The Ultimate Checklist: What Should an SEO Audit Cover?
Ah, SEO Audit Checklist! The joyful term no business or marketer wants to hear. And yet, there’s a real necessity to complete comprehensive SEO Audits regularly in order to ensure a website is performing optimally. As challenging as they may be, many businesses don’t even know what they should be looking for when completing an SEO Audit.
This blog post is here to give you a checklist of items that you should cover and think about when completing an SEO Audit. Let’s jump in and explore the key elements of a successful SEO Audit!
What Should An SEO Audit Cover?
An SEO audit is an important part of any SEO campaign, and understanding what the audit should cover is essential for the success of your project. An SEO audit should cover an array of topics ranging from keyword research analysis to competitor analysis and website architecture reviews.
For starters, keyword research will give you insight into the keywords and phrases relevant to your business that are driving traffic to websites similar to yours. This knowledge can help you target the right customers and start optimizing your content around those respective keywords/phrases.
Additionally, by researching what your competitors are doing in terms of optimizing their content, you can gain a stronger understanding of the industry standards and tactics they’re deploying in order to capture a larger share of the market.
Next, it’s important that an audit covers all technical aspects of your website such as missing and incorrect metadata, broken links, page speed issues, and other errors that can impede user experience. The content on a website should also be checked during an audit to guarantee proper optimization process has been applied correctly by accurately coding images, coordinating h1-h2 tags, and using appropriate URL structures, etc.
Finally, on-page elements like interlinking among pages, access to resources like videos, images, and internal linking between related pages should also be considered during an SEO Audit checklist. All these on-page elements ensure users have access to your full range of products or services and make it easier for search engines to crawl through your web components.
These are only some examples of what should generally be covered in an SEO Audit Checklist; however, each individual situation may require a different approach. By taking these considerations into account, you can take the necessary steps in promoting an effective search engine optimization strategy that will benefit your business.
Now that we have gone over what an SEO audit should generally contain, let’s now shift our focus toward more technical aspects going into detail about how this type of implementation helps optimize website performance from both a user experience standpoint and from a search engine ranking perspective.
Technical Aspects of SEO
When it comes to SEO audit checklists, technical aspects are of great importance. Technical SEO includes such items as setting up your website correctly, processing requests efficiently and quickly, and making sure that search engine bots are able to access hundreds of pages with ease.
Technical SEO also ensures that an optimized version of each page is available for mobile users, ensuring a seamless user experience on any device.
On the surface, a technical audit looks at the structure of the website, its URLs, page speed tests and structured data formats. While these items are all important, they need to be taken into account while keeping performance and usability in mind. That is why experts recommend combining both technical and user experiences when developing a comprehensive technical audit checklist.
When tackling the technical aspects of an SEO audit, it’s important not to overlook any details. Some commonly overlooked aspects that should be included in an audit checklist are: how quickly pages load in different browsers; whether redirects are set up properly; if webpages have clean code without unnecessary markup; running mobile-friendly tests; checking for cross-browser compatibility issues; running security tests and scan for malware or malicious activity; using keyword research (including localized terms) to improve content relevance and better target audiences in different locales; ensuring that images have appropriate file sizes and ALT tags; creating robots file directives to control search engine crawlers access; setting up canonical tags for duplicate content; leveraging schema markups for structured data presentation across SERPs.
Overall, having a thorough working knowledge of the technical aspects of SEO is necessary for creating effective audit checklists. As many experienced digital marketers know well, paying the right amount of attention to technical matters can not only help increase visibility across search engine result pages but may also provide invaluable insights into areas where further improvements could be made. With that said, let’s move on to how we can use content marketing to maximize our organic search visibility even further.
Content Marketing Aspects of SEO
Content marketing is a key element that determines the success of any SEO audit. Content marketing involves creating unique and high-quality content to attract potential users and drive organic search engine traffic. Every SEO audit should include aspects such as keyword research, content quality, and structure, analyzing trends, and link building.
It’s important to note that content doesn’t just mean written words. It can also encompass visuals such as graphics, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc., all of which can contribute to a website’s visibility in the search engines.
Content should be tailored to the target audience and have a clear purpose since the majority of visitors will be looking for specific information when landing on a website. This includes relevant product descriptions, searchable FAQs, helpful how-to guides, and blog posts that provide an inside look into the organization or industry.
When it comes to keywords, it’s important to do some research and understand what prospective customers are searching for. An analysis of both short-tail and long-tail keywords can identify trends in user behavior so optimization efforts can focus on the most relevant terms that capture the right audience.
Additionally, it’s important that websites feature high-quality content with optimized headlines, incorporating pertinent keywords where appropriate while still ensuring they read naturally. Such practices can help websites rank higher in SERPs when compared to their competition.
Of course, content alone isn’t enough – link building is another essential aspect of any SEO audit checklist. Links from external websites can direct more people to your site, helping indicate to Google that your content has authority and is deserving of increased rankings. Doing this in an organic way will prevent potential penalties from being issued by Google for any suspicious practices.
