How important is it to get ranked on page one of Google's search engine results page (SERP)? The proof is in the pudding: 91.5 percent of organic traffic goes to those websites listed on page one of Google.
If your organic search traffic isn't where it should be--or even if it is--you should perform an SEO audit on occasion. This audit consists of checking for performance issues with your site's search engine optimization. SEO is how you get organic traffic.
SEO Audit Basics
You should perform an audit at least once a year. Every six months is ideal, but you can choose to audit on a quarterly or even a monthly basis.
This guide will take you through how to audit your site's SEO. Keep in mind there exist SEO optimization tools you can use to speed up your audit. If you've never conducted an audit or you don't have the time, tools, or expertise, you may wish to work with an SEO audit service.
Don't let a lack of resources stop your site from earning a spot on page one of the SERP.
A properly conducted audit will examine your site's performance with regard to several SEO ranking factors.
Get ready to learn more about SEO through learning how to conduct your own audit.
Part One: An Overview
We're breaking this audit guide into three separate parts because of the specificity of the ranking factors you'll be auditing for. For this first part, start with a crawl.
A crawl of your site can run in the background while you're completing other steps in the audit. It can also alert you to site-wide and more specific issues. The crawl will look at your site the way a search bot looks at it.
Do you have more than one domain? If so, make sure only one of them can be browsed. This prevents confusion for visitors and search engines alike.
To do this, simply navigate to your domains and ensure that only one can be browsed. The others should all point to your main domain. Examples of different domains could be as simple as www.yoursite.com vs. yoursite.com.
This is also a great time to check if your site is indexed. Go to a search engine and search for site:yoursite.com. The pages of your site should be listed.
If you use Google, the results will also include the number of pages indexed. Indexed pages are webpages that can be found by search engine bots and included in SERPs.
Part Two: The Nitty Gritty
Now that you've audited the overall performance of your site, it's time to dive deeper.
1. Website Speed
You'll want to check out how fast your website loads. To keep visitors from bouncing before your page loads, make sure it loads in 3 seconds or less. This can easily be done with a number of free tools.
What these page speed testing tools will do is ping your site and see how long it takes to load. Some of them even offer suggestions for how to improve your page speed, such as minimizing java or compressing images (you can use a content distribution network to speed up your website in a lot of cases).
Users and search engines alike love fast websites.
2. Duplicate Content
Another thing that will be a turn-off for search engines (and therefore hurt your SERP rankings) is duplicate content. Hopefully, you work hard to craft your site's content; make sure it's unique. You should check to see that it's not duplicated on any of your domains or anyone else's.
Again, there are tools you can use to check for duplicate content example Copyscape, so you don't have to manually search the whole internet for every phrase that appears on your site.
3. Structured Data
Check to make sure all your internal links are working, too.
If you've got structured data, you'll want to ensure that's functioning as well. Google offers a structured data testing tool to let you know if there are any errors.
4. Title tags & meta descriptions.
The final element of the nitty gritty is to check that your title tags, meta descriptions, alt-tags, and content headers are all optimized. Do they use the keywords you've researched? Do they make sense to users and search bots?
Part Three: The Outside World
SEO isn't just about what's going on within your website (aka on-page SEO). It's also about what's happening beyond your website (off-page SEO).
1. Backlink Audit
If you've heard of back linking, you're already a step ahead for your audit. You'll want to investigate your site's backlink profile, which not only searches for broken external, incoming links but also reports on the quality of those links.
Again, there are tools for this or you can work with a service provider example like Semrush.
2. Gap Analysis
Finally, look at what your competitors are up to. Chances are, you conducted competitor research and analysis when you created your website. Have you done so since?
This should be a regular part of auditing your site's SEO. Not only can it help you continue to understand competitors and where you fit in, but it can give you new ideas to get more organic traffic.
Does Your Site Measure Up?
An SEO audit can help you not only fix errors but identify opportunities for improvement so your website--and your whole brand--can rank higher in the SERPs.
Once you reach page one, you might begin to see an improvement to your organic traffic, so it's worth it to conduct an audit.
If you've got additional questions about auditing your website or SEO in general, get in touch with us. Our team would love to help you reach page one and maximize your organic traffic potential.