An audit isn’t just something the IRS performs. An audit, by definition, is the act of evaluating an account to determine its overall performance. To have a successful website, you should perform frequent audits on various aspects of the website. These audits will tell you if there are any adjustments you should make to your website; and chances are, there should be.
Think of an audit as taking your website to the doctor for a checkup. Your website is only as good as you think it is, and knowledge is power; so the best way to determine if you can make any aspect of your blog better is to conduct an analysis to determine its performance.
For this particular article, we are going to focus on SEO audits, why you should be performing them, and what they should tell you.
What is an SEO Audit?
First, SEO stands for search engine optimization. We have an entire article dedicated to the basics of SEO for you to have an in-depth look at this strategy and why you should be using it.
An SEO audit is the process of evaluating your website as it relates to search engine strategies, optimization, and results. An SEO site audit will tell you how well your website is performing on search engines and what areas need to be improved.
What Should I Include in the SEO Audit?
If it is related to search engines, then you should analyze it. Search engine optimization is much more than just knowing what keywords you should include in your content. SEO includes link building, site structure, and blog post lengths. These factors of your website will all have an affect on how you rank on the search engine results pages, so you need to evaluate each of these areas.
You will want to analyze the keywords you are using in your content to determine if it is still relevant to your website niche. Keyword research is one of the first steps to search engine optimization, and keyword combinations and phrases will periodically change. Therefore, it is important to run keywords through a keyword analyzing tool to determine if there are additional keywords, head terms, and long tail keywords you should include in your content.
Your website may be excluded from search engine results page without you realizing it because of spammy backlinks. These backlinks are spam websites that have linked to your website, and they are a search engine results page killer. Google will penalize you if your website is linked to multiple spam websites.
Essentially, Google looks out for its users, and they will not want to rank a website on the search engine results page if the website contains spammed links or content. It is imperative that you audit the websites that are linked to your website to make sure they have credible, reputable content.
Analyze Your Site Structure
Did you know that the way your website is structured can have an effect on search engine optimization? It’s true.
When search engine bots crawl websites to index the information, they will analyze the content within the website and determine if it should rank on the search engine results page. They will do this by reading keywords, checking backlinks, and analyzing the structure of the website. If a bot can easily crawl the website, it will deem the website to have a quality site structure and increase the website’s ranking on the search engine results pages.
Look at the Length of Your Posts
Are all of your blog posts short with 500 words or less? Short blog posts typically do not show up in search engine results pages; especially if the posts are less than 300 words. If the only blog posts you write are short, you should incorporate longer blog posts into your website.
These posts should be at least 1,500 words, and they should include many head terms and long tail keywords naturally throughout the article. This will help your website and the post rank on the search engine results pages.
Make Sure Google Hasn’t Penalized You
If you are penalized from Google, you will typically receive an email notifying you of the penalty; however, in some cases, Google may not notify you. Instead, you may realize your traffic has stopped coming to your website. Google penalizes users who have violated their terms and conditions by preventing the offender’s website from ranking on the search engine results pages. Make sure you are in good standings with Google so that you can optimize your search engine strategies.
Before You Get Started
This shouldn’t be a quick process if you want to do it right. You should expect to spend a few hours on the total SEO site audit. You should focus on one area at a time during the audit. Essentially, it does not matter which area you start with, as long as you don’t skip any area.
During the Audit
As you are performing the audit, you should organize the data you collect so you can analyze it when you are done. This is typically called the SEO audit report. Depending on the software or program you use, you should be able to download your performance results and import them into a data program, such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
After the Audit
- At this point, you will want to analyze the data you have organized to evaluate the results
- Are there additional keywords, head terms, or phrases that users are now including when searching for your website niche?
- Do you have a lot of spammy backlinks attached to your website that you need to remove?
- Are all of your posts 500 words or less and need to be lengthened to include specific keywords?
- Is your site structure confusing to both human visitors and search engine bots?
Apply the Results
You will need to make the necessary adjustments to your website according to the audit you performed. (Otherwise, what is the point of the audit?)
The good news is that these are typically easy, relatively quick fixes. By taking a few hours out of your day to perform an SEO audit, you can easily find your website begins ranking on search engine results pages.
If all of this seems overwhelming perhaps it is time to hire an SEO consultant or outsource your SEO site audit to a company that specializes in SEO services. Both of these options will help to determine issues, opportunities and recommended fixes for your site.