An SEO Audit: What Does It Involve?

To stay competitive, it is necessary to routinely take a step back and carefully evaluate your website. A website audit involves identifying pages that need improvement and carrying out those changes to ensure your site continues to maintain organic search visibility.

While a website audit can be solely focused on a particular aspect, such as improving search visibility or the quality of content, an effective, in-depth audit factors in various aspectsthat together constitute a high-performing website, namely:

Usability

User experience is Google’s ranking factor, so it should always be part of any SEO audit.

It also helps you create a user-centric marketing strategy which is always rewarded with higher rankings.

First and foremost, open your web site from the user’s perspective. Be brutally objective, then answer the following key questions:

  • Do you like the speed at which it loads?
  • Do you find it easy to navigate?
  • Do you like the look-and-feel of the website?
  • Is the content engaging enough?
  • Does it look genuine and trustworthy?
  • Is it mobile-friendly and responsive?

If your answer to all the questions is a resounding yes, then you’re off to a great start. However, chances are,that’s not the case.

Let’s start with your page loading speed. Your website shouldn’t take more than five seconds to load. If it does, it’s time to take serious action. Start by stripping your website off of bulky images and useless elements. Minimize HTTP requests, use a content delivery network (CDN), enable compression and browser caching, and basically do whatever it takes to improvethe loading speed.

Site speed is especially crucial for mobile-friendliness. Google’s research suggests 53% of users will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. So, the need for speed is truly a life-and-death matter for your business.

Next, make sure your site’s design is super intuitive to navigate, responsive (i.e. adapts automatically to the screen size on which it is loaded) while being aesthetically pleasing.

Finally, ensure your content is top-notch — valuable, comprehensive, well-researched, original, readable,personable, actionable, and grammatically and factually correct. Yes, all of that.

Truth be told, all these factors that constitute sublime usability can be ticked off easily if you make your website minimalistic. Essentially, the concept of minimalism lays emphasis on keeping things simple yet elegant.

A minimalist design doesn’t beat around the bush and delivers exactly what the user expects, without any fluff. It makes the content (which is king) shine and trims the fat from your design, soto speak.

Search Engine Friendliness

For nearly every website, ranking on the first page of Google search results is pivotal to hitting its business goals.

Usability and search engine friendliness actually go hand-in-hand. Today, search engines like Google are pretty smart. If your site delivers a great user experience, then it is already well on its way to becoming an extremely search-friendly (read “high ranking”)website.

For instance, site speed, which is important to usability, is officially a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop searches. So, slow loading speeds will seriously hurt your rankings onGoogle. Similarly, a poor site structure will hinder your site’s crawlability and indexability by the Google bots.

That being said, when conducting a site audit for search engine optimization (SEO), there are many other things(on-site and off-site) that demand your attention, such as:

  • Content, page titles, and URLs need to be keyword-optimized.
  • The number of backlinks should be steadily growing and the sites linking to you should be of high quality.
  • All outbound links must be pointing to quality websites, internal linking has to be done properly, and there shouldn’t be any broken links.
  • All images should have appropriate alt text and be optimized for speed.

Furthermore, SEO audits also comprise technical SEO factors such as reviewing the robots.txt file, XML sitemap status, keyword cannibalization, and more. In fact, search engine friend liness extends to improving your website’s security…

Security

It goes without saying that ensuring your site’s security is paramount for your business and your website visitors.A well-guarded website will present a secure environment for your potential customers and boost conversions.

Don’t wait for a hacker to remind you of the importance of securing your website. When auditing your website for security, here’s a list of things you might need to check up on (if you haven’t already):

  • The login credentials are strong and immune to brute force attacks.
  • Your content management system (CMS) and plugins are up-to-date.
  • Frequent site backups are scheduled beforehand.
  • An SSL certificate to protect your customer’s sensitive data is in place. In fact, an SSL is considered so important that Google uses them as a ranking factor and without one, your site won’t do well in search results.
  • Regular malware scans and vulnerability tests are taking place.

Hackers target businesses of all sizes.Numerous small businesses, including SaaS startups, agency websites, blogs, and eCommerce stores fall victim to hackers every day.

The last thing you want is to lose your website to a hacker, or worse, compromise your customers’ data due to a cyber security lapse on your part. So, don’t forget to periodically review your site’s security status.

Final Thoughts

A false perception of SEO often revolves around seeing it as a complex process that is irrelevant to small businesses.Yet, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. A well-promoted website with high search visibility is a strong force to be reckoned with.

Organic-search traffic is the leading driver of traffic being sent to a website at 51% of all Internet searches. This number represents how many visitors on your site who landed there after searching a platform such as Google or Bing. This is where SEO optimization comes into play, as your website needs to stand out at the top of those search results.

A few of the leading services in the industry for building reputable websites such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace are beginning to implement simple SEO tools directly into their platforms. This can be cost-effective and resourceful for anyone who may be unfamiliar with SEO. Additionally, there are several paid and free external options available to boost the performance of your website.

A comprehensive website audit might take a good chunk of your time but it’s well worth it. When done right, are gular (say, yearly) audit will help you discover gaps and weaknesses in your website which, in turn, allows you to continuously improve your site, and thus,revenue.

For a more comprehensive SEO audit,hire a reputable SEO agency that will evaluate your search visibility and create a step-by-step SEO roadmap.

 

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