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How to Conduct a Basic SEO Website Audit

February 23, 2015

seo-audit

If you’ve been tasked with improving the organic visibility of your website in the search engine results, one of the first places to start would be an SEO audit of your website.

Here are 5 key steps that can help support an SEO website audit. Whilst this is not intended to be an all-encompassing audit list, it does provide some basic check points that can help you begin gathering key website insights. Also included are some examples of free SEO tools you can utilize along the way.

1. Understand how your site is currently being found
As a first step, it is good to understand how many pages are being indexed and how your website is being found by users today. In particular:

  • How many pages have been indexed? Is the homepage the first result returned? (Use site: search)
  • Out of all site traffic, how much organic traffic is being driven to your site from search engines (volume and percentage)?
  • What search terms are people coming into your site from? How much is branded vs. non-branded? For non-branded traffic, what kinds of non-branded words are bringing users in?

2. See how you stack up against the competition
It is always important to understand who your key competitors are and get a general feel as to their SEO savviness so that you know what you are up against. As a quick gauge, it is helpful to gather some key quantitative competitive comparison points, which may include things like:

  • Domain Authority
  • Domain Age
  • Links
  • Social Shares

3. Check your basic HTML code
Next, spend some time objectively looking at your site, and for a moment remove personal opinions around things like colors, fonts, images, etc. Instead, take a look at things such as:

URL Structure – Simply take a look at your browser URL address bar and drill down several pages. Are URLs clean, descriptive and keyword focused? Are they close to the domain root? Are multiple words separated by hyphens?

Title Tags – Look at the title that appears on your browser tab, or open source code of a few key pages and search for <title>. Are Title Tags keyword focused? Does it include your company name? Are they within the character limit?

Header Tags – Open the source code of a few key pages and search for “<h1>”. Are H1 tags present and keyword focused?

Meta Description – Open the source code of a few key pages and search for “description”. Are unique meta descriptions present on pages? Are they catchy, provide a call-to-action or next step, and within 155 characters?

Image File Names and Alt Text – Open the source code of a few key pages and search for “.jpg” and “alt=”. Are file names and alt tags present and keyword focused?

4. Check your content

Take a look at how content is structured on your site, the kinds of themes and topics being covered and the recency of information being presented to users. In particular:

Structure:

  • Are key product/service areas split out by preferred landing pages?
  • Is there onsite search capability?
  • How about sitemaps? Have these been submitted through Webmaster Tools? Are they listed in the robots.txt file?

Content:

  • Does the content look recent? (EG: When was the last blog post? When was that hero content asset created or last updated?)
  • Is the content relevant? Is the topic interesting?
  • Is the amount of content substantial or shallow?
  • Can content be easily shared?
  • Are there ads that appear above the fold? If so, what’s the ratio of ads to content?
  • How are users navigating through content? Are users bouncing off key pages as soon as they arrive?

5. Understand the state of your external links

Links from sites outside of your own are super important so it is good to understand both the quantity and quality of these links, including things such as:

  • How many links do you have coming in to your site?
  • What kinds of sites are these links coming in from? What is their domain authority? What’s the mix between .com, .edu, .gov, .org? How many are directories?
  • What anchor text is being used to link to your site? Is it keyword focused? Is there anchor text variation?

Free SEO Audit Tools

And finally, here are a few handy tools to help with your SEO audit:

Happy auditing!

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