An SEO site audit is a standard procedure used to assess a website for performance issues, search engine optimization and conversion elements. An audit typically takes place before the start of a marketing campaign to identify any technical deficiencies on your site as well as point to where the most work needs to be done. The goal of a site audit is to identify the issues that will assist in the optimization of your website to perform more competitively in the search results.
How does an SEO site audit help my business?
Website audits will address optimization and technical issues that are all interrelated with performance and user experience. Listed on this page are some of the most common issues identified and corrected in order to enhance the performance and optimization of your website.
Implement the proper use of meta tags
Meta tags signal to search engines what the most important items are on your page which will also indicate what the major keywords are on your site. The absence of meta tags can lead to an inaccurate assessment of the content on your site and potentially less potent ranking for the keywords in which your site is optimized.
The misuse of meta tags can take the form of keyword stuffing, excessively long titles, or inaccurate descriptions of the content on the page. Correcting these types of errors will enhance optimization and reverse penalties (if a site penalty was triggered).
Use up to date XML sitemaps
Your sitemap is the equivalent of your website’s blueprints. It shows exactly what pages are on your site as well as how your site is structured. The most important pages will appear obvious to search engines because of their proximity to the homepage as well as the number of links from internal and external pages. Submitting a sitemap to Google is a form of ensuring that the structure of your site is up to date in the index and will assist with the pages of your site being indexed. Your sitemap should be posted to your robots.txt file in order to make sure search engines are being notified of any changes to the pages of your website.
Fix broken links
A website audit will report the number of broken links and list the pages that are missing from your site as well as any links that are pointing to pages that don’t exist off-site. Broken links on a website are considered to contribute to poor user experience because they lead the user to a dead-end which wastes their time and demonstrates low-quality maintenance. Too many broken links on a website will lead to reduced ranking in the search results.
Increase the speed of your website
Improving page speed is a continuous effort because it directly affects ranking. If your site takes too long to load its pages you are losing visitors and potential clients-not only from the user backing out of your site, but from reduced traffic from reduced ranking. Google has made it clear that the load time for websites is a direct ranking factor because of the impact it has on user experience. When sites take longer to load, users back out in search of a faster loading result. There are many issues that can cause your site from slowing down and an audit will identify the major causes that will have the most impact.
Completing a content audit
It’s absolutely necessary to audit the content on your entire website to assess how much content has been published that contributes to optimizing for your selected keywords. A content gap analysis is often required to compare the content on your site with the content that is published on the top-performing pages in the search results. The information gathered is used to develop an effective content strategy that will indicate what needs to be published on and off-site to enhance optimization.
Eliminate duplicate content with canonical URL’s
One of the major penalties that are quite clear in Googles guidelines is a zero-tolerance for duplicate content. It’s common practice, however, to post content published on one URL of your website on the homepage or in other sections of your site. If your site is not using canonical URL’s then the content you post on multiple URL’s may be flagged as a duplicate content. The effects of a penalty can be drastic and send your site back pages in the search results.
Screen your backlink profile
The number and quality of referring domains your site has will play a significant role in the ranking it receives for keyword topics. Search engines will consider on-site optimization as well as the number of links that support your content. This means that the backlink profile of your website should ideally be from other websites in your niche that can serve as a vote of credibility to the content you publish.
If your website is linked to low-quality websites or sites that don’t have any relationship to your industry Google won’t count the links-or even worse, they could reduce your search visibility. Links that seem like they were built in an attempt to manipulate ranking will trigger a penalty on your site and will have negative consequences to your ranking.
An SEO site audit provides site owners with the data necessary to improve the optimization of their website. By identifying and correcting technical issues you are able to build your site on a stable foundation that is streamlined to perform in the search results.