Complete an SEO audit to help grow your business

Aleh Barysevich
Aleh Barysevich / Published January 15, 2020

If you aren't on the first page of Google search results, you don't exist.

But don't have an existential crisis yet: search engine optimization (SEO) can get you there. SEO involves everything from content strategy to competitive analysis to keyword research and beyond. But none of that will pay off if you don't do an SEO audit. It's decidedly less painful than an IRS audit, and it will serve as a foundation for all of your SEO efforts.

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is the process of analyzing your website and seeing how well it follows current SEO best practices. You could hire a digital marketing agency to get the job done, but you can also take the reins with an SEO audit tool like WebSite Auditor, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Moz.

With an automated auditor tool, you can check every single page of your domain and get a full analysis of your website's overall SEO health. How many pages contain 4xx and 5xx codes? Do you have .xml and robots.txt files present? Are there broken images? How many pages simply can't be seen and indexed by a search engine—and why?

Basically, an SEO audit is like a physical exam with your primary care doctor. It measures your website's overall health and lets you know if you'll need to see a specialist for any major issues.

Monitor your index and crawlability

First things first: you need to know how much of your website is "crawlable"; that is, how much of your website can be seen and indexed by a search engine. If a search engine can't see it, people can't find it. The end.

There are tons of reasons for a page to disappear from search: from a noindex meta tag, to an X-Robots-Tag, to JS and CSS files that influence your page's crawlability. Even missing a single, tiny element can make your page uncrawlable, which means it'll never show up on search engine results pages. Given the large number of variables, you need to use specialized software for a thorough analysis. Any audit tool will be able to give you a precise indication of how many pages are indexed in Google and other search engines right now. In WebSite Auditor, it looks like this:

Screenshot of WebSite Auditor, showing how many pages of a website are crawlable

You can also analyze your domain to see if any of your pages were made unavailable for search engine bots, either due to 4xx status code like the infamous 404, or 5xx like the opprobrious 503. You also get to see if your 404 error page is set up correctly and see a list of your pages that couldn't be indexed due to the robots.txt instructions you specified in your robots.txt.

Screenshot of WebSite Auditor, showing pages restricted from indexing

By regularly checking that all your pages are crawlable and indexable, you can eliminate problems as soon as they appear.

Monitor the optimization level of your content

After you've made sure that all of your pages appear in search, the next logical step of an audit is to analyze the actual content on your website. There are hundreds of on-page SEO metrics: optimizing headers, titles, and descriptions; checking if there's structured data markup present; and so on.

Most SEO audit tools will be able to run a full analysis and give you a summary of your on-page successes and failures. You'll also get a detailed analysis of each individual page, with ranking factors like your pages' overall optimization rates, number of tags from H1 to H6, word counts, and any and all tags and notes you might create for your pages.

Here's what the summary of your on-page issues looks like on WebSite Auditor:

Screenshot of summary of on-page issues on WebSite auditor

And here's what the more in-depth look at each page looks like:

Screenshot of on-page issues for each page on WebSite auditor

Keep an eye on your page speed

It's pretty simple: Google ranks faster pages higher. And just like with other factors that help with your rankings, faster loading pages are better for user experience: slower pages convert worse and their bounce rates are a lot higher.

There are lots of metrics that influence the speed of your page. An SEO audit tool will let you see how fast your pages load, and what can be improved—things like compressing images and getting rid of redirects.

In WebSite Auditor, you'd input the URL you want analyzed, along with the keywords that you're interested in. Then you'd see if there were any page speed issues.

Screenshot of WebSite Auditor showing page speed issues

With the right tool, you can have a full analysis of the crucial SEO metrics for your website in minutes. And in hours, be done with the entire assessment of where your website stands in terms of optimization. Of course, you need to act on these analyses—and continue to analyze. SEO isn't a one-off thing: to do it right, you have to make it into a routine.

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