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How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

A website audit is the best way to determine if you are on the right track to achieve your traffic goals and get the most out of your website. Since Google frequently changes its algorithm according to new technologies and search patterns, SEO audits of your website are crucial.

  Knowing where to properly start conducting a website audit can be challenging, how you can improve it to achieve your goals, and which SEO tools will help you gather the most valuable insights for success.

  This blog gives you a checklist for auditing your website to improve your page rankings on Google and other search engines and your website conversions.

 Let’s get started.

Related content: 

Top 15 SEO Trends for Ranking High in Google SERPs

20 Most Important SEO KPIs to Track for Successful Optimization

80 Best Free SEO Tools

SEO for Beginners : How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

 What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit evaluates all factors of your website to see if it is optimized to meet your search engine traffic goals.  It is about identifying technical problems or errors on your website that may prevent it from ranking on Google and other search engines. To boost performance and create a better customer experience, you need to perform regular SEO audits of your website to solve or improve them.  An SEO audit consists of several steps, including:

 – Strengths and achievements to build on or develop.

 – Errors to fix and low points to seize.

 – What’s not performing and what you should reduce.

Why Are SEO Audits Important?

 SEO audits are essential to know how your website is performing, what elements need to be optimized, and what opportunities you can capitalize on to ensure you are not penalized by Google for doing something that could hurt your site’s ranking. It can result in losing organic traffic due to site health issues, losing sales opportunities, or losing the competitive edge over other brands.  Before we examine what to look for when auditing your website, let’s review some of the different types of audits you can perform.

What Are the Types of SEO Audits?

Knowing the different types of SEO audits helps you prioritize accordingly or divide your SEO audit into several parts.

 On-Page SEO Audit

 An on-page SEO audit includes checking the background elements of a page are optimized for crawlers, such as meta descriptions, meta titles, alt text, image compression, etc.

 Off-page SEO audit

 An off-page SEO audit examines other pages and domains that link to the pages you are looking to improve, which can include the quantity, quality, distribution, and recurrence of these links.

 Technical SEO audit

 A technical SEO audit will identify opportunities to correct, eliminate or reorganize code, optimize site speed and security, optimize images, prevent spam, switch from HTTP to HTTPS, etc.

How to do a Website Audit 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 You can start the audit of your site with the essentials, such as potential problems that could prevent your site from being properly crawled and indexed or serious issues that could be causing these problems.

 1. Compare Your Rankings and Understand Your Competitors

 You must evaluate your site’s ranking for the targeted keywords and compare your performance to your competitors. You can do this manually by using a tool like Google Analytics or SEMrush to see how you rank for the keywords you entered.

 2. Look for Duplicate Versions of Your Site in Google’s Index

 Your site should only have one version indexed, and you need to check for duplicates. Having more than one version accessible can cause crawling and indexing problems. In some cases, it can even dilute link equity and negatively impact rankings. It may be the most basic check you can do on your site, but it’s critical to ensure Google only indexes one version of your site.

 Your site could be on :

 – http://www.domain.com

 – http://domain.com

 – https://www.domain.com

 – https://domain.com

 These are four different versions of the same site. There is little difference to the user except that they may see a warning in their browser about an insecure site. But Google will consider them entirely separate websites unless you redirect these versions correctly. Just type each of the four different versions into your browser.

They should all lead to the same URL, your site’s canonical (primary) version. If you see a mix of site versions, you have a potential problem to solve. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. Perform a 301 redirect to the version you want to use.

3. Check Your Site’s Indexed URLs

After doing a site search on Google, look at the number of indexed URLs. Sometimes you will be surprised to see how many pages Google indexes. If this is not the case, you may have a problem with duplicate pages or low content that needs to be resolved. It’s good to know you can de-index or prevent certain pages from appearing in search results using the Google Search Console removal tool.

4. Confirm That Your Site Uses HTTPS Protocol

If your site needs to be set up to use HTTPS, changing it’s a good idea. HTTPS has been a ranking signal since 2014. This “S” stands for “Transport Layer Security” and is an encrypted HTTP protocol version. It adds a layer of cybersecurity for everyone who visits your website. If your site is still running on HTTP, you must set up an SSL certificate.

5-Evaluate Your Site Architecture

The architecture of your site is essential for SEO. A good site architecture helps search engines find your pages to index them for search purposes by indicating which pages are the most important on your site. Make sure that your site’s structure is related to its hierarchy so that all the main web pages are listed in the top navigation menu of your website so that site visitors and spiders can find everything they need quickly and efficiently.

