How to Conduct a Complete SEO Audit 

Complete SEO Audit Feature Image

Let’s be honest, everyone wants their website to be the shining star at the top of Google search results. But sometimes, even with the best content, your site might be hiding in the shadows. That’s where a complete SEO audit comes in. Think of it like a website checkup to uncover any hidden problems keeping you from ranking higher. 

What is SEO, again? 

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is a dynamic field that requires ongoing attention to maintain and improve a website’s visibility in search results. A complete SEO audit is the cornerstone for identifying areas for improvement, troubleshooting issues, and refining your strategy for search success. This blog will provide a technical guide to performing an in-depth SEO audit

Audit SEO Tools  

Before we get started, here are the free and helpful SEO tools you’ll need to start auditing. But, in this post, we’ll mainly use SEMrush as the main auditing tool. 

  • Crawlers: Screaming Frog, Ahrefs Site Audit, and Semrush 
  • Keyword Research: Ahrefs, Semrush, and Google Keyword Planner 
  • Backlink Analysis: Ahrefs and Semrush 
  • Google Tools: Google Search Console (GSC) and PageSpeed Insights 

Here at Digitalfeet, we use SEMrush, Agency360 and SEO Screaming Frog in conducting a complete SEO audit and for our SEO cleanup process. And here’s the steps of how we do a comprehensive website audit. 

Here Are the Key Areas of a Complete SEO Audit 

1. Technical SEO Foundations 

Check if your pages are all indexed: Ensure search engines can properly crawl and index your website’s pages. Check Google Search Console’s “Index Coverage” report, review your robots.txt file, and verify XML sitemap submission. 

Check if there are duplicate Content: Duplicate content can dilute link signals. Use tools like Siteliner or Screaming Frog to identify issues and employ canonical tags and 301 redirects to consolidate link equity. 
Here’s how it looks like: 

Site Crawls: Use a robust website crawler like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, or Semrush to analyze technical errors such as broken links, missing or duplicate metadata, redirect chains, etc. 

Or…Manual Actions: Check Google Search Console for manual penalties that could hinder your rankings. 

2. Mobile-Friendliness 

Why is this important? More people than ever use their smartphones for everything from searching to shopping. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you’ll lose traffic and potential customers. Plus, Google factors in mobile friendliness when it ranks your site. 

Here’s how you can check your site’s mobile health: 

Do Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: The best place to start! This free tool tells you instantly if a specific page is good to go on mobile devices. Just pop in your page’s URL and get the results in seconds.  

Find it here: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Connect Your Site to GSC: Think of this as your mobile health checkup. If you have your site connected to Google Search Console, you’ll find this report there. It pinpoints any mobile usability problems across your whole site, making it easy to identify problem areas and fix them. 

Check the Responsive Design: This is the gold standard of mobile friendliness. A responsive website automatically adjusts its layout and content to fit the screen it’s displayed on.  

This means users on desktops get a great experience, but so do those on tablets or phones—no pinching or zooming required! 

To check how your website looks on different devices, first view it on your desktop. Then, either check it on your phone or use Chrome’s responsive design mode (Ctrl+Shift+M). 

3. Your Website on Site Speed  

Run your website on PageSpeed Insights: Think of PageSpeed Insights (https://pagespeed.web.dev/) as your website’s trainer.  

It doesn’t just tell you how fast your site is; it analyzes everything under the hood and gives you a detailed action plan to boost your performance.  

You get a score, sure, but the real power is in the specific recommendations for improving things. 

While PageSpeed Insights is about the raw potential of your site, Core Web Vitals are all about how users experience it.  

Found in Google Search Console, these metrics tell you the real-world story: 

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): How long does it take for the main chunk of your page to load? This is about making a good first impression. 
  • First Input Delay (FID): How quickly does your site respond when someone clicks or taps something? Nobody likes a site that feels laggy! 
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Have you ever been about to click a button, and whoosh, the whole page layout changes? That’s CLS, and it’s super frustrating. 

Optimization Techniques: The Nuts and Bolts 

To improve your speed and Core Web Vitals, here are some of the most common techniques: 

  • Image Optimization: Compress those images without sacrificing too much quality. Your page load times will thank you. 
  • Minimize Redirects: Every time a user gets bounced from one URL to another, it adds a delay. Streamline where possible. 
  • Browser Caching: Tell visitors’ browsers to hold onto certain files so things load lightning-fast the next time they visit. 
  • CDN (Content Delivery Network): This is like having copies of your website stashed worldwide, so visitors always connect to the closest one. Great for global reach! 

4. Audit On-Page SEO 

Conduct keyword research: Think like a user and consider the different terms they might search for to find content like yours. You can do these on SEMrush, Ahrefs, and GSC.  

They analyze search volume and give you insights into what people seek. Once you have a good list of keywords, map them intelligently to your site’s pages – it’s about targeting the right words for the right content. 

Follow the best practice for title tags and meta descriptions   

These are your snippets in search results. Make them count! Your title tag should be catchy and clear and include your main keyword and most of all, follow the best practice.  

Meta descriptions provide more context, like a mini-ad for your page. Convince people they need to click. 
 
Check here to know best practices on writing meta title and description.  

Optimize your content  

Creating genuinely valuable content is the heart of good on-page SEO. Answer those user questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.  

Weave in your keywords, but don’t overdo it – search engines are smart and will notice if you’re stuffing things in.  

Structure your content with headings (H1 for your main title, H2s for subsections, and so on). This helps search engines, and humans scan your content. 

5. Off-Page SEO 

Okay, off-page SEO is all about building your site’s reputation with search engines by earning signals of trust and authority from other websites.  

Do a backlink analysis: Think of backlinks as votes of confidence from other sites. It’s time to audit your current situation. Tools like Ahrefs or Semrush are your best friends here. They’ll show you who’s linking to you and how those sites are rated.  

Get strategic link building: This is where you earn links to boost your rep. Here are some ways to get those quality backlinks: 

  • Guest Posts: Got expertise to share? Write informative articles for relevant websites in your niche and subtly weave a link back to your site. 
  • Broken Link Building: Find dead links on high-authority websites. If you have a similar resource on your site, reach out and suggest replacing the dead link with yours. It’s a win-win! 
  • Resource Pages: Many sites curate lists of helpful resources. If yours fits the bill, suggest they include you. 

Important Things to Keep in Mind 

  • Quality is king: Google hates spammy links. Focus on reputable sites within your industry. 
  • It takes time: Link building isn’t an overnight fix. Be consistent and focus on building genuine relationships. 

6. Competitive Analysis 

Identify Competitors: Determine who ranks highly for your target keywords

In SEMrush, you can check your competitors under  “Organic Research”.

Analyze Strategies: Use SEO tools to reverse-engineer competitor strategies regarding content, keywords, backlinks, and on-page optimization. 

Things to Remember 

  • Prioritize: Focus on fixing the issues that will have the most significant impact on your rankings. 
  • Track & Monitor: Conduct regular audits to evaluate progress and spot new potential areas for improvement. 
  • SEO is an Ongoing Process: Stay updated on algorithm changes and consistently refine your SEO strategy. 

A thorough SEO audit provides a roadmap for boosting your search rankings and driving organic traffic. This technical guide will equip you to make informed improvements to your website’s SEO health. 

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