How to Conduct a Surgical SEO Audit
There are a lot of ways to being an SEO audit recently I worked on a few for some clients I work with. As I reflect over what I learn I want to take the time to share what I have learned. The first thing I like to do before I get into anything else is run a crawl of the website to uncover the more obvious issues. While that is running I like to get a coffee and mentally prepare myself for what is about to begin. Also, while I am drinking my coffee I make sure to have my SEO checklist handy which includes some of the things I look for. I recommend doing this to keep you on task and to make sure you do not overlook or forget anything.
My checklist includes:
H1 Tags | Title Tags –
Meta Descriptions- While not a ranking factor meta descriptions can help improve click through rates to your website. It is important that your internal pages to your website have appropriate meta descriptions with a call to action to assist with searchers clicking through to visit your site.
Word Count- I know Google and most other search engines do not take a specific word count into consideration but are looking for relevant useful content. There is no specific length that they are looking for. But I recommend researching what your competition is doing and then making judgements accordingly.
URL Structure- Avoid: http://www.mycars.com/exhaust/#parts.sdfgs
Internal Linking Structure– I like to see some internal linking on ideally every page generously spaced out so it does not appear to be spammy in any way. The internal links have to be relevant to the content and useful as well. This helps google crawl through larger website and helps users navigate to various pages and spread page rank more throughout the website.
Sitemap- An example of where a sitemap is usually found (referencing back to my http://www.mycars.com example) http://www.mycars.com/xml.sitemap. Or sometimes you will have to go into Search console or google webmaster tools and see where it is located.
Robots.txt – These can be found if the website your auditing has one at http://www.mycars.com/robots.txt *Example*
Some Sort of Analytics- It is important to make sure your client is tracking their engagement so they can make accurate data based decisions.
Calls to Action (CTA’s) on every page- These can also be micro conversions, but you want your web traffic to interact with your website in some form aside from purchases.
Duplicate Content- A good way to begin checking for this once your crawl is complete and after you had some coffee is to look for duplicate title tags and meta descriptions. From there check each page with dup title tags and meta descriptions to see if there are duplicate on page content as well.
Webmaster ( Search Console)- When running a crawl I like to check to see if my client has google webmasters installed or I will be left in the dark for some things and not know the overall health of the website.
Mobile Usability- This should be a pretty simple check and there are a few ways to check it. First if you’re like me and do not have a smart phone minimize the web page of the website you are working in and see how the elements interact within the frame. If they distort or if they do not scale down appropriately then it may be time for a redesign.
Site Speed – This can be done from search console or you can do a simple google search for “Free site speed tool” I prefer free tools for obvious reasons.
Backlink Check- This can be done by using majestic seo or ahrefs to check backlinks that are pointing to the website. You will have a problem if there are a lot of spammy or irrelevant links pointing to the website and can lead to being penalized by search engines.
Alt Image Text-
Local SEO Tactics- If your client has a local business then you want to make sure they have a google my business set up, google + account and a siet up on any other relevant local platform.
Social Media Strategy- Finally I like to look and see if my client has social media profiles set up and icons on their website pointing searchers to their social media platforms.
These are some of the basic items I like to look for when doing a basic SEO audit to get my footing and put together an action plan from there. In my next post I will be doing a deeper dive on a few techniques to identify duplicate content and how to fix it.