In our agency we always recommend and perform an SEO audit for all new clients. Without understanding clearly what is technically wrong with the website, no amount of off-site SEO is going to work well. A technical SEO audit will be able to highlight areas where the website is struggling, where it could be improved and what it is doing right.
An SEO audit is all about getting the website onsite SEO right. I describe it to potential clients as the foundations of a building. If they are shaky and not planted firmly in the ground then building on top of them will not be secure or long term.
SEO Audit Tools
There are a number of tools which we recommend to use to undertake a technical SEO audit. In this agency we use:
- Screaming Frog
- Google Analytics
- Search Console
- Google Structured Testing tool
There are others which we bring in depending on the issues. For a complicated website structure which needs a good overhaul we will use some site architecture tools to map what is there and to craft what the ideal navigation structure should be.
How to do an SEO audit
Following a thorough conversation with the client about their business and what they are looking to achieve we will progress to the audit itself.
- First up is a crawl of the website. We are able to see right off how many URLs there are, the type of title tags and Meta descriptions in place, any crawl errors. We can get a pretty good understanding of whether the site has had any previous SEO work done on it.
- We look at competitors keywords, we use keyword tools and we come up with a strategy for each page or section of the website.
- We look at the amount of copy; the use of title tags, the use of keyword themes, its structure (big blocks of text are a no-no) and we provide recommendations.
- Duplication issues – is the copy being copied elsewhere or was copied?
- How many versions of the website exists http and https? Diluting
- Website speed – is the website loading really slowly because of large images or too many plugins?
- Is the navigation intuitive? Are there orphan pages? We would use a site architecture tool and then suggest a new structure when required.
- Is there decent footer content?
- Is there Structured Data in place?
- How many pages are being indexed by Google? We can check this using the operator site: example.com. Very few pages being indexed and there may be a problem. Too many and it may mean that all types of things are being indexed which shouldn’t. In a WordPress site we can easily fix things like tags being indexed.
- Backlink profile – are there a decent number of links? Are there any which look like they are spammy or have been bought in the past? Always a good idea to understand the client’s motives before and deduce expectations.
- Does Google analytics show a dip in traffic in the past which could indicate a penalty? Is the traffic seasonal? Where is the traffic coming from? These are all valid questions which will help piece together the history of the website and if there is anything to worry about.
- If webmaster tools have been set up then it will provide a load of information about crawl errors and what Google generally thinks of the website.
How Long Does an SEO Audit take?
It depends. It really does depend on the size of the website and how complicated it is. Ecommerce websites are more complicated usually and take more time.
What’s the output?
In this agency we use a comprehensive SEO audit template which we complete and send to the client before any changes are implemented. There may be copy changes and structural changes and we need the client to agree to everything before we proceed.
Will You Rank After an SEO Audit?
We have seen some quite spectacular increases in rankings following the implementation of onsite SEO changes as a result of the audit. So much so that some clients have commented whether they need any off-site SEO as they have achieved so much!
Once the onsite SEO is complete following the audit, it doesn’t mean that we won’t revisit it. As part of our service we will be tweaking and checking and monitoring a client’s website each month. We take a holistic view of the business both onsite and offsite.