There are so many different ranking factors, which ones should you prioritise optimising? Where should you add content? What mistakes are there on your site that you need to correct? It’s obvious that doing nothing is bad for business, but wasting your limited resources working on the wrong things is arguably even worse! That’s why we always recommend any SEO project starts with an audit.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is a comprehensive analysis of how search-engine friendly your website is. A good SEO audit will evaluate the extent to which your website follows SEO best practices (such as optimised image alt text), and will also look for errors (such as broken links, or redirect chains).
Basically, an SEO audit functions as something of a “health check” for your website. All too often, businesses will request an audit once and consider it “done”. They’ll then use the file they were given from their SEO agency as a sort of permanent SEO backlog, working on the tasks one by one until it’s “complete”. This is NOT how to do it!
SEO is always changing
Your website is a living, breathing thing. It’s constantly changing, as you add new content, edit your existing content, launch new features, and make technological changes.
Similarly, Google makes updates to its algorithm all the time! Google makes thousands of changes to its algorithm every year (yes, really – there were 3,234 “improvements” made to the Google algorithm update in 2018, an increase of 32% compared to 2017). Many of these changes correspond to major algorithm updates, such as the broad core algorithm update that Google release several times a year, or the named updates that target specific factors (like Panda, Penguin, Mobilegeddon, Fred, Pigeon).
What’s more, the wider SEO industry are constantly carrying out studies and meta-analysis of the world of Search. Sometimes, this data analysis can shed new light on various ranking factors, and their respective importance.
What all this boils down to is the fact that nothing in the world of SEO should ever be considered as static, from your userbase to your website to your audit results. At a minimum, you should be conducted at least two site-wide SEO audits a year. It’s wise to carry out some more targeted, smaller audits of specific areas of your site in addition to these site-wide audits too, especially if you’re launching new features, or prioritising new areas of your website.
What’s involved in an SEO Audit?
The exact processes involved in an SEO audit might vary from agency to agency, or even from client to client, depending on the needs of the business and their technological offering.
Nevertheless, any audit should look at a broad range of technical, on-page, content, and backlink-related issues, including (but certainly not limited to):
- XML Sitemap
- HTML Sitemap
- Response Codes (also known as Status Codes)
- Hreflang Implementation
- Security (HTTPS / HSTS)
- Mobile Friendliness
- Metadata (Page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, etc.)
- Heading tags (H1s, H2s, etc.)
- Image Alt Text
- Outbound links
- Internal Linkage (including Broken Links)
- Structured Data
- Site Architecture & Design
- Keyword Density
- Backlink Profile
- Link Opportunities
SEO audits can also include competitor analysis, server log analysis, marketplace insight gathering, and analysis of potential user experience issues.
So, as you can see, one of the many great things about conducting regular SEO audits is that the insights are immeasurably beneficial not just for SEO, but for all areas of your business.
Request an SEO Audit
SEO audits take time, but they’re absolutely crucial to your SEO efforts, so they’re really important to get right. If you’d like some help, Optiminder can carry out a comprehensive SEO audit of your website (or a section of your website) to help you on your way to SEO success. You’ll receive a prioritised, actionable work plan of SEO fixes and initiatives that your website needs, along with the estimated impact and difficulty of each task.
If you don’t have an in-house SEO team, or you’d like to supplement your in-house capabilities, Optiminder can even help you execute and deliver this work plan, so you can start to see improvements sooner rather than later. Reach today to find out how we can help you achieve your SEO goals.