Latest figures show that there are currently over 1.86 billion websites online. From a business perspective, the purpose of your website is to attract new customers from around the globe and at a local level too. One of the best ways to attract new users is through organic search traffic. Organic search is the starting point for 53% of all website visits and with Google accounting for 70% of global search traffic, this is where you want to focus.
Achieving top rankings in Google search results should be one of the goals of your marketing strategy. The top five organic search results account for 67.6% of the clicks across all search channels. An effective SEO strategy will help to grow your site and improve its position on the search engine results pages (SERPs). This is true for both B2B and B2C brands.
There are many things to consider when it comes to SEO. On-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO requirements all come into play. Your SEO audit will help you identify how your website is performing on search engines and how you can improve this performance. The audit will throw up issues and errors you may not have noticed and it will help you create an actionable plan to improve the user experience on your site.
It may not be possible to fix every error at once but SEO is an ongoing task and an SEO audit should play a role in that. A full SEO audit should give you:
- An overview of your site’s SEO performance (average positions, clicks etc.).
- A comparison with your competitors and their SEO performance.
- A checklist of the errors on your site and what changes need to be made.
Things to focus on during your Audit
As already mentioned, an SEO audit covers a number of elements. Reviewing all aspects of onsite and offsite SEO is a comprehensive piece of work. From a technical SEO standpoint, we suggest looking at the following areas:
Your website needs to be fast, on desktop and mobile. 40% of people abandon a website if it does not load in 2 seconds or less. You can evaluate your site speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. There are a number of SEO techniques you can use to improve your site speed including image optimization, compressions tools and upgrading your hosting package.
Meta Tags & Descriptions
Meta tags are small snippets of copy that describe the content of a webpage. These meta tags are only visible in HTML and Google’s web crawlers but they usually correspond with some of the content visible on the website. For example, the title of this blog, What is an SEO Audit & Why is it Important for my Site?, will appear under the <title> tag.
Descriptions are not deemed as important in terms of Google’s search engine rankings but from a user perspective, it is usually the first thing they will read on the results page of their search. When conducting an SEO audit, you should also pay attention the meta robots attribute. These inform search engines like Google what to do with your pages. Index/noindex attributes tells search engines whether to list the page on the SERP or not. Likewise, follow/nofollow attributes tells the search engine what to do with these links, whether they can be trusted and followed to the next page.
Website security has become a much more important factor in SEO over recent years. Sites without an SSL certificate do not perform favourably against sites with the appropriate security certificate in the Google rankings. Having a https:// website shows that all the information shown and processed by that site is done so securely.
A backlink check forms part of the SEO audit and it looks at the sites that are linking to your website. Ahrefs offer a free, basic version of a backlink checker which shows you the trustworthiness of the sites linking back to your website. Ideally, the pages and domains linking to your site should perform well on the Google SERPs. Likewise, if the sites linking to your website are not trustworthy or relevant to your content then this will have a negative impact on your SEO efforts.
A full SEO audit looks at a number of SEO factors including your content. Content including text, images and video all come into play here. Really the purpose of an SEO audit is to find gaps in your website and give you ideas to improve the site performance, particularly with the content you serve on the site. This can be linked to your keyword optimization, image alt tags or a plethora of other issues.
Doing research on the topics and keywords that your site should be ranking for will help you create articles that attract relevant users to your site. We put together this article earlier in the year about how refreshing your old content can have major positive impacts on your SEO performance.
SEO Audit: Key Points
Performing an SEO audit is the best way to analyse your site performance and identify areas for improvement. The points mentioned above are by no means an exhaustive list of tasks to be completed as part of your audit. One of the cornerstones of Google’s search engine rankings is E-A-T. That is Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. In terms of page quality, these three characteristics are key to performing well and ranking highly.
Some key points to takeaway from this article.
- You can continuously audit your site performance to improve your SEO.
- SEO is not only related to the content on your site, there are a number of off-page factors to consider.
- There are a number of free and paid tools you can use to complete your SEO audit.
- Keep on top of any major issues or errors on your site which could harm your search performance.
The aim of a website review and SEO audit is to improve search rankings, increase relevant user traffic to your site and ultimately generate more leads and sales.