Wondering why your website isn't ranking as high as you'd like it to?
An SEO audit is the perfect solution. It's a comprehensive review of your website that identifies any potential issues that can be affecting its ranking on search engines.
Through analyzing the structure and content of your website, identifying technical problems, and exploring keyword optimization techniques, an SEO audit helps boost visibility for websites. In other words, an SEO audit can help improve your website's ranking on search engines - which means more traffic and leads for your business!
Read this article to learn more about SEO audits and how they can help improve your website's ranking on search engines!
Table of Contents
What is an SEO Audit
What are the benefits of doing an SEO audit
How does an SEO audit work and what can I expect afterwards?
Analyzing the Structure and Content of Your Website
Identifying Technical Issues with Your Site
Exploring Keyword Optimization Techniques
Tools and Resources to Help You Perform an SEO Audit
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting an SEO Audit
How Often Should You Perform An SEO Audit?
What is an SEO Audit
A SEO audit is an important tool for business owners, marketers, and developers to ensure that their websites are fully optimized according to best practices in the industry. An SEO audit covers a broad range of topics including broken links, meta tags, internal and external link structures, content organization and quality, keyword usage and presence in titles and descriptions, indexing issues, broken redirects, as well as other technical components such as mobile/page speed optimization. Investigating these areas can help identify any weaknesses and opportunities in your website's performance that may hinder it from ranking highly in the Google search engine results pages. An effective SEO audit will uncover potential opportunities while ensuring your website is following best practice.
Typically, an SEO audit covers the following:
Analyzing the structure and content of your website
Technical SEO audit: Identifying technical issues with your site
Exploring keyword optimization techniques
Investigating broken links, meta tags (such as the meta description) and internal and external link structures
Checking content organization and quality
Examining keyword usage and presence in titles and descriptions
Investigating indexing issues
Looking for broken redirects
Evaluating mobile/page speed optimization
Every SEO audit is different
Every SEO audit is different because each website is unique and has its own set of problems that need to be addressed. SEO audits focus on identifying issues related to technical SEO, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and more.
Technical SEO audit
A technical SEO audit focuses on the underlying structure of your website and making sure it meets best practices for search engine crawling. A technical SEO audit is an important part of any website's optimization process. This type of audit looks for any technical issues that could be preventing your website from being properly indexed by search engines and impacting its visibility in the SERPs.
During our technical SEO audit, the Bakklog team looks at the following items:
When looking at indexability, we run an in-depth scan of all your pages, the robots.txt file and sitemap file. When looking at indexability you will want to avoid:
4xx errors: If you've removed a page on your website and people try to visit the page because it was previously indexed on Google, this will cause a 404 error. Whenever you remove a page on your website, you should always make sure that the removed URL points to the most relevant page on your website that can replace it. With a 301 redirect you can then steer your visitors away from the 404 error. Other common errors we find are 401 when authentication is required to request the page, and these pages should have a no index tag.
5xx errors: If a link points to a page that has a more serious issue, you'll often run into a 500 error. This typically means that the request cannot be processed by the server. In this case it's recommended to do a more thorough audit to find out why this page runs into an error on your backend systems.
No index tags: Having no index tags can be a great way to avoid search engine crawlers from indexing irrelevant pages, such as your login page or other "hidden" pages that you don't want to rank for on Google. In the basics, search engines always respect a no index tag, just make sure to not use these in the wrong places.
404 errors: A 404 page can be a useful tool in helping visitors navigate to the right page, as well as help you monitor errors. Instead of feeling lost and confused when they get an error message, the 404 page provides a clear path for them to follow. It guides the user to go back to the homepage, try a different search query, or similar pages that may have what they are looking for. Additionally, having a specific 404 code enables you to track which pages lead visitors to dead ends.
Sitemap.xml: A XML sitemap is an important tool for SEO. It is a file that lists all the webpages in your website and helps Google to easily identify them. With a XML sitemap, Google can better index pages from your website and make sure they appear in search engine results. This, in turn, will improve the visibility of your site to Google users. If you want to reap maximum benefit from having a XML sitemap, it is important to connect it to Google Search Console.
Robots.txt: A robots.txt file is an important tool for controlling access to a website. It instructs web bots and search engines about which areas of a website should be indexed and how those pages should be crawled or listed. By using this file, you can prevent bots from indexing low-value content, protect sensitive webpages, preserve server resources, and more.
