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What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is an evaluation of a website’s search engine optimisation performance and effectiveness in how well your pages show up in search engines. It identifies any weaknesses in your website’s current SEO strategy and provides recommendations for improvement.
The audit might unearth issues that may be hurting your site’s rankings and would provide opportunities to improve them. For example, it might find content optimisation problems or pages which have yet to be indexed on search engines.
By performing an SEO audit, you can stay ahead of your competitors in search engines, improve your visitors’ user experience on your website, and ensure you are offering your customers the best information so they can make an informed buying decision.
While you should leave conducting a full SEO audit to the professionals, this blog article will explain how to do a basic SEO audit for beginners using some free tools to get you started in the right direction.
Why SEO is a long-term marketing strategy
SEO requires skill, patience and persistence. It involves optimising your website and content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific keywords and phrases. While SEO won’t deliver instant results, it can vastly improve your brand awareness in the long term, leading to an increase in enquiries.
SEO involves a complex range of activities, such as keyword research, on-page optimisation, link building, local SEO, mobile optimisation, and more. These activities take time to implement and see results. Today we’ll be discussing a basic SEO audit process.
However, the benefits of SEO are well worth the effort. By improving your website’s search engine visibility, you can attract more organic traffic, generate more leads and sales, and build a stronger online presence. SEO can also help you establish your brand as an authority in your industry, increase your brand recognition, and improve your customer engagement and loyalty.
How to do a quick, easy SEO audit
Step 1: Define your goals.
Before you do anything else, you’re going to want to get your target audience personas/profiles in front of you. Determine who your ideal customers are and what they are looking for when they visit your website. This will help you understand what content and features you need to provide to meet their needs. Tip: if you don’t have customer personas, you can use Hubspot’s Make My Persona for free.
Look at your website and ask yourself if it currently answers the top five questions your customers ask you. What pages specifically answer those questions and do you need to create new pages or amend existing pages to do that?
Next up is setting some Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals which are aligned to your business objectives. I know some of you will be rolling your eyes at this but honestly it really does work! For example, instead of setting a goal to “increase traffic to our website”, set a goal to “increase organic traffic to pages about X subject by 20% in the next six months.”
Defining your business goals is the first step in conducting an SEO audit of your website. Now you’ve got a list, make it easier for yourself by prioritising each goal. That way it’s not as overwhelming.
Remember to track your progress each month so you can see if you are progressing those goals and if your strategy needs tweaking.
Step 2: Run a crawl of your website.
Use a tool like the Site Audit under Ahrefs Webmaster Tools to scan your website for SEO issues. There’s also a free site audit tool from SEMrush. You’ll usually find these days that you need to create a free account in order to use the tools and you may be limited to the amount of pages you can crawl per day or per month on free plans, but it’s a good place to get started.
The site audit tools will identify any issues such as duplicate meta descriptions (the little paragraph that appears under the title of the page in search results), duplicate page titles, broken links, redirect issues, page loading issues etc. Just by working through the suggestions of these, you can make immediate improvements to your site’s SEO.
Step 3: Optimise your website’s metadata.
You can now go through and check all the website’s title tags, meta descriptions, and header tags and make any changes. Remember to check all the images have alternative descriptions by heading to the media library within WordPress and clicking on each image.
Step 4: Check your website’s backlinks.
The tools listed above will also help you to identify where your back links are coming from (which websites are giving you added kudos by linking back to your website).
Once you have identified any low-quality or spammy links, you can take steps to remove them. You can contact the webmasters of the linking websites and ask them to remove the links, or you can use Google’s Disavow Tool to tell Google to ignore these links when ranking your website. Removing low-quality or spammy links can help improve your website’s search engine visibility and protect it from penalties.
Step 5: Optimise your website’s images.
By optimising your website’s images, you can gain faster loading times and better search engine rankings. Use a tool like Squoosh to do this and save them in WebP file format to reduce the size even further.
Step 6: Optimise your website for mobile, and loading speed.
You’re probably going to need to speak to your web developer or hosting provider for this bit because there are various factors that can affect these things. Always ensure your website is backed up before making any changes!
Step 7: Analyse your website’s content.
Sometimes you just need to take a long hard look at your website and evaluate the quality and relevance of the content. If you’re anything like most business owners, that website has gone live some years ago and has barely been updated since. This basically tells search engines that you don’t really care about the content on there, so it’s certainly not providing any incentive for them to show your pages to people seeking answers now!
Consider your target audience, write down a list of 20 frequently asked questions you often hear from them and begin planning your content around that.
Step 8: Monitor your website’s performance.
Use tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to monitor your website’s performance and track your progress. Links can break when the source link changes, so it’s always good to check in now and then for little things like that. Or perhaps you’ve uploaded a blog and just completely forgotten to write a meta description because it’s not been part of your process. Keeping an eye on things will ensure your website remains top of its game.
SEO audit conclusion
This article will hopefully have provided a good introduction to some of the techniques and tools you can use to conduct a quick, easy SEO audit. However, there are just so many things to consider and you might have a long list of stuff to fix, so depending on the size of your website, this ‘quick, easy SEO audit’ might turn into a full project – and that’s OK. SEO is a long-term solution, so you can break it all down into tasks, assign them to someone on your team (or outsource your SEO) and your website’s SEO score will be skyrocketing in no time!
You may have noticed in this article that I didn’t go into keyword research – that is a whole other side to SEO beyond the scope of this blog.
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by marketing your business and you think it may be time to outsource some of the work, you can book a Marketing Power Hour with Peacock Digital Marketing for just £95 + VAT and get instant actionable steps to immediately improve your marketing. You will also receive a 12-page digital workbook to get you on the right track. Sound good? Get in touch.