The Ultimate SEO Audit Guide for Beginners to Boost Your Google rankings

Getting high Google rankings can drive more traffic to your business. If you’ve trY every possible trick you’ve known but you’re still not getting results. For instance, it’s time to get an SEO audit done. Without an SEO audit, your efforts are possibly waste as you aren’t sure what is right or wrong with the current strategies. It can be confusing, so we came up with a SEO Audit Guide just for you.

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is a process that evaluates your website’s performance on Google, in regards to the latest SEO best practices.

Evaluation is carried out into various aspects of your website during an SEO audit. This includes

  • Competitor analysis.
  • Keyword analysis.
  • On-page analysis.
  • Off-page analysis.
  • Technical analysis.

Think of it as performing a thorough health check on your website. Various tools are used to carry out the audit.

At the end of the audit, you’ll get a set of results that detail the strengths and weaknesses of the website.

From the results, you’re able to:

  • assess how your website fares against competitors
  • pin-point technical issues, like loading speed or broken links.
  • formulate a data-driven SEO plan
  • identify opportunities for improvement.
  • have a realistic estimate of traffic growth in the future.

Most Common and Important SEO Issues to Audit and Fix

There are many factors that could affect the SEO ranking of a website. Based on our audit experiences, most websites suffered from the following issues.

  • Slow-loading website.
  • Non-indexable website/pages.
  • Non ‘https’ URL.
  • txt issues.
  • Multiple versions of the homepage.
  • Missing XML sitemap.

These issues are often uncovered during an SEO audit. They also explained the lack of search traffic, despite having a professionally-designed website.

Here are how you can audit and fix these issues.

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Check that your site and pages load fast

Many people hit the ‘back’ button if a webpage failed to load within 3 seconds. This makes loading-speed an important part of the SEO audit as it directly affects user experience and Google ranking.

In 2019, Google includes mobile page speed as a direct SEO ranking signal. Therefore, it is important that you check your site’s speed during an SEO audit.

Google PageSpeed Insights is a great place to start. It ranks your site from 0-100 and provides recommendations on how to improve.

Alternatively, you can use Ahrefs site audit or GT Metrix to analyze the loading speed of your webpages.

Here’s a result from GT Metrix:

 

It’s equally important to understand that the loading time in seconds is more important than the scores. According to Google, pages are recommended to have a loading time below 3 seconds.

If you have issues with the page loading speed, here are a few things you can do:

  • Compressed image files and use a lazy-loading plugin.
  • Reduce code size by minifying HTML, CSS and Javascript.
  • Upgrade to the latest PHP version.
  • Use a lightweight, speed-optimized website theme.
  • Choose a fast hosting server.

Why is having fast-loading pages important?

It helps pages to rank higher on Google as loading speed is a ranking factor.

Check that the website/pages are indexable.

In order for your website to be ranked, it needs to be indexed on Google’s search engine. If it isn’t, you’ll be getting no organic traffic from Google.

You can check if your site is indexed by using the search engine operative ‘site:yourdomain.com’. If the site is indexed, Google will return a list of indexed pages.

 

If you can’t find your site on Google, here are a few things you need to check.

  • Is the robots.txt blocking Google crawler?
  • Is an XML sitemap generated?
  • Are there any manual penalties or security issues?

Why is having an indexable website important?

Being indexable means Google can crawl the pages and rank them accordingly. If a site is not-indexable, the pages will not be found on Google.

Check that the site has SSL cert installed (https URL).

The presence of an SSL certificate indicates that the website is protected by the SSL encryption. SSL encrypted websites have ‘https’ as a prefix to its URL. Your website needs to have an SSL cert installed in order to be secured by the encryption.

If your site has an SSL cert installed, you’ll notice a lock icon on the left. Its URL is also preceded by ‘https’.

 

Clicking the lock icon will provide details of the certificate.

 

If a site does not have an SSL installed, or there are problems with the cert, you’ll find it’s marked as ‘not secure’.

 

To have an SSL installed, you’ll need to purchase one and get your hosting provider to install it on the server.

Why is an SSL certificate important?

Installing an SSL certificate ensures that data transmission between the browser and the website’s server is encrypted. Besides, Google also ranks ‘https’ sites (SSL installed) higher than those that are not.

Check that the Robots.txt is allowing/blocking the correct pages

The Robots.txt is a simple text file that tells Google’s crawler which pages to crawl. It also tells Google which pages NOT to crawl.

This is whata basic Robots.txt looks like

 

 

If the results return a blank page or a 404 error, you’ll need to fix it by creating a robots.txt file.

Some robots.txt may be accidentally configured to prevent Google from crawling your pages. Check the URL listed under ‘Disallow’ and see if any important pages are accidentally blocked.