The better the architecture, the better the user experience for site visitors and bots that crawl the site to determine search engine rankings.  The closer a page is to your home page, the more critical it is. The goal is to make it easy for Google – and users – to find the information or products they are looking for. If your site’s architecture is a mess, users will have a hard time finding all your pages:

Ensure your site architecture ties your pages together, and users don’t have to take more than three clicks from your home page to any page on your site. It also makes it easier for Google to find and index your entire site.

If pages on your site are not linked to other pages, they are less likely to be indexed. That’s why you should also include internal links allowing users and bots to move from one page to another on your website in one step. This way, you can ensure a solid site architecture that will benefit your SEO.

Related content: 8 Steps to Build an Effective Website Structure for SEO

6. Analyze Your Site Speed

Page speed is vital. A fast site speed promotes a positive user experience and higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions, while a slower pace will result in higher bounce rates. In 2021, Google launched the Page Experience Update. By examining user behaviors, Google released data showing that a user’s risk of bouncing increases significantly the slower page loads. As the statistics show, 40% of users abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load.

Sites Speed

The more visitors leave the site, the less likely it is to rank well in search results. Page speed analysis is essential to improving the overall user experience. PageSpeed Insights is the tool it gives you a granular overview of page speed and offers suggestions for improvement. You can analyze page speed at the site-wide level. You can also analyze the mobile and desktop versions of your site.

Related content: 11 Effective Ways to Improve Your Website’s Page Speed

7. Check for Mobile Usability Issues

Since more and more users are turning to smartphones to search online, mobile friendliness is important to check during a website audit. Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015, and as of 2021, mobile-friendliness is part of the page experience update.

If your site is mobile-friendly, you must prioritize the user experience. A handy tool from Google called Mobile-Friendly Test allows you to check the performance of mobile versions of websites. You can also check the Mobile Usability section of the Search Console Improvements tab for URLs with errors that affect mobile-friendliness.

Mobile Friendliness Issues

 

8- Check the Core Web Vitals of your site

Core Web Vitals are metrics launched by Google in May 2020 to evaluate user experience and are now a ranking factor. Here’s what Google says about them:

Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. This, along with other page experience aspects, aligns with what our core ranking systems seek to reward.”

Core Web Vitals measure a page’s load time, interactivity, and content stability while loading. The Google Chrome team announced a change in May 10, 2023 in the metrics of the Core Web Vitals that is to promote the INP (Interaction to Next Paint) as a new metric of the Core Web Vitals for responsiveness and better assess the quality of user experience of a web page which will replace the FID (First Input Delay) from March 2024.  

To check your site’s Core Web Vitals, check the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console in the “Improvements” tab. This report is based on Chrome User Experience (CrUX) data and is relevant to mobile and desktop. By opening one of these reports, you’ll get detailed information on which issues are related to bad URLs and which ones need to be improved. To check the usability of your website and to ensure that you are effectively presenting the content that users are looking for and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website that interest them, consider the following:

– Your company’s main value propositions should be easily accessible via our main navigation/menu elements.

– Your site design and layout should be simple and intuitive.

– Avoid making pages too cluttered and full of ads and CTAs.

 -Your conversion paths or shopping cart or checkout processes should be intuitive and frictionless for your site visitors.

9. Check Your Site’s On-Page SEO

It is essential to check the on-page SEO elements, as this part of the website audit covers fundamental aspects of a website, such as a website content, titles, meta descriptions, body text, headers, keyword usage, image alt text, and internal links.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these on-page SEO elements:

Title tags

A title tag is an HTML code that tells search engines the title of a page and will be displayed in the SERPs.  Each page on your site should have a title tag and meta description optimized for keywords and an H1 tag relevant to the content of your page.

Search engines will cut off longer titles, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum. The optimal length for title tags is between 50 and 60 characters. Make sure your titles are no longer than 60 characters so that your target keyword is present in full in your title. Otherwise, they will be truncated with an ellipsis which can prevent essential keywords from being crawled,

Meta descriptions

Google often displays meta descriptions in search results to help users viewing the search results determine the content of your page.  So it would help if you tried to write one attractive and optimized for keywords that accurately indicate the purpose of the web page in question. Missing H1 tags, on the other hand, usually indicate more significant problems, such as a poorly coded theme. The optimal length of descriptions today is between 155 and 160.

