10 Key Aspects to a Thorough SEO Website Audit
Every SEO expert knows that the first step to any good SEO marketing campaign is a thorough audit of your website. Before you can start to generate content and acquire real estate on Google there are a ton of data points that need to collected to determine the appropriate form of action. You need to ask yourself what is it that I am doing poorly? What am I doing well? What are my competitors doing? Space Chimp has compiled all the research elements needed to answer these questions.
The Ultimate SEO Audit
Step 1. Competitive Analysis
In your competitive analysis you want to see where you stack up compared to your competitors. Also, you should look at where you competitors are getting links. If you don’t have the appropriate SEO tools you can simply do a Google search for your competitor’s name and see what external sites are linking to them.
Step 2. Keyword Rankings
Check up to at least 10 keywords at time. Make sure to include broad terms and long tail keywords. The point of this is to see exactly where you stand. Also, you will be able to set a bench mark and track your results from the start of the campaign. If you fail to skip this step you won’t know if your efforts are hurting, helping or having no effect at all.
Step 3. Keyword Competition
Keyword competition allows you to visualize just how hard or easy it is going to be to rank for certain terms. Through this analysis you will be able to prioritize your efforts. Our suggestion is to start with the easiest keywords first. Remember that targeting long tails will also benefit your broad term keywords as well.
Step 4. Meta Tag and Title Optimization
Here you will want to do a thorough analysis of your Meta descriptions, Title tags, and open graph meta tags. Do some research on how to right good titles and descriptions. If you have WordPress or another CMS there are often times ways to automate your meta optimization.
Important Meta Tags:
- Keywords (don’t keyword stuff)
- Facebook OG Metas
- Twitter Metas
- Author (Use your Google + profile)
Step 5. Domain and Hosting
Here you will want to verify that your site doesn’t have any malformed URLs or duplicate URLs. Also, check to make sure you have a www. redirect setup correctly. The length of your domain registry is a ranking factor so remember to register your domain for at least 5 years.
Step 6. Load and Speed Testing
Run your site through Google Page Speed Test tool. This tool will give you a great break down of where you can improve your site speed. Since site speed is a ranking factor its important that your site is operating at an optimal rate.
Important Factors to Look at in Regards to Site Speed:
- CSS Optimization
- Image Sprite Optimization
- .gzip Compression Setup
- Cache settings
Step 7. Code Optimizaiton
In this stage you’ll want to see if you code is SEO friendly. Some html knowledge is needed here. Does the site use tableless design? Is the code W3c validated? Is all the important content high up on the page? If you find some problems with the code you will need to make the appropriate adjustments. The better optimized your coding is the better Google can crawl and index your content. Also, in this phase you’ll want to look at your site architecture. Its important to have a clear architecture to your site. What are your primary, secondary, and tertiary pages? Are they cross-linked appropriately to proportionately pass along site link juice.
Step 8. Content Review
It seems obvious that your site content should be relevant to your product but often times sites get hacked up and pieced together over time, often times losing most of its relevant content. Make sure your most important content is high on the page and they you are using key terms appropriately. However, you never want to stuff your site with keywords. Remember great SEO content is simply great content that your customers want or need to see.
Step 9. Link Portfolio
The last two steps of your SEO audit departs from onsite factors. First, you will need to see who is linking to you. The importance of this is to determine where you may be lacking some important inbound links you can utilize for your site. Often times, the best way to see where there may be gaps in your link portfolio is to compare it to your competitors. Are there certain types of links you are missing? If so, put together a strategy to acquire those types of links you are missing. Moreover, if there are some places where you have been able to get a lot of links perhaps you should consider how you can capture more links and build upon your current success. Your link portfolio should have a good mix. Too many of one type of link can look unnatural by Google and possibly get your site penalized.
Step 10. Social Media
Lastly, you should consider how your social media presence can be improved. The more links you have coming into your site from social networks the better. Also, Google and Bing measure the engagement you receive on your social networks. Thus, this is why we always say that a good SEO campaign needs to think outside the box. Knowing nuts and bolts coding is great but often times the one place your competitor isn’t usually capitalizing enough is on social media.
Once you have completed these steps you are ready to start your SEO campaign. Take these insights and compile a comprehensive plan that integrates content, social, video, and SEO linking to start improving your search rankings.
What are some other factors of a good SEO audit that we may have missed?