Conducting an SEO audit means examining your site and identifying any potential factors holding it back from ranking higher in Google searches. In other words, SEO audits help you figure out where your website is falling flat and which areas need improvement.
This means that SEO audits can be hugely beneficial for anyone who wants to make their site more attractive to prospective visitors. By highlighting areas that need work, an SEO audit enables website owners to focus their efforts and make targeted improvements.
So how would you go about conducting one, exactly? Below are 10 easy steps you should follow to make your SEO auditing process simple, streamlined, and effective.
1. Take stock of your current situation
The first step in the SEO auditing process should be to establish your current position. Consider how your site is performing in all relevant areas; for example, how high up is it in search results? And which keywords are helping its overall SEO performance?
You must compare the performance of your own website to that of your competition. SEO is a zero-sum game. There are a finite number of top spots in search engine results and an ever-increasing number of websites competing for them. For your site to take one of those spots, it has to out-perform the competition.
2. Look yourself up by keywords
A great way to compare your performance to that of your competitors is by using popular search engines like Google to look up your own website by keywords.
For example, if your site focuses on delivering group meeting software, you would want it to show up in the search results for terms like ‘group meetings’, ‘virtual conference software’, and ‘online conference meeting’. Many similar keywords should all be directing people towards your site. If your website fails to claim a top position for any of these terms, you’ll instantly know which phrases need to appear more in your content.
2. Search for and amend thin content
Your site might not appear in the search results for particular keywords because those terms are only included on pages with little or ‘thin’ content. Google’s algorithm doesn’t promote thin pages. Instead, it will redirect users to similar sites saturated with what it deems more valuable content.
That’s why it’s vital to ensure that the content on your most important pages is as rich and insightful as possible.
You shouldn’t bloat your pages with meaningless content. Instead, the idea is to ‘swing big’ and provide readers with comprehensive and relevant information. For example, instead of just listing popular video conferencing software in a post, you could beef it up by introducing slack alternatives and weighing up their performances.
3. Expand your use of internal links
Aside from making your pages more attractive to Google’s algorithm, fleshing out your thin content has the added benefit of affording you the space to introduce more internal links.
Many experts consider link building the most critical SEO improvement strategy, so you must learn to excel in this area.
You could, for example, link to your own subdomains – this tactic has been shown to increase SEO scores for websites. It also makes it easier for users to navigate to the next page on your website they’re interested in and keeps users engaged with your content beyond the first page.
4. Make sure your site only has one URL
This step sounds straightforward, but it’s an easy yet often overlooked factor.
In short, any iteration of your website’s URL should redirect to one single site. This means that whether someone enters ‘www.’ before your domain name or not, they should always be taken to the same site.
You must redirect all traffic to an https:// site over its http:// counterpart. This is because the ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’, meaning that this kind of URL helps to protect you from website defacement and other forms of cyber-attack.
By moving all incoming traffic onto one secure site, you protect yourself and ensure that you aren’t accidentally reducing your site traffic by splitting your audience between two websites. There’s already enough competition. You don’t need to compete with yourself!
5. Run your website through SEO auditing software
SEO optimization is a popular method for increasing site traffic. As such, there’s plenty of software out there that can help you conduct an SEO audit on your website!
Select the most suitable software for you according to your budget, and let it comb through your content. The software will be able to target areas for improvement.
6. Process the resulting data
It’s essential to make the most of the data that your chosen SEO assessment software has generated for you. That’s where data quality software comes in handy. This exists to manage and analyze the accuracy, completeness, and relevance of your business’s data and will enable you to optimize the data contained in your website’s pages.
By improving the quality of the data your website contains, you’ll ensure that you stand out among your competition. Additionally, you’ll look more attractive to Google’s algorithm.
7. Check your site’s speed
While your software works on finding areas for improvement, you can help the SEO improvement effort in another key way: ensuring that your site loads quickly.
This is another simple factor that’s easily overlooked. However, a website that loads slowly will miss out on the chance to hook its visitors instantly. If your site’s visitors have to sit and wait to see your content, they’ll be much more likely to form a negative opinion of your brand or just give up and leave your site altogether. To avoid this, fine-tune your content so that any device, including mobile devices, can quickly load your pages.
7. Remove content you don’t need anymore
This step is all about trimming down the fat! When you’re working on your website’s SEO growth, you may find that some of your pages are much higher quality than others or that some of your pages have overlapping content. The solution is to remove excess content.
This can mean combining overlapping articles or outright taking down pages that don’t enhance your website. Although this process might be tedious, the result will be a clean, tidy site full of valuable content that really draws in viewers. Consequently, search engine algorithms will recognize that each of your pages has enough merit to earn a high place on the search results pages.
8. Update any pages that need it
The final step is to engage with the SEO process continuously. Removing excess content is one example of this; another is re-optimizing older pages or blog posts.
By conducting regular SEO audits, you’ll be encouraged to re-evaluate the quality of your content and incorporate new internal links. For example, if one of your key pages lists scheduling tips for freelancers, it would be worth updating that page whenever you discover a helpful new tip to add to the list.
Andrea Almazora- RingCentral US. Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, an inbound contact center software provider and the leader in global enterprise communication and collaboration solutions on the cloud. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.