15th April 2022
What Is Involved In An SEO Audit?
What is an SEO audit?
If you’re starting to work on SEO for the first time, it’s a good idea to conduct an SEO audit of the website in question. An SEO audit involves reviewing a variety of different aspects of your website to see which elements are already optimised and working well, and where there is room for improvement. It should look at the three pillars of SEO – architecture, content and links. The specific contents of an audit may differ depending on the website – for example, an audit of an ecommerce website selling thousands of products will differ from that of a ten page lead generation website.
Why might you want to complete an SEO audit?
The aim of an SEO audit is to discover where you are starting from so that you can decide on the best SEO strategy going forward. An audit also helps you to track your progress by setting benchmarks that will show you later how far your website has come. An audit can also illuminate exactly how much work needs to be done to get your website up to scratch, and you can then use this information to create a work schedule and see how long the work is going to take, which is part of creating an SEO strategy.
What should you include in an SEO audit?
While each website’s SEO audit will look different, there are plenty of elements for you to consider no matter the size or subject of your website. Here are some key areas to look at during an SEO audit, along with some ideas for what you might need to think about when assessing these areas and why they are important.
Keyword research and URL mapping
- Conduct keyword research to discover keywords you would like to rank for and their search volume
- Review current rankings for keywords you would like to rank for
- Include high volume head keywords and long-tail, lower volume keywords
- Review the keywords competitors are ranking for to find more ideas
- Map keywords to relevant landing pages to determine which page is the best one to optimise for each keyword
- Record whether or not the website is currently ranking using the desired URL
- Review whether page titles, meta descriptions, headings and image alt tags contain relevant keywords and are correctly formatted
- Review body content for keywords, usefulness and length
- Select one or two examples of each page type and recommend changes where necessary
- Don’t review every single page on the website – there is a line between carrying out an audit and doing the actual work!
Voice search and featured snippets
- Review whether any pages are optimised for featured snippets
- Identify pages that would lend themselves well to featured snippet and voice search optimisation
- Provide an example of how one such page might be reformatted and include question-based queries for featured snippet optimisation
- Suggest a plan for regularly creating and optimising pages and reviewing featured snippet results
- Review the content and links on the 404 page
- Is the 404 handler useful for redirecting users and keeping them on the site via internal linking?
- Review internal links between pages - are there enough of them and are they in the right places?
- Are there good links between different sections of the website, for example between product pages and blog posts?
- Does the website have a blog and if not, should it have one?
- Review the blog categories, breadcrumbs and general navigation
- Review blog content for spelling, grammar, and keywords
Core Web Vitals
- Check the website’s Core Web Vitals score and any issues that arise
- Check page speeds on mobile and desktop
- Review link profile and compare it to competitors for context
- Find out what external links to the website already exist and whether they are useful
There are many other elements you could also look at, including structured markup, Robots.txt, domains and hosting, mobile friendliness, and more. It may also be that there are specific SEO issues that you are already aware of and need to address in your audit, such as a lack of redirects or problems with old domains.
How might an SEO audit tap into other areas of marketing?
While conducting your SEO audit, you may find yourself straying into other areas of marketing – for example CRO (conversion rate optimisation) or user experience. Rather than trying to stick firmly to SEO matters, it’s fine to record other issues you come across and add these into your SEO strategy. In fact, just because it doesn’t involve something obviously SEO-related, like optimising blog content or increasing page speed, doesn’t mean it isn’t an SEO matter. For example, when conducting your SEO audit, you may find that the user journey for making a purchase is not as smooth as you would like. Maybe it takes too many clicks to choose a product, maybe the checkout process is too long, or perhaps the navigation is not as easy as it needs to be. These may sound like user experience or CRO problems, but they affect SEO, too. The fact is that SEO success isn’t just about getting people to your website – it’s also about what they do when they get there. When you set SEO goals, do you focus solely on metrics such as sessions, or do you set revenue or lead generation goals because you want to see exactly how organic traffic is affecting your bottom line? The answer is probably the latter – or it should be – and that means that these barriers to purchase then become SEO issues, because they affect all of your customers including those coming in from organic search. Therefore, it’s perfectly valid for your SEO audit to pick up CRO problems and to look to correct them as part of your SEO strategy – otherwise it's impacting the amount of revenue or conversions you’re getting from that traffic and you’re less likely to meet your goals. It’s the same as when we think about PPC – if you’re paying for traffic, you want your website to work as well as possible so that visitors convert when they get there, otherwise your money is wasted. The same principle applies for organic traffic – all of your other SEO efforts are wasted if customers aren’t converting due to CRO issues.
What happens next?
Once you have completed your SEO audit, you can use your findings to create an SEO strategy. This may include:
- Recording benchmark metrics
- Setting goals based on those benchmarks
- Creating a list of required work, and from that, recording the priority of each activity and building a timetable or schedule for completing the tasks
- Assigning roles within your team or external marketing teams
- Planning how you will monitor, measure and report on progress
Conducting an SEO audit and subsequently creating and implementing an SEO strategy takes a lot of time and hard work, but the end result will be worth it. If you would like any help getting started with your SEO, get in touch with SilverDisc.