SEO

HOW TO CARRY OUT AN SEO AUDIT?

seo audit

Are you spending time and resources on your website without getting the traffic you want? are you wondering why your competitors rank higher than you despite your best efforts? a well-conducted SEO audit will give you ways to generate more traffic and online business opportunities in the short and medium term.

In this article, we walk you through the 6 steps to do a complete SEO audit and get your SEO strategy back on track.

WHAT IS AN SEO AUDIT?

SEO AUDIT: A QUICK DEFINITION

The SEO audit consists of analyzing a website to assess its ability to rank well in search engine results .

Composed of several checkpoints, the SEO audit is similar to a detailed inventory of the natural referencing of a site.

WHY CARRY OUT AN SEO AUDIT?

The SEO audit has a double interest.

First, it responds to a performance evaluation process .

Very often, it is used when we consider that the SEO performance of a website is not commensurate with the resources and efforts expended.

For example, you have launched a content strategy, carried out netlinking actions but you do not see a significant impact on your rankings. What is the problem ? Is it the quality of the content, technical issues? Is it related to the structure of the site?

Given the variety of algorithms used by Google to reference a web page, the answer is not obvious. The only way to find out is to take a point-by-point analysis of your SEO strategy.

The second interest of the SEO audit lies in the finesse of the analysis. A good audit will not only highlight the flaws in your SEO . The observation will also be accompanied by recommendations for actions to improve your performance in the short, medium and long term.

WHAT RISKS ARE WE EXPOSED TO IF WE DO NOT CARRY OUT AN SEO AUDIT?

Now let’s take the question in reverse: what if your SEO positioning is disappointing but you don’t perform an audit?

Some companies are reluctant to perform an SEO audit. The reasons given are usually the cost of the audit or the feeling that it is not needed.

However, the question of cost should quickly be dismissed. A fall in rankings causes a drop in traffic and therefore a decrease in online opportunities and turnover. The economic impact of poor referencing is therefore more damaging than the cost of the audit itself.

It is just as dangerous to give up an SEO audit because of a sometimes deceptive feeling of control. SEO is a discipline that brings into play many criteria (technical, UX, content, netlinking ,…). And, by nature, it is a very changing discipline. Even for a good SEO, staying up to date on best practices takes a lot of work.

If you deprive yourself of an SEO audit, you are probably going to rely on hunches or rely on the popular techniques of the moment.

The risk here is to engage in disorderly actions. Or continue to rush headlong. You will focus on marginal gains while activating a specific lever might have allowed you to considerably boost your rankings.

The SEO audit is a must for those who want to optimize their natural referencing. It is therefore necessary to review the main areas for improvement which we will now detail for you.

HOW TO CARRY OUT A COMPLETE SEO AUDIT IN 6 STEPS?

PERFORM A TECHNICAL SEO AUDIT

SEO covers a number of good practices which, combined, contribute to better natural referencing of your site.

Some, like content marketing or inbound link research, pay off in the long run. Others can significantly improve its rankings in the short term.

Even if it scares many, technical SEO clearly falls into the second category. Most sites have dozens of technical errors that can be corrected fairly quickly. Once these errors are corrected, the impact on SEO is almost immediate.

Let us now see what are the main points of vigilance of the technical SEO audit.

CRAWLING THE ENTIRE SITE TO DETECT ERRORS

There are many tools that allow you to browse your site for errors.

The Google Search Console shows you indexing errors and gives you concrete recommendations to correct them.

An all-in-one SEO tool like SEMrush allows you to generate a visual technical audit report.

There are also specialized tools like Botify, OnCrawl or ScreamingFrog.

CHECK SITE INDEXING

To make sure that all indexable pages are accessible to search engines, you’ll audit your robots.txt file.

You enter in the address bar of your browser: your site / robots.txt

The “Disallow: /” command tells robots which parts of the site should not be crawled. Make sure you haven’t blocked some pages by mistake.

seo audit illustration

CHECK THE EXISTENCE OF A SITEMAP

The sitemap is a list in XML format that lists all the pages of a website. It allows search engines to understand the structure of your site and to orient themselves better. In this, it greatly facilitates the indexing of your pages.

You must therefore check that you have a sitemap and that it has been sent to the Google Search Console.

CHECK YOUR REDIRECTS

You may need to “delete” a page from your site in favor of a more relevant page.

However, the initial page is indexed by search engines and generates traffic. You can’t just make it go away.

The solution is to create redirects from the old URL to the new one. Most often, you will use the 301 redirect because of its permanent nature.

To not lose the SEO benefits of your old page, you will benefit from checking that your redirects are working properly. To do this, you can use Search Console or use dedicated tools like Web Redirection.

CONTROL THE LOADING TIME

The loading speed of a website’s pages is an important technical SEO criterion. Indeed, a good loading speed contributes to a pleasant user experience and therefore sends a positive signal to Google.

Google provides a free load speed checker that also provides you with many areas for improvement.

