How To Perform SEO Audits

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 07, 2016

A good SEO strategy is one that relies on a long-term, ongoing approach to tweaking and refined the methods used to improve a site’s rankings over time. One reliable way to consistently improve a website’s standing in the search engines is to perform an SEO audit, a process in which you can analyze how your current site measures up in several key SEO factors, and then develop goals and strategies to make improvements where necessary.

Set Tangible Goals

The first step in any comprehensive SEO audit is to set goals for what you’re looking to accomplish. Do you want to rank higher for certain key phrases? Are you trying to get into the top ten or even top three results for those phrases? Are you looking to drive more traffic to specific landing pages? Do you want to convert more of your visitors into paying customers when they find you on the search engines? Set specific, measurable goals for your efforts and use analytics where you can, so that you can see what’s working and what’s not over time.

What’s Currently Being Indexed?

Unless your website is brand new, the likelihood that search engines are already indexing at least some of your content is high. You can see which of your site’s pages Google has already indexed by typing Site:http://www.yourdomain.com into the search engine. This will give you an immediate clear picture of what pages Google is already listing in its search results. Some of your site’s pages may be missing from this list – even important ones.

Take Stock of Existing Content

Before making any major overhauls to anything on your site, it’s a good idea to take stock of the content that’s already there and give serious thought to how well it’s serving your SEO goals. Search engines tend to penalize “keyword stuffing” or any other strategy intended to “trick” them into ranking your page higher, so check that your content is optimized to be valuable for your visitors, not for search engine crawlers.

Ensure that your page titles are appealing to your visitors while also including keyword-rich information and brand mentions. Your page title tag should be no longer than 65 characters, and check that your meta description – the tag that Google uses to populate your site’s description in its results – is interesting to anyone who searches for your products or services. Lastly, go through the written content of your pages and ensure that it’s relevant, up-to-date, accurate and well-written.

Checking Your Links

Because search engines want quality content, they may linking to broken links and dead pages. Manually check that each link in your content leads to a live page and ensure that your pages link to other pages on your site, too – that makes the job of a search engine crawler much easier. Also ensure that the URLs of your pages themselves include relevant keywords. For example, if you are a locksmith service in Dallas, you could change “yourdomain.com/services.html” to a more relevant “yourdomain.com/dallas-locksmith-services.html” instead.

Optimizing Page Speed

Search engines definitely favor fast-loading websites over their slower counterparts, all other things being equal. Use Googele’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how fast your site loads on both mobile and desktop browsers. The results will give you specific advice on how to improve.

All of these factors can play a part in improving your rankings. By taking a methodical, multi-pronged approach to SEO strategy and periodically performing SEO audits, you can ensure consistent success in the search engines for your website.