August 24, 2021 Last updated August 24th, 2021 914 Reads share

How to perform technical and content SEO audits

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Just like any other performance check, an SEO audit can really pay off, helping you to identify – and iron out – any niggles which might be stopping you from getting the web traffic you need. Performing an SEO audit is a vital thing to carry out, to make sure your website is fully optimized and is ranking as high on Google as it possibly can.

 

What does an SEO audit actually do?

An SEO audit takes into account a range of factors, all of which have an impact on the way your website functions – and crucially, the number of people who will visit. It assesses your website and allows you to pinpoint its strengths and weaknesses, and how these might play out against any Google algorithm changes.

To be effective an audit must cover a diverse range of areas including:

  • Technical SEO
  • Content – both written and visual
  • Backlinks

The best audits will also provide suggestions for how to improve weaknesses, plus areas of opportunity not yet explored. It will also present recommendations in order of importance, as it may be that a small tweak could vastly enhance your Google ranking, whereas a huge one might satisfy your ego to be 100% SEO friendly, but in reality, will only make a small difference in your ranking.

 

The technical components

Firstly, including a technical SEO review as part of your SEO audit can provide valuable insights into the way your website functions, highlighting things which may not be immediately obvious. These might include the website’s infrastructure, any broken internal links, and the time it takes for individual pages to load. It can also identify whether you have the right titles and metatags – the parts of each page that appear in search results – which are a vital component in attracting visitors.

Even if your rankings are great, if your titles don’t say the right things, your search position might not convert into actual visitors, as there could be a low click through rate, meaning potential visitors choose a competing website instead.

Since the summer of 2021, page speed is more important than ever. It is part of Google’s Page Experience Algorithm Update which also gives more benefit to mobile friendly and secure websites.

The easiest way to check the page speed and mobile friendliness of multiple pages simultaneously is to register with Google Search Console. Then look at the Page Experience, Core Web Vitals and Mobile Usability menus. This will identify common errors and pages that are too slow.

Anything you can do to improve your conversion rate will also help your sales. Google track how long visitors spend on your site. An additional benefit is as visitors placing orders visit more pages and spend longer, if you increase conversions, you also improve your SEO.

 

Content review

An on-page audit assesses the quality of the content on your website, including how SEO-friendly it is. Making sure your site is SEO-friendly allows it to be discovered by search engines. This part of the audit also wheedles out any outdated content that is no longer relevant, and might flag up areas to develop. A thorough content audit will also make sure your content is aimed at your audience. This might result in tweaks to your SEO strategy and can prove to be an invaluable part of the audit.

Some content aspects also fall into UX and apply to the entire site – is the navigation user-friendly? Can visitors easily find out how to contact you, or information about who you are? Does content that appears on every page serve a purple?

Other content aspects apply to each page individually. A simple way to algorithmically measure how good the content is for any one page is to divide the average time on page by the number of words. Compare this to other similar pages (e.g. other blogs or product pages). A page with 3,000 words, that visitors only spend ten seconds on is clearly very poor quality.

If a page has poor content, then check the spelling and grammar and ask yourself if the information is truly useful to site visitors? Do you notice that the keywords leap out at you as you read it? If so, it’s possible that it may have been written when keyword stuffing was a valid SEO strategy. It’s now time to remove some of those keywords, as this strategy will no longer work. See more suggestions from 78 marketers on how to improve the average time on page.

 

Backlinks

The off-page component of an SEO audit takes a good look at your external links. If you have insufficient or low-quality links going to your site, you can seriously damage your rankings.

Pinpointing ways to improve the quality of your link profile can be one of the essentials from an SEO audit. It can also highlight spammy backlinks that you can either remove or disavow.  Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs both have good backlink checkers that help identify suspicious backlinks.

 

Audits for Multilingual SEO

What about a multilingual SEO audit? If your site covers different countries and features different languages too, you need to carry out a multilingual website audit, looking at your various target markets.

This requires additional steps that include looking at the quality of translations in different languages, the Hreflang tags used, and how you control which language is displayed to site visitors.

Juggling the technical aspects of an SEO audit alongside the multilingual and cultural components of your site is no mean feat, but the rewards on offer can be enormous.

 

When is the best time to complete an audit?

A full website analysis is a time-consuming process. If you’re planning on hiring an SEO consultant to complete one for you, then ensure you also have some budget spare to complete the work identified in the audit.

For large companies it’s worth doing an audit:

  • After you have done a major redesign on the website.
  • If you notice a sudden drop in traffic or Google rankings.
  • If you’ve never done one before, or if it’s been three years or more since your last audit. This is because Google change their algorithm constantly, plus new technologies evolve. What was best practice three years ago might not be best practice today.

An SEO audit is vital for your search engine ranking, as well as attracting the right visitors to your site. While it might seem a daunting task, thankfully there are experts out there who can make sure the process runs smoothly!

The recommendations here are from an SEO consultant at Indigoextra with 17 years’ experience.

Andrew Oziemblo

Andrew Oziemblo

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