Content marketing aspects provide an essential foundation for any SEO audit, but it’s important to assess the technical aspects of a website as well. Conducting a crawlability analysis of a website allows SEO professionals to gain insight into how search engine spiders interact with the site and determine whether they’re able to effectively rank the content.
This can be done by analyzing crawled URLs, duplicate content, page load times, broken links and redirects, internal and external linking structures, page titles, meta descriptions, and more.
The level of thoroughness in assessing the crawlability of a website will depend on the scope of the audit. In cases where resources are limited for conducting detailed analysis, smaller issues such as broken external links can be easily overlooked.
On the other hand, comprehensive analyses should address all of the aforementioned elements which can uncover hidden issues that can negatively impact organic ranking performance. To illustrate this point further, let’s consider an example of a major online retailer who was experiencing a sudden drop in organic traffic despite no significant changes to their content campaigns.
Upon investigating their crawlability analysis data, however, it was discovered that hundreds of their product pages were missing meta descriptions – leaving them unindexed on their respective SERPs and reducing visibility across key queries.
Crawlability is just one component to consider when conducting an SEO audit — but it’s one that can often get overlooked in favor of other areas like keyword research or link-building tactics.
While the efficient allocation of resources is essential when working with tight timelines or budget constraints, it’s still important to make sure all parties involved are aware of the fact that ignoring these technical components could end up having severe consequences if not addressed properly.
Now that we’ve established what should be covered within a crawlability analysis report – let’s move on from this technical assessment to explore other aspects regarding how quickly your website loads as well as how accessible it is for various users worldwide.
Measuring Site Speed and Accessibility
Now that crawlability analysis has been completed, the next step in an SEO audit is measuring site speed and accessibility. A slow site can drive away potential customers and reduce conversions, so it’s essential to measure the load times and total page size of all pages and compare them against industry standards.
Similarly, web accessibility must be measured through a variety of automated and manual tests to ensure that people with disabilities can navigate the site properly.
When it comes to website speed optimization, there are numerous techniques you can use to speed up the page, such as reducing image sizes, minifying HTML/CSS/JS, optimizing media files for streaming services, browser caching, and reducing external scripts.
However, many of these will come at the cost of aesthetic appeal or unused features which could become necessary later down the line. And while adhering to WCAG guidelines is becoming increasingly important for making websites accessible – some compromises may have to be made in order to achieve either maximum usability or design aesthetics.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to creating webpages that are both fast and easy to navigate – meaning compromise often needs to be made between design requirements and user experience.
By weighing the pros and cons of different approaches carefully and using both automated testing tools as well as manual assessments on a regular basis, you can make sure your website remains fast and accessible while still offering users an enjoyable experience.
With this in mind, what’s left is analyzing code errors & ranking factors to make sure that the site is friendly not only to visitors but also to search engines.
- According to Online Optimism, 88% of online businesses are not investing in a comprehensive SEO Audit resulting in decreased website performance.
- Moz conducted a survey involving 600+ SEO Professionals and found that 70% said that the top reason they do SEO Audits was to identify underlying issues on their websites.
- A survey from Search Engine Journal estimated 83% of companies hire or outsource an SEO audit at least once per year.
Analyzing Code Errors & Ranking Factors
The importance of analyzing code errors and ranking factors comes down to the usability and functionality of a given website. Poorly coded websites can present problems for users, or impede their progress.
Code errors may result in dead links or slow page load speeds, both of which can be damaging to the site’s performance. Keeping an eye on the code is essential to keeping your website running smoothly.
Ranking factors, on the other hand, are criteria Google’s algorithms use to determine how any given webpage should be ranked relative to other web pages on searches made through Google. Examples of ranking factors include page speed, domain age, and structure of content.
As such, it is important that SEO consultants not only focus on page speed when auditing websites but also on various ranking factors that could potentially affect the website’s ranking.
SEO consultants should also check whether there are any technical issues that might hamper the website from appearing at its highest performance in search engine results; this could include server errors, redirect chains, meta robots issues, and much more.
With a thorough understanding of the coding structure and a thorough investigation into the ranking factors of a given website, SEO audit professionals can compile detailed reports and develop improved strategies for enhanced user experience and higher rankings. Having assessed all aspects of code quality & ranking factors now shifts focus onto what has been learned from such an assessment and how best to utilize it in terms of findings and recommendations.
Once the SEO audit has been completed and all errors and ranking factors have been identified, it is important to report back on the findings and provide any necessary recommendations. While there are several ways to present this data, the most effective method is to discuss each issue individually and prioritize them according to their severity and impact on the website’s performance.
The key questions related to an SEO audit checklist should focus on the overall goal of improving the website’s visibility and rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
In conclusion, an SEO audit should include keyword analysis to ensure relevance towards target audiences followed by a technical analysis of page load times and mobile friendliness amongst others, backlinks both internally and externally as well as tracking conversions such as sales/downloads based on relevant metrics like bounce rates or click through rates in order to assess overall performance levels.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any additional questions or to schedule an appointment with us today!