Your website is struggling to perform, it is not draining enough web traffic and Internet users only stay on it for a very short time. Your website has a lot of visitors, but its conversion rate is very bad. There are many reasons why you must carry out an SEO Audit…
The fragile health of a site, its poor optimization as well as a bad strategic thinking can have disastrous consequences especially when it is an e-commerce site. We will see in this article all the points which it is essential to approach to carry out a complete SEO audit of your website.
This checklist is a small extract from this 2016 guide to SEO Audit.
Above all, it is essential to ask yourself your own strategic objectives. Do you have specific objectives? Measurable? Realistic? Coherent? Timely?
To get off to a good start in your SEO Audit, you need to set concrete goals, for example:
- “The organic traffic of my commercial site will increase by 50% in the next 6 months”;
- “The number of incoming links from different domains will be multiplied by 5”;
- “Thanks to the natural referencing implemented, my site will generate 30% more prospects”.
Now let’s go to the first step of the SEO Audit.
1 / Analysis of Keywords
The point of doing a keyword analysis is to check if your strategy in this area is optimal and to identify new opportunities.
Are you targeting the right keywords?
Far too many companies think they can rank their site on keywords that turn out to be extremely ambitious due to the already strong competition.
The vast majority will fail.
Here, the audit thus allows you to carefully determine the quality, relevance and feasibility of each of your current keywords.
Very often, it is better to focus on those with a long tail (composed of at least 4 words) in order to facilitate classification.
In addition, most of the time they have a much more pronounced commercial intention, which greatly facilitates conversion to purchase.
It is recommended that you review your keyword strategy every three months, the idea being to focus only on those that are already generating better results. Also, isolate those called “winners” and build your optimization around them.
How do you know which keywords to focus on?
Here are the basic principles to adopt:
- Choose a specific set of keywords that will boil down to 10-100 words (depending on your budget);
- Measure the performance of your most important keywords to see how Google is rating your site and measure the impact of your link acquisitions. For this, you can use a tool like Pro Rank Tracker, for example;
- Be realistic, target accessible keywords. If your site has just been launched, tackle long tail keywords. Put your ego in your pocket;
- Be careful to choose those that are consistent with your site;
- Set a target date by which your site should be ranked on all of the targeted keywords.
2 / Analysis of the competition
The analysis of your competitors in the top 10 for each of the keywords chosen is necessary for you to validate them (or not). It also allows you to find opportunities to create links.
Concretely, the audit will allow to:
- Judge if a keyword is too competitive;
- Understand what kind of content (blog posts) works best for your competitors;
- Analyze the link profile of your competitors.
You must ask yourself the following question: “Is my selection of keywords too ambitious, too careful or ideal?” ”
1time Quick scan
Check for each keyword the DA (Domain Authority) and PA (Classified Page Authority) of the TOP 10 on the Google results page. To do this, you need to install the Moz toolbar.
If your site’s DA is around 30 and you see that several sites have a DA lower than 40, in the top 10, this means that you have every chance of ranking and you can keep the word- key in question.
On the other hand, if your site has just been launched, check that several competing sites have an AD lower than around 25-30. If so, then you are likely to rank on this keyword in the not too distant future.
Conversely, when you see that all (or almost all) of the competing sites has an AD higher than 40-50, plot your way.
Domain authority is an excellent gauge for determining whether a keyword is worth considering.
For an in-depth analysis of the competition, I invite you to read this guide.
3 / Technical audit of the site
As its name suggests, this is to detect all the technical problems of the site. The more there are, the more your site will be penalized from a natural referencing point of view. In addition, certain technical weaknesses negatively impact the user experience.
For purely technical audits, I recommend, among other things, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool.
Here is the list of points to check:
- Site loading speed: The ideal speed is 1 second, although it is very difficult to reach. If your site loads in more than 3 seconds, you really need to optimize it. The recommended tools are Pingdom and Google’s website speed tool;
- Responsive Site : To verify this point, you can use Google’s mobile friendly check tool. It is imperative to have a site suitable for mobiles and tablets;
- Cannibalization of keywords : This factor is very important and should be avoided. Cannibalization means that two pages are optimized for the same keyword. Thus, Google is disturbed and does not know which of the two pages is the “best” for the keyword in question. It is thus necessary to “deoptimize” one of the two pages so as not to force Google to make a bad decision…;
- Redirect issues: You must verify that you do not have temporary 302 redirects. Otherwise, change them to permanent 301 redirects. You must break all the chain redirects if you have them (these are successive 301 redirects) . There are other types of redirects to deal with (see the full guide);
- Site indexing: It goes without saying that the more indexed pages you have, the more likely you are to receive organic traffic. Check the “robots.txt” file to see if it is properly configured;
- Sitemaps : It helps with indexing. So you have to check that you have created it. If your site is running WordPress, you can use the XML Sitemap Plugin;
- “Site Search” : Go to Google and enter “site: yoursite.com” by replacing yoursite.com with your website URL. This will then tell you the number of indexed pages on your site. This will tell you if it is rather well indexed by Google;
- Duplicate content : Watch out for Panda! If you have an e-commerce site, each of your product pages and meta description must be unique;
- 404 errors with SEO juice : It is imperative to avoid 404 errors on pages that contain inbound links. This will prevent your site from losing authority. To do this, you must redirect all these “404” pages to pages with the same theme on your site (if possible). If necessary, you will redirect to the home page. I recommend using the Google Search Console to find these 404 errors;
- Architecture of your site : Make sure your site has an optimal architecture to satisfy your visitors AND to guide Google and other search engines;
- URL structure : Check that your URLs are SEO-friendly;
- Over-optimized URLs : Avoid stuffing keywords with the risk of penalizing the performance of your site;
- Internal mesh : The anchor texts of all your internal links must be optimized with exact keywords.
