In today’s world, digital technology is constantly evolving. A company should always be on course with industry standards in their field, and that includes its website. Competitive business owners know the importance of SEO optimization. However, do they understand the benefits of a routine SEO audit? Any successful SEO strategy needs professional review and analysis over time. An SEO audit is a crucial process that can empower any business when properly utilized.
What Is an SEO Audit?
The term audit sounds intimidating to some – and for good reason. Usually associated with taxes and the headaches they bring, an audit means the opposite when it comes to your SEO. An SEO audit is a tool that helps re-assess a website’s ranking and how easily users can access and navigate it. Its goal is to analyze and evaluate, providing feedback to bring the site up to current standards. It will identify additional issues that may ultimately hinder growth, as well as provide a multitude of action points to follow.
Is an SEO Audit Expensive?
As with any business expense, an initial investment is necessary to increase ROI. Experienced agencies know how to use your dollars, and an SEO investment can be one of the most crucial for your business. Compared with the price of losing money due to poor website maintenance, a quality SEO audit is a steal. Vizion Interactive offers a free mini audit to give you a taste of what a full extensive audit will offer – Sign up for your mini audit here.
What to Expect from a Website Audit
Not all SEO agencies are alike, which means SEO audits and their standards can vary greatly. Depending on the company and its in-depth needs, an SEO audit may contain the following:
- Website optimization
- User traffic and flow
- Keyword strategies
- Content strategies
- Backlink profiles
Some of these will depend on your business’ industry, so your agency should be asking questions about your business.
Identify Issues and Weaknesses
A quality SEO audit identifies any weaknesses within your company’s website. Weaknesses can vary; technical issues can deter search engines’ ability to crawl your site. Poor content can prevent your business from showing up in SERPs (search engine ranking pages). On-page issues may make content harder to access. Being able to identify all categories of weakness and address these weaknesses will play a key role in your website’s reach.
Technical issues begin to arise when search engines can’t properly crawl your site. This refers to the term crawlability, which is how easily these engines access your website. An SEO audit may provide business owners with a dynamic sitemap to ensure this element. It also checks that your robots.txt files and rel=noindex tags are correctly used.
Content remains a top priority in optimization. An SEO audit will make sure your content is keyword-centered and free of fluff and filler. The audit examines keywords to check that they are natural and easily read by users. Other areas of your website’s content SEO audits cover include:
- Headlines tell you most about a page. Your H1 header needs to include a keyword.
- Meta titles and descriptions. Fundamental to content, meta titles contain about 35-70 characters and a keyword. Descriptions should be no more than 160 characters, have a keyword, and a CTA if necessary.
- Duplicate content. Many sites contain duplicate content without owners’ knowledge. A quality firm can repair this issue.
- Ad density. An audit will review various pages on your site to determine if you may be going overboard with ads.
Understand Site Speed
Consider how long it takes your website to load. Why is this important? Because Google actually considers page load speed. If your page loads slowly, you lose users. When you lose users, Google demotes you. Search engines prioritize UX (user experience) above everything else. As an end result, the longer the site takes to load, the more likely users are to bounce. Content becomes irrelevant if your users bounced before they even read it. Not only do you lose readers, Google may even demote your website.
Know Architecture and Structure
A website’s architecture is the foundation for user’s accessibility of its information. SEO audits encourage use of subfolders to maintain a solid site architecture. In addition, it will provide your site with short but descriptive URLs. This is helpful for both users and search engines.
Decrease Redirects and Eliminate Errors
A company’s website needs minimal redirects for a quality experience. Redirects create slower user capabilities. Errors, on the other hand, shouldn’t be found anywhere within the site, as they act as a barrier to users. An SEO audit will address these issues for a smooth, user-friendly website. Common redirects and errors are:
- 301 Redirects
- 302 Redirects
- 404 Errors
Best Use of Internal Links
Internal links are located within a website itself. An SEO audit will search for pages with excessive links and minimize them. Secondly, the audit will check that the pages use anchor text properly in a way that doesn’t appear as spam.
Leverage Trustworthy External Links
Search engines algorithms are largely composed of backlinks and their content. These links may also be referred to as external links or inbound links. The idea is that the more trustworthy links within a website, the higher the site ranking. An SEO audit will show business owners the number of backlinks in their websites and if any of them contain spam. It will compare a business’ competitors on the same basis. External links should come naturally and, most of all, be resourceful.
Best Use of Alt Attributes
An SEO audit by a trained professional will check that there are alt attributes for any images located on your website. They help describe an image. Since search engines can’t physically see images, designers must properly code data for crawlers to properly receive them. In addition, certain web users with disabilities make use of alt attributes. They may use specific software to help with screen reading, and these programs use alt attributes.
A poor website can be as bad as not having one. Site traffic can suffer drastically due to negative SEO methods. SEO practices change rapidly over time, so it can be hard for companies to keep up – and you need to be in the business of taking care of your business. Seek help from professionals with an SEO audit to avoid penalties. If a penalty occurs, an audit will explain why, and how to address these actions.
Create a Strategy
Once a professional has identified all weaknesses with the help of an SEO audit, it’s time to develop a strategy. Owners should view SEO as a channel in which to grow their business, and their strategy should reflect this. Make sure you are using the SMART principle, and ask these questions regarding strategy:
- Is it specific?
- Is it measurable?
- Is it attainable?
- Is it relevant?
- Is it timely?
Establish a Location
Businesses that have a physical location want their consumers to find them. For this reason, it’s important to make sure your website shows up in local search results. Make sure your SEO audit includes nearby services in its strategy. Ensuring your company is “on the map” will encourage additional business and continue to serve long-time customers.
Although competition is relative, building an online presence for a business without monitoring its competitors is a costly mistake. You must first identify these competitors, but that’s not all. Trust an SEO audit to identify strategies of your competitors as well as formulate a plan to combat them.
Pay Attention to Social Status
Where your business stands with social media can be an indicator of the overall health of your website. Facebook, Twitter, and other media sites should be regulated and up-to-date to engage users in the experience. An audit matches your brand and social media platforms together for easy interaction. You want people to reach out and ask questions.
Don’t wait until your see a decrease in traffic to update your website. Get ahead of the game, increase your reach, and call a professional. Every day you wait for an SEO audit, you could be losing money.