Published: Feb 16, 2022

Google and other search engines aim to connect users with the most relevant information based on their search query and likely intention. Many websites, on the other hand, have weak content and technical issues. Both of these problems have a negative impact on your site's visibility. Furthermore, many websites are subject to Google penalties that you may be unaware of.

As a result, an SEO audit provides an opportunity to enhance your website's search presence by identifying and correcting any flaws in your site that are hurting performance. Here are 18 elements that you should analyze during an SEO audit.

1. Create a set of SEO objectives that are well-defined

The first stage in your SEO audit should be to figure out what your website's organic traffic goals are. However, keep in mind that any modifications to your SEO approach will take at least three months to show up in your search rankings. That is to say, your goal(s) should be long-term in nature. For example, during the next year, you might want to boost organic traffic to your site by 50%. Your objective may also be to increase inbound links to your website by 25% in the next six months.

2. Run a speed test on your website

page speed

The page loading speed of a website is one of the most critical factors that Google considers when determining its search rankings. The longer your website takes to download, the more it will hamper your search rankings. That's because if your site takes more than a few seconds to load, most of your visitors will abandon it. You can use Google's free website speed test to see how quickly your site loads.

3. Check to see if your site is mobile-friendly

Because mobile devices are used by the majority of Internet users, you'll need a mobile-friendly site to reach your audience. You'll want to make sure that all of your content loads properly on mobile devices, in addition to making sure that your site loads quickly. Ensure that your site has a responsive design so that users can view it properly on any device.

4. Examine your title tags

When it comes to search engine optimization, title tags are crucial for attracting targeted visitors. Title tags inform search engines about the content of your web pages. To be fully displayed in Google search results, title tags shouldn't be longer than 60 characters in length.

You should also avoid keyword stuffing,  a form of over-optimization that Google frowns upon. That means each title tag should typically only include one keyword or search phrase.

5. Double-check your heading tags

h1 tags

Another useful technique to tell search engines what the content on your web pages is about is to use heading tags (H1, H2, and H3). However, you should keep your heading tags under 70 characters in length in order to properly optimize them for SEO.

If you include multiple keywords in your headers, Google will not penalize your page. However, the more keywords you include, the lower the SEO value of your headings will become. In addition, each web page should have only one H1 tag.

Put another way, heading tags only help your SEO to the extent they clarify for Google what your page is about. When you overuse them, they defeat this purpose.

6. Make sure your image tags are correct

Google favors longer content broken up by images in the body of the text, which makes images an important part of your search presence strategy.

Images can further help with SEO if they have appropriate image tags. Google will tell what your photographs are about based on the image tags. These tags should be no more than 70 characters in length and include descriptive keywords.

7. Correct any redirect errors

Webmasters erase outdated web pages and replace them with new ones on a regular basis. You can redirect users to the new web page while still passing on the old website's SEO value to the new one by using a 301 redirect. However, if you don't properly set up the new links, you risk having redirect issues, which will impact your website's SEO. Ensure that any redirect errors are identified and corrected. Redirect issues are frequently caused by trivial errors, such as incorrectly inputting the link while setting it up.

8. Examine the Robots.txt file

The robots.txt file tells search engines whether or not to index your entire website, as well as individual web pages within it. As a result, if Google hasn't crawled any of your pages, examine your robots.txt file to see whether you've inadvertently instructed Google not to index the web page.

9. Remove any duplicate content

Checking for duplicate content on your site during an SEO audit is a good idea. Duplicate material on your website will not only harm its SEO, but it may also result in a penalty from Google. As a result, if you have any web pages that are identical or have substantially similar content, you should remove them. Make sure that each page on your site has unique content.

10. Resolve any 404 errors

When a web server can't find the page that the user is looking for, it returns a 404 error. Depending on your technical expertise, you might be able to resolve 404 issues on your own. You may, however, need to get a web programmer to correct them. 404 errors must be resolved, regardless of how they are resolved, because they will harm your site's SEO.

11. Examine the structure of the website

When performing an SEO audit, don't forget to look at the site architecture. Site architecture encompasses all of a site's functional and visual elements, such as your website's links, navigation menu, background colors, and graphics. As a result, double-check that all of the links work, that the images load correctly, and that your text is readable against the chosen background color.

12. Review your content

New Content on Laptop Screen. E-commerce Concept.

When it comes to search engine optimization, high-quality content that is frequently updated is critical. You'll need to produce content that your target audience wants to consume if you want to generate targeted search engine traffic. 

Many website owners struggle to come up with SEO-friendly content. If you're having trouble, try hiring a copywriter to help you improve your website's content.

13. Double-check your keyword list

Google tools

Keywords, in addition to content, play a significant part in attracting your target audience. As a result, you must research and select keywords (and search phrases) that accomplish two goals:
  • Represent your business.
  • Represent what your target market is looking for on the Internet.

Your keywords should appear naturally throughout your website's text. Overusing keywords can result in Google downgrading a page's or site's visibility in search. As a general rule of thumb, try to ensure that your primary keyword or search phrase makes up no more than 4% of your site's text.

14. Enhance the user experience

Because Google prioritizes providing the most relevant content to its users, you should prioritize providing the best user experience for your website's visitors. Your site's SEO will suffer as a result of a poor user experience. User testing may be included in your SEO audit to see what your visitors think of your site. You may then use their input to improve the user experience of your website.

15. Examine Your Website's Traffic

An analysis of your website's traffic should be included in your SEO audit. You may examine your traffic using Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You can check which terms and phrases visitors use to reach your site in search engines, for example. You can also examine the bounce rate of your website, the length of time users spend on each web page, and the countries from which they came.

16. Take a look at your backlinks

When it comes to improving your site's search engine rankings, backlinks are crucial. They must, however, come from reputable sources.

Backlinks from low-quality sites can really harm your SEO. To be safe, you should examine all of your incoming links as part of your SEO audit. If you discover that an incoming link is from a low-quality or spammy website, log into your Google Search Console account and choose to disavow the link. When you disavow inbound links, Google will not consider them when assessing your site's search results.

17. Examine your off-page SEO strategy

Google analysis

An SEO audit is more than just an examination of your website's elements. Off-page SEO factors might also have an impact on your site's rankings. For example, your social media strategy can help influence your website's search engine rankings, as Google looks at the engagement level of your content on social media in determining its visibility.

Imagine you're using Pinterest to advertise your brand to your target demographic. You create pins with links to your web pages. If many people click those links to your website, it may indicate to Google that your site is popular. As a result, when calculating your website's search results, Google's algorithm will take that data into consideration.

18. Don't Forget to Compare Your Site to Your Competitors

Finally, when conducting an SEO audit, don't forget to assess the websites of your competitors. When you run searches using your keywords, take notice of where they rank on Google. Compare and contrast the quality of their content with yours. Consider who performs the best job of satisfying your target audience's needs. Then apply what you've learned to your website's SEO strategy.

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About the Author

Megan Chesterton
Megan Chesterton
Megan leads the design, content, and digital marketing teams. Together they produce everything from interactive experiences to social graphics, with a focus on telling great stories.

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