Do you have a website of your own? Are you seeking ways in which you can improve the ranking of your website? Have you made use of all the probable ideas, yet can’t figure out what really is missing in your website?
If this sounds familiar to your situation, it is time, you plan on a website audit. This website audit will help you in locating the hidden gem which will in turn help improve the ranking of your website.
So, what does a website audit do?
Website audit is essential for you to identify all the problem areas of your website. These are the areas of your website which need improvement. Now, in order to carry out an improvement for these areas, you need to devise an action plan and work on to correct these areas. So, conducting a good SEO audit will help you keep your website up to date. You can involve the use of all the latest developments in the search marketing and be ahead of your competition.
Website Audit or Website Analysis – What is it exactly?
A website audit involve a thorough analysis involving all the aspects of the website which help determine the visibility of the website in the search engines. This will include, (but is not limited to) aspects, as listed below:
- Indexed pages
- Page errors
- Site speed
- Optimized, updated content
- Meta data
- Responsiveness to devices
- Social signals
Further, an SEO audit is conducted, which helps evaluate as to how search engine friendly is your website. For this study, a number of areas are evaluated. It is true, that today there are a number of tools which can be used by you to analyze the SEO audit of a website, the best probable approach is to either do the audit by following a step by step guide, mostly similar to what you are reading right now or you can also hire a professional SEO auditor who will perform all the work on your behalf.
What does a SEO auditor do?
The SEO Auditor will look through your website and then manually review it. Based on his review, he’ll come up with recommendations as to what needs to be fixed (since there might be something wrong with it). Further, he’ll also suggest some changes, which in the long run will help in improving the performance of the website in the search engine.
So, basically the SEO audit is nothing but an evaluation of your website based on which the grading of the site is done in order to improve the ability of it to appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Audit is completed by evaluating every step on the audit list. So, now based on this step by step analysis, some issues are discovered which might need an urgent repair so as to accentuate the performance of the website on the search engine.
You can compare it to a report card for the Google-ability of your website. There might be a care, wherein, your site is all proper, well designed, wonderful and absolutely clean but in case the search engines are unable to read your website or the pages of your website, all your hard work will go waste.
Know the benefits of conducting a website audit
The completion of a website site, will help you in a number of ways. Based on the audit, you will be able to:
- Compare the performance of your website to that of your competitors and based on the findings, improve your site to the best of its ability.
- Identify the possible changes required and work out ways to include these changes in your website.
- Get an overall view of the SEO efficiency of your website.
- See through the weaknesses of your website and work out ways to fix these weaknesses.
- Set few expectations for the future of your website.
Of course, you might not be able to improve all the findings on your SEO audit, all in one go, but you can definitely work out on some factors over a period of time.
Why should you conduct a SEO audit for your website?
There are a couple of reasons as to why you should conduct a website audit for your website. Here we’ll discuss some of the primary reasons for the same.
An SEO audit:
- Helps you identify the technical issues of your website. This will include:
- Website Speed
- 301 Redirects, 302 Redirects, and 404 Errors
- Site Architecture & URL Structure
- Helps you identify the on page issues of your website. This will include:
- Meta Titles & Descriptions
- Internal Linking
- Helps you know your competition.
- Helps you identify the backlinks. This will include:
- Number of backlinks
- Spammy backlinks
- Competitors Backlinks
- Helps You come up with a great Content Strategy
When you have analyzed all these above listed factors, you’ll be in a position to cover all the missing gems in your website SEO.
Important SEO tools you can use for website analysis in 2019
In order to conduct a website analysis you need a set of tools. This is because doing a full proof analysis manually is literally not possible. The entire process, if done manually, can be extremely time consuming and despite all the time you spend, you might still not be able to gather all the data.
Thus, to help you with a comprehensive website analysis, here are some tools that you can use.
- Google Webmaster – For Organic keywords and backlinks (Limited)
- Google Analytics – For traffic and penalties checking.
- Ahrefs – For backlink Analysis
- SEO Power Suite – Website Analysis in respect of Technical Stuff
- Screaming Frog – For Content comparison with Competitors
- SEMrush – For backlink Analysis (Free Tool)
Using these tools, you can now run a complete website audit. Based on the results of these tools, you can definitely come up with some crucial gems which will help you improve the ranking of your website.
What all factors are included in the website audit?
When you are performing a website audit, you’ll have to see through all the factors – both on page as well as off page factors. Based on this, you’ll prepare a report for your website.
This report can be broken down into two primary categories which will include the:
- Technical issues which needs to be fixed, and
- Non-technical Issues
Both of these factors are very helpful in ensuring the better ranking of your website. Now, let’s look through the steps involved in website audit. You can conduct these steps, and perform a site audit at your end.
First: Ensure that there’s only ONE version of your website which is browseable
Before, we tell you how to begin the crawling of your website for the SEO issues, we need to ensure that there is only one version of the website which is browse able.
