An SEO audit is a vital tool for understanding whether or not your SEO strategy is performing, the areas that you can improve, and actions you should take going forward. A typical audit process dives into your website traffic analytics, the content management system, and uses specialized SEO tools to form a data-driven approach for any recommendations. Here are five things you should learn following an SEO audit.
[QUICK READ: How do SEO Goals Impact Content Marketing Strategy?]
1. Are There Technical Errors Holding Your Rankings Back?
Small errors can add up in a big way when it comes to your website rankings. Missing pages, bad redirects, grammar errors and broken links are a few problem areas that could cause search engines to rank you lower. Technical errors like these are typically easy to fix, but they could be time-consuming based on the size of your website.
One of the biggest technical issues that you can run into is your site speed. If something on your website, server or web host is holding you back from a nearly instant load time, then you're going to lose out on a lot of visitors.
2. Do Visitors Find Your Information Relevant?
When someone looks up a search term and clicks on one of your pages in the result, do they actually get information that's related to the terms? The bounce rate of the page and how long the user spent on it are good indicators of whether the content is relevant. Ideally, you want to see the visitor continuing on to other pages of your website or taking an action on that page.
A few recommendations that search engines such as Google make for quality content includes:
- Grammatically correct
- Original content that's not duplicated from another source. This includes copying your own content and using it without any changes on multiple pages on your site.
- Delivers value that is relevant to the person visiting the page
3. Does Your Website Have Authority in Your Niche?
What's your website's reputation among other prominent businesses in your niche? Are you highly regarded and known for offering valuable information? Those sites probably mention you and link to various pages on your website. Not only do you want credible outbound links, but internal links should also be relevant and working properly.
Search engines place a lot of value on quality inbound links and use it as a way to gauge your overall authority in the market. Yet, a staggering 30 percent of websites have broken internal links. Internal links and redirections act as different roads on the user experience map; so, all roads should ideally lead to a conversion. That won't happen if visitors are coming across broken links on your website.
Social media mentions can also play into the ranking factors so that the SEO auditor will look beyond the inbound links for these authority markers.
4. Is Your Website Accessible?
Website accessibility is measured in two ways: whether the search engine's bot can read the contents of your site, and how well human visitors can get around. When you have a site structure that is difficult to navigate, that negatively impacts your site's accessibility.
An SEO audit will also bring to light your website's mobile experience. You may have heard of "mobile-first indexing." This means that the Googlebot has started crawling solely through mobile versions of websites, and expects to see your content optimized for such. Therefore, it's essential to have an optimized mobile site in addition to your desktop version.
5. What Keywords Deliver Productive Traffic?
Not all keywords and phrases are created equally, and you don't want to focus your efforts on those that aren't as productive. An SEO audit looks at the quality and quantity of organic traffic coming to your site, their conversion rates and other valuable information.
Your website benefits from frequent SEO audits, especially when you're getting started with your optimization efforts. Every time you conduct one of these, you learn more about your strategy's performance and the types of changes that you must make to achieve your search engine ranking goals.