just as importantly, you won’t continue wasting your time and efforts doing SEO that doesn’t matter

What is your site’s “Quality Score”?

Your site is ranked based on one primary factor, and that’s Google’s quality score. Every website is assigned a type of quality score metric based on Google’s overall evaluation of your site. Th better your site’s quality score is, the easier it is for you to rank it high.

Google tracks user behavior based on its AI technology, so it’s able to understand when a user isn’t interested in your site simply by watching the back button or re-searching the same topic. Below is a list of elements that contribute to a better quality score. These aid navigation and increase engagement. But first, here is a list of what Google AI reading on your site to measure a quality score:

  • On-Page Content
  • SERP User Metrics
  • On-Page User Metrics
  • Traffic Metrics
  • Link Building Metrics

Each niche is going to have its own benchmarks that Google sets to determine quality vs. unuseful. This is why it’s always a good reason to monitor and examine the top ranking websites (your competition.) You can also examine websites low in rankings to see what not to do.  With all that said, let’s take a look at Yroc’s SEO audit checklist.

Auditing Core Website Elements

Listed here are items that we always check right at the start. And you can too! Each of these items are related to the overall larger site elements that help gather a birds-eye view of the audit.

  • Site / Domain Age
  • Canonical Lookup
  • Robots.txt
  • .htaccess files
  • Friendly URLs
  • Sitemap
  • Site in Google Index
  • Basic Penalty Check
  • Total No. of Pages Indexed
  • SSL Certificate

SEO Content Audit

Content is the king of SEO so long as its driving in natural links, mentions, social votes, and real clicks from others in your industry and niche. Oh, and it should make you an authority on the subject all while the technical SEO is in place and optimized correctly.

A good rule of thumb for SEO content is:

  • Avoid Excessive Thin Pages (Sub-300 words, no images)
  • Avoid External Duplicate Content (Content copied from other sites)
  • Avoid Internal Duplicate Content (Content found on multiple pages. Use ‘rel=canonical’ if necessary)
  • Your overall site should have a topically consistent theme.

Regarding quantity, if you want to rank well there are some elements you just need to have:

  • Original Content (First found on your site)
  • Original Images (First found on your site)
  • 800+ words minimum (1250 to 3000 words recommended, depending on the intent of the page and competition)
  • 5 to 7 pictures
  • 1 video minimum
  • 4+ Words In Title <title>
  • Headline (H1) Tag
  • Sub-headlines (H2, H3, H4) Tags
  • Proper Grammar
  • Proper Spelling
  • High-Quality Supplementary Content

Below is a detailed list of what we examine when going through our extensive SEO Content audit.

  • Title Tag with Keywords
  • Unique Title Tag
  • Spammy Titles
  • Descriptions
  • Spammy Descriptions
  • Heading Tags
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Word Count
  • Keyword Density
  • Multimedia
  • Internal Contextual Linking
  • Sitewide Links
  • Spammy Content on Page
  • Duplicate Text
  • Content Freshness
  • Secondary Content (altshiftA)
  • Images hiding Content
  • Ads to Content Ratio
  • Local Site, Title with Location
  • OBLs to Authority sites
  • Content Layout and User Experience
  • Proper Grammar
  • Standing out in the SERPs
  • Google Evaluating A New Page

Usability & Structural Audit

  • Navigational Issues
  • Supplementary Content
  • Presence of Blog
  • Number of Posts
  • Quality of Posts
  • Rich Snippets
  • Click Depth to Main Pages
  • Presence of Categories
  • Overall Silo Structure

Audit Check of Essential Pages

  • Core Pages
  • Other Essential Pages
    • About Us / Our Company / Company
    • Terms of Service / Terms of Use
    • Terms of Service
    • Disclaimer
    • Disclosure
    • If your site is an eCommerce Site (or selling anything) you need to have Shipping Information, Refund Policy, Refund Policy
    • FAQs
    • Copyright Message in Footer with an updated date
  • OnSite Reviews / Testimonials

Auditing Site Analytics

Google Analytics and Search Console – they’re free. They reveal insights about the users and the SEO that you can’t get anywhere else. Understanding the data each of them reveals about your site and acting on any problem areas is part of good technical SEO.

You cannot use one without the other and they both show you a separate set of metrics. Doing a thorough audit of the following metrics and analytics of the site is essential in understanding where the site stands, where the problem areas are that need fixes and how things can be improved – for better rankings.

Below are some important items you absolutely need to look at, but this is not where it stops. Doing an ongoing analysis as you make new posts, go about doing SEO or making improvements to your site is essential and can help you boost SEO and identify problem areas early.

  • Bounce Rate and Time on Site
  • Notices from Google
  • Broken Links, 404 errors and/or Missing Pages
  • Current Keywords Ranking Health
  • Desktop and Mobile Speed Tests

Backinks Profile Audit

While doing a backlink audit you need to definitely check –

  • Type of backlinks the site has overall.
  • The Power and Quality of each Backlink which can be the Majestic Trust Flow vs Citation Flow, or Ahref Domain Rating or URL Rating of each backlink.
  • The ratio of each kind of backlink – guest posts, news releases, comments, article links, sitewide thin links, etc.
  • The anchors used for the backlinks and overall anchor cloud as well as the sequence of the appearance of each backlink and anchor text.
  • Link velocity of backlinks.
  • Spam signals in the Backlinks Profile
  • Do-Follow vs No-follow link ratio of backlinks

Social Media Audit

Social is already a very important factor when it comes to ranking. Having social channels that are active and have appropriate levels of user engagement will power up your rankings.

It’s important that you set up your social channels and interlink them and then engage with your users on social with the right content and drive traffic to your site through these channels. Racking up fake signals and fake followers who do not engage or visit your site through the channels, is easily detected by Google as false and it does not help your rankings.

Getting real users, who engage is important.

Local SEO Audit – NAP Data

  • Proper Name, Address with ZIP and Phone Number
  • Embedded Google Map
  • Directions
  • Business Hours
  • Photos

Too Many Bullet Points!

Yeah, we know. It moves faster than it seems though. If that’s a bit overwhelming, there’s always the option to hire an amazing SEO specialist company to analyze your websites for you.  Either way, I hope this can be of some help, even if you can only grab nuggets here and there. SEO is not a step-by-step process that automatically provides winning results. All the elements and actions listed above are products of keyword research and analytics.

Happy Optimizing!

 

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