CHECK IF YOUR SITE IS MOBILE-FRIENDLY

Google now uses a mobile-first index to assign its rankings. This corresponds to the habits of Internet users who consult the web more and more on the go.

ANALYZE YOUR KEYWORDS

TARGET THE RIGHT KEYWORDS

Keyword analysis is therefore an essential step in the SEO audit. This is to ensure that the keywords on which you aspire to rank well are at the same time accessible, relevant and profitable.

SEO is a war of positions. If you are looking to position yourself on keywords that are already well invested by old competitors and have high domain authority, you are going to break your teeth.

It is therefore better to target long-tail keywords , presenting a lower search volume but also less competition. In addition, these more specific keywords will generate less but more qualified traffic. And, ultimately, using the long tail will promote conversions.

The Google Search Console lets you know which keywords Internet users enter to access your content. It is a great help in targeting new keywords with specific content.

TRACK THE POSITIONING OF YOUR KEYWORDS

In addition to keyword research, it is also important to check the evolution of the rankings for your target keywords.

If you see a drop in your ranking on keywords that were working well, it is a sign that there is a problem.

In response, you need to detect which pages have strong SEO potential and which can be improved.

PERFORM A COMPETITION AUDIT

The competition analysis offers many indications on the SEO strategy to follow, both in terms of target keywords and backlink possibilities.

First, as we indicated above, it is often unproductive to attack high-authority competitors head-on on highly competitive keywords.

The SEO audit should therefore allow you to analyze the level of competition on your target keywords. If you are in the position of an outsider, position yourself instead on less competitive long-tail keywords.

The interest of this approach is also to detect who are your competitors. Your SEO competitors are not always what you would expect. By identifying them precisely and analyzing their keyword strategy, you will be able to detect deficiencies in under-exploited keywords and fill them.

By using a tool like Buzzsumo, you will be able to identify inbound links to the performing pages of your competitors. If you produce quality content, you will be able to contact referring sites in order to obtain backlinks.

AUDIT THE CONTENT OF YOUR WEBSITE

MAKE AN INVENTORY OF EXISTING CONTENT

After analyzing the keywords and analyzing the competition, it’s time to audit the content of the site.

This is definitely the part of the audit that will take you the longest. It is also the most important because the relevance and the quality of the content are an essential criterion for SEO by search engines . Google’s logic can be summed up as follows: the more a content provides relevant information to the Internet user, the better it must rank.

With regard to SEO objectives and targeted keywords, how does your content perform? To find out, you will list all your content and rank them according to different KPIs (ranking, page traffic, bounce rate,…).

On this basis, you can classify your content into 3 categories:

  • The content to be kept as is,
  • The content to be optimized,
  • And the contents to be deleted.

CHECK THE RISKS OF DUPLICATE CONTENT

The duplicate content is a negative signal sent to spam search engines. Duplicate content harms your SEO because it leads to SEO dilution. It’s simply related to the fact that Google doesn’t necessarily differentiate between duplicate pages.

On the contrary, Google’s latest recommendations tend to promote original content by ensuring better referencing and more lasting positioning .

It is therefore important to make sure that you have not copied any content but also that your content has not been copied.

CHECK THE QUALITY OF CONTENT

Do you always provide the best possible response to the problems of your target audience?

Search engines value content that answers a question in depth. Rand Fishkin, CEO of Moz, even recommends switching to 10x content , that is to say to produce content 10 times better than competing content to achieve and maintain the first position in search results.

For this, it is necessary to combine length of content, relevance, information contributions, richness of sources.

AUDIT YOUR SITE’S UX

For Google, the user’s browsing experience is essential. One of the questions that algorithms must address is: does the Internet user find what they are looking for on this site?

Also, certain signals should alert you.

A high bounce rate means that people visit a page and then leave the site. If this is accompanied by a very short time spent on your site, it is a sign that the content viewed does not meet the expectations of the Internet user.

Identifying the most frequent exit pages makes it possible to correct the content of these pages or to work on your internal network to bring visitors to other content.

If you have few recurring visitors, you are not retaining visitors. Either your content is not qualitative enough, or you lack the conversion mechanisms to keep users coming back.

Improving your performance on these different points allows you to generate better qualified traffic and optimize your conversions.

AUDIT YOUR BACKLINKS

The netlinking a great way to improve your SEO. A page with relevant inbound links from recognized sites will see its ranking increase.

Referring sites are considered here as trusted third parties. If a site with high domain authority links to your content, that’s a guarantee of quality and relevance. On the other hand, some backlinks can be counterproductive . This is why it is advisable to carry out a backlinks audit.

The questions to ask are the following:

  • Are these backlinks relevant?  : for example, do they come from sites dealing with issues similar to yours?
  • What is the authority of the referring sites?  : If you detect backlinks from questionable sites, you must disavow them.
  • How diverse are backlinks?  : Getting backlinks from different sites is more valuable.

We have detailed the 6 steps for a successful SEO audit . The task may seem daunting but it must be put into perspective with the expected results. A complete audit will give you the keys to improving your natural referencing very quickly and for a long time, with an economic impact in the short, medium and long term.

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