Have you ever completed an SEO audit but were never sure what to look out for? This can be the case for many when audits return such huge amounts of information. This is a quick guide about the most important things that are easily forgotten or overlooked in your SEO audit.
1. Site Map
You want to make sure that Google is crawling your site effectively completely. Checking the site map on your website ensures that all pages are being crawled and indexed by Google.
Have you submitted your site map to Google Search Console? Google Search Console is an excellent SEO tool that you need to track and monitor your website’s performance.
If you have already submitted your sitemap, you want to keep it update and ensure there are no errors, correct canonicals or broken pages. This means that all of your pages are being crawled and indexed correctly and therefore, have the opportunity to rank.
2. Meta data
Often, auditing tools and software will highlight these errors immediately. Title tags, heading tags, meta descriptions, image alt attributes all contribute to your website’s SEO ranking. These are often places that you will place keywords which help with optimising your content.
Therefore, crawling your website with an SEO audit tool such a Screaming Frog can identify any instances where they are too long, missing or duplicated. With these issues highlighted, you can fix and improve them.
You can also use this time to improve your meta descriptions that hook in readers and improve search rankings.
3. Mobile Friendly
With the increase in mobile usage, Google is transitioning to mobile-first indexing this year. This means that mobile content will define the index and rankings of a page. Therefore, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is hugely important for SEO.
You can use google to check the mobile-friendliness of your site https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly. This analysis also provides details of any errors and confirms if the page is mobile-friendly or not.
If not, then you need to get to work to improve the mobile version of your website and subsequently, your website’s SEO. If it is, then great! You can move on to the next stages of your SEO audit.
4. Crawl Errors
If your site isn’t being indexed, then it doesn’t have the opportunity to rank in SERPs. Therefore, checking and correcting crawl errors will mean that all of your website pages are being indexed correctly. This is why you want to submit your site map to Google search engine, ensuring that all pages have the opportunity to rank.
Google search console provides a report of indexed pages and errors.
However, you can also check indexing manually and cross-reference with the details that search console has collected. Enter site:”yoursitename” into Google to see how many pages are indexed.
If there are more than you expect then this could be penalising your results due to duplicate pages or broken links. It can also be due to indexing of http and https of a single page.
If there are fewer pages than you are expecting you may have to check your site map or robots.txt file or canonical tags that are producing errors. If this occurs, you need to uncover these errors can correct them so that your indexing is correct.
Do you need help with technical SEO, auditing or increasing SERP ranking, Outreach Lab can help with that! Get in touch today.
5. Http and Https
There can be multiple versions of your website and you need to ensure that only one version is browseable. This is because of the various ways a website can be typed in:
Only one should be browseable and indexed or Google will have duplicate pages which can negatively impact your website’s SEO. Therefore, checking and implementing redirects so that all possible versions go to the main version.
You can also check other pages such as a blog or product page to ensure this also redirects correctly.
6. Broken links
An essential task you can’t forget about in your SEO audit is checking your site for broken links. Broken links can negatively impact your SEO and very importantly, the user experience of your website.
A broken link is a link that goes to an error page or the link not working at all. This can mean that visitors to your site are not getting the information they need and may not be exploring your site deeper. Therefore, prompting them to find another website where this information is clear.
As for SEO, the search engine crawlers will be wasting time categorising broken links and possibly not indexing pages effectively. Additionally, the poor user experience can lead to high bounce rates which can negatively effect your SERPs.
To check your website for any broken links, you can manually go through pages. With a small website, this may not be too difficult but will still be time consuming. These links can be internal or external links so make sure you are checking all types of links in your SEO audit.
With a large website, auditing software may be a better option such as Screaming Frog. This can crawl your whole website and highlight any broken links.
Once discovered, you can then fix the broken link. With internal links, you may need to add redirects from deleted pages or restructured URLs to the new versions/replacements. External links can be replaced with new links and equally informative pages.
7. Loading Speeds
Loading speed of your website is also key for SEO and your website’s rankings. This includes both desktop and mobile versions. This is another element of your website that can impact SEO and the user experience.
The likelyhood of visitors staying and waiting for a website that loads slowly is pretty low. Therefore, leading to increased bounce rates and search engines lowering your rankings. Ultimately, regularly checking your landing speeds is a necessary addition to your SEO audit.
A free tool you can use is Google Page Speeds to check loading speed on your website for desktop and mobile. This gives you details about what takes the longest and possible ways to improve the speed that page. Although this is usually effective at checking speeds, you will also want to check the speed of each page so it can be time consuming.
Again, auditing softwares such as Ahrefs or Kingdom can carry out this task quickly for you. Then you need to action steps to improve the speed and functionality of your website.
8. Duplicate content
There is a myth that Google hates duplicate content. Google has stated that they will not penalise websites for duplicate content. However, duplicates of URL, titles, http and https versions, and even keyword optimisation can make it difficult for search engines to rank pages effectively. Therefore, you cannot forget to check for duplicates in your SEO audit to avoid this.
Do you have multiple pieces of content that are targeting the same keyword? This means you are setting your content to compete against yourself. Instead, could the content be combined for long form content and to rank more effectively?
Also, checking for duplicate content online using a tool such as Copyscape, can also help you identify if anyone is copying your content. Copied content can make it difficult for search engines to identify the original author and cause the wrong version to rank.
Checking duplicate content is also essential for e-commerce websites. Search parameters and filters of products can generate multiple URLs for one product page. Therefore, you may need to employ canonical tags on the original page to avoid duplicate content.
Action these Steps in your SEO Audit
These 8 actions may seem small but play a major part in your website’s SEO. This is why you can’t forget about even the smallest details of an SEO audit.
We also recommend completing an SEO audit regularly. This can be from every month or every quarter to ensure you are on top of your website’s SEO and the errors that can occur when running a website.
Outreach Lab can help with auditing your website and taking the necessary steps to improve your website’s SEO. Find out more.