It is critical for the success of any website to conduct regular search engine optimization (SEO) audits. These audits review and highlight any issues you may have. They give you a solid plan to work through, usually resulting in an increase of traffic. There are a bunch of tools out there you can use for the technical stages of auditing your site. First, you need to start off with the manual part if you want to conduct a proper SEO audit. Let’s dive into the importance of SEO audits.
Listen to what your visitors think
What better way to get feedback for your website then from the people that matter? You can conduct a simple reader survey and/or use social media to ask questions like:
- What do you like/dislike about my site?
- What content do you want me to write about?
- How do you want me to give you that content?
The answers you get to these questions will not only give you a list of things to fix to improve user experience but will help develop your content strategy to attract more visitors.
The next step is to go back to your website and observe the issues your visitors are having based on their feedback. You will no doubt be surprised by what you find and you may even spot a problem or two yourself. It is important you put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and see what they see. Then you can plan exactly what will improve their experience and what you need to do to make that happen.
Technical spot checks
You then need to perform a few spot technical checks. These checks are probably the most common issues you’ll find if you are having a problem ranking:
- Mobile & desktop page speed
- Mobile indexing
- Check performance metrics
- Review your data
You need to pick at least 5 URLs to test but these must include your homepage, a category page and the page that has the most content, images, videos, etc. You’ll see any issues and can add them to your list of things to work on.
Use an SEO audit tool
Create a common sense plan of attack
By now you should have a long list of things to work on. However, to do this effectively you need to create a robust plan which solves these issues quickly. So you need to put together a complete list of all your findings from the previous steps and the solutions to those problems.
Then simply rank them with your users in mind. The problem that will make them the happiest when fixed, should be at the top of the list and so on. A great user experience for your visitors means a great user experience for the search engines. So to recap the steps to identify your SEO problems:
- Listened to what your visitors have to say
- Manually observe their feedback
- Perform some technical spot checks
- Scan your site with an SEO audit tool
- Created a structured plan of attack
My results and the importance of SEO audits
I followed this exact process for my website after having a year of steadily declining traffic. After actioning my plan of attack my website traffic went up by 45 percent compared to the worst month of that year. I guess the proof is in the puddin’. This meant my website was ranking better then it ever has.
You can see this SEO audit strategy in action from start to finish on my blog. But some of the things I had to do were:
- Audit and optimize all my content
- Optimize my website speed
- Redesign my homepage
- Add 3 new portal pages
- Revamp my site navigation and simplify.
- Site structure in general
- Fix all the technical SEO problems
You will find different problems but you can easily identify them by following this 5 step audit process. I would recommend completing an SEO audit on your website a few times a year and definitely if you start to see a steady decline in traffic that can’t be explained.
This guest blog article was written by Matthew Woodward who started his award-winning blog in 2012. His site is dedicated to helping anyone with an online business exceed their goals. He publishes easy to understand tutorials and case studies showing SEO inaction.