This SEO audit guide was written to help creatives, webmasters, SEO specialists, and business owners alike.
It lays out exactly what you need to know. The process for an SEO audit, the specific steps and data points to look to improve your website’s organic traffic and ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Once complete– you’ll be in a much better place to kickstart your growth and conduct important next steps.
The 7-step SEO audit process involves:
- Preparing for an SEO Audit
- Identify your strategic website goals
- Conduct a representative audit of your website with an automated SEO checker
- Determine issues Google knows about (and likely dings you on)
- Compile an issue log
- Create your website optimization/SEO action plan
- Chart your path towards growth by taking the next steps to optimize your website
1. Prepare. Here’s what you’ll need for your SEO Audit:
- A website that is publicly-accessible
- Google Sheets, Excel, or another spreadsheet tool (for tracking errors)
- Search Console (for seeing if Google has identified issues for you) or simply use google.com or the SERP simulator if you don’t have access to Google Search Console
- Running SEO (for running a representative crawl of your pages and identifying issues automatically)
2. Do you know what your website objectives are?
The idea here is to know what your goals are for long-term growth that will be achievable through SEO for your business. Since SEO is something that you use to get to growing your business, and you should think of it as a road to growth and not a means to an end.
Your strategic goals, if you don’t know what they are, can be identified by following the S.M.A.R.T. framework.
- Are your business and website goals Specific?
- Are they Measurable?
- Are they Relevant?
- Are they Time-bound?
To add an additional layer on top of the SMART framework, we have added additional steps to the framework to make it SMARTER.
Why should you evaluate and re-evaluate your goals and strategy?
A solid optimization plan requires constant tending to through a nonlinear, agile-like process. If you need help with this or any strategic process, we urge you to connect with an SEO expert to ensure maximum likeness of success.
Let’s move on to the nitty-gritty part of your SEO audit.
3. How exactly do you perform an SEO audit?
Let’s optimize your site to gain rank and organic traffic together.
First, a little background. We were bothered by the expensive subscribtion-based tools and SEO software on the market. This led to the creation of Running SEO as an optimization resource and SEO checker tool.
Now, simply run our automated SEO analysis to get started.
The first piece of this would be to have your publicly-accessible website link handy.
We will crawl your site and take a representative audit of interior web pages, not just your homepage.
- Enter your URL and submit you site for analysis
- Within 3 minutes, viola, your SEO Audit report will be generated
- Read and follow the report’s guidance. If you’re stumped, you probably need professional SEO assistance.
4. Check Google Search Console (GSC)
This will help you determine technical website issues Google knows about.
You want to check the Google Index status in Google Search Console > Index > Coverage for errors such as usability issues and crawl errors (see figure below from GSC). Google may be dinging you because of your errors, some may include:
- 404 not found
- 50X server errors
- Tap targets are too close
- Accelerated Mobile Pages validation errors
- Structured data validation errors
Source: Google Search Console
This is also pulled as a data point in your Running SEO Audit report, so you can skip this part if you’d like.
If you couldn’t find that in Google Search Console, don’t fret.
There’s two other method you can use.
- Simply navigate to google.com and type in site:yourdomain.com to see what google sees in your index.
- Alternatively, you can also use the SERP Simulator.
Not showing up in the search results?
Your site may not yet have been crawled and indexed if it’s new.
Not seeing your website crawled in Google’s index?
If it’s been around for over a month, then the issue is likely that your website is not crawlable.
Is your site not crawlable?
You can start by identifying opening up the robots.txt in your root folder (if it exits) and also check your website to see if a robots meta tag exists.
Then, determine whether or note you’re telling google not to index your site.
5. Start an issue log for your websites audit
Compile a list of issues in a website issue log. If you don’t have one yet, go ahead and create your first website issue log with the following columns:
- Issue: this could range from a bad user experience/usability, accessibility concerns, not mobile-friendly, no structured data, no internal linking, duplicate meta titles and descriptions, and has non-optimized content.
6. Create your website optimization/SEO action plan
In your newly created website issue tracker, also include the following critical and strategic pieces of information and weigh them by priority for maximum results and efficacy:
- Suggested improvement: like updating optimizing content, improving site structure & navigation. Technical improvements may involve: implementing SSL, resolving hosting/server issues, implementing redirects, creating a more user-friendly error page, and so on
- An estimate on the overall investment. This includes details about the time, energy or money for us to implement the improvements, as well as for Google Search, as well as searchers and customers to recognize the improvements.
- Estimated positive business impact. The impact may be a ranking improvement that leads to more conversions, or a backend change that cleans up the site and helps your brand be more agile in the future.
- A plan on how to iterate and improve the implementation. This is the added layer on top of the SMART framework to identify strategic goals that we mentioned in part 2. Evaluating and continuously re-evaluating your goals help determine what’s working and what’s not very early-on in an agile, nonlinear process.
Source: SEO Audit Guide by Key Medium
7. How to Improve Your Website SEO
If your SEO score was disappointing, don’t fret. In fact, it’s a common problem. So many businesses with top-rated products and services have difficulty gaining new customers online simply because their website isn’t primed for people to find them.
Next steps involve more tactical SEO and business activities such as keyword research, an in-depth content audit/inventory, and competitor analysis, and preparation of a complete and thorough action plan that will help you gain more organic traffic, conversions, and grow your organization.
Free SEO Analysis
Run an SEO audit to determine your website issues:
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For the best results, the more love your website SEO needs, the more you should consider investing in a website redesign or a whole new website built with SEO in mind from the start. Key Medium can conduct a thorough technical website and SEO audit and walk you through recommendations to develop an action plan customized to your business goals, needs, and budget.