What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is a comprehensive evaluation of a website’s search engine optimization (SEO) health. It covers everything from on-page factors like titles and metatags to off-page SEO like link building and social media engagement.
As a website owner, it’s important to regularly audit your site’s SEO to ensure that you’re doing everything you can to attract visitors from search engines. An SEO audit can help you identify areas where your site needs improvement, so that you can make changes to boost your ranking and visibility in search results.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know about SEO auditing, including how to perform an audit, what to look for, and how to fix common SEO issues. By the end, you’ll be equipped to perform regular SEO audits on your own site to keep your search engine optimization efforts on track.
Are you looking to improve your website’s SEO but don’t know where to start? A great place to begin is by conducting an SEO audit.
An SEO audit is an analysis of your website with the goal of determining what improvements can be made to improve its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).
While there are many factors that go into SEO, an audit can help you identify areas where your website needs improvement. In this guide, we’ll show you how to conduct an SEO audit so you can get started on improving your website’s SEO.
Your SEO audit experts, 18 Growth.
If you are bored of local SEO irrelevance and at the same time tired of the generic SEO industry bullshit – 18 Growth is the perfect SEO audit agency for you. Our team of local SEO experts is created from over 23 years of SEO industry experience and the desire to do local SEO in the right way, with no jargon, fluff or nonsense.
What should an SEO audit involve?
One of the most common SEO audit findings is broken links. Broken links can occur for a variety of reasons, but they usually happen when a website is updated or changed and the old links are no longer valid.
To fix broken links, you’ll need to find the broken links on your website and then update them to point to the new, correct pages. You can do this manually or you can use a tool like Screaming Frog to help you find and fix broken links.
Another common SEO audit finding is that title tags and meta descriptions are not optimized. This means that they are not descriptive or keyword rich.
To fix this, you’ll need to update your title tags and meta descriptions to be more descriptive and keyword rich. You can do this by using a tool like Yoast SEO.
This might sound self explanatory to anyone with beginner to mastery level SEO and webmaster knowledge when it comes to Google search… But, honestly, one of the most important checks Google makes when its robots carry out a crawl of your website and its organic reach and presence in its SERPS (search engine results pages), is:
- How fast your website is
- How lightweight your website is
- Your website’s core web vitals performance
- Your website’s user experience
- and more site speed and technical SEO checks under the bonnet of your code.
So, although this is only one check in your SEO site audit, it’s one of the most crucial for your SEO performance. And, the reason it is so crucial is because of the fact that technical SEO optimisation is so complex. With myriad technical SEO areas to unpack, fix, optimise and work on such as sitemap XML file optimisations, canonical URLs, robots.txt optimisation, structured data (rich snippets) schema code creation. These specific technical SEO areas of search engine optimisation is enough to make any webmaster or business owner quake in their boots but the value is worth it. I promise.
This is a big red flag for your SEO. However, it’s also quite an easy mistake. Whether that be from a paragraph in your footer or bottom of your pages causing duplicate content issues or maybe an old intern of yours or you yourself have plagiarised and ripped off other people’s content in the past. Either way, your SEO audit should identify this and you should address it as soon as you can get a grubby pair of SEO hands on it.
At an absolute bare minimum, your web pages should have 300 words of unique content on them for Google to not consider these thin and therefore useless pages that they will ignore. I say bare minimum as I believe this number should be over 500 words. Your SEO audit should show you which pages Google are crawling that are too thin to reap any SEO benefit for.
At the end of your long and tiring SEO day, there’s no hiding from the fact that Google just wants to provide the user searching on it’s search engine with a website that it’ll enjoy. And, if your website has broken links on it — which are a signal of poor user experience — then Google’s algorithm isn’t going to want to promote it to its users. Simple SEO fact.
Your website’s sitemap is in fact what it says on the tin. It’s a map of your website and through submitting this file to Google in Google Search Console you are making their life easier and improving your website’s SEO crawlability. In your SEO audit you should be able to see if your sitemap doesn’t exist (if so, make one) or has issues (if so, fix them).
Core web vitals is a relatively new core algorithm update from Google. In fact, it was around May of 2021 that Google announced three new search ranking signals into their core algorithms to ultimately judge a website’s technical SEO page experience score and therefore how they will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).
