No matter how much you’ve worked to build your website’s SEO, there will always be some areas where you can improve. And it’s your responsibility as a website owner to always look at how well or how poorly your website is performing. The issue is that a lot of owners still don’t know what to look for, and how to measure it. The good news, however, is that virtually anyone with the right tools can quickly identify holes in their SEO strategy, and make the appropriate changes. Here’s how you can identify your SEO weaknesses and correct them.
Why Running an Audit is So Important
The only way to really know where your site stands as far as SEO goes is by going through an audit. You can have the audit run by a third party, or you can do it on your own. A thorough audit will allow you to check things like broken links, site speed, and missing or broken files among other things. It will also allow you to assess the quality of your content, and how user-friendly your site is.
SEO is constantly changing and evolving, and it’s essential that you continually work on strategies and see how your site is performing. You need to be able to address issues quickly, as leaving them unchecked could lead to a decrease in traffic and conversions, or have your site deindexed completely.
Now that you understand the importance of auditing your website, let’s take a look at how you can conduct an audit.
Use a Good Site Audit Tool
The first thing you have to do is find a good site audit tool. There are tons of great tools out there, like the Ahrefs audit tool, and niche tools like Sitebulb and Screaming Frog. You can choose to use one or multiple audit tools if you wish. Make sure that you pick tools with a solid reputation, and that they’re easy to use, accurate, and comprehensive.
A good audit tool will allow you to scan for possible technical issues with your website, identify off-page and on-page SEO problems, check for broken links and files, find duplicate content, check for page errors, and create a clear checklist of issues you should address.
Enter Your URL in the Audit Tool
The next step is running your website’s URL through the audit tool of your choice. The tool will then crawl your website, and will usually give you an instant report. How detailed the report is will depend on the tool. Some will also show issues in order of importance, which will allow you to quickly see which areas need your immediate attention, or you could decide on what is more important or accessible for you at the moment.
Assess Technical Errors
Your audit tool will probably identify some technical errors. In some cases, the tool might find that your site is uncrawlable, which will make it impossible to rank with search engines. It might also identify issues with your SSL certificate. Other common issues include slow page or site loading speed, mobile-friendliness, broken images, indexed pages, and broken links among other things.
Just correcting a few of these issues could make a huge difference to your rankings. Most of these can be corrected on your own as well, though you should always consider working with experts if you’re unsure about anything.
Identify SEO Problems
Then, you have SEO problems. SEO and technical issues often overlap, but SEO issues have more to do with text elements. The tool might find that you have duplicate, missing, or too long/short meta descriptions and title tags. An audit will also help you find missing header tags, poorly optimized internal links, or missing schema.org microdata.
Another interesting thing an audit will allow you to find out is if there is any keyword cannibalization on your site. This is when the same keywords are being targeted on multiple pages, which limits your ranking potential.
Analyzing UX and Design
Audit tools will also be able to gauge how well your site is designed, and how good the experience is for your visitors. Not only does bad user experience translate to higher bounce rates, but it will rob you of conversions, which is the ultimate goal for any SEO strategy.
Tools will look at things like page depth and navigation to assess whether a website is easy to use, and how easy it is for people to find the information that they’re looking for. It is often recommended that all content should be reachable within three pages from the homepage. If it isn’t, then you might need to call in a designer or a UX expert to see where you can improve your site’s navigation and overall experience.
Assess Content Quality
However, content remains the cornerstone of any SEO strategy, and you need to pay special attention to any content-related issues with your website. An audit will allow you to check which pages are ranking for the words you’re targeting, and will also check if pages are being ignored altogether. A good audit tool will also allow you to identify thin or duplicate content.
Duplicate content is when content between pages on your site is too similar. Google will interpret it as a sign that these pages aren’t useful, or that the designer simply didn’t make the effort to create unique content.
If you want to make sure that you don’t have content related issues, it’s best to abide by best practices. This means that all content on your pages must align with search intent; it is actually helpful to readers and is concise; it is well structured and organized from an SEO standpoint, and it is optimized for all formats. You should also make sure that the content is unique, and includes a few internal and external links.
Running an audit on your website is the most efficient way to identify possible issues with your website. If you haven’t performed one already, make sure that you find the right tool and conduct it yourself, or ask a third party to run a full audit and give you some recommendations.