For more explanations, please refer to the complete guide present at the URL indicated at the beginning of this article.
4 / Analysis of Pages
The SEO audit, here, allows you to check the quality of the content on the pages of your site as well as the quality of the “on-page” optimization.
To draw traffic, you will need not only quality content, but also perfectly optimized pages.
First, use the Copyscape tool to verify that your content is unique and that no one has “stolen” it from you.
Then check the following:
- Keyword in Title tag : The targeted keyword for a given page must be present once (no more) in the Title tag of the page;
- Keyword in Meta Description : Insert your keyword once (no more) in the description of your page. This will cause the keyword to appear in Bold and therefore more likely to attract the Internet user;
- Keyword in the first paragraph : It should appear in the first lines of your content. This will indicate to Google that this keyword is very important for the page in question;
- Clean and optimized URL: Make sure the URL is SEO Friendly, short and contains the keyword;
- ALT image: The keyword should be placed in the ALT parameter of the first frame of your content. All other images must still have their ALT parameter filled;
- Last phrase : Try to include your keyword in the last sentence of your content to solidify the relevance of the keyword for the given page.
5 / Content Analysis
Analyzing the content of a site is the longest part, simply because it is the most important part of the SEO audit.
A perfectly optimized site offering bad content will never get good results in the long term!
Let others judge your content. It is very complicated to judge yourself …
Points to respect:
- Useful content is informative : You must educate your readers or offer them solutions to their problems;
- Better content than your competitors : Whenever you create content, you must be convinced that you will offer better content than that of your competitors. You can take inspiration from existing articles to create far more comprehensive and creative content;
- Engaging content : Engage your audience by offering content that engages them, in particular by using the ” you “And” your “;
- Accurate content with verified data : Never lie and never invent;
- Quite long content : Aim for a minimum of 2000 characters, and the more there are, the better;
- Flawless content : Beware of grammatical errors and spelling errors;
- Remove broken links : Broken links have a negative impact on the user experience. Google hates that;
- Minimize the amount of ads : Your readers hate ads, so does Panda. So, control your impulses;
- Blog comments to moderate : Control all comments on your blog to remove all spam containing questionable links.
6 / Analysis of the User Experience
Google Analytics gives you an idea of what visitors to your site think. It allows to evaluate the behavior of visitors and therefore the user experience.
Some points to check:
- Rebound rate : It allows you to judge if your pages interest your readers. The lower the bounce rate, the better. Ideal bounce rates vary depending on the type of site. But to give an idea, a bounce rate below 50% is excellent, and conversely, beyond 80%, is very bad;
- Average time spent on site : The longer it is, the better. The ideal duration depends on the type of site also. But overall, if it is less than 1 minute, then there is certainly a problem on your page. The more content on your pages, the more likely your readers will spend time there;
- Exit Pages : It is important to know the pages that serve as the most output on your site and to understand why visitors leave your site from these pages … You will thus discover weaknesses;
- Recurring visitors : If you offer quality content, you will inevitably have a lot of recurring visitors. Then check the “% of recurring visitors” to give you an idea of the quality of your content;
- Keyword searches including your company or brand name : The more people enter your company name in Google, the more it is a sign of good reputation. You can check this in the Google Search Console;
- Social Signals : The more quality content you create, the more social signals you will get.
7 / Analysis of links
The proper use of inbound links can really boost your SEO campaign. Unfortunately, many sites have a poor quality link profile which has the effect of penalizing the performance of the site. A large part of the SEO Audit then consists in analyzing the profile of the links.
For this, you can use tools like Ahrefs, Majestic, Open Site Explorer and Google Search Console.
Here are some factors to check:
- Relevance of links : This is a key factor in the area of link building. It is not necessary for a site to have only relevant links, but you need a majority;
- Link authority : Another very important criterion. You can use Ahrefs, with its metric “Domain Rating“(DR) or MOZ with its metrics” Domain authority “(DA) and” Page Authority »(PA) to verify this point;
- Diversity of Links : You have to diversify your links in order to have a natural link profile. There are several categories of links (contextual links, side-wide links, directory links, comment links, etc.);
- Targeting links : The distribution of inbound links should be fairly carried out on your entire site;
- Diversification of anchor texts : Beware of over-optimization of anchor texts;
- Total number of referring domains : Make sure you get the most quality inbound links from unique domains. 100 links from 100 domains are better than 1000 links from 10 domains;
- Speed of propagation of incoming links : Make sure that the speed of propagation of inbound links from your site remains constant throughout its life.
8 / Analysis of Citations
The analysis of citations is carried out as part of an optimization of local referencing. The concept of NAP-W comes into play. NAP-W stands for Name, Address, Phone, Website (Name, Addresses, Telephone, Website address).
Here are the things to watch:
- Coherence of NAP-W : Check that all your NAP-W quotes are identical on all the sites / directories where you have registered your company. Consistency is a key factor for local SEO. For this, you can use tools like Moz Local, Yext or Bright Local;
- Unused directories : There are hundreds of directories where you can list your business. Use tools like Bright Local’s Citation Tracker, White Spark, Moz Local and Yext to find these untapped directories.
It’s your turn !