Now, for this, you need to consider all the possible ways in which a user can type the address of your website on the browser.
Of all these, at all times, there should one be ONE of it that is accessible in the browser. All the others, should be 301 redirected to the canonical version.
In all reality, the non www to the www version is never really a problem. However, a lot of websites face an issue when redirecting from http to https.
So, the priority and the focus from your end should be fixing the http and the https issues. Always make sure you test this with a couple of other URLs also on your site. This is necessary to ensure that the 301 redirects are implemented all across the site.
If everything is working fine, you need to make a note of the canonical version.
We will anyway, recommend you to use, https:// (either www or non-www) as there is a slight boost in the rankings for the SSL enabled sites. Moreover, this implementation will keep your site secure and accentuate the trust of the user. Using Let’s Encrypt, you can easily get a free SSL certificate for your site.
Check for Google Penalties
Now, in this, the first step is to check whether the website is penalized by Google or not. In case, your website is under an algorithmic or manual penalty, naturally, there will be an adverse impact on your rankings.
Further, you need to find out when exactly was this penalty imposed and what was the reason behind this penalty. Based on your findings, you need to create an action plan to rectify the issues and thereafter remove this penalty.
There are two primary ways for you to check for the Google penalties.
First: Login to the Google search console and then select ‘Manual Actions’ from the left menu. In case, there is a manual action imposed on the website, you will be able to see all the reasons here under this head.
Second: Next, way is to compare the Google organic traffic for the dates Google released an algorithmic change. If you notice a sudden rise or drop in the organic traffic, it is a clear sign that your website has been affected by the changes.
You need to Login to your Analytics account, for this, go to ACQUISITION / ALL TRAFFIC and select SOURCE / MEDIUM from the left menu.
Next you need to Click Google / Organic from the right panel and set the dates to cover a long period of time. Further, you can compare the dates wherein you see big changes in the traffic with the dates on which the Google released an algorithmic change. Now, what will you do, if you are under a penalty?
Now, based on the above tests, you need to check if your website is in trouble or not. In case, the site is in trouble, then the best plausible approach is to dig out as many details as possible about the Google updates and adjust your SEO audit accordingly.
For instance, if your site is penalized by Google in lieu of the thin content, something that is extremely popular now a days, then in the on page SEO audit section, you will have to analyze the quality of your content. Based on the result, you can either improve, redirect or remove the specific pages which do not meet the requisite quality standards.
Next step involves searching for the brand name in the Google and based on it review the results. Herein, you need to ensure that you rank for your brand name. For this, you need to Google and search for the name of your brand. Unless the site is very new, or you have a brand that is relatively generic, you can see the results of your website in the first organic results.
This is possibly the most critical issue that you are likely to face, when you use a generic word as a brand name. In this case, it gets really difficult to rank because most people don’t expect your website when they are searching for the branded term.
Things that you ought to check:
- Is your homepage coming up first in the results?
- Has Google also provided the sitelinks in addition to your listings?
- Is the description given below the homepage as well as the other pages, accurate?
- Does Google give you a knowledge graph entry on the right panel of the brand?
- Is all the information, including the name on the Google my Business page accurate?
- Are all the pages listed in the first page of the Google result, related to your brand?
Now, scroll down to the end of the results and in particular see through the section of “searches related to”.
- Are the searches in the ‘related searches’ related to your brand?
- Can you spot the related searches which you can utilize by creating the dedicated pages? Typical example of such search is the ‘brand name reviews.’
What to do in case you do not find the relevant results?
In any case, you do not get a nice listing as we have already explained above, then it means that there are certain issues prevalent in your website.
The best approach for this is to fix all these issues before you proceed any further. This can be done by:
- Reviewing and thereafter optimizing the structure of your site.
- Reviewing your homepage SEO.
- Claim your Google my Business Page to ensure that all the provided information is accurate and correct.
So what’s the solution?
- Link Building
- Brand Building
For this, you need to do things including:
- building some strong and branded links
- you can run a PR campaign. This shall include being mentioned and linked to some of the big and renowned websites.
- building some citations on business directories;
- Ensuring that your website has a Google Business listing.
- Ensuring that your website has a presence on all the major social networks
After all of this is done, you can be certain that you’ll slowly and gradually climb up the ranks. In case, a lot of people searching for the branded term are on a lookout for your business, then gradually, Google will demote the other websites and push your site to the top.
But what if you don’t find yourself in the SERPs? Now, this can happen because of a variety of reasons. However, if you have ruled out the indexation problems, which you must have, by now, then there is a strong possibility of a bigger and a deeper problem like a heavy algorithmic or manual penalties.
In this post, we learn the basic factors to be covered while performing the website audit. Follow the next post for the Technical SEO Check Points of Website Audit. This will cover the off page analysis too.