SEO redirects are an essential tool for website owners looking to keep their visitors on site and maintain a strong domain ranking with search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By updating outdated pages and defunct links, redirects help direct the user seamlessly from a dead page on your website to an up-to-date URL offering valuable content. That way, you won’t lose out on potential visits or search engine visibility due to broken URLs or misplaced pages. Plus, by optimizing these redirects through client-side and server-side solutions, webmasters can enable faster page loading times with minimal effort, meaning more satisfied customers and better visibility for your brand in the long run. During our SEO audit, we take a look at the following:
www and non-www: Have you ever noticed that some websites appear when you type in “www” in front of the URL and others do not? That is because of a phenomenon known as www and non-www redirects. General speaking, having both versions of a website often leads to confusion as search engine spiders might think they are two different domains, leading to duplicate content issues. The best way to avoid this is to make sure there is only one version of your website—the main domain—and that if customers type in the other version, they automatically get redirected.
HTTP and HTTPS: Although SSL-certificates have been around for a very long time, some websites still don't use an encrypted (HTTPS) connection between their website and web server. SSL (Secure Socket Layer) technology is a must-have in the digital world, especially when it comes to keeping data secure. Whenever a website address begins with "HTTPS" it signifies that SSL encryption has been enabled, and any information passed between two systems. This is key for websites dealing with private data like credit cards, login details, and so on.
Canonical URL: Canonical URL's are an important part of SEO optimization. Essentially, it is a way to tell search engines which page should be used as the authoritative source for content when there are several choices. This is critical for SEO because with multiple variations of URLs leading to duplicate content, it can lead to a confusing web landscape that causes search engines to prioritize the wrong page in results. With a canonical URL, you can reduce indexing problems and clarify which pages should appear in organic searches so you don't miss out on potential traffic and customers.
301 redirects: 301 redirects are an effective way to improve user experience, reduce website errors and make sure your visitors don't end up on a 404 page. It is a permanent algorithmic redirect that informs search engines that the target URL has been moved permanently and all the link juice should be carried over to the new page. It's an important tool for SEO CMS migrations and domain changes, ensuring you don't lose out on existing rankings or get marked as duplicates in SERPs.
302 redirects: One of the most common practices for SEO is implementing 302 redirects - a crucial tool to help you properly administer and optimize your website. These temporary redirects inform search engine crawlers that content from one URL has been moved temporarily to another.
Redirect chains: A redirect chain is a series of URLs that leads from one web page to another. It results when several redirects are used for a single link. Redirect chains can have anywhere from two to multiple redirects, and cause delays in the loading time of a webpage itself - creating an unfavorable user experience. These kinds of delays result in users not completing their desired actions on a website, such as a purchase decision or form submission. Redirect chains even impact search engine visibility because they hurt the indexing process, resulting in decreased traffic and revenue generation.
Links, otherwise known as hyperlinks or "inbound links" are snippets of code found in websites, emails, and HTML documents that when clicked direct visitors to another page containing different content. Link building is essential for increasing a website's search engine optimization (SEO). Through creating links with other relevant websites, both yours and their traffic will increase significantly as one site's audience can be directed to another. This has a positive effect on the overall authority of the website, causing it to rank higher in search engine results pages. If these links don't have the right attributes however, this can hurt your SEO efforts. Our SEO audit covers:
Broken links: Broken links can be a real nuisance when you're trying to boost your SEO efforts. They are links that are not functioning properly, and they can lead to a lot of frustration if they are used on your website. Not only do broken links create a poor user experience, but they can also damage your SEO rankings as well. Google and other search engines see broken links as signs of improper management and low-quality pages, which will in turn hurt your rankings.
Do follow links: Do follow links are an essential part of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Whenever a website or blog link to other sites, they pass along what is known as "link juice" - the ability of that website or blog to pass along SEO value to another page. As such, do follow links are very important for helping increase search engine rankings and boosting traffic to your blog or website.
Pages with a lot of outgoing links: If you come across a page loaded with links to other websites, it's likely there is no real value behind the content. This could be an indication of link exchange which violates Google’s webmaster standards and should definitely be avoided! Link exchanges involve one website trading its own backlink in return for another - so instead focus on high-quality pages that are actually beneficial to your audience.
