How to Conduct a Comprehensive Search Engine Audit in 5 Steps

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SEO is a long game; many factors influence a site’s success. A comprehensive search engine audit will help you uncover issues and create a plan to fix them.

An effective SEO website audit should include a thorough crawl of your site and testing structured data. A few great tools for this are Classy Schema and Google Structured Data Tool.

Keyword Research

When done right, keyword research helps you grasp what people search for and adapt your content to those expectations. It is arguably the most critical aspect of any SEO audit.

To conduct proper keyword research, identify high-volume keywords relevant to your local business and searchers’ intent

Once you have your list of potential keywords, filter them to remove any irrelevant ones. You can also bucket the remaining keywords into categories based on their search volume and conversion rate. Then, prioritize the keywords based on how urgently you need them to improve your website’s SEO.

For example, a keyword like “making money” may have an extremely competitive search volume compared to a similar keyword such as “acquiring money,” which might not be as popular but is still relevant and will still bring you traffic. An excellent way to determine your priority keywords is by using a tool to compare competitors’ domains and keywords, such as Keyword Gap.

Competitor Analysis

Before you start optimizing your website, it’s essential to understand your SEO competition. This will allow you to identify improvement opportunities and create an effective action plan.

Conducting competitor analysis involves evaluating the performance of your competitors and your website. This can help you find gaps in your content strategy or areas where you must catch up.

Using tools like Google Search Console and Ahrefs can help conduct competitive analysis. These tools can provide information about your site’s internal linking and search engine optimization errors and even let you know if your website has been hacked.

Another way to conduct a competitor analysis is to use market explorer to find out what your audience is searching for and how their demographics compare to your competitors. This information will help you connect with your audience and create products and services that meet their needs. This can be a great way to differentiate your brand from competitors and boost your search engine rankings.

Site Audit

A site audit involves a complete website analysis to determine how well it is optimized. It focuses on behind-the-scenes elements that are invisible to users, like HTTP errors, duplicate content, and slow load speed. The search engine audits also examine how your pages are ranked in SERPs compared to competitor pages.

A tool will let you crawl your website to see how well it is, allowing search engine bots to access and view the information on your pages. This is important because if your pages are not being indexed, they will not be shown in search engine results.

Another critical element of a site audit is ensuring that all 404s are correctly redirected. This includes providing that any pages that no longer exist are turning to other pages on your website or at least to the home page. Keeping your internal linking structure simple and free from overlapping categories is also essential, as this will help search engines understand your pages better.

Content Audit

content audit is a valuable exercise for any website, large or small. It allows you to dig through the trove of content on your site and discover missed opportunities to optimize existing assets. It also highlights gaps in your online presence that could be used to drive traffic and conversions.

The audit can uncover many problems, from poorly written blog posts to outdated product information. Depending on the findings, you can leave these pages as-is, re-optimize them for new keywords, or remove them altogether.

Regardless of the outcome, it’s essential to be able to prioritize the recommendations that come out of the audit. That way, you can ensure your resources are put toward the highest-impact activities.

The exact format of your content audit will vary depending on your business goals and overall strategy. However, most businesses can benefit from a standard checklist to help them identify and address the most urgent issues.

Technical Audit

A website that ranks highly in search engine results pages (SERPs) requires engaging content and slick landing pages. But achieving proper SEO optimization takes constant checks and re-checks, including technical audits. These audits help SEO leaders find and fix errors that can seriously damage their client’s search rankings.

For example, the URL structure may need to be more consistent for crawlers. Ideally, you want your URLs to contain a descriptive word or phrase and not include a trailing slash (unless you have a reason for it). You should also check for any internal links that lead to 404 pages — they are bad for human and machine searchers and can hurt the user experience.

Various Google tools can help conduct an SEO audit. Other multi-purpose tools for duplicate content and a keyword density checker can also be helpful. Once you’ve gathered and evaluated all your data, it’s time to improve your site.

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