You can create the robots.txt by using Yoast plugin if you’re using WordPress. Else, you can use a robots.txt generator and upload the file to your website server.

 

Why is checking Robots.txt important?

An incorrect configuration may prevent Google from crawling your website or certain pages.

Check that only 1 version of your website is indexed in Google.

 

Note that it’s possible to have different versions of your website showing up for each variation and you’ll want to avoid that.

Ensure that you maintain only one version, preferably on https. As for ‘www’ vs. ‘non-www’, there isn’t much difference. If there are more than one versions, you’ll want to perform a canonical 301 redirect to the primary version.

Why is it important to maintain 1 version of your website?

Having different site versions may result in duplicate content, which isn’t good for SEO. It could also yield different results on Google Pagespeed Insights. Besides, your backlink strategy will be less impactful if it’s inconsistently spread between the different versions.

Check that the site has an XML sitemap

A sitemap is a directory-like file that contains the URLs of your website. It helps Google to crawl your site from time to time. Without it, some sites may have difficulty being indexed or obtain the ranking they deserve.

Here’s an XML sitemap created by the Yoast plugin. Sitemaps created by other platforms are quite similar.

 

Usually, XML sitemap can be accessed by keying extensions like /sitemap_index.xml on the browser.

 

If you don’t have an XML sitemap for your site, you need to create one and submit it to Google via Google Webmaster Tool.

 

Why is XML sitemap important?

The XML sitemap helps Google to crawl large websites and pages without inbound links. Without an XML sitemap, it may be hard for your pages to be indexed on Google.

SEO audit tools needed for the auditing process

However, Certain tools are helpful in aiding SEO consultants during the audit. Here are some that will save precious time.

Ahrefs

 

However, Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO solution with an SEO audit tool. It detects more than 100 possible issues on the website like:

  • broken links,
  • slow loading,
  • content duplication,
  • Non-optimized meta tags,
  • And more.

You’ll have the flexibility to explore, filter and present the results in tables and charts.

Google Webmaster Tool

However, Google Webmaster Tool allows you to check your site performance on Google search. You can find metrics like queries, pages and click-through-rate for pages that the audience visit. The tool also allows you to check issues that could affect search performance like:

  • Manual penalty,
  • Security issues,
  • Mobile usability.

Google PageSpeed Insights

 

However, Another free tool by Google, PageSpeed Insights inspect speed performances of your webpage and make recommendations for improvement. It rates a page from a score of 0 to 100, with a larger number indicating higher speed. The report provides detailed explanations on what is slowing down the page.

Moz Pro

 

However, Moz Pro allows you to track keyword rankings and detect potential issues in your site quickly. It automatically monitors your site for problems like missing title tags, broken links and more. Each of the issues is then accompanied by explanations and fixes for further action.

SEMrush SEO Toolkit

However, SEMrush SEO Toolkit is an ideal solution for covering various areas of an SEO audit. It provides insights into technical issues, ranking and backlink profile. Results are presented on easily-comprehensible charts and graphs.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

 

However, A favourite amongst SEO marketers, Screaming Frog is a downloadable website crawler that detects common SEO issues. The powerful crawler saves precious time as it extracts results from the pages and organized them into reports.

WebCEO

 

WebCEO is exclusively designed for SEO agencies. It offers various tools that take the loads off in an SEO audit, including:

  • Rank tracking
  • Technical audit.
  • SEO analysis
  • Internal Links.
  • Banklink checker

However, This solution not only provides reports for your website Nepal Phone Number but also provide handy features that let you spy on your competitor’s metrics.

Raven Tools

However, Raven Tools is an intuitive SEO audit software that is preferre amongst agencies and marketers. It allows you to conduct website audits and benchmark against competitors. The highlight of Raven Tool is its drag-and-drop reporting, which allows great flexibility in generating reports.

The Ultimate SEO audit guide for websites and marketers

Whether you’re doing your own SEO audit or engaging an SEO agency to do so, there are common factors that need to  evaluated. For instance, Here are some of the best practices when conducting an SEO audit for your website.

Competitive Analysis & Keyword Research

Check on competitors in the industry

However, Competitive analysis involves checking on other sites that are competing for the same money keywords. From the analysis, you’ll discover what your competitors are doing, particularly in terms of content, target keywords and backlink profile.

The pages that top the search engine may or may not be your direct competitors in the industry. Tools like Ahrefs allows you to analyze your competitors easily. Alternatively, a quick Google search on the primary keyword will give you an idea of who you’re competing against.

 

Why Is Competitor Analysis Important?

For instance, It allows you to assess your competitors’ strengths and authoritativeness. However, If you’re up against strong competitors, you need to put more effort into your SEO campaign.

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