What is an SEO Audit and How to Perform One

If you are like many companies, you have spent loads of cash and more time than you’d like to admit trying to drive web traffic to your site and you are still not seeing the results you hoped for.

If this is true, you could use an SEO audit.

SEO helps your content drive traffic and leads toward your site. Leads interact with your brand and the chances of those leads becoming customers is significantly improved.

It’s easy to recognize the necessity of SEO. But is your organization on top of its SEO game? If the answer is no, you are not alone.

An SEO audit can be the answer to turning that around.

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit reveals how your website is performing. It can also help you identify opportunities for improvement.

When consumers use search engines like Google to find information, those search engines crawl through and evaluate your site.

Then your site is ranked according to Google’s algorithm. The algorithm currently seems to reward quality over everything else, but other contributing factors include:

  • Usefulness
  • Legitimacy
  • Security
  • Speed
  • Ease of use

Your site is then ranked on the search engine results page (SERP). Every marketer strives to rank on the first SERP.

Regular audits are important because the algorithm changes often. Marketing teams must remain agile to adapt to the ever-changing SEO metrics. Keeping content current and aligned with that criteria is obviously important.

The Beginner’s Guide to an SEO Audit

The word audit alone can cause the strongest of people to panic. However, an SEO audit doesn’t have to be stressful.

When you take a breath and think about what you’re hoping to understand and how that information will help you, the process becomes less intimidating.  

Here are 5 easy steps to perform a simple but powerful SEO audit:

1. Identify the most important metrics for your business

Think about the goals you have for your website. What do you expect it to accomplish for your business?

Use that answer to identify a list of metrics and go from there. Whether it’s traffic, user demographics, bounce rate, or time spent per page, gather that data. Analyze it manually or visualize it on a dashboard. Then work to identify trends and areas that require attention.

2. Evaluate how mobile-friendly your content is

People tend to search on their mobile devices more often than on other devices. Make sure your content is optimized for your mobile users. Sites that overlook this element of the audit often drive users away before they ever have a chance to make a connection with the brand.

3. Perform a link check

If Google identifies broken links, they will drop you in the SEO rankings.

Whether manually or with one of the many available tools, ensure that no broken links exist. Spend extra time in the areas of your site where you know that the content is older and the risk of a broken link or two might be higher.

4. Test for speed

Consumers are impatient and tend to become frustrated when a page loads too slowly. This frustration, of course, can drive them away from your site.

Scan your site and test loading speed.

To correct major issues, you’ll probably need to work with a web developer. But chances are you can fix many issues yourself. For example, compressing large images with high resolutions can improve speed.

5. Steal backlinks from your competition

Do some research to identify which sites are including backlinks to your competition. Then, review the content being linked and make sure yours is better. Publishing content that is twice as good encourages those sites to link to your content instead.

Bonus advice: After the audit is complete, document every step that you performed and every issue that was identified. By doing this, when it’s time for the next audit, you won’t have to waste time and resources recreating the wheel.

Final Thoughts

As you get comfortable performing SEO audits, remember to focus on the “why” of the audit. Let it be a guiding light.

It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of granular details. So, keep it simple.

Focus only on the most important metrics in order to accomplish your most important business goals. And, of course, ensure the content on your site is of the highest quality.

SEO is becoming more important each day. Companies that work hard today to understand and leverage SEO will be the winners of tomorrow.

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