Search engine optimization, i.e. the improvement of the website to achieve better rankings within Google and Co., has become fundamental when it comes to placing a page on the internet. But in order to even know which optimizations have to be carried out, an extensive analysis of your website is necessary. You can do this with the so-called SEO or website audit.
Audit stands for examination or revision. An SEO audit therefore describes the exact procedure of checking your website according to important SEO aspects. The focus of an SEO audit can always be different. Some look more at technical search engine optimization, while others focus on content-related issues. Still others look at the complete SEO status. Where exactly the focus lies depends on your goals. All in all, you should always end up with a status quo of your website to see how optimization measures are working over time.
Why are SEO audits done – what is their benefit and goal?
An SEO audit is performed in different phases of a website. The following use cases exist here, for example:
A website that has not done any search engine optimization so far and now wants to start doing so.
During the relaunch of a website
Analysis of the previous SEO performance including ranking and traffic changes
When merging domains
When starting an internationalization strategy
The benefits of the SEO audit quickly become clear: Depending on the phase you are in with your website, you can use this intensive analysis to uncover problems and develop measures to get them out of the way. You will also see how you can further optimize your website to perform better and generate more visibility. This in turn will increase your chances of making more sales or generating better leads.
What is checked during the SEO audit of your website?
What exactly you want to consider for your individual SEO audit depends on your business goals. However, you should get a good overview, and you can do that by looking at the following values and metrics:
PART OF THE SEO AUDIT
VALUES AND METRICS
· Top10 Rankings · Visibility (clicks, impressions) · Traffic (clicks, impressions, largest traffic per category/channel) · CTR
· Sitemap · Redirects · Check of status codes · Technical problems · Duplicate content inside and outside the domain
· Use of alt tags for images · HTML structure · Correct use of title and description · Structured data
Can an SEO audit be created specifically for certain areas?
If you have already integrated SEO measures into your website, it is sometimes only a certain area that you would like to analyze in more detail. Accordingly, the focus of your audit. For example, you can differentiate between the following areas:
OnPage SEO Audit
OffPage SEO Audit
Local SEO Audit
Mobile SEO Audit
Technical SEO Audit
Of course, other areas can be examined as well. You decide this individually and according to your needs.
Which tools are recommended for SEO audits?
If you want to perform an SEO audit, the use of tools is essential. Only this way you have the possibility to get different information and data. Popular tools for an SEO audit are the following::
Sistrix (analysis of domain visibility, keywords and competition)
The more data you have available, the better your analysis and the more measures and optimizations you can derive from it.
Which steps should you work through during an SEO audit?
To go through an SEO audit step by step, it needs a certain roadmap. The following steps are suitable for this.
Step 1: Check website versions and SSL certificate
Every now and then it happens: due to errors in redirection, websites are accessible via multiple addresses. This can look like this, for example
If you find this case, you need to take action.
In addition, you should definitely integrate an SSL certificate into your website. You can easily see whether this is already available if you call up your website in incognito mode, for example. If you do not yet use an SSL certificate, it is time. Since the introduction of the EU-DSGVO this is even mandatory.
The SSL certificate is not only a ranking factor for Google, but also inspires confidence in users.
After you have integrated the SSL certificate, it is possible that your site is accessible via an http URL as well as an https URL. Make sure that only one URL leads to your site to avoid cannibalization.
Step 2: Crawling the website
Crawling your website gives you a first good insight into technical aspects of the site. Ideally, you export all the information that the crawler provides for you, as you can incorporate it into your analysis in later steps and use it to develop measures. Important metrics that the crawler can spit out for you are:
Http status codes and website accessibility information
Are all pages indexed correctly by Google? This is examined more closely in step 3 of the SEO audit. There is a quick and easy trick for this: the site: command.
If you enter site:eology.de in your URL bar, you will be shown how many pages of eology can be found in the Google index.
If you would like to use an analysis tool, the Google Search Console is a good choice. Here you can find all indexed pages in the “Index” section via “Coverage”.
If you notice a difference between the crawl and your indexing analysis, you can start searching for the cause.
BUT BE CAREFUL!
Not every deviation is to be considered an error!
