Regular search engine optimization (SEO) website audits help keep a website healthy—revealing issues that may affect rank and providing opportunities to improve search visibility and user experience. However, making sense of the wide range of factors that affect search requires background knowledge on technical and on-page elements, how they come together and how they affect search—which can be overwhelming if you don’t have expertise in SEO. If you’re on this page, chances are, you understand why SEO is important for your business and you’d like to dive into your site’s analytics to learn what it takes to rank higher and bring more users to your site. Read on to discover what an SEO audit is, why they’re necessary and the learnings that can be gleaned from this kind of analysis. Plus, learn where you can go for help.
What Is an SEO Site Audit?
An SEO site audit is an analysis of the factors that impact your website ranking in organic search. This often includes technical back-end factors as well as on-page, content-focused elements that make a website both easier for search engine robots to crawl and easier for people to navigate. These audits are usually conducted by content agencies—like Yakkety Yak—or by a team’s dedicated search engine optimization specialist. The objective? To understand your site ranking and discover how to increase traffic to your site.
Technical SEO Audit
The technical part of an SEO audit specifically dives deeper into the back-end and development portions of your site. They point out technical issues like 404-page errors, slow loading speed and whether a site is mobile-friendly, among others. These are the same factors that search engine crawlers, like Google, take into account when indexing and evaluating a website. If a website takes a long time to load images, initiates a redirect chain or doesn’t display appropriately on mobile, search engines will rank it poorly. Performing an SEO audit highlights these technical areas for improvement.
Some things a technical SEO analysis covers:
- General site accessibility
- Status codes and broken links
- Indexation analysis
- Redirects, whether temporary or permanent
- Page speed
- URL structure
- XML sitemap
- Canonical tags and duplicate content
On-Page SEO Audit
In addition to revealing technical issues, SEO audits also analyze on-page elements, such as content structure, content length, metadata and user experience to determine adjustments that can be made to improve rankings and user experience. Not to be confused with a content audit (which can span all content across various channels and media), an on-page SEO audit takes a holistic view of the website, focusing on every landing page and piece of blog content and how it contributes to SEO. This includes blog posts, landing pages, e-commerce pages and more. For example, an SEO audit can highlight missing, too long or too short metadata, including descriptions and page titles.
Some things an on-page audit covers:
- Analysis of content organization and internal links
- Analysis of headlines and formatting
- Keyword use
- Analysis of the website’s frontend as it relates to SEO and UX
- Metadata analysis, including page titles, meta descriptions and heading tags
- User experience
- Schema markup
- Graphics and video
- HTML sitemap
- Content length
Benefits of Conducting SEO Audits Regularly
Conducting SEO audits on a regular basis helps explain the whys behind a site’s search ranking. For instance, if a website is ranking poorly, it might not be a content problem: There could be issues with the technical aspects at play, such as improper links, absent metadata or improper formatting. Also, content-based technical issues, such as overuse or underuse of main keywords, or missing keywords in page titles, descriptions and headlines can also affect the way search engines interpret a webpage.
SEO audits also highlight opportunities for a brand to improve its ranking for targeted keywords by making the site more accessible to search crawlers and users alike. Regular audits also help a website stay up-to-date with the latest changes to Google webmaster guidelines and algorithm updates. For content purposes, understanding how on-page factors affect site rank opens opportunities for planning new content and refreshing or expanding existing content to better meet readers’ needs. A blog post with a clear keyword focus and all its technical parts in order, such as metadata and links, has the potential to greatly benefit a website’s visibility in the SERP (search engine results page) almost as much as the content of the blog itself. Google has said time and again that the best way to rank for search is to provide good content. When you write with SEO in mind, you get something that draws people’s attention and that, in turn, draws the search engine’s attention.
Are you looking for an SEO expert to audit your website and set your brand up for success? The Yak Pak can help improve your brand’s search engine visibility through a strategic approach to content and regular SEO analysis along the way. Check out our services page to learn more about how we can share your brand’s story through content creation, website design and more.