Noopener: Noopener rel, embedded inside the code of your page as part of an anchor link rel="noopener", is an effective tool for web developers that helps prevent unexpected behavior when opening certain URLs. It is a link attribute used by many websites to protect against various security risks such as Tabnabbing and Reverse Tabnabbing. Generally, it should be used in all of your links that open in a new tab or window, not just those linked from outside websites. This prevents the current browser window from being replaced with the newly opened tab when someone clicks on one of your website’s hyperlinks. By utilizing noopener rel, you can ensure that any external links you may have on your website will remain secure for both you and your users.
User experience & Core web vitals
Core web vitals are a set of metrics that measure the loading performance, interactivity and visual stability of a web page. They are an important part of creating a good user experience by ensuring that the web pages load quickly and have responsive layouts. Google released these metrics in May 2020 on their blog, introducing them as the definitive factors when improving website loading performance and user interactions. Focusing on these three key components can greatly improve how enjoyable users find visiting a website, especially given how short our attention spans have become with digital content! Ensuring your website meets the core vitals criteria is essential for providing an excellent browsing experience for visitors. In our SEO audit, we look at the most important core web vitals:
Safe browsing: Safe Browsing in Google Core Web Vitals checks for malicious or threatening content on a website. It helps to protect users from hackers, malware, and deceptive ads. The goal is to maintain the highest standards of security and privacy of user data, so now websites must meet certain safety criteria to remain part of Google's index. This criteria includes avoiding clickbait ads, protecting users from malicious downloads, preventing suspicious redirects, as well as other measures to ensure that your site is secure for its intended audiences. Safe Browsing also offers detailed reports regarding how your site is performing in terms of overall security. With this data in hand, you can take steps towards meeting these criteria and ensuring that your online content remains safe and secure going forward.
Page speed: Page speed is an important measure for Google Core Web Vitals, as it effectively evaluates a website's loading performance and user experience. Your page speed score determines how quickly content is loaded and displayed to the user within a few seconds. This can be anything from displaying text and images, executing scripts, or reacting to user interactions. A slower page speed can result in frustrated visitors who bounce away from the website without taking any desired actions. By keeping your page speeds consistent throughout your website with the help of Google Core Web Vitals, you can provide your visitors an optimal online experience. You can test your page speed here.
HTTPS: HTTPS (short for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure protocol that encrypts the data between your computers and websites, making sure that it is safe from unauthorized access. It serves as a key to making sure that website visitors have a safe and secure browsing experience. Core Web Vitals, Google's websites performance tool, use this protocol to measure page speed and user experience.
Mobile friendliness: Is your website optimized for mobile devices? Ensure you're providing the best user experience possible with a quick test! Just follow this Google link and get answers on questions like whether images are properly loaded, click targets spaced far enough apart, etc. However, that's not all: to ensure an optimal viewing time through smartphones or tablets – it is essential to design pages specifically tailored towards those platforms.
Our SEO audits go into more detail and we also scan for on-page SEO tags, your language structure when your website has more than one language, structured data, and more. For the sake of focus, we've limited this to the items listed above, as this should give you more than enough information. If you'd like to learn more, read this Semrush blog about how to perform a technical SEO audit.
On-page SEO audit
On-page SEO focuses on the content and code found on a website and how it is structured from a technical perspective. It involves optimizing the HTML elements of a website to make it more crawler friendly, such as titles, headings, meta descriptions, image alt text and internal links. On-page SEO also looks at what content is. Another thing to look out for is web pages with duplicate content. When you have web pages that are very similar, Google will filter out one of them in the search results.
(Credit: image by WordStream)
Off-page SEO audit
Off-page SEO focuses on the elements of your website that are outside of your control, such as links from other websites, social media mentions, and reviews. Off-page SEO looks at how your website is seen by other people in order to improve its credibility and authority which can help boost rankings.
What are the benefits of doing an SEO audit
SEO audits are an incredibly useful tool for website owners, offering a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of a website’s SEO performance. SEO audit tools provide detailed reports on metrics such as website traffic, competitors' strategies, and Google Search Console insights, enabling website owners to identify SEO opportunities quickly and easily.
When working with an experienced SEO agency in Miami, such as Bakklog, you'll have a team of experts that put together a report and can explain the results to you.
SEO audits can identify SEO problems from broken links to missing content to design flaws, all of which are invaluable pieces of information that can be used to help improve overall SEO performance. Investing in an SEO website audit is therefore beneficial to any business or organization looking for ways to optimize their online presence.
