Last time in our SEO 101 series we had a brief overview of all the aspects of SEO, read more here and today we will take a look at the basics of site audit.
Newcomers to the world of SEO are often overwhelmed by many aspects of the job and rarely know where to start. While keyword research (look out for our next blog to find out more) is always a good place to start, we should never underestimate the importance of a correctly conducted site audit.
So what is a site audit? It is a full health check of your website, both technical and more SEO focused. On the technical side, it checks if your website functions properly has no broken links, or dead-end pages etc. In terms of SEO, it focuses on how often and how correctly you use keywords, if pages load quickly enough, or if all your pages are linked together correctly.
It is usually performed using a Search Engine Marketing tool (such as SEMrush or Moz) that crawls your website and reports back on what it found such as the above mentioned broken links, or page load speed. The tools usually try to mimic how a Google bot would crawl your website, giving you an insight into how it’s viewed on Google.
A site audit is often considered very technical. While this is true, without a healthy website and proper linking, the rest of your SEO efforts might lose their impact and still keep your rankings down.
Once you have the site audit report, you need to read it carefully and correctly. In most cases, you will need help from an SEO specialist, who might, in turn, need help from the website developer to help understand what the issue is and how to fix it, but it is essential to always understand what the main issues are.
Start with the most urgent - big red problems that affect your website the most. Site audit tools usually sort problems into Error and Warnings, some suggest Notices. Errors are something you need to fix right away and warnings are issues that were noticed and they are highly recommended to be fixed but are not urgent. The list of errors might include things like broken links, or pages missing descriptions or correct titles.
Look at the pages crawled and evaluate how much value they bring. If a page has no value to a user, then it will not be valuable for SEO. So, if your audit crawls pages such as category pages on the blog that has no other information to display, or dead-end pages that lead nowhere you might want to block them and save your crawls budget. Crawl budget is a term described to identify the monthly budget Google and other search engines are willing to spend crawling your website. If you make them crawl too many useless pages, they will eventually stop without getting to the ones you need them to rank the most.
Google is not the only search engine in the world. This might shock you, but there are others and they need to be given adequate thought too. While it is a fact that Google has 92% of the world share, you should not forget other engines and other markets. In Russia and ex-soviet territories, people use Yandex more than Google. (btw they also have their own version of Facebook called Vkontake, did you know that?) There’s Bidu for China and we also have Bing and Yahoo too. So if your target market lies elsewhere and you are selling abroad, make sure your website is optimised for those territories too.
This list can go on and on and this is only a very brief overview of site audit. After all, this is our SEO 101 course and site audit is a complex matter, deserving more time and thought. If your interested in finding out more about how to maintain your website health and increase your web traffic and rankings you might be loosing right now, get in touch with us and we will be happy to take a look.