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First Steps for SEO Audit: A Way to Realize Your SEO Mistakes & Opportunities
KEYWORDS: SEO, AUDIT, ANALYSIS
Let’s face it: there are heaps of SEO audit methodologies out there. Whether you’re a small business trying to optimize your own website for organic searching, or if you are an IT company, helping a customer to get the most out of their potential for online business, it’s often difficult to understand where to start. How in-depth should your analysis go? What SEO tools can assist you to gather the most important data?
To cut out the background noise, we’ve identified the key actions for a successful SEO audit. These will be helpful whether you’re a seasoned SEO expert or a small business owner with an off-the-peg website from Square Space or another provider. If you run through the following proven steps to success, you can set your website on the trail to organic search domination.
A Note on SEO package and SEO Tools
Any SEO package worthy of the name, such as Ahrefs, Moz Pro, or SEMrush, will include a website audit or site crawl tool that enables you to crawl your web site to verify the “search health” of your website. These tools will also identify common inefficiencies that are dragging down your site’s organic performance. These SEO packages will also include alternative tools, such as keyword analysis, backlink identification etc.
Used in conjunction with Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools), SEO packages are essential to the activities suggested in this post. If you aren’t sure about using them, I would suggest trying the free trial versions of these tools before making a final decision or attempting an SEO audit of your entire website.
A Note on Google Search Console
To do an SEO audit on your own website, simply type Google Search Console into your search engine and follow the step-by-step instructions. You will need to verify that you own your domain name, and you will need to enter the TXT record of your website into the DNS configuration before you start.
If you’re auditing a website you don’t own, and you’d like access to Analytics and Search Console to perform that audit, you will need permission from the website’s owner to do this. To perform the audit on their behalf, they will need to manually add you as a user on their domain name provider.
Now onto the audit:
Step 1: Establish Internal & External Link Building Opportunities
Building links is a very important way to give your website authority. No SEO audit is complete without recommending site-specific internal and external links to build on a website.
Building Internal Links
Internal links strengthen and create equity among your own web pages. Per se, internal links are very important to the structure of your website, forming authoritative hierarchies between pages.
There’s an easy and time-honored way to build links. After you’ve produced a brand new piece of content, search for older and well-connected content that has ideally already has link equity. Then insert links in your anchor text in your new content.
For example, if you’ve created a brand new resource about Facebook ads, these are the pages you’ll need to link to and from:
A chrome extension such as Mozart can provide you with this information. You’ll need to link from the page with the best page authority (PA). Page Authority and Domain Authority (DA) aren’t “official” metrics. Google doesn’t use them to index pages. They were created by SEO package corporations to produce estimates of a page’s or a domain’s authority. That said, they’re still pretty accurate; and they provide crucial information about which websites or pages to link from.
You also need to use your own expertise and knowledge, and that of your customers, when creating internal links. Which links would be genuinely helpful for someone looking at a certain page of your website? What would bring them closer to buying your product or service?
These are good questions to ask once you start building internal links on your website. However, we’ll discuss much of this in Step 2.
Building External Links
Earning links from a wide variety of authoritative domains is the dream of achieving a thriving Domain Authority for your website. One simple tip for building external links is to search for online resources that would realistically feature your content, and ask them to link to you.
An easier way to build external links – and one that yields higher returns – is to search for unlinked mentions. Most good SEO tools include a “content person” tool, which enables you to search for places on the net wherever your products or services have been mentioned.
After sorting this web content by Domain Authority and checking that your target websites do no already contain a link to you, you’ll be able to contact the content managers of the websites via Twitter, email or other social media, requesting that they raise links back to your homepage.
Step 2: Establish Potential data design enhancements
Information design, or IA (Information Architecture), is a sweeping term that means the way that the date on a website is ordered, structured and labelled, to make it easier for users to navigate.
A good SEO audit will ensure that the internal linking structures on the website are redistributed if necessary, which will pass equity to the pages that require it. While not compromising on the user experience, working with web developers and designer can help to develop easy solutions that may improve page authority.
For example, perhaps your web log index only lists 10 pages at a time. This may be pushing useful older posts away from your homepage, which is where you want to have the most link equity. Posts that are 20-30 clicks away from your homepage aren’t easily found by your users. Increasing the number or posts per page on your web log index can bring these older posts nearer to the homepage.
Perhaps the “related posts” and “popular posts” sections of your web log contain overlapping links; or your header and footer contain overlapping links. Changing these duplicate links to links to alternative pages where you wish to see more link equity can help you to maximize your linking potential.
Unless you are auditing your own website, Information Architecture-based recommendations should match the goals of your customers and the stakeholders of the project. Which pages of their website need the most customers? Will they be visiting the website for information or to make a purchase? These are important factors and will help you to organize the content of the website in the most user-friendly way that also works well for SEO.