You’ve heard of the importance of good SEO, but how do you know your website’s current SEO strategy is working? When it comes to businesses and SEO, figuring out where to start can be challenging.
An SEO audit serves as a type of guide map for business owners to improve their strategy. An audit evaluates the search engine friendliness of a website. SEO audits look at various website factors, such as content, links, and site architecture. Understanding how these components work is important when talking about optimizing for organic search.
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO is the practice of optimizing each page of your website to come up in organic search for keyword searches related to the topic of that page.
An on-page SEO audit can help you:
Know your website’s SEO health
Understand the issues that hinder your business’ online visibility
Find out if search engines can crawl and index your website
Keep you up-to-date with the latest developments in search engine marketing
An on-page SEO audit will empower your business with real and actionable insights. Perform SEO audits at least twice a year. Things change fast in the SEO world (like Google algorithm updates). Regular audits ensure that your website is up-to-date with the latest developments.
Performing an On-Page Audit
You can do an audit yourself, or you can hire an expert to do an on-page audit for you. An SEO audit can be pretty exhaustive. If you choose to do it yourself, create an Excel sheet with your site’s pages and categories as rows. Be sure to include each element of your audit as header columns.
Here are our top 8 factors for auditing a webpage for SEO effectiveness.
Does every page have a title and description?
Title tags and meta descriptions are essential for good SEO. Each page on your website should be unique, which means you need a different title tag for every page. Title tags tell search engines what subject each of your website pages is about. Title tags appear as the hyperlinked words in a Google search.
Title tags carry weight in Google rankings, so take your time in writing good ones. Title tags should include keywords relevant to the page’s content, but also sound natural and not keyword-stuffed.
Meta descriptions should describe what your page is about, convey the page’s value to the reader, and have a call to action.
Meta descriptions don’t directly influence your Google rankings, but a well-written description can help generate more clicks to your site. Like title tags, meta descriptions should be short (250 – 300 characters) and contain relevant keywords.
Is your content original, engaging and relevant?
To take advantage of the best possible SEO, your content should be unique and original. Use Copyscape to make sure you don’t have any duplicate content. Remove or de-index any repeated content you find. Check out this helpful guide for writing website content and this list of duplicate content checkers.
Your content should be useful, informative and engaging for your ideal customer. Stick to a steady posting schedule, but remember that quality is better than quantity.
Do you have relevant internal links?
Linking your pages together improves user experience and can also impact your Google search ranking. If you have internal links, make sure that you use exact match anchor text. Additionally, make sure that the pages you are linking are related to each other. Your website should have about 2-10 internal links per page.
Are your website page URLs short and clean?
Ideally, URLs for each page should be unique and properly formatted.
Not Ideal: http://www.yourwebsite.com/post=121357362
A good URL includes keywords and is brief and descriptive. Please note that, while descriptive URLs are awesome, if you don’t have them, this is a difficult website aspect to change. Suddenly changing your URLs may have the opposite effect on your search engine rankings than what you were hoping. Make sure you talk to an SEO expert before making any big URL structure updates.
Are all the links on your website working?
Broken links create a bad user experience and can negatively impact your Google rankings, depending on their severity. Make sure all your links are working! Use a tool like Online Broken Link Checker to ensure you only have functioning links.
Is your content organized logically?
Are all your images sized correctly and have ALT tags?
To optimize your images for SEO, make sure your images have an ALT tag defined. Search engines use ALT tags as part of their image search algorithm.
All images should be compressed to reduce their size. If you use a lot of images, you may need to consider using a content delivery network (CDN). Having too many large image files on your site can drastically slow it down.
What is your website’s load time?
How fast your website loads can determine if users stay on or click off out of frustration. Plus, Google favors websites with quick loading times when determining organic rankings. Google provides a free tool to check your website’s speed. Any webpage that takes longer than three seconds to load can use improvement.
Ready to audit your website?
By going through each of the above items on every page of your site, you should uncover quite a few changes you can make to improve your on-page SEO. This process is a great way to kickstart any new SEO campaign and get a feel for how your site is currently set up.
Most of the time, on-page SEO factors are easy to fix. Depending on your SEO needs and your website’s current standing, an on-page audit can become very extensive. On-page SEO audits can be challenging to tackle, especially if you lack technical expertise.