Your Guide to Performing an SEO Audit
Performing an SEO audit is one of the key ways to make sure your content is performing in optimum condition to help it rank on Google SERPs and get your website the necessary visibility. SEO audits help you to identify any problems in your content so you can make sure you are always providing the best source of information to your audience. Jump on in to find out what you can do to make sure your content is the best it can be after going live!
Different Types of Audit
The first thing to understand is that there are different types of audit depending on what part of your website you’re optimising.
Content audits keep your work as up to date as possible. Seasonal content might need updating with the latest news or information, such as new updates on Covid-19 if you’ve got an article about remote working on your site. It can also help to improve your readability and fix any grammatical issues you may have missed as well as adding more content to increase its value.
There’s also an on-page SEO audit which takes care of the more technical ins-and-outs of your site to help you rank in the eyes of Google’s MUM algorithm. This includes optimising your meta descriptions, meta tags on media in your content and making sure your images load quickly to maximise the user experience.
Other types of audit can include off-page which primarily deals with internal linking and the pages surrounding the one you want to rank for, local SEO which will help you rank in geographical terms. For example, if someone’s looking for a McDonalds in Brighton, they’re not going to want to see results for one in London, are they?
The last type of audit is technical SEO which takes care of your page security and makes sure you’re on the official and authoritative HTTPS code instead of the old HTTP. This helps to broadcast your site as trustworthy and reliable to both Google and prospective visitors which would help massively when it comes to ranking.
Mobile-Friendly SEO Audit
There are several things for you to check to make sure your content is performing well after being published.
The first, and perhaps the most important in the current age of internet use, is making sure your content is mobile-friendly. The vast majority of users access the internet on their phones so it’s vital that your page performs well. In fact, it’s recommended that you design and optimise your page for mobile over desktop.
This includes things like making sure your images are compressed enough that they load and making sure your content is designed so that users don’t have to keep scrolling from left to right when they’re trying to read.
Ease of use means users will enjoy their experience on your website more, making your content more valuable and increasing your reputation to both Google and searchers. It also helps with fast loading times to make the user journey as smooth as possible.
Auditing Your Links
Links in SEO help you create something akin to a map for Google to follow so it understands your content and becomes more effective at crawling and indexing your pages.
Internal links help with this, helping your pages to be linked to create a smoother experience while also drawing attention to what you consider to be your most important pages. After your site goes live, you should always remember to check on it periodically to make sure the links aren’t broken as this can damage your site’s value to Google and to the user.
Fix your broken links using Google Search Console to identify them and then do one of two easy steps: either replace them or delete them if the page no longer holds value to your website.
You can recreate the broken page if it is an important one that has accumulated a lot of backlinks or you can use Google redirects (301) to transfer users to pages on your site that have similar information.
You never know though – it might be as simple as typing in the link wrong and having a typo. Always check for the easy fix before you consider other methods!
Using Competitor Analysis to Help Your Audit
One of the most valuable things you can do is analyse what your competition is doing.
They’ll be putting out very similar information to you to try and appeal to the same user base so it’s important that you understand what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong. This will help you to fill in any gaps in the information that aren’t being addressed which can help to make your content that much more valuable.
It can also help you to compile what you should be talking about to make your content more reliable and informative. Perhaps each one of your competitors is talking about one or two aspects of the topic but no one’s tackling everything. This presents a good opportunity for you to be a one stop shop for all the information in your sector, giving you a better chance of catapulting up the rankings.
Competitor analysis is made easy for you with tools like Surfer SEO or Thru. These tools compile the competitor analysis data for you to help you with assessing their strengths and weaknesses so you can begin to identify your own (it’s also really useful for the research and planning phase!).
Surfer SEO for example, gives you the top 10 competitors for your keyword and helps you sort the information so that you have a clear idea of what to do to optimize your pages.
Auditing Your Content Line by Line
Another thing Surfer SEO does which is a great benefit to the auditing process is provide you with a list of keywords that your competitors are using that you should also be using to make your content as valuable as possible.
It’s always a good idea to check your work against their keyword list as it will help you to identify any missing entities and aid you in identifying the most relevant keywords.
They have a feature which allows you to click on the keyword to see how it was used contextually on your competitors’ sites. If you understand how to use the terms, you can apply them to your content in the most powerful places enabling you to get the most out of them and rise in the rankings.
A good tip is to make a list of the top 10 missing entities for your topic and if any of them are missing from your content, find a way to slot them in. It may involve adding sections which can only have a positive impact as you will be filling your site with relevant content and providing users with richer information.
Auditing for Readability
While you’re checking for missing entities and increasing the relevance of your content, you’ll want to be careful that you don’t lose your readability in the process.
No one wants to read content plugged full of technical keywords that don’t leave room for anything else like a natural narrative, adaptable grammar or a sense of pace and flow. Users want to feel like they’re reading something written by a fellow human being not a machine.
Some tools like Grammarly can destroy the natural flow of your text if you don’t stay on top of it, so make sure you’re using your common sense when auditing with AI – you’ll know what sounds and feels good a lot better than a machine would.
In part, readability factors into the use of natural language processing (NLP). Using NLP keywords is what helps to make your content feel natural and it is also what helps MUM, Google’s search algorithm, run.
Recent years have seen a big push into using natural language in search queries, generating a more engaging conversation between Google and the user. So naturally, if you match Google with your use of NLP, you’ll have a better chance of ranking as Google will see you as a more valuable source of information.
Surfer SEO can help with this as well by providing a list of NLP keywords in your topic to help you get started.
Getting started with an SEO audit can seem like a daunting task but when you get into the swing of things, you’ll find it easier and easier to manage.
Just remember to schedule a check for your live content every couple of weeks, so you can see how it’s doing and whether there’s any new gaps to fill. The competitor market is always shifting as well – they’re doing SEO as well!, so keeping on top of things is the easiest way to ensure you stay up in the rankings.
You can even optimize your content for a featured snippet if you want for extra visibility. When it comes to SEO and auditing, the sky’s the limit and in this case, the sky is that coveted number one spot in the SERPs.
Good luck and have fun with your auditing!