How to Perform an SEO Audit in 2019

Author Emma Knightley

Do you know how well is your website is performing?

SEO experts understand the importance of doing regular audits, but for many of us who only have a basic knowledge of SEO, it may sound like a daunting task. However, in today’s world of digital marketing, it’s becoming more and more important to have a clear understanding of this.

If you’re looking for tips on how to perform an SEO audit, to read on to learn more about the latest tools and get a few tips for a better understanding of the what, where and why behind the process.   

What is the Purpose of an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit checks the health of your website and in doing so, prevents spam and makes suggestions on how to optimize. SEO audits are important for a number of reasons, not the least of which because Google changes their algorithm frequently in accordance with new technology and new search patterns.

This is essentially a checkup for your system to see how well it’s functioning in comparison to the market. There are many areas that it will cover. Here are some specific things that an SEO audit will cover.   

Evaluates Keyword Usage: An audit will help you figure out whether your keyword usage is on point, placed well, and poised to bring in the optimal amount of traffic.

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI): LSI is a term that essentially refers to the context and intent behind a given search. To put it into context, as technology, specifically AI, progresses, it is able to understand more and more in the way of specific meaning, thereby possibly accounting for things like secondary and long-tail keywords with more frequency.

Organic Search Rankings: If you’re paying for sponsored ads, you’ll want to always look for ways to cut down on this spending. An SEO audit can check to see how well you’re doing in organic searches, thus possibly lessening the need to do paid advertising. You can also use the information gleaned from this part of the search to continue on with more strategies that ensure organic reach.

Keep up with Competition: The competitors in your marketplace should also be doing this regularly to check their SEO rankings, keyword placement and the like. They’ll be checking their meta tags, links, and everything else, so in order to keep up with them, you need to also follow suit. 

Understand Problematic Code: An SEO audit can help to review the back end of your site for bugs and other issues that may be slowing it down or pushing you down further in search rankings. You’ll want to get a technical expert like a web developer to help you with this if you don’t have the knowledge.

Is it better to do an automated or manual SEO check?

It’s good practice to do an automated scan once a month just to monitor basic factors like bounce rate, conversions, and page views. This will be often enough to bring up major issues. And if you find any significant issues, you can then contact a professional for a detailed audit. A more thorough check should be done annually.

When you do a scan or a full audit, your site is assessed, and bugs can be found, plus it gives you key indicators to optimize your site for better SEO and building brand awareness.

Here are a few key areas to consider when doing an SEO check:

  • URL Structure: Are all of your URLs unique, clean and simple?
  • Content: Is your copy well-written, formatted, informative and fresh?
  • Meta descriptions: Are they unique on each page, and the right length?
  • Links: Do you have an average of 5 per page? Do they all work?
  • Images: Are the descriptions on point?
  • Website structure: It is clear and easy to navigate?

A thorough check will analyze your landing page and how it relates to other pages, the overall user-friendliness of the page, the menu, and whether ads and banners are effective or in the way.

Page speed is also huge when it comes to doing an SEO audit, and your page load time matters--if it’s too slow, you may be losing customers.

Do you need to have technical expertise to do an SEO Audit?

It is actually a good idea to consult with a technician if you’re going to do an in-depth audit, but there are still ways of checking some elements of your site on your own. Here are the main areas that a check will cover and what type of professional experts may want to cover the different aspects broken down below.

Technical: This checks the foundation of the website down to the code. A web developer should have a grasp on how to do this well.

On Page: This is where you go and check to see if your webpage checks out, from links to meta tags to the overall user experience. It’s here that your content manager should be able to help out.

Off Page: This refers to what other people are doing around you---in other words, your competitors and also search engines. This will look at how well your site is indexed and how it ranks in search engines. 

SEO Audit Tools

Fortunately for most of us who aren’t SEO experts, there are quite a few tools out there that can help you perform an effective SEO audit. Here are a few examples.

Google Analytics: This is a must-have for any digital marketer in any industry. It will give you key indicators of all kinds of metrics and will guide you towards better SEO in a number of ways. IT’s something that you can be using continually to track and monitor traffic.

Google Webmaster Tools (Search Console): Google provides several affordable tools that allow anyone to do regular SEO checks and help you see your page “as” Google sees it as a way of checking the performance of your site.

Check My Links: This tool allows you to do a check on your links to make sure they are all working in favor of traffic rather than against it. For instance, it will point out any broken links, appropriate density of links, and structure of both internal and external links. While this is something that’s fairly easy to be done manually, this literally takes seconds to do.

SEO Report Card: This will analyze your site to see how well it’s shaping up in comparison to competition. It will go through things like rank analysis, link building structures, trust metrics and authority baseline. It will also assess your sites overall speed and user-friendliness.

MOZ’s Crawl Test Tool: When you get a pro subscription with MOZ, you’ll also get a tool that helps you boost your page ranking and gives you growth reports. Basically, what this does it uses MOZ’s crawler to analyze your pages and then sends a report.

You can find a detailed list of SEO audit tools on HubSpot

How crucial is an SEO-audit?

It’s important to check a website’s overall health to ensure its usability in both an internal and external context. You’ll need to have an internal investigation of a number of factors, including the sitemap, anchor text, and even social media platforms. Load time is big, and doing a thorough audit will also bring up red flag issues that you need to address.

One of the reasons that doing this is so important is to make sure that you’re not getting penalized by Google for doing something that might damage your site ranking. There are a lot of little details that can result in this, and if you’re not an SEO expert, you could very well be doing it without knowing it. When you get an external audit, you can then receive detailed feedback about best practices with your content, linking and so on.

The last thing you need is to be attacked or penalized due to having some sort of content on your site that you had no idea was hurting its ranking; this could be costing thousands of dollars. But it’s a complex issue that should be investigated by a professional.

Doing a full SEO audit is quite complicated and technical, and you can find many more technical descriptions of how to complete one elsewhere. It may not sound like the most fun activity in the world if you’re not a techie, but it can actually boost your revenue in ways that you might never imagine if done right. It’s important that you investigate the overall performance of your website regularly. Do a check once a month using some easy tools, and have an expert review your website yearly. You can glean valuable information about all kinds of metrics if you keep on top of this and your business, or clients will thank you for it.

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Emma Knightley