Step 4: Check URL structures and thematic clusters
Make sure that your website follows a logical structure. This includes, for example, topic clusters. These not only help the user with orientation, but also make crawling easier for the Google algorithm.
In this context, an analysis of the URL structures also makes sense. Are they logically structured, meaningful, and do they contain the most important keywords of the website? If not: take action!
Step 5: Manual analysis and evaluation
Where does the traffic of your website come from? You should now take a closer look. Especially the organic traffic should be analyzed more closely in the course of SEO optimizations. For this you can consult Google Analytics very well. From this analysis, you can learn which content works particularly well, which metadata is well received by users, or how headlines should be formulated to attract attention.
Step 6: Evaluate the content
In the previous step, you already took a small look at the content of your page and how it can generate traffic. Now it’s time to take a closer look at your web content. Important keywords in this context are: Thin content, duplicate content and the quality of your content. Take a closer look at these aspects and identify content that you could improve.
Step 7: Identify Low hanging fruits
Low hanging fruits are measures in SEO that achieve fast results with little effort. These are, for example, pages that either already collect a lot of impressions or are placed in position 11 to 20 of the Google search for a certain keyword. The pages that fall below this can often be improved by making relatively few adjustments so that they generate more traffic and achieve better rankings. Among the classic measures are the title and meta description optimizations. You can easily find out which pages these are on your website via the Google Search Console. In your action plan, you should definitely pay attention to them, because they can achieve a great output with little effort.
Step 8: Checking the page load time
Internet users are impatient in principle – if a content takes too long to load, they are gone. Therefore, the page load time is not only an important ranking factor, but also decides whether users stay on your page or bounce. For example, you can use a lighthouse analysis to take a closer look at how fast your page loads. You can easily add this as a Chrome extension and thus have a quick insight into important values.
As a rough guideline you can remember a page load time of maximum 3 seconds. Everything that is loaded in less than one second is perfect!
Step 9: Analyze the backlink profile
Last but not least it makes sense to have a look at your backlink profile. Google counts links that point to your page as recommendations, which in turn can have a positive effect on your ranking. However, this only applies if these backlinks are thematically appropriate and come from high-quality sites. To guarantee this, you should take a closer look at your backlink profile. If you find links that do not fit, you can exclude them. If you notice that the link building for your site still needs some help, you have another item on your optimization agenda.
What does an SEO audit cost?
What exactly an SEO audit costs, can not be said in general, because it depends individually on what exactly is considered and how extensive the analysis should be. If the audit is used in a rather simple variant, so that the data contained there can be compiled almost automatically by various tools, the costs are correspondingly lower. Roughly speaking, you can talk about a two- to three-digit cost range.
However, if the SEO audit serves to define initial strategies for further action, it is necessary for an expert to take a look and interpret the figures. The SEO professional will then take into account different factors, such as your target group, company goals, etc. This holistic approach increases the cost, but also the efficiency of the output, because the proposed measures of the professional were tailored specifically to your goals. This in turn has positive effects downstream.
Basic question: Should you rather perform the SEO audit for your website internally or outsource it?
Whether an SEO audit is handled internally or externally depends crucially on two factors:
Is there budget available to outsource the audit?
Does an employee of your company have the know-how to perform the audit internally?
But the SEO audit alone is of course not enough. The right conclusions must be drawn from it and suitable measures derived. This also only works with the appropriate know-how in your company. If this is not available, you should definitely outsource the audit. The decision tree may help you to determine more precisely which path is the right one for you.
Can SEO optimizations be performed in-house after the audit?
If, for example, only the time for analysis is missing, but explicit SEO knowledge is available in the company, an SEO audit can also be handed over to an agency or an external company. The resulting tasks and optimization measures can of course also be tackled by the company’s own employees. However, this must be clarified in advance with the processing company of the SEO audit.
Conclusion: The benefits of an SEO audit
An SEO audit provides you with important insights into your website and ensures that you can identify optimization potential. In addition, analyses of this kind are of course also useful to check how your previously implemented measures have worked. If you use regular SEO audits, you can not only optimize your website, but also increase the traffic and usability of your site.
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