 Proper alt tags for images

Alt tags for images are an essential text description for robots when crawling a website. Including keyword-optimized alt text for your site’s images using targeted keywords will significantly impact your SEO.

Keyword placement

Every page on your site should include a keyword in the title, alt tags, URL, subheadings (h2, h3, etc.), and meta description to allow Google to understand what the article is about. It would help if you were strategic about keyword usage by avoiding inserting keywords for the sake of inserting keywords, which is also known as “keyword stuffing,” which will be penalized by Google.

Related content: 

4 Best Keyword Research Tips to Improve Your Ranking

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

How to Find & Use LSI Keywords to Boost your SEO

Jaaxy keyword Research Tool Review

Creating optimized content

The content should also be helpful, informative and answer the questions asked by the users as quickly as possible. Include sharing links in the content pages to be easily shared on social networks.

Related Content: 12 Best Tips for Creating SEO-friendly Content

Create an internal link structure

Related content: 

On-Page SEO:10 Essential Factors for Ranking on the First Page

8 Internal Links Optimization Strategies for SEO & UX

10. Evaluate Your Site’s Off-Page SEO

The off-page SEO audit lets you know if other credible sources trust the website enough to link to your site through backlinks and domain authority. Improving off-page SEO can be more difficult because there are many factors over which you have limited and indirect control.

In addition to planning a strategy to build better links than your competitors, you can check for potentially toxic links by performing a backlink audit. Not all links contribute to your ranking. Backlinks from unindexed sites or sites with many mirror pages and link directories can be considered toxic.

For the off-page SEO audit, you should check the following points:

-The number of referring domains that link to your entire website and your content and landing pages.

-The relevance of backlinks regarding location, language, and theme.

-Increase your backlinks over time.

– Share and mention your site on social media.

– remove bad backlinks with Google’s disavowal tool.

11. Evaluate Technical SEO

The critical elements of a technical SEO audit include checking the following

– Robots.txt

Before crawling a website, search engine spiders usually request the robots.txt file from a server. The robots.txt file is a text file that allows you to specify how you want your site to be crawled. In the robots.txt file, you can include sections for robots with directives that tell them which parts should or should not be crawled.

– Redirects

If redirects are not configured correctly, crawling problems can occur. 301 redirects are permanent, while 302 redirects are temporary. If you intend to keep things the same in the long run, a 301 redirect is the best choice.

– SEO-friendly URL structure

– Structured data

Your site should have structured data to help search engines understand the content. This data can take the form of schema graphics and XML sitemaps.

– Canonical tags

– 404 pages

Your site should have systems to engage users even if they reach a dead end, such as content created for 404 errors and 301 redirect pages.

– XML Sitemaps.

The XML sitemap of your site tells Google your site’s primary pages to be indexed. It should not contain redirects, non-canonical, or dead pages, as these elements send conflicting signals to Google.

12. Find and fix duplicate content problems

Duplicate content on your site can send confusing signals to search engines that cause problems that prevent you from getting the highest possible rankings. You can use a tool like Copyscape to assess potential technical SEO issues related to duplicate content.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

13. Identify Low Content Pages

It’s essential to ensure your content provides enough context and information for your topic to rank higher on Google. Thin content is content that does not meet the needs of users and search engines. “Thin” content does not meet the needs of users and search engines.

 A 300-word blog post explaining a complex concept would be considered thin and probably won’t help you convert users and may even turn them away from your website. Panda, a 2011 Google algorithm update, aims to crack down on sites with thin content.  Therefore, it is essential to improve these pages by creating valuable and unique content, either prevent the indexing of pages by adding a noindex attribute.

 14. Solving Problems with Orphan Pages

 Orphan pages are pages on your site that are not linked to any other page and therefore do not benefit from the topical authority transmitted by internal links. The quickest solution is to add critical pages to your site navigation or at least one internal link in the relevant content. You can find pages in your XML sitemap but not linked to any other page.

 15. Check the Content of the Top Ranked Pages and Update Opportunities

 Content is a fundamental factor in on-page SEO and will strongly influence the effectiveness of your site.  Google prefers unique, regularly updated content that matches a searcher’s needs and preferences. It means that you need to ensure that your website content meets this requirement to get better brand visibility and rankings. Take the time to analyze your top-ranking pages for the search terms you are targeting.

 If you see a big difference between your content and the pages that rank high in Google, consider a content audit to rework your page with the searcher’s intent.

