If your website is not providing you with the results you expect, an SEO audit can be the best way to understand what the problem is. Just like a full check-up when you’re at the doctor, an SEO audit can go a long way to understand and determine what is, and what is not working on your website. By the end of the audit, you’ll have an idea of where to focus your marketing budget.
But we’ll give you fair warning: Expect to be surprised by a number of unexpected discoveries.
- Find the right tools
Before you visit your “patient”, you need to arm yourself with the right tools. Google Webmaster Tools will provide you with great feedback on your user’s behavior, search queries, and will go a long way to tell you which pages are the ones that perform better. Google Analytics is by far the best tool to check all your traffic numbers in place – it’s also useful to tell you from where your visitors are coming and what types of technology they use. Ahrefs backlink checker is great to perform some researches on your backlink profile and compare your performance with your competitors. Otherwise, you can also check a full suite of optimization tools like the Alexa SEO tools to keep everything in one place.
- Check your errors on Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is the first place you want to go to check any potential error which may be dragging down your website. Technical errors range from broken links, unnecessary URLs that must be removed, crawl errors, web spam and more. There are several options to fix them once you find them, such as specific plugins or simply manually removing them one by one.
- Check your backlink structure
A solid backlink structure is a critical component of your SEO strategy – a website that is lacking an adequate amount of “link juice” will slowly but inevitably fall down to the bottom of search results. Checking your competitors’ backlinks can help you understand how everyone is building his site and which ones are the link that Google like the most. It’s also a necessary step to scavenge for broken links and decide which links you want to disavow.
- Update your Robots.txt and submit a new Sitemap
You should update your Robots.txt file once in awhile to be sure that the search engines are crawling and indexing only the pages you want them to. A sitemap is also required to inform Google about any change you may have made to the website, so submitting it regularly will help you speed up the indexing process.
- Check your pages speed
Google Page Speed Insights is a great free tool to check your page loading time. Since Google will penalize slow pages and this may affect your entire website, checking their loading time is of paramount importance. The tool will also provide you a lot of suggestion on how to fix the possible issues, such as smushing large images or switching them from .png to .jpg.
- Check your URL structure
A bad URL structure can literally wreak havoc on page rankings like nothing else. Try to avoid keyword stuffed URLs such as https://www.niceglassess.com/buy-glasses/best-glass-in-Florida, or obnoxiously long URLs such as https://www.flowermarket.com/blog/plants-and-flowers/the-10-most-odorous-flowers-you-may-want-to-buy-in-Florida-but-you-never-asked-about-because-you-are-shy-person.
(See how that might be damaging?)
Try to remove all the clutter, and if necessary, 301 them towards a new URL to improve your performance. You should be careful not to touch cornerstone content too much, however, because over-optimization can do more harm than good.
- Check if your website is mobile-friendly
Google recently announced that websites that lack responsiveness would suffer a ranking penalty. Shortly after that, in November 2016, they announced that the search engine index was moved to be mobile-first since the number of mobile users is steadily growing, and recently surpassed the number of global desktop users. There are many plugins to check your website responsiveness, although Google also released its own Mobile Friendly Testing Tool.
- Check if your website is correctly listed on local business directories
If you run a local business, being correctly listed on a local business directory is of paramount importance. Not only local SEO is crucial to improve your visibility, but it is also able to affect your global rankings as well. Check out Google Maps to see if you’re in local to channel a large amount of traffic towards your website.
No website is, or can ever be, perfect, and the best way to keep it running smoothly, is to perform regular checks on its functionality. Planning a website audit once in awhile can do miracles to improve your site’s performance and evaluate is growth over time.
What do you do to keep your website healthy? Share your tactics for healthy websites in the comments.