In this series you will benefit from the below points:
- Understanding what an SEO audit is at its core
- What not to do in an audit
- The fault being free & automated SEO audits
- A list of great tools to use for the audit process
- What aspects to cover in a full SEO audit
- A free SEO audit template with actionable points
- How to be the best
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What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is an in-depth analysis and study of a website’s inner workings, structure and overall ability to achieve its objectives.
I always break it down into these two easy points to remember:
- Understand that a human being will convert on your website (achieve the desired goal)
- But, Google has to be able to effectively show your website to humans in order for them to convert.
Google has to be able to access, crawl and show your websites to your audience in order for your audience to engage your website. For this process to happen, there are many tick boxes which need to be checked from a search engine perspective.
Technical VS Creative
When I mention creative, I am not speaking about the ability to design or implement layouts etc. I am referring to the ability to engage the user in a creative manner which is out the box and appealing.
The technical side refers to all of the signals (tick boxes) which Google will look at when analysing your website.
The creative side comes in when you implement types of content in the form of content, page title tags and descriptions, image selection, the flow of the pages, internal linking as well as the overall hierarchy of your website. There are many other points which fall into the creative silo which we will get to in the series.
Let’s run through some great tools to get the job done well.
These days, there are a million tools our there for anything you could possibly need to get done in the digital world. One thing I will say upfront is that any ‘quick fix’ tools or tools which promise some form of instant results in any area of SEO are generally bad and do not offer any value.
You get what you pay for with SEO tools and quick fixes never work. There are many great tools which are free to use and offer great value. Below is a short list of some audit tools to use and ones which are popular when conducting an SEO audit on a website.
The Best SEO Audit Tools
Screaming Frog Free and Paid
Advanced website crawler tool which gives you the ability to access every element of a website’s existence. The technical capabilities of this tool are really great and have been around for a long time. Not only does screaming from show you every possible aspect of On Page SEO, URL structure, response codes and so much more, you can also analyse structure data all in one place and connect your Google account too. Very powerful!
Detailed Google penalty and Google update checker. Fruition links to your Google analytics account and checks your domain directly against every Google update, penalty update or core algorithm change. This tool offers great insight and excellent visual elements to help you understand any impacts on your website whether they are positive or negative. This tool should be in any SEO’s toolbox regardless of whether you are running SEO audits or services in general.
In my opinion, one of the best backlink profile and keyword research tools ever to exist is Ahrefs. Ahrefs gives you the ability to analyse every aspect of your website’s entire backlink profile and link types. This tool also gives you advanced insights into your competitors traffic, rankings and backlinks. Their keyword research tools (keywords explorer) is my favourite research tool by far and is, in my opinion, the best keyword research tool on the market.
Comprehensive and full suite all in one SEO tool which has incredible site audit features, visuals, toxic link analysis and great content ideas. Known to be very easy to use, SEMrushes’ ability to identify toxic links and give you the opportunity to analyse them and submit them to Google for the disavow process directly from the SEMrush dashboard is really handy and easy to use. The reporting options and reporting templates from SEMrush are visually engaging, easy to use and very comprehensive. This is a must have tool for any SEO audit.
Comprehensive website speed checker and page load time testing tool. This tool offers core insights into advanced load time metrics and data both from the client side (user) and the server side.
Google mobile friendly test Free
Excellent mobile friendly testing tool analysing responsiveness, mobile load time, mobile layout and distances of buttons, images and text. Easily identifies sites which are or are not mobile friendly. A nice addition to this tool is that Google give you a detailed breakdown of what is needed to improve and fix any mobile errors which show up.
Google analytics and Google Search Console Free
These need zero introduction or explanation!
The Three Main Elements of an SEO Audit
Many companies work differently, and the reality is that some do take advantage of the fact that there are some tools which offer automated auditing and produce pretty looking results and reports.
However, it is not possible that this type of automated site audit can be comprehensive enough for the modern-day SEO audit. There needs to be a human element which is backed up by experience, knowledge, SEO insight as well as an overall passion for the work.
Generally speaking, an SEO audit will cover the following three core pillars in the SEO world which are then divided and broken down into multiple tasks and to do lists within each pillar.
Website accessibility, search engine compliance, website speed and Googel best practice.a
On page SEO
What users see as in content, title tags, description tags, website URLs, headings, dupliate content and more.
Off page SEO
External linking, brand mentiones and backlinks from third party websites which point back to your site. Backlinks sit within the top 3 ranking factors.
In our series on SEO audits we are going to cover, in detail, the above three essential pillars in the SEO audit process. This will help you understand each element and then how they all work together to make for a great SEO audit.
Post that, we will wrap everything up into how an audit project should be wrapped up in terms of documentation of the findings, next steps and various action plans.
We are a focused team of SEO Consultants operating in and around London, Uk.