 16. Check Organic Traffic

 It is essential to check your organic traffic constantly. You can check your organic traffic trend for free in Google Search Console.  Go to the search results report and set the period to the last year or two. You can also check your organic traffic on Google Analytics. To do this, go to Google Analytics. Then go to Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels. And Click on “Organic Search.” You will then see how many people visited your site from search engines last month.

Related content: Top 10 Strategies to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Site

 What Are the Website Audit Tools?

To understand the state of your site, you need the best tools.  Fortunately, several tools can help you perform an effective audit. Here are some of the SEO audit tools that we can use.

 Google Search Console

 Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that can help you analyze clicks from Google Search and find errors and critical bugs in your website. To access essential reports about your website, such as which search queries drive the most traffic, log in to your Google account, go to the Search Console homepage, and add your website property in the text box next to the word “Website.”  The Website Report allows you to analyze your site’s ranking in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Knowing if you have any severe indexing errors can help you find and fix them so they stop hurting your site’s ranking in the SERPs.

 Google Analytics

 Google Analytics will provide key indicators of your site’s performance in their search engine and guide you towards better SEO in many ways.  It is a tool that can be used continuously to track and monitor traffic. Google Analytics can be integrated with Screaming Frog to compare site data such as sessions, page views, and bounce rates, giving you a more granular and comprehensive statement of what’s happening on your site.

 HubSpot Website Grader

 The HubSpot Website Grader is a free tool that performs an automated evaluation of your website based on several criteria, including website traffic/performance, SEO metrics, mobile-friendliness, and security (such as SSL provisioning). Once you provide Website Grader with your website and email address, it will analyze your website and give you a score between 0 and 100, telling you how well your website is performing. It also explains why your website got a particular score by indicating the strengths of your website and what needs to be improved.

 Ideally, you want to have a website that ranks well above 70. If your website scores below 50, you know you need to fix some things.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 SEMrush

 SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO tools that have an auditing tool called SEMrush Site Audit that allows you to explore your website and analyze the overall health of a website, prioritize your tasks, evaluate your performance, track progress, and compare crawls but also common inefficiencies that drag down your site’s organic performance.

 SEMrush gives you a site health score that includes the density of issues found on your site, which provides you with in-depth information about the health of your site. The higher the site score, the better the health of your site. It also has an on-page issues SEO checker that analyzes Google’s ranking factors, such as annoying duplicates, suboptimal titles, and headers in your content. It provides concrete recommendations to improve a website’s performance.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 It also allows you to see your broken internal link issues and provides you with security certificates to ensure your security protocols are up to date.  The SEMrush site audit offers full functionality for your site and free crawls for 100 pages!  SEMrush is also helpful in performing competitive analysis with its ability to monitor visibility and keyword rankings for multiple domains and identify top-performing pages that drive organic traffic to compete sites.

 Ahrefs

 The Ahrefs Site Audit tool has three main features: Keyword Explorer, Site Explorer, and Content Explorer. The Ahrefs Site Audit tool crawls all pages. It provides an SEO health score of the website and a site structure report that can show you the subdomains and subfolders of your site and the estimated organic traffic, HTTP status code distribution, and other aspects of your site structure.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

The advantage of this tool is that it provides visuals of the results to make them easier to understand and analyze. Ahrefs is entirely cloud-based, allowing you to log in anytime and audit websites on the go. If you don’t want to perform a full site audit, Ahrefs allows you to set up segments to isolate issues from a specific site section. Another helpful feature of this auditing tool is the ability to “show changes” between the current and previous scans.

 You will also find detailed information about the problems encountered and instructions on how to fix this aspect of your website.

 Screaming Frog

 Screaming Frog is more of a website crawler than an auditing tool but one of the most popular tools for detecting potential SEO problems on websites, such as unoptimized titles and meta descriptions, broken links, duplicate content, and blocked robots.txt.  With Screaming Frog, you can crawl up to 500 pages for free, enter the URL you want to crawl, and the tool will perform an analysis for you.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 Conclusion

Regular site audits, including technical SEO audits, on-page SEO, or off-page SEO audits, will help you improve your website’s overall SEO by increasing search performance and organic traffic. By detecting problems or errors in your site, you will be on the right track to getting better rankings on Google and other search engines. Don’t hesitate to perform a check once a month using an SEO audit tool.

