When was the last time, if ever, you had an audit performed on your site? Regular website audits are important to make sure that your site is running like a well-oiled machine. An SEO site audit helps identify problems your website may have, and provides suggestions on how to fix those problems. Think of it as a tune-up for your car or your yearly medical check-up. You wouldn’t drive your car without ever having an oil change, or participate in an Ironman triathlon without knowing that your body is actually able to endure the physical stress; right?
SEO Audit: Professional vs. DIY
There are a lot of options for a full-scale SEO audit, which can cost a company plenty of time and money. However, a Lite version of an SEO audit can be an excellent alternative for smaller websites or businesses on a limited budget. Smaller websites will take less time to analyze and audits can actually be performed on the fly by an in-house digital marketing expert. A Lite SEO audit will still help determine possible issues that are not contributing positively to the performance of a website.
The Online Marketing Institute recently invited me to lead a session that we’re calling “Learn How To Perform An SEO Website Audit On The Fly,” and I encourage you to join this session if you’d like to perform an audit by yourself.
Professional SEO site audits usually start at $1,000 and can easily exceed $5,000 depending on the size of the site and the actual scope. Benefits of a professional SEO website audit include:
- A professional SEO expert to conduct the audit
- You’ll receive 30-100+ pages of findings and recommendations
- You’ll have a list of action items and instructions on how to fix potential issues
- The SEO expert is available for follow up consulting and to help fix issues if needed
But why not get started and just take a stab at it yourself? The below notes will give you some ideas and I’ll also share some tools that will help you facilitate this process.
1. Analyze the Technical Health of Your Website
Improving the technical performance of a website is one of the most important aspects to increase your site’s overall visibility in search engines. Potential technical aspects that you need to consider and analyze include:
- URL Canonicalization
- IP Canonicalization
- Default/Index Page
- Content Duplication
- Page Title Duplication
- Page Description Duplication
- Clean URL
- XML Sitemap
- 404 Page
- Page Speed
- Text Navigation
- 4XX Errors and 5XX Errors
After you’ve watched the OMI session I’m leading, you’ll understand how tools such as Google Webmaster Tools, Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Mobile-Friendly Analyzer, SEOquake, Woorank, and iwebchk will help you during this process.
2. Analyze Your Website’s Functionality
Google cares a lot about how people interact with your website. You’ll lose a ton of “SEO points” if you optimize your site for search, start to get increased website traffic, but then people immediately leave your site because they can’t find what they are looking for. This dramatically increases your site’s bounce rate and Google will naturally penalize your site in search results. Make sure to get access to Google Analytics so that you can analyze your website’s traffic. Also, you’ll definitely want to read and adhere to Google’s design and content guidelines.
3. Analyze the Content of Your Website
A professional SEO site audit usually includes the review of your website’s content and how it’s optimized for search. By creating materials that draw the visitor in and entice them to delve more deeply into the website's pages, optimized content will create a welcoming and interesting environment for potential new clientele – and will reduce your site’s bounce rate. Get started by conducting keyword research using Google’s Keyword Planner tool, which is part of Google AdWords.
There’s a lot more to performing an SEO site audit, but this intro will get you started on the right coutse. If you don’t have the funds to invest into a professional audit, then at least take a stab at these recommendations in order to improve your site’s visibility in search engines. You’ll get more hits and create more revenue for your business – sort of a no-brainer if you ask me!