How does an SEO audit work and what can I expect afterwards?
During the audit, an experienced professional will look at how your site’s pages are indexed, if there are any spam issues or other technical problems, and which keywords are driving most of the traffic. After the audit has been completed, you will be able to understand what areas need improvement so you can optimize your website and increase its visibility in search engine results. You may also receive suggestions on new things to try out and ongoing strategies to maintain a high level of visibility in search engine rankings. Investing in an SEO audit provides valuable insight that maximizes your chances of success online. Some of the areas an SEO audit covers are explained down below:
1. Analyzing the Structure and Content of Your Website
With each SEO audit it's important to analyze the structure and content of the website you're auditing. The structure highlights which technical aspects need extra work whereas the content strategy highly affects the experience for site visitors.
SEO audits provide invaluable information about a website, helping to identify factors that can hinder or enhance its ability to appear in Google searches.
SEO audit tools such as the one offered by Google Search Console and other services are packed with functionality like crawl rate analysis, keyword and content optimization suggestions, reports on duplicate content, indexation checks and site speed. Factors such as these can make or break a website’s ability to reach their target audience and get found in search rankings. Understanding what an SEO audit is and how it benefits your website is essential for any business looking to increase online visibility.
Performing regular SEO audits on your website can provide insight into areas of improvement which will ultimately enhance your SEO performance and help you reach your goals faster.
2. Identifying Technical Issues with Your Site
It's essential to make sure search engines can properly access and index your website.
Conducting an SEO audit can help you pinpoint any technical issues that are preventing search engine crawlers from effectively crawling your site. This is critical to any website’s search engine rankings and visibility.
SEO audit checklist
When following an SEO audit checklist, an SEO audit can search for broken links, missing meta descriptions, slow loading speeds and more. It also allows you to determine whether internal links are being used optimally, as this helps search engines navigate through the pages of your website.
With an SEO audit, you can gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your website so you know exactly what improvements need to be made in order to optimise it for search engines. As a result, potential customers will have easier access to the information they seek and search engines will recognize the relevance and quality of your content — ultimately ranking it higher.
3. Exploring Keyword Optimization Techniques
An SEO audit is an invaluable tool when it comes to exploring keyword optimization techniques. Through google search console, google analytics, and a variety of site audit tools, you can gain insight into your website's SEO performance and spot any potential keyword-related opportunities. By understanding where your website ranks in google searches, what words are already trafficked to your content, and also identify any gaps that could be taken advantage of for better optimization, an SEO audit can help maximize the reach of all your content. Taking the time to thoroughly analyze these insights regarding keyword optimization can prove a great strategy for digital success.
When Bakklog runs an SEO audit, and you provide us with a few of your target keywords, we'll let you know whether these are covered on all your pages (if relevant), which internal and external links are managing to drive more organic search traffic and last but not least we'll look at your site structure to double check if links pointing towards a certain page have the right anchor or button texts.
Are you a business owner looking to increase web traffic and get more paying customers? You're in luck, because Bakklog offers an expert review of your website with actionable insights to help you start ranking higher on Google and drive more paying customers to your website. Request your free SEO audit today and join thousands of satisfied entrepreneurs who have already seen their website traffic skyrocket thanks to Bakklog's actionable insights that help businesses get found online faster and easier than ever before.
Tools and Resources to Help You Perform an SEO Audit
When embarking on an SEO audit, site owners must arm themselves with the right tools and resources to make their efforts successful. Google Search Console can help site owners diagnose issues with site indexing, mobile usability, and site speed among other issues.
Additionally, it's important to evaluate site architecture and navigation which involves conducting a site audit. This audit should check the structure of internal links across your site ensuring that none of these pages are isolated or restricted from search engine access.Having an analysis of back links pointing to your site is also essential when performing a comprehensive SEO audit. Investing in the right tools will help any site owner to quickly assess their current SEO efforts and identify potential areas for improvement. From site audits to link analysis, every site owner needs reliable tools and resources if they want a comprehensive view of their website’s performance.
If you'd like to use a professional SEO audit software, we recommend you sign up for a free 7 day Semrush trial here and get an understanding of your current ranking factors to increase your organic traffic.
Screaming Frog's SEO Spider Tool is a site audit tool used to analyze a site’s SEO health, giving you a comprehensive picture of the site’s SEO performance from an SEO perspective. The tool gathers important data and organizes it so that website owners or digital marketers can make improvements to their site in order to get the best results possible.
