seo audits

SEO Audits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Optimizing Your Site

Learn the steps for completing an SEO audit to optimize your site. These eight activities can help you drive more organic website traffic.

SEO audits can bring highly qualified leads to your website in the exact moment they are seeking solutions that your business offers. And yet, few businesses know how to capitalize on SEO properly or won’t take the time to complete a thorough website audit.

To earn those highly qualified leads, you must conduct frequent on-page SEO audits that look at your content, its application of keywords and how consumer-focused it is. You should be ruthless in whether your content is adding value and disciplined to ask yourself about the top concerns your target audience might be faced with.

Learn the step-by-step process for reviewing your SEO and improving your website’s performance.

Step-by-Step Guide to SEO Audits

The art of completing SEO audits takes time to perfect. Follow these steps to begin your website audit process and start ranking for more keywords through careful diagnostics and improvements.

Step 1: Check for Indexing

If your pages aren’t being indexed, it won’t matter how great your content is, search engines won’t find it. To do this, go into Google Search Console and look under the menu option labeled “coverage.” From here, navigate to the “index coverage status report.” You’ll see pages with the following statuses.

  • Error: these pages could not be indexed and need your attention.
  • Valid with warning: while these pages are indexed, they still have problems.
  • Valid: these pages are being indexed without any problems.
  • Excluded: you selected to have these pages excluded from Google.

When you resolve indexing issues, prospects can then find your site and you’ll drive more traffic there.

Step 2: Evaluate Mobile Friendliness

Google frequently shares that the most important aspect of your site is its mobile friendliness. That’s because most online traffic now comes from mobile devices.

Google offers its Mobile-Friendly Test tool so you can see what aspects of your site need improvements. You can view how Google’s bots see your site and what suggestions they have for improvements. Find potential issues and start upgrading your site to improve it.

Some aspects of your site that matter for mobile friendliness include:

  • Design: ensure that your design is responsive and that nothing gets lost or is too small once displayed on a mobile device
  • Speed: the faster your site is, the less likely it will be to turn away consumers who don’t have the time or patience for it. Compress your images, use browser caching and remove any unnecessary code that can slow your website down.
  • Readability: once a website shrinks down to fit a mobile device, you can lose some of its information and it can become challenging to read. Ensure your site is legible without having to flip the device horizontally.
  • Navigation: some navigation structures are not usable on a phone. Make sure your buttons are easy to click and keep structures simple so users can get where they need to go.
seo audits

Step 3: Check for Duplicate Content

Run your website through an SEO tool, such as SEMRush or Ahrefs. Check for duplicate content, which harms your SEO efforts. If you need both pages, you can add a canonical tag to one that you don’t want indexed, which is a fast and easy solution. Or you might not have realized both pages exist and can remove and redirect one. 

Resolve pages with similar content blocks by rewriting the content. Be disciplined to never copy and paste content from one page to another to prevent duplicate content moving forward.

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Step 4: Check for Technical Errors

A broken link, missing meta tags, 404 errors – all these issues pull your site’s SEO rankings down. Search engines want to see websites with outstanding experiences to direct their customers to so that they know your website is serving the customer effectively.

Run diagnostics on your website to look for these errors to improve your rankings fast. Ensure all pages have meta descriptions and all photos include alt text. Fix 404 errors with redirects that send users to relevant content.

Step 5: Review Your Linking Strategy

Internal and external links help build connections between your content and other outstanding content. When you link related pages in your site, you help the user navigate your content and aid in spreading your link equity throughout your site.

High-quality external links can provide credibility for your content. You can’t just link content without careful strategy though. You want it to be relevant, use anchor text that relates to your primary keywords and manage your linking to avoid broken links.

Step 6: Evaluate Organic Search Traffic

You don’t know how your website is performing until you compare it to industry standards. Look at your organic website traffic to see how well your SEO efforts are paying off. Then compare that to your main competitors to learn where you stand and how much work you have to do to earn more traffic in your industry.

During this process, you’ll see the tactics that are working for your competitors and have the chance to compare strategies. 

Step 7: Look for Keyword and Backlink Opportunities

As you go through your audit, you might find keywords that you haven’t capitalized on but are low-hanging fruit for maximizing your organic website traffic. Complete a keyword gap analysis using your SEO tools. Look into your backlink opportunities within your SEO tool and start doing outreach to those organizations to earn additional valuable backlinks.

Step 8: Monitor Keyword Rankings

As algorithms change and your competitors introduce new content, your search engine rankings will change. You have to keep monitoring your keyword rankings to check for ongoing performance and ways to adapt to those changes. Follow rankings over time to spot reductions before you lose a keyword entirely. 

Monitoring keyword rankings will also provide good insights that will help you update your strategy and improve your site’s total performance.

Why SEO Audits Are Important

Adding another to-do list item to your busy workload is never attractive. But through SEO audits, you can enjoy these great benefits.

  • Learn your content gaps: content planning can be clear and simple or it can feel like a long drawn-out process where you’re just not sure what to write about or what concerns your audience has. An SEO audit can show you your content gaps and give you content ideas for months.
  • Know the health of your website: when you do audits on a regular basis, you’ll have benchmarks to compare your website to. You can see how you’ve improved or where you still need to improve to start ranking better.
  • See how you compare: stay ahead of your competitors by regularly reviewing how you stack up in your industry and closing gaps to be the best of the best.
  • Focused SEO efforts: many businesses put a lot of time and effort into their SEO with content planning and keyword analysis. But without frequent audits, you won’t be able to keep those efforts focused. 

Getting Started with SEO Audits

If you’ve never conducted an SEO audit and don’t know where to start or you aren’t seeing good results from your existing SEO audit strategy, bring in the experts from New Light Digital. We’ve helped many brands elevate their online presence and drive more organic traffic to their websites through strategic changes updates and ongoing insights. Schedule your free consultation now to get a free audit and explanation for what you should be doing.

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