 

 

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How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

A website audit is the best way to determine if you are on the right track to achieve your traffic goals and get the most out of your website. Since Google frequently changes its algorithm according to new technologies and search patterns, SEO audits of your website are crucial.

  Knowing where to properly start conducting a website audit can be challenging, how you can improve it to achieve your goals, and which SEO tools will help you gather the most valuable insights for success.

  This blog gives you a checklist for auditing your website to improve your page rankings on Google and other search engines and your website conversions.

 Let’s get started.

Related content: 

Top 15 SEO Trends for Ranking High in Google SERPs

20 Most Important SEO KPIs to Track for Successful Optimization

80 Best Free SEO Tools

SEO for Beginners : How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

 What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit evaluates all factors of your website to see if it is optimized to meet your search engine traffic goals.  It is about identifying technical problems or errors on your website that may prevent it from ranking on Google and other search engines. To boost performance and create a better customer experience, you need to perform regular SEO audits of your website to solve or improve them.  An SEO audit consists of several steps, including:

 – Strengths and achievements to build on or develop.

 – Errors to fix and low points to seize.

 – What’s not performing and what you should reduce.

Why Are SEO Audits Important?

 SEO audits are essential to know how your website is performing, what elements need to be optimized, and what opportunities you can capitalize on to ensure you are not penalized by Google for doing something that could hurt your site’s ranking. It can result in losing organic traffic due to site health issues, losing sales opportunities, or losing the competitive edge over other brands.  Before we examine what to look for when auditing your website, let’s review some of the different types of audits you can perform.

What Are the Types of SEO Audits?

Knowing the different types of SEO audits helps you prioritize accordingly or divide your SEO audit into several parts.

 On-Page SEO Audit

 An on-page SEO audit includes checking the background elements of a page are optimized for crawlers, such as meta descriptions, meta titles, alt text, image compression, etc.

 Off-page SEO audit

 An off-page SEO audit examines other pages and domains that link to the pages you are looking to improve, which can include the quantity, quality, distribution, and recurrence of these links.

 Technical SEO audit

 A technical SEO audit will identify opportunities to correct, eliminate or reorganize code, optimize site speed and security, optimize images, prevent spam, switch from HTTP to HTTPS, etc.

How to do a Website Audit 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 You can start the audit of your site with the essentials, such as potential problems that could prevent your site from being properly crawled and indexed or serious issues that could be causing these problems.

 1. Compare Your Rankings and Understand Your Competitors

 You must evaluate your site’s ranking for the targeted keywords and compare your performance to your competitors. You can do this manually by using a tool like Google Analytics or SEMrush to see how you rank for the keywords you entered.

 2. Look for Duplicate Versions of Your Site in Google’s Index

 Your site should only have one version indexed, and you need to check for duplicates. Having more than one version accessible can cause crawling and indexing problems. In some cases, it can even dilute link equity and negatively impact rankings. It may be the most basic check you can do on your site, but it’s critical to ensure Google only indexes one version of your site.

 Your site could be on :

 – http://www.domain.com

 – http://domain.com

 – https://www.domain.com

 – https://domain.com

 These are four different versions of the same site. There is little difference to the user except that they may see a warning in their browser about an insecure site. But Google will consider them entirely separate websites unless you redirect these versions correctly. Just type each of the four different versions into your browser.

They should all lead to the same URL, your site’s canonical (primary) version. If you see a mix of site versions, you have a potential problem to solve. Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. Perform a 301 redirect to the version you want to use.

3. Check Your Site’s Indexed URLs

After doing a site search on Google, look at the number of indexed URLs. Sometimes you will be surprised to see how many pages Google indexes. If this is not the case, you may have a problem with duplicate pages or low content that needs to be resolved. It’s good to know you can de-index or prevent certain pages from appearing in search results using the Google Search Console removal tool.

4. Confirm That Your Site Uses HTTPS Protocol

If your site needs to be set up to use HTTPS, changing it’s a good idea. HTTPS has been a ranking signal since 2014. This “S” stands for “Transport Layer Security” and is an encrypted HTTP protocol version. It adds a layer of cybersecurity for everyone who visits your website. If your site is still running on HTTP, you must set up an SSL certificate.

5-Evaluate Your Site Architecture

The architecture of your site is essential for SEO. A good site architecture helps search engines find your pages to index them for search purposes by indicating which pages are the most important on your site. Make sure that your site’s structure is related to its hierarchy so that all the main web pages are listed in the top navigation menu of your website so that site visitors and spiders can find everything they need quickly and efficiently.