These three new signals were coined the ‘core web vitals’ and they now make up three out of seven of Google’s main ‘page experience score’ checks.
Well, due to the ever increasing focus put on the strength of a website’s technical SEO, it’s more important ever that you:
- Run an SEO audit for your website.
- Regularly complete SEO audits.
- Ensure the findings in the site audits are addressed and fixed to iron out any technical SEO issues.
An SEO audit’s job is quite literally to hold a microscope over every ‘nook and cranny’ and tell you exactly what to do and fix. So, if your SEO audit does not look at core web vitals and/or does not tell you how to fix your core web vitals… Bin it.
The core web vitals metrics include these three CWV metrics:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).
- First Input Delay (FID).
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
This is relevant for the majority of businesses needing and doing SEO on their websites I would say. Every business, particularly brick and mortar businesses, will want to become the leader in their specific town or city. So, they need to ensure that their SEO audit shows how good or poor their local SEO is.
Local SEO involves areas such as:
- Optimising your Google My Business listing.
- Ensuring you have rich and optimised NAP (name, address and phone number) citations for local SEO directory and citation listings.
- Making sure you’re ranking for the keywords that are relevant to your specific local SEO area.
Local SEO is always a fantastic investment and a cost effective one, too. As, you’re only focusing on one local area.
In 2022 and beyond, there’s no excuse to not have an SSL on your website. All that says to Google is you’re either lazy, old, incompetent or haven’t touched your website since 2005. Regardless, Google will just ignore you at that point and your SEO is down the toilet!
This is the case when someone reports your site for not meeting the webmaster quality guidelines for Google. If you see this in your SEO audit, fix it as soon as possible.
Similar to what was said about SSLs, if your website is not optimised or fully responsive for mobile users – Google will not be pleased. The importance for a mobile-first website for SEO and user experience cannot be stated enough, and shouldn’t really need to be stated, in fact!
Internal links are again what they say on the tin: links placed within your site’s content that points user’s and Google around the site itself. This is important for SEO and therefore to be identified in your SEO audits due to the benefit to Google’s crawlability and the use of being able to ‘point’ and ‘signal’ to Google specific keywords and pages.
This is the response code of a broken link and page. Going back to the broken link checks – it’s important that your SEO audit identifies this and you fix it as soon as possible by removing the issue and redirecting with a 301 redirect.
Makes sense, right? Nothing matters for your SEO or website if it can’t be crawled or indexed properly. Literally nothing.
Why should you audit your website's SEO?
There are many benefits to auditing your website’s SEO. By identifying and fixing potential problems, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), drive more traffic to your website, and boost your bottom line. How often should you audit your website’s SEO?
Ideally, you should audit your website’s SEO on a quarterly basis. However, if you’re just getting started with SEO or if you have a large website, you may want to audit your SEO more frequently.
What are the most important factors to consider when auditing your website's SEO?
There are many factors to consider when auditing your website’s SEO, but some of the most important include:
- On-page factors like titles, metatags, and content.
- Off-page SEO factors like link building and social media engagement.
- Technical factors like website speed and mobile friendliness.
- Local factors like your Google Business profile and local SEO citation and directory listings.
What are the benefits of an SEO audit?
There are many benefits of conducting an SEO audit. By identifying potential areas of improvement, you can make changes that could result in increased traffic and better search engine rankings. Additionally, an audit can help you troubleshoot any current problems you may be having with your website.
How often should you perform an SEO audit?
The answer to this question depends on the size and complexity of your website, as well as the rate of change of your industry and competitors. A good rule of thumb is to perform a full audit at least once per year, and a mini-audit every quarter.
SEO audit facts:
- SEO audits help you understand how well your website is performing in terms of search engine optimization.
- They can identify areas where your website needs improvement in order to rank higher in search engine results pages.
- SEO audits can be conducted manually or through specialized software.
- Manual audits are often more thorough, but take more time to complete.
- Automated audits can be completed more quickly, but may not identify all potential issues.
- SEO audits should be conducted regularly to ensure that your website continues to perform well in terms of search engine optimization.