SEO website audit is a process to analyze and construct individual web pages of an entire website to make them more easily available to the search engines by making the process of discovery, analyzing and indexing more convenient. To maximize the return from your site SEO website audit and analysis is of immense importance and under any normal circumstance, there should be at least five stages that are need to be considered.
Understanding Google PageRank (Infographic)
- Auditing the technical issues can very well be the first and most important aspect of a search engine optimization audit that is to check the indexing level of the website including each individual page and especially for the nonexistent pages that shows 404 error messages. Registering with the Google Web Master Tools is the most preferred and effective method of indexing of your website with the most appropriate setting for a location based audience.
- Auditing the internal architecture of the website along with the targeted keywords can also make a significant improvement to your business. Use of balanced combination of highly competitive key words, long tail key phrases, moderately competitive keywords with good global search volume, accompanied by a well integrated internal architecture will provide your business strategy with a new dimension and can provide the site with a more prominent online exposure.
- In order to find out the proper reason behind a poor inbound traffic installation of different analytical software can prove to be an effective way to make the necessary adjustments and customizations to your site. Any of this software can provide a number of very useful information like the time spent by the visitor on the site along with the bounce rate and the number of visitors that actually return to the site. One more thing that this analytical software can provide is that the sources that are the most effective to redirect customer to your site and depending upon that you can always make the necessary changes to your business strategy for a better return from your online investment.
- Most of the time on site SEO auditing is not enough to formulate the most effective business strategy as all the different types of online ventures should be treated from different angles and determining the extent of competition that the targeted keywords are facing from their other online rivals is also a much important part of any SEO audit to attract the maximum number of visitors to your site. Proper analysis of different link domain links are also extremely important along with its relation to other redirecting sister sites.
- With a better use of the key words determined by an extensive SEO auditing and efficient use of the internal links can very well be the key to formulate a successful and effective online strategy.
SEO Audit Checklist (Infographic)
With proper SEO website audit and necessary customizations made depending upon those results are the secret of bringing your online business to a success. An audit of this kind can assure you that your site is properly indexed by the most popular search engines and also have a higher page ranking to make it the most effective.
Checklist for Technical SEO Site Audit
- Do a site: search
- How many pages are returned (this can be way off so don’t put too much stock in this)?
- Is the homepage showing up as the first result?
- If the homepage isn’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty or poor site architecture/internal linking, affecting the site.
Search for the brand and branded terms
- Is the homepage showing up at the top, or are correct pages showing up.
- If the proper pages aren’t showing up as the first result, there could be issues, like a penalty, in play.
- Is the content showing up?
- Are navigation links present?
- Are there links that aren’t visible on the site?
Don’t forget to check the text only version of the cached page.
- Does the homepage have at least one paragraph?
- Do these pages have at least a few paragraphs?
- Is it template text or is it completely unique?
- Is there real content on the site or is the “content” simply a list of links.
- Is the intent right?
- Are there pages targeting head terms, mid-tail, and long-tail keywords?
- Do a site: search Google for important keyword phrases.
- Check for duplicate content/page titles in the SEOmoz Pro Campaign App.
- Is the content formatted well and easy to read quickly?
- Are H tags used?
- Are images used?
- Is the text broken down into easy to read paragraphs?
- Good headlines go a long way. Make sure the headlines are well written and draw users in.
- Since the implementation of Panda, the amount of ad-space on a page has become important to evaluate.
- Make sure there is significant unique content above the fold.
- If you have more ads than unique content, you are probably going to have a problem.
- Do URLs include parameters or tracking code – This will result in multiple URLs for a piece of content.
- Does the same content reside on completely different URLs?
Exclude common parameters, such as those used to designate tracking code, in Google Webmaster Tools. Read more at Search Engine Land.
- Take a content snippet, put it in quotes and search for it.
- Does the content show up elsewhere on the domain?
- Has it been scraped? – If the content has been scraped, you should file a content removal requestwith Google.
- Does the same content exist on different sub-domains?
- Does the content exist on a secure version of the site?
- Is the content replicated on other domains owned by the company?
- Has the entire site, or important content been blocked? Is link equity being orphaned due to pages being blocked via the robots.txt?
- Use the Web Developer Toolbar
- Is the content there?
- Do the navigation links work?
- Use the User Agent Add-on
- Are they cloaking?
- Does it look the same as before?
Use SEO Browser to do a quick spot check.
- Are category pages set up in the appropriate way to flow link equity to key pages?
- Do they have landing pages high enough in the architecture to receive enough link equity to compete for competitive terms?
- How many category pages are there?
- Have they been scaled out too much?
- Category pages should be built out only when there is enough demand for new or sub category pages.
- Is pagination or faceted navigation more appropriate? Or, should they be used in tandem?
- Does pagination exist to help long tail content get indexed?
- Pages targeting really competitive head terms should be one or two clicks from the homepage.
- Pages targeting moderately competitive keywords should be 2 or three clicks from the homepage.
- Pages targeting the long tail should be 5 clicks away (obviously exceptions must be made here for sites with a ton of content).
- Most important content should be higher up in the pagination
- Are 301’s being used for all redirects?
- If the root is being directed to a landing page, are they using a 301 instead of a 302?
- Use Live HTTP Headers FireFox plugin to check 301s.
- Is content being pulled in via iframes?
- Is the entire site done in flash, or is flash used sparingly in a way that doesn’t hinder crawling?
Flash is like garlic. A little bit of garlic in your food can make it taste better. Eating a plate full of garlic would be quite terrible. Likewise, Flash can be added to a site in a way that improves the user’s experience, but creating the entire site in flash is not a good idea.
- How long does the page take to load – Is it significant for users or search engines?
- What improvements can be made?
- Is alt text present?
- Does the alt text use keyword phrases?
- Does the alt text reinforce the topical themes presented in the content?
- Google WMT will give you a good list of technical problems showing up on your site that they are encountering (such as: 4xx and 5xx errors, inaccessible pages in the XML sitemap, and soft 404’s)
- Are XML sitemaps in place?
- Are XML sitemaps covering for poor site architecture?
- Are XML sitemaps structured to show indexation problems?
- Do the sitemaps follow proper XML protocols?
- Make sure it points to the correct page, and every page doesn’t point to the homepage.
- This can cause a lot of problems if you have a root domain with secure sections.
- No excessive parameters or session ID’s
- URLs exposed to search engines should be static.
- 115 characters or shorter – this character limit isn’t set in stone, but shorter URLs are better for usability.
- Get your primary keyword phrase in there.
- 100 is a good target, but not a rule.
- Homepage links to category pages.
- Category pages link to sub-category and product pages as appropriate.
- Product pages link to relevant category pages.
- Category pages link to other relevant category pages.
- Product pages link to other relevant product pages.
- Does not utilize massive blocks of links stuck in the content to do internal linking.
- Does not use a block of footer links instead of proper navigation.
- Does not link to landing pages with optimized anchors.
- Link Checker and Xenu are good tools for this.
- Every page should have a unique title tag.
- Pages should contain the primary keyword phrase.
- Is possible to use the secondary keyword phrase in a non spammy way?
- In most cases the brand should be included at the end of the page title to help build a brand or entice users if you are a well known brand
- If the title is longer than this, the entirety will not be displayed in the SERPs.
- This data should be removed as competitors can scrape this data.
- Each page has a unique meta description.
- Meta descriptions are representative of the content and entice users.
- For key landing pages, write meta descriptions by hand instead of systemically implementing.
- Noindex pages only appropriate pages.
- Not blocking important pages.