The better the architecture, the better the user experience for site visitors and bots that crawl the site to determine search engine rankings.  The closer a page is to your home page, the more critical it is. The goal is to make it easy for Google – and users – to find the information or products they are looking for. If your site’s architecture is a mess, users will have a hard time finding all your pages:

Ensure your site architecture ties your pages together, and users don’t have to take more than three clicks from your home page to any page on your site. It also makes it easier for Google to find and index your entire site.

If pages on your site are not linked to other pages, they are less likely to be indexed. That’s why you should also include internal links allowing users and bots to move from one page to another on your website in one step. This way, you can ensure a solid site architecture that will benefit your SEO.

Related content: 8 Steps to Build an Effective Website Structure for SEO

6. Analyze Your Site Speed

Page speed is vital. A fast site speed promotes a positive user experience and higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions, while a slower pace will result in higher bounce rates. In 2021, Google launched the Page Experience Update. By examining user behaviors, Google released data showing that a user’s risk of bouncing increases significantly the slower page loads. As the statistics show, 40% of users abandon websites that take more than three seconds to load.

Sites Speed

The more visitors leave the site, the less likely it is to rank well in search results. Page speed analysis is essential to improving the overall user experience. PageSpeed Insights is the tool it gives you a granular overview of page speed and offers suggestions for improvement. You can analyze page speed at the site-wide level. You can also analyze the mobile and desktop versions of your site.

Related content: 11 Effective Ways to Improve Your Website’s Page Speed

7. Check for Mobile Usability Issues

Since more and more users are turning to smartphones to search online, mobile friendliness is important to check during a website audit. Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015, and as of 2021, mobile-friendliness is part of the page experience update.

If your site is mobile-friendly, you must prioritize the user experience. A handy tool from Google called Mobile-Friendly Test allows you to check the performance of mobile versions of websites. You can also check the Mobile Usability section of the Search Console Improvements tab for URLs with errors that affect mobile-friendliness.

Mobile Friendliness Issues

 

8- Check the Core Web Vitals of your site

Core Web Vitals are metrics launched by Google in May 2020 to evaluate user experience and are now a ranking factor. Here’s what Google says about them:

Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of the page. We highly recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. This, along with other page experience aspects, aligns with what our core ranking systems seek to reward.”

Core Web Vitals measure a page’s load time, interactivity, and content stability while loading. The Google Chrome team announced a change in May 10, 2023 in the metrics of the Core Web Vitals that is to promote the INP (Interaction to Next Paint) as a new metric of the Core Web Vitals for responsiveness and better assess the quality of user experience of a web page which will replace the FID (First Input Delay) from March 2024.  

To check your site’s Core Web Vitals, check the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console in the “Improvements” tab. This report is based on Chrome User Experience (CrUX) data and is relevant to mobile and desktop. By opening one of these reports, you’ll get detailed information on which issues are related to bad URLs and which ones need to be improved. To check the usability of your website and to ensure that you are effectively presenting the content that users are looking for and that they find it easy to navigate to the parts of your website that interest them, consider the following:

– Your company’s main value propositions should be easily accessible via our main navigation/menu elements.

– Your site design and layout should be simple and intuitive.

– Avoid making pages too cluttered and full of ads and CTAs.

 -Your conversion paths or shopping cart or checkout processes should be intuitive and frictionless for your site visitors.

9. Check Your Site’s On-Page SEO

It is essential to check the on-page SEO elements, as this part of the website audit covers fundamental aspects of a website, such as a website content, titles, meta descriptions, body text, headers, keyword usage, image alt text, and internal links.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these on-page SEO elements:

Title tags

A title tag is an HTML code that tells search engines the title of a page and will be displayed in the SERPs.  Each page on your site should have a title tag and meta description optimized for keywords and an H1 tag relevant to the content of your page.

Search engines will cut off longer titles, so it’s best to keep them to a minimum. The optimal length for title tags is between 50 and 60 characters. Make sure your titles are no longer than 60 characters so that your target keyword is present in full in your title. Otherwise, they will be truncated with an ellipsis which can prevent essential keywords from being crawled,

Meta descriptions

Google often displays meta descriptions in search results to help users viewing the search results determine the content of your page.  So it would help if you tried to write one attractive and optimized for keywords that accurately indicate the purpose of the web page in question. Missing H1 tags, on the other hand, usually indicate more significant problems, such as a poorly coded theme. The optimal length of descriptions today is between 155 and 160.

