Whether you’re a local service provider for your community or run a brick-and-mortar retail shop, your website is the digital face of your business, and it’s crucial to consistently evaluate its performance and make improvements. This is why we recommend conducting an SEO website audit — which is just a fancy way of saying you need to assess your website and its ability to show up on places like Google and Bing. Even if you don’t sell items online, people need to be able to find the address and contact information of your website, at the very least!
A website audit identifies any site issues that need to be repaired or improved to increase its performance. It also compares your website’s performance with competitor websites, rates overall efficiency, identifies weaknesses, and, most importantly from an SEO perspective, sets expectations and goals for future SEO performance.
But what can you expect when you dive into an SEO website audit? Read on to learn more about the elements of what a website audit will look like for your company.
Ever wonder about the “why” behind your results when you type something into Google? Pages populate because of two essential factors: crawlability and indexability. Search engines like Google have bots called crawlers, and these bots are responsible for crawling (thoroughly reading) a website, following links within the site, and producing an index of those links. Once crawled and indexed, your website is then ranked based on relevancy. Because of this, your site must be able to be read by search engine crawlers and shown on search engine results pages (SERPs) to have any chance at showing up on those coveted first pages.
Keyword analysis, often the starting point for SEO analysis and paid search campaigns, looks at keywords and phrases to understand what your intended audience is searching for. By knowing what keywords and keyword phrases people are looking into, you can create content that aligns with their needs while driving organic (and paid!) traffic to your website.
Link analysis can provide a host of valuable insights when thinking about how your website performs. It involves looking at backlinks — hyperlinks on websites that point back to your website — and determining which may be lowering your search engine ranking. This process identifies inbound links and ensures they aren’t considered “spammy,” checks for broken links to fix, analyzes anchor text, and provides useful metrics such as domain authority and page authority.
Part of the SEO audit is looking at your on-page (or on-site) SEO efforts — a.k.a. the content that lives on your site. This practice includes optimizing things like title tags (what populates at the top of your web browser and as the title on a SERP listing), headers (including H1s, H2s, etc.), meta descriptions (what populates as the page description on a SERP listing), internal links (links that go to other pages on your website), and URLs.
An important element of an SEO audit is competitive analysis. With competitor research, you can identify who your competitors are online and research their marketing strategies to understand how you can improve your own. You can learn what your competitors are doing right when it comes to SEO and where they are experiencing gaps to inform your next moves. While it isn’t recommended to “copy” what your competitors are doing, this research can be an excellent benchmark for comparison as you continue to make changes to your long-term SEO strategy.
If you have a physical location or service a specific geographic area, performing a local SEO audit is also a valuable tool to see how you’re showing up locally. In fact, 76% of people who search for something nearby on their phones visit a relevant business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase, according to Think with Google. Some of the website audit elements described above are also useful for a local SEO audit, such as auditing your website and conducting competitive analysis, but a local SEO audit also requires you to look into your Google My Business and social accounts, online review, and citations, among other things.
Knowing how to conduct a thorough SEO audit is a useful way to make sure your website and business information show up where people are searching. While you can do some SEO auditing manually, a full SEO audit requires digital tools to show a comprehensive picture of your SEO efforts. If you need help conducting an SEO audit on your website or creating a long-term SEO strategy for your business, reach out!