SEO auditing in 2018 – The 6-step Beginner’s Guide
Search engine optimization is becoming a hard-to-achieve job with the constant algorithm updates that search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing is bringing to the search. As Google turns to offer a better search experience to users by focusing on features like Featured Snippets, Knowledge Graph, and instant answers, webmasters are having a tough time trying to make their websites visible in search results. As the priority shifts to user experience, the only logical thing to do is to make sure that our website is optimized properly to give your user the best experience. This is where SEO auditing comes in handy.
What is a website audit?
Website auditing is a term in digital marketing that is synonymous with inspection and rightly so. It is the first stage of analyzing the health of a website in a digital marketing campaign. Even the most well-designed website may have a few areas that can be improved upon especially when it comes to giving users the best experience. There are instances where a well-designed website has a greater bounce rate than a website that has a more simpler design.
In order to enhance website performance and upgrade it for better search engine ranking, a website audit is essential. When it comes to optimizing your webpage for search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. This basically means constructing the layout of a website so that search spiders can crawl through and index its web pages. When a user searches for a related term, the website is displayed on the search results page. While any digital marketer can help you with the auditing of a website, you can also do it yourself.
How to audit your website in 2018?
The steps below will give you a start on the basics of auditing your website.
Page Speed – An insight on the page speed of your website is the first step in the auditing process. We use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. You should not only test your home page but also each individual page of your website to have a better picture of how your website is working for your visitors. We also love GTMetrix for its more detailed reports.
Versions of your URL – Generally speaking, your website should have only one URL. It is up to you whether you want your website to be a WWW site or a non-WWW site. The problem is, however, if your website appears in search results with both the versions then Google considers them two completely different websites. Google has no way of knowing that they are one or the same. Hence, as a webmaster, you have to tell Google which version of your site it has to show in its search results.
For example, here are 4 different versions of the same site:
Now if you choose “http://examplesite.com” to be your preferred version, then you can 301 Redirect the other URLs to point to this version.
Meta Tags & Description – For search engines to understand what you are offering, you need to use, Meta Tags and Description. If your website already uses a Meta Tag and Description, then you can update them with the required keywords. If you include your target keywords in your description you will not only see your rankings go up. But you will also observe that Meta Titles that include keywords that users search for are more likely to be clicked. Also, use long tail keywords in your description.
Fix Broken Links: Broken links are a menace but they continue to happen over time. If your site appears in the search results for a certain keyword and a user clicks on it but on visiting the page the user finds no information, then they will bounce back, This sends a signal to Google that your website is not useful and in time the search engine will push back your website with more relevant results. Therefore, you should often check your site for broken links. You can use tools like the Google Search Console’s “Index Reports”, Ahrefs or other tools like Broken Link Checker. One of our other tactic to check for broken links is by entering site:yourwebsiteaddress.com into Google search. This has helped us point out pages that tools were not able to show us. Deleting those pages have greatly improved our search traffic.
Backlink Analysis – When we first started with our website optimization, we linked to many sites just to get backlinks from them in the hopes that it will quickly increase our rankings. What we didn’t consider back then was the fact that the linking to any and every site would hurt our own rankings. So now we make sure to check the PA DA score a website before linking back. You can check for your backlink health using tools like Ahrefs. If you notice sites that do not fall within your niche but are linking to your content, you can go ahead and disavow those links so that Google understands that they should not follow those links.
Create better content – Quality content is one of the top three ranking signals for Google. Therefore, when you do your website audit, you need to check if all your content is up to date. Check the internal links in your article and posts, see whether the article has the right keywords, if not you can always edit it. Also long-form content especially those that go above 1000 words receive better ranking than the ones that are below 500 words. If you have several articles on one topic, try merging them together and create a more informed post on the topic so that your users can find what they are looking for in one place instead of having to look for them all around.
SEO website audit helps in keeping a website in good shape.
You need to do this once every few months. We hope this beginner’s guide will get you started on this and help you understand your website better and give you better results for your efforts.