To perform an SEO audit with Screaming Frog, simply enter the URL of the site into the tool and quickly receive visibility into each page's title tags, meta description, header tags, images alt text, internal links and external links to name just a few of its many features. Armed with this information, you can easily make changes to improve your site's overall health from an SEO standpoint.
You can use a free version or upgrade to the paid version to get unlimited crawl limits and more advanced audit features.
GTmetrixis an ideal site audit tool for any SEO-focused website. This free and user-friendly tool provides a Google PageSpeed score, YSlow score, page loading times, file size information, and recommendations for improving performance.
By combining insights from Google Search Console with your GTmetrix results, you can make sure that your website is running optimally both in terms of speed and search results. Plus, the tool’s ability to track past scores lets you clearly see how any changes you make have improved—or hindered—your site speed over time.
Try out GTmetrix as part of your next SEO audit to gain maximum visibility on Google’s search result pages.
There are plenty of other tools out there, but with the help of an experienced SEO agency you'll get the best results as they'll have an in-house team that knows how to combine the data from all the right tools.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Conducting an SEO Audit
Conducting an SEO audit is essential for digital marketing success, however there are several common mistakes to avoid. Firstly, relying on the opinion of online marketing experts without using an SEO audit tool can be misleading and lead to overlooking some important issues.
Additionally, regularly checking performance statistics such as web traffic and search engine rankings often don’t provide reliable data when assessing a site's performance.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that even after carrying out an audit there may still be adjustments needed and it’s necessary to revisit the website at least quarterly in order to note changes and make appropriate updates. All in all, utilizing effective digital marketing strategies is highly beneficial but must be done with care in order to maximize success.
When running a technical site audit, you might end up with lists of potential issues. These audit lists can be lengthy and tedious, making it difficult for anyone that doesn't have deep SEO experience or has worked on SEO efforts before to break it down into the right SEO strategies. Surely Search Console can help you get a long way, and you'll definitely increase some of your organic traffic if you fix some of the issues that get uncovered by an SEO audit, but SEO success depends on much more than just a few quick fixes.
Tip: focus on your main target keyword, page speed, site architecture and optimizing your title tags to start with. This will give you a small boost in organic search results and makes for a great starting point. Don't worry about optimizing for specific search engines, because other search engines will also award your efforts.
Would you like to get a free and complete SEO audit from one of our SEO consultants? Request a free SEO audit today and uncover any technical SEO issues and discover which blog post drives traffic or which blog post you should write next. You'll learn more about your website performance, backlinks (which referring domains), if there are any duplicate links, how much organic traffic you currently drive, where you show up on the search results, and more!
How Often Should You Perform An SEO Audit?
For those seeking top rankings on the SERPs, a site audit should be a major part of regular website maintenance. Businesses should conduct a technical SEO audit at least once per quarter to ensure potential customers can find their website.
While most technical audits center around page optimization, crawling and indexing processes, page speed and external links, running Google Analytics helps to measure the effectiveness of recent changes in terms of visitor traffic and lead generation.
Other then that we typically focus on monitoring your page ranks, detecting keyword stuffing and the mobile usability report (the majority of visitors on websites are mobile users nowadays). Once your pages rank, we track keywords using Semrush and make sure that we maintain those desired positions.
A good technical audit will include elements from all of these areas; keeping up with the latest trends in website design is essential for maintaining high-level web visibility and staying competitive in today's digital age.
At Bakklog we run a full SEO site audit at the start of a new SEO campaign and after every 3 months of SEO work.
The benefits of an SEO site audit are ample and can give your site the strategic foundation it needs to succeed. The site architecture, navigational framework and internal linking structure evaluated in a site audit will ensure that users have a smooth experience when searching for the specific information they are looking for. Additionally, content is more likely to rank highly when the site structure is optimized for search engines.
An SEO site audit can point out issues with accessibility, giving your site an advantage over competitor websites. A site audit offers you directional clarity regarding site usability, making sure no potential customer is lost by making it difficult to find what they need on your website.
Taking these steps will ensure that users not only remain on your website but also return in the future due to the superb user experience they had while visiting your site.
Want to make sure your internal and external links are properly optimized and your SEO strategy is getting you the results you want? Request a free SEO audit from one of our consultants.