How to Audit Your Site, Even if You're an SEO Noob
The overall health of your website has increasingly become important with Google releasing updates to refine how search results appear. In 2016, according to Search Engine Land, Google revealed that it processed more than 100 billion searches monthly. This means that for your website to rank high in search results, you need to have all SEO aspects covered.
But what if you’re a total SEO noob?
Well, let’s begin by looking at a few...
Why You Want to Conduct an SEO Audit:
- You may have never conducted any SEO audit on your site before
- You may have changed your content management system, domain or subdomain
- You may have just launched a website
- You may have been told that you have received a penalty from Google or any other search engine
- You may have issues like a significant reduction in traffic
Let’s now look at areas of focus for the total noob when doing an SEO audit:
1. Site Crawling
The first thing you need to do is to crawl your site. This is basically what Google and other search engines do. They literally go through your website and add it to an index. This index is like a catalog in a library. It contains all the information about websites. Crawling is done from time to time and the index updated. If for instance, you have created new content since the last crawl, the index will be updated.
What we mean by crawling here is that you will use a tool that does what search engines do – go through your website. You will not do it yourself. A good crawling tool that you can use is WooRank’s Site Crawl, you can sign up for a free trial. Site Crawl will help you identify the following:
- Broken links
- XML sitemap
- Temporary and permanent redirects
- URLs blocked by robots.txt
- Title tags and meta descriptions
- Duplicate content
You can always refresh your review so that it can retrieve the latest information regarding your site.
All you need to do is enter the URL of the website that you need to be crawled. Another good tool is SemRush. Use both tools to have a comprehensive overview of your site’s overall health.
Now that you have an idea about your healthy your site is, it’s now time to focus on particular areas.
2. Bounce Rate
From your audit report, you need to check your bounce rate. This is when visitors or users return to search results too soon after they open your website. This could be an indicator of a number of things:
- Your website is irrelevant
- Your content is low quality and does not meet customer needs
- Your site’s speed is too slow
- Navigation on your site is not user-friendly.
Once you perform an Advanced Review you can sync your Google Analytics account. This will show your site’s bounce rate right in your audit.
3. Site Speed
According to the Kissmetrics blog, about half of the internet users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Page speed is also one of the factors that Google uses to rank websites on search results. In fact, Google recommends that above the fold content should load in one second. This is the content that the user sees when they first access your site, without scrolling down at all.
You may want to use a website test tool to get to know how well your website is doing when it comes to speed. Your performance should be at least C. A good tool to use outside of WooRank is Pingdom.
Concentrate on the speed of your home page, and at least 10 of the main or most important pages. You may also want to see how you compare with your competitors with regards to site speed. All you need to do is enter their URLs on the Pingdom tool.
3. Organic Traffic and Keywords
It is important to know where your organic traffic comes from, whether most of your traffic comes from paid sources and the keywords that you want to rank for. When you sync your Google Analytics account, you’ll see a list of your top search queries displayed in your Advanced Review.
4. Site Navigation
This is closely related to bounce rates. One of the reasons why you may have a high bounce rate is because your website is very difficult to navigate. When a visitor lands on your site for the first time, it should feel as if he is flipping the pages of a book. There should be a flow and coherence as you move from page to page or from section to section.
As you do an SEO audit for your site, check how easy it is to find your blog or other web pages and even your social media buttons/icons (which when clicked should ultimately lead you to the specific social pages).
5. Mobile Friendliness Audit
More than half of the Google searches in the world are made on mobile. This means that if your site looks terrible on mobile, you are missing out on maybe half of the traffic you should be getting.
Guess where this traffic goes? To your competitor’s website.
The good news is that you can actually test your website for mobile friendliness. Major search engines like Google and Bing. Better still, they will provide recommendations to make your site more mobile friendly.
You will also audit your mobile friendliness as part of your WooRank review.
When crafting content for your mobile user, it is important to keep in mind that the user here is at a different stage in the buying cycle. They are also probably checking your site during a short break from work, or in traffic, or even at the mall. This means that your content, site speed, and navigation should be crisp.
Keep your content precise, ensure that the site loads fast and that it is very easy for the user to navigate. Remember, they do not have too much time.
All in All
If you are a total noob, you now have an idea of where to start when it comes to an SEO audit. The SEO is, however, only the beginning. After identifying the problem, you need to take the extra step and find the solution as well.