Performing an SEO Audit is a key step in improving your SEO performance of a website or network of sites. Without a comprehensive and effective SEO Audit, you can’t determine in what areas you are performing well and what areas you need to improve. While there are many Website SEO Tools out there you can use, they are often too basic to be of real help. Consider these SEO Audit tips along with my previous tips on obtaining organic search traffic.
Titles and Descriptions Audit
Using a list of the top pages on your website (obtained from a tool such as Google Analytics), look through and analyse the titles and descriptions. Are they hand crafted and relevant to the search keywords you are seeking to rank for? Do they entice the potential visitors skimming through the search result pages to click on your site instead of the dozens of others?
URL Structure Audit
Analyse your top pages and their URLs. What do the URLs tell you about the page? Do they contain keywords and other information relevant to the page and it’s position within your website?
URLs consisting of gibberish such as IDs and automatically generated strings do not help your SEO efforts. Ensure that every page has a properly crafted URL, such as the one for this page.
Popular content management systems will help you to do this. In WordPress it’s called a Permalink. Check the support site for your CMS to determine how it is to be configured.
Ensuring you have a single canonical URL is very important in maximising you organic search potential and confusing the search engines less. When performing your SEO Audit, pay careful attention to the URLs as you click around your website. Do they have long strings of randomness after the real URL ends? Stuff such as session IDs and other URL parameters can be bad. At the very least, ensure you have the rel=”canonical” meta tag on every page pointing to the correct version. Even better: eliminate the additional copies of your pages.
Deep Linking Audit
How do your pages link to one another? Is there any relationship created, or do they all stand alone? To help both visitors and search engines to determine the relationship between different pages, you must deliberately create relevant links backwards and forth between your content.
This needs to happen in more places than just your menu structure and chronological blog listing. It must be weaved organically into the actual content. Create links in your sentences to other pages.
An exercise I like to do every now and again is to go back into my archives of posts and create links from my older content to the newer content on related topics. This way anyone visiting your site is more likely to go deeper than just one page.
Headings and Opening Paragraphs Audit
While titles and descriptions are important for search result click through rates, the real SEO legwork is done in your headings and main paragraphs. Everything within heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) and towards the top of your page (opening paragraphs) is given greater importance when determining rankings than your title and description. Ensure they are optimised appropriately.
Social Signals Audit
Authentic social activity is important for your rankings. When conducting your SEO audit, analyse the activity on social media surrounding your brand. Are you facilitating the sharing of your content across these networks? Setup profiles on the networks frequented by your audience (or potential audience) and begin sharing and interacting.
Inbound Links Audit
Ensuring your inbound link profile is free of questionable sources is important in ensuring you aren’t penalised for suspect SEO behaviour. You can use a tool such as Google Webmaster Tools to see all of the sites that are linked to your site. I suggest investigating any suspicious looking domains and disavow them with Webmaster Tools.
This is also an opportunity to determine which similar site’s don’t link to you, and to work out how to get them to link to you. Often times you can get free linkage via writing a guest post or contributing in some way to a third-party site. Some people think these are frowned on by Google. My opinion is that guest posts are fine, as long as the post adds real value to the readers of that third-party website.