 Proper alt tags for images

Alt tags for images are an essential text description for robots when crawling a website. Including keyword-optimized alt text for your site’s images using targeted keywords will significantly impact your SEO.

Keyword placement

Every page on your site should include a keyword in the title, alt tags, URL, subheadings (h2, h3, etc.), and meta description to allow Google to understand what the article is about. It would help if you were strategic about keyword usage by avoiding inserting keywords for the sake of inserting keywords, which is also known as “keyword stuffing,” which will be penalized by Google.

Related content: 

4 Best Keyword Research Tips to Improve Your Ranking

How to Use Long-Tail Keywords in Your Content Marketing Strategy?

How to Find & Use LSI Keywords to Boost your SEO

Jaaxy keyword Research Tool Review

Creating optimized content

The content should also be helpful, informative and answer the questions asked by the users as quickly as possible. Include sharing links in the content pages to be easily shared on social networks.

Related Content: 12 Best Tips for Creating SEO-friendly Content

Create an internal link structure

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10. Evaluate Your Site’s Off-Page SEO

The off-page SEO audit lets you know if other credible sources trust the website enough to link to your site through backlinks and domain authority. Improving off-page SEO can be more difficult because there are many factors over which you have limited and indirect control.

In addition to planning a strategy to build better links than your competitors, you can check for potentially toxic links by performing a backlink audit. Not all links contribute to your ranking. Backlinks from unindexed sites or sites with many mirror pages and link directories can be considered toxic.

For the off-page SEO audit, you should check the following points:

-The number of referring domains that link to your entire website and your content and landing pages.

-The relevance of backlinks regarding location, language, and theme.

-Increase your backlinks over time.

– Share and mention your site on social media.

– remove bad backlinks with Google’s disavowal tool.

11. Evaluate Technical SEO

The critical elements of a technical SEO audit include checking the following

– Robots.txt

Before crawling a website, search engine spiders usually request the robots.txt file from a server. The robots.txt file is a text file that allows you to specify how you want your site to be crawled. In the robots.txt file, you can include sections for robots with directives that tell them which parts should or should not be crawled.

– Redirects

If redirects are not configured correctly, crawling problems can occur. 301 redirects are permanent, while 302 redirects are temporary. If you intend to keep things the same in the long run, a 301 redirect is the best choice.

– SEO-friendly URL structure

– Structured data

Your site should have structured data to help search engines understand the content. This data can take the form of schema graphics and XML sitemaps.

– Canonical tags

– 404 pages

Your site should have systems to engage users even if they reach a dead end, such as content created for 404 errors and 301 redirect pages.

– XML Sitemaps.

The XML sitemap of your site tells Google your site’s primary pages to be indexed. It should not contain redirects, non-canonical, or dead pages, as these elements send conflicting signals to Google.

12. Find and fix duplicate content problems

Duplicate content on your site can send confusing signals to search engines that cause problems that prevent you from getting the highest possible rankings. You can use a tool like Copyscape to assess potential technical SEO issues related to duplicate content.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

13. Identify Low Content Pages

It’s essential to ensure your content provides enough context and information for your topic to rank higher on Google. Thin content is content that does not meet the needs of users and search engines. “Thin” content does not meet the needs of users and search engines.

 A 300-word blog post explaining a complex concept would be considered thin and probably won’t help you convert users and may even turn them away from your website. Panda, a 2011 Google algorithm update, aims to crack down on sites with thin content.  Therefore, it is essential to improve these pages by creating valuable and unique content, either prevent the indexing of pages by adding a noindex attribute.

 14. Solving Problems with Orphan Pages

 Orphan pages are pages on your site that are not linked to any other page and therefore do not benefit from the topical authority transmitted by internal links. The quickest solution is to add critical pages to your site navigation or at least one internal link in the relevant content. You can find pages in your XML sitemap but not linked to any other page.

 15. Check the Content of the Top Ranked Pages and Update Opportunities

 Content is a fundamental factor in on-page SEO and will strongly influence the effectiveness of your site.  Google prefers unique, regularly updated content that matches a searcher’s needs and preferences. It means that you need to ensure that your website content meets this requirement to get better brand visibility and rankings. Take the time to analyze your top-ranking pages for the search terms you are targeting.

 If you see a big difference between your content and the pages that rank high in Google, consider a content audit to rework your page with the searcher’s intent.

