Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is essential if you want to get organic traffic to your website. The problem is, there’s no magic formula for success. It often takes time and experimentation to reach your goals. Still, an SEO audit can help you determine if your website is optimized to its full potential. This way, you can quickly elevate your SEO efforts.
In this article, we’re going to talk about why SEO audits are crucial for any website that relies on organic traffic. Then, we’ll show you how to conduct one in three simple steps. Let’s get to it!
The Benefits of an SEO Audit
There are a lot of benefits to conducting an SEO audit. Chief among them is that a successful audit can help you improve your search engines rankings and potentially get more traffic to your website. Let’s go over a few other ways in which an audit can benefit your website:
- Identify technical issues that can affect website performance
- Gain insights into on-page optimization and content quality
- Find opportunities for improving your backlink profile
- Discover ways to improve the user experience
- Boost the usability of your website
- Reach your conversions and sales goals more efficiently
It’s important to understand that search engines take a lot of elements into consideration. In addition to keywords, factors such as website performance and user experience are also crucial. To put it simply, if you want to improve your website rankings, you’ll need to focus on improving your site as a whole.
How to Perform a Full SEO Audit (3 Steps)
An SEO audit can be as in-depth as you want, focusing on many different aspects of your site. However, for this tutorial, we’ll focus on the most important aspects of any SEO audit. We’ll show you how to monitor keyword rankings, check your site’s link profile, and ensure that it’s mobile-friendly.
Step 1: Measure How Your Keywords Are Performing
Keywords are at the core of SEO. To get organic traffic, you’ll need to create content that targets specific queries. Depending on how popular those searches are and what position your site appears in for them, you can gain a great deal of traffic.
Google Search Console is an excellent, free alternative for measuring your keyword performance. By that, we mean measuring how many clicks you’re getting from specific searches and what positions your content is appearing in.
To get started, use a Google account to access Search Console and connect your website to the service. Once your site is connected, you’ll be able to access the Performance tab from the dashboard:
This tab includes information on overall clicks, as well as a list that shows what keywords you’re ranking for and how many clicks they’re getting. If you select the Average position box above the performance graph, the Queries list will also show what position each keyword is ranking in. Ideally, you’ll want keywords to appear on the first page of search results and in the top three positions.
You can use this information to determine which keywords you’re underperforming for. If you’re not ranking as well as you should for a keyword, we recommend studying what the top results for that query are doing.
Then, you can rework the content that targets that keyword in order to make it superior to the competition. Remember, it’s all about quality, but this might mean longer, better-structured, better written, and more engaging.
Step 2: Check Your Site’s Links and Backlinks
In addition to the right keywords, any successful SEO strategy will need a balanced approach to links. There are a few important link categories when it comes to SEO.
Internal links can help you improve visitor time on site. That’s because they make it easier for users to find other content they might be interested in.
Meanwhile, external links help provide validation for your claims. Finally, backlinks tell search engines that your website can be trusted.
In terms of links, you’ll want to make sure there are no broken elements on your site. You’ll also want to keep an eye on new backlinks. Search Console enables you to carry out both tasks.
To monitor your site for broken links, go to the Search Console dashboard and click on Coverage. The Coverage report will include information on any errors it finds on your site, including 404 HTTP errors. If an internal link shows a 404 error, that means either the page isn’t working or it’s set to the wrong URL:
After you identify the broken links on your site, it’s just a matter of fixing them so they point toward working pages. For monitoring backlinks, you’ll want to go into the Links tab within Search Console.
This page will show you an overview of what sites are linking toward you. The report includes lists of specific pages, the sites that link to you the most, and what text they use to do so.
Ideally, you’ll want to see your number of backlinks increase over time. If they’re not going up, you’ll need to engage in outreach strategies such as guest posting to make sure your website keeps gaining traction.
Step 3: Ensure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
What’s more, Google now monitors certain performance metrics, favoring sites that offer a good user experience. More specifically, Google’s Core Web Vitals evaluate some elements that are directly linked to mobile-friendliness, such as Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
The easiest way to measure your site’s Core Web Vitals is to go to PageSpeed Insights. Simply enter your website’s URL and click on Analyze. The service will return a performance score that takes your site’s Core Web Vitals into account as well as other responsiveness metrics:
Some of the other metrics the tool measures include are whether you’re using properly-sized images, whether text is visible while third-party fonts load, if image elements have specific width and height values set, and more.
Beyond SEO, you’ll want to test that your website looks good on mobile devices and that it’s overall easy to use. SEO testing tools won’t help you here, but this is something you can do using your own mobile devices.
If you find that your WordPress website feels a bit clunky on your smartphone or tablet, we recommend using a mobile-friendly theme. Most modern WordPress themes are designed to be as mobile-friendly as possible, which means this shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re using an outdated or heavily customized theme.
An SEO audit can be as in-depth as you want. However, a basic audit should include technical and on-page optimization. That means monitoring your site’s keywords, checking up on your links, and making sure your pages are mobile-friendly. After that, you’ll want to fix all the errors you found. This may be time-consuming, but it’ll help improve your website’s rankings in the long run.
Do you have any questions about how to perform a full SEO audit on your website? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.