2021 is almost here, and ranking on Google is no longer just about using multiple keywords strategically on your website. That’s history. Google has reworked its algorithm to have over 200 ranking factors, and new ones get added almost every month. Does that mean climbing your way up the SERPs is more difficult now?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Your website needs to fulfil so many criteria to achieve ranking on the search engine that it can be challenging to keep track of. However, we have made the entire process much simpler for you with this SEO audit checklist, focusing on the more critical factors of ranking that are not keywords and SEO content.
Analysis Software and Tools Needed for an SEO Audit
You don’t need to hire an SEO audit agency to carry out your website’s audit, but you do need to use some analysis reporting tools to make the process easy and smooth. Here are some of the best SEO audit software tools that give you the agency to audit your website with ease:
- Google PageSpeed Insights
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- SERP Simulator
Now, let’s begin the SEO audit with the checklist.
Understand How SEO Fits Into Your Marketing Strategy
There are many other ways of digital marketing, and SEO is not all. Companies are now spending more and more on PPC ads and social media instead of SEO. So, you have to first decide what you are trying to accomplish with your SEO strategy. An easy way to do this is evaluating where you want to reach your customers in the sales funnel—during the awareness stage, intent stage, or purchase stage. Once you know where you want to reach your customers, you can create a strategy around that and increase your chances of success.
Crawl Your Website
Google already crawls your website using “spiders” to analyse your website structure and setup. Fortunately, you can do so yourself and analyse the website quickly, too! You can use any of the various SEO audit tools like Google Search Console or Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider for your SEO audit analysis. Once you set up the SEO reporting tool, and its bots, to properly analyse your website, all you have to do is let it carry out a crawl audit of your website. The crawl can take a lot of time, so be patient.
Find and Fix SEO Errors
You’d be surprised to know just how many SEO errors and technical problems may be hiding under your website. Such issues include duplicate content, indexing errors, broken images or links, or alt tag issues. You can use various SEO audit analysis websites or tools to find such technical errors. Using the software is straightforward, just type your website URL, and it will tell you everything that’s not up to the Google SEO standards. The significant errors that you should try to solve first are duplicate content, broken links, redirects, wrong meta tags, broken images, or no-index tags.
Remove Low-Quality Content
Contrary to popular belief, Google actually does not value the frequency of posting as a ranking factor for websites. It is a marketing agency industry myth. So, you need to remove low-quality content that you may have posted to keep your posting frequency consistent. Removing old content is called Content Pruning, and it can significantly improve your search rankings and lead to a hike in traffic.
Check for Speed Issues
On the other hand, page speed is an official ranking factor for Google. You need to make sure that your pages load on time, especially on mobile devices, and you can use SEO audit reporting tools like Pingdom’s website speed software to check for that. To be on the safe side, you should also use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool for the same.
As a rule of thumb, your pages should load within two seconds, because the bounce rate for 2-second load time is 9%, while the same for 5-second is 38%. Fixing speed issues is not difficult, and can be fixed by downsizing the content files like images and videos, using Lazy Loading scripts, or using caching plugins for clunky platforms.
Test Meta Descriptions
The meta description of your content gives people an idea of what you are offering. So, it needs to be on point, short, and unique. Using Google Search Console, you can check for duplicate meta descriptions. Once you find them, start changing them and improving them. Even if your meta descriptions look good and don’t have duplicates, you should still try improving them from time to time, to keep up with Google’s SERP standards.
As part of your SEO audit backlinks must never be overlooked. Backlinks are the backbone of your SEO strategy, and they are one of the essential ranking factors for Google. However, Google no longer cares about volume but focuses on context more now. So, the websites backlinking to you should be good and authoritative, and the links should be in-content. To optimise backlinks, first, use the Search Console to check the backlinks to your website. Then, reach out to backlinking websites, influences, and writers to push more in-content backlinks to your website via collaborative strategies.
Track Your Results
The next step in the SEO audit checklist must be to continue the audit and track your results over time. Install the right analytics reporting tool to track your rank, SEO content, and backlinks, along with other essential factors. Tracking the results will let you know what’s working and what’s not, and how you can improve next. And remember to perform SEO audits every few months as a part of your tracking process.
Congratulations, you have completed the SEO audit that is not just about content and keywords—all without a marketing agency! Carry out audits regularly, track your results, and implement new strategies to improve your Google ranking all the time. After all, your SEO strategy is not a sprint but a marathon, and you should treat it as such. With this checklist, your website will soon be ranking unlike ever before.