 16. Check Organic Traffic

 It is essential to check your organic traffic constantly. You can check your organic traffic trend for free in Google Search Console.  Go to the search results report and set the period to the last year or two. You can also check your organic traffic on Google Analytics. To do this, go to Google Analytics. Then go to Acquisition >> All Traffic >> Channels. And Click on “Organic Search.” You will then see how many people visited your site from search engines last month.

Related content: Top 10 Strategies to Increase Organic Traffic to Your Site

 What Are the Website Audit Tools?

To understand the state of your site, you need the best tools.  Fortunately, several tools can help you perform an effective audit. Here are some of the SEO audit tools that we can use.

 Google Search Console

 Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that can help you analyze clicks from Google Search and find errors and critical bugs in your website. To access essential reports about your website, such as which search queries drive the most traffic, log in to your Google account, go to the Search Console homepage, and add your website property in the text box next to the word “Website.”  The Website Report allows you to analyze your site’s ranking in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Knowing if you have any severe indexing errors can help you find and fix them so they stop hurting your site’s ranking in the SERPs.

 Google Analytics

 Google Analytics will provide key indicators of your site’s performance in their search engine and guide you towards better SEO in many ways.  It is a tool that can be used continuously to track and monitor traffic. Google Analytics can be integrated with Screaming Frog to compare site data such as sessions, page views, and bounce rates, giving you a more granular and comprehensive statement of what’s happening on your site.

 HubSpot Website Grader

 The HubSpot Website Grader is a free tool that performs an automated evaluation of your website based on several criteria, including website traffic/performance, SEO metrics, mobile-friendliness, and security (such as SSL provisioning). Once you provide Website Grader with your website and email address, it will analyze your website and give you a score between 0 and 100, telling you how well your website is performing. It also explains why your website got a particular score by indicating the strengths of your website and what needs to be improved.

 Ideally, you want to have a website that ranks well above 70. If your website scores below 50, you know you need to fix some things.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 SEMrush

 SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO tools that have an auditing tool called SEMrush Site Audit that allows you to explore your website and analyze the overall health of a website, prioritize your tasks, evaluate your performance, track progress, and compare crawls but also common inefficiencies that drag down your site’s organic performance.

 SEMrush gives you a site health score that includes the density of issues found on your site, which provides you with in-depth information about the health of your site. The higher the site score, the better the health of your site. It also has an on-page issues SEO checker that analyzes Google’s ranking factors, such as annoying duplicates, suboptimal titles, and headers in your content. It provides concrete recommendations to improve a website’s performance.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 It also allows you to see your broken internal link issues and provides you with security certificates to ensure your security protocols are up to date.  The SEMrush site audit offers full functionality for your site and free crawls for 100 pages!  SEMrush is also helpful in performing competitive analysis with its ability to monitor visibility and keyword rankings for multiple domains and identify top-performing pages that drive organic traffic to compete sites.

 Ahrefs

 The Ahrefs Site Audit tool has three main features: Keyword Explorer, Site Explorer, and Content Explorer. The Ahrefs Site Audit tool crawls all pages. It provides an SEO health score of the website and a site structure report that can show you the subdomains and subfolders of your site and the estimated organic traffic, HTTP status code distribution, and other aspects of your site structure.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

The advantage of this tool is that it provides visuals of the results to make them easier to understand and analyze. Ahrefs is entirely cloud-based, allowing you to log in anytime and audit websites on the go. If you don’t want to perform a full site audit, Ahrefs allows you to set up segments to isolate issues from a specific site section. Another helpful feature of this auditing tool is the ability to “show changes” between the current and previous scans.

 You will also find detailed information about the problems encountered and instructions on how to fix this aspect of your website.

 Screaming Frog

 Screaming Frog is more of a website crawler than an auditing tool but one of the most popular tools for detecting potential SEO problems on websites, such as unoptimized titles and meta descriptions, broken links, duplicate content, and blocked robots.txt.  With Screaming Frog, you can crawl up to 500 pages for free, enter the URL you want to crawl, and the tool will perform an analysis for you.

How to do a Website Audit: 16-Point Checklist to Improve SEO

 Conclusion

Regular site audits, including technical SEO audits, on-page SEO, or off-page SEO audits, will help you improve your website’s overall SEO by increasing search performance and organic traffic. By detecting problems or errors in your site, you will be on the right track to getting better rankings on Google and other search engines. Don’t hesitate to perform a check once a month using an SEO audit tool.

 

 

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