How to Perform an SEO Audit of Your Practice’s Website
By Practice Growth April 03, 2020
What is an SEO audit
An SEO audit is the process of evaluating your website’s ability to rank in search engine results by checking for a number of issues that might be holding you back from achieving higher rankings.
A completed SEO audit should provide you with a list of solutions you need to implement to improve your website’s search engine visibility.
You should perform an SEO audit of your website at least once per year. This will help to ensure that you’re following all the latest best practices and aligning your SEO strategy with search engine algorithm changes.
The 7-step SEO audit process
In this section, we’re going to outline a simple 7-step process you can follow to audit your website and uncover SEO issues that are holding you back from generating more organic traffic and leads.
1) Check for indexation issues
The first step in performing an SEO audit involves checking for indexation issues.
If Google hasn’t indexed one or more of your pages, it’s impossible for them to rank in search engine results.
You can check for indexation issues using the Index Status report in Google Search Console.
Once there, you’ll be able to see the total number of your website pages Google has indexed. You can then compare this number with the total number of pages that your website has.
Another way to find out how many of your pages Google has indexed is to use the site: search operator like this:
Google will then list all of your website pages that it currently has in its index.
2) Identify duplicate and thin content
Google doesn’t like duplicate and thin content.
You should strive to remove any duplicate content you might have on your website. Pages with thin content issues, on the other hand, should be improved and expanded to provide more value to your website visitors.
You can discover duplicate content issues using tools such as Copyscape. Simply type in your website’s URL into Copyscape’s search bar, and you’ll be presented with any duplicate content issues the tool finds.
As for thin content issues, you can find those using a tool like WordCounter. As a general rule, you should strive to have at least 300 words of content on every one of your pages to avoid thin content issues.
3) Check for on-page SEO issues
On-page SEO issues are the low-hanging fruit of any SEO audit. They’re the easiest to fix, but they can result in significant improvements in search engine visibility.
You’ll want to check the following when looking for on-page SEO issues:
- Page titles - Your page titles should contain the main keyword you’re looking to target. The keyword should be placed as close as possible to the beginning of the title.
- Meta descriptions - These appear below the title of your page in search engine results. They should contain your main keyword, one or more secondary keywords, and a call-to-action.
- Page URLs - Try to keep your URLs short and make sure they contain the main keyword you want to target.
- Content - The page content itself should focus on addressing the search intent of the particular keyword you’re targeting and help visitors solve their problem. Try to cover each topic you tackle in full detail and use your main keyword in the first 100 words of the content.
- Images - These improve the readability of your content and should be included on every page. Remember to use keyword-rich image names and alt tags for all the images on your website.
4) Find and fix broken links
Broken links are links that lead to non-existent pages on your website. Since they provide a bad experience for both search engines and visitors, you should strive to fix all the broken links on your website.
You can discover broken links by using the Crawl Errors report in Google Search Console.
Go through all the broken links in the report and make sure to either fix them or remove them from your website completely.
5) Analyze your backlink profile
You’ll also want to analyze your backlink profile as a part of your SEO audit to gain an understanding of what kind of domains are linking to your website and how this affects your rankings.
There are plenty of different tools you can use to perform backlink analysis. One of the best, and most popular ones, is Ahrefs.
Start by going to the Site Explorer > Overview report in Ahrefs to see how your backlink profile has developed over time. In most cases, your Referring Domains graph should show a steady increase in backlinks gained over time.
If the graph shows a clear decline, you should look into why you might be losing backlinks.
You’ll also want to take a look at the Referring Domains report to check if any low-quality or suspicious-looking domains are linking to your website.
If you find any, use Google’s Disavow links tool to prevent them from harming your rankings.
6) Check website speed
Page load time is one of the many factors Google uses to determine how to rank your website in search engine results.
Making sure your website loads fast is also important for keeping visitors on your website: most people aren’t willing to wait longer than three seconds for a website to load.
You can check your website’s speed using tools such as GTmetrix.
If your website isn’t loading in less than three seconds, you’ll want to work on improving your load time. Here are a few ways you can speed up your website:
- Switch to a different hosting provider - One of the easiest ways to improve website speed is to simply switch hosting providers. If you’re currently using shared hosting, you might also want to switch to a VPS or a dedicated hosting service.
- Use a CDN - A CDN such as Cloudflare or KeyCDN can boost your website’s speed by serving each visitor content from servers that are the closest to their physical location.
- Compress all your website images - Having a lot of high-definition images on your website can significantly slow down your website. You can use a tool like Kraken.io to optimize your images without having to compromise on image quality.
7) Test your website for mobile-friendliness
Google has been using mobile-first indexing for a while now.
This makes it crucial that you ensure that your website is mobile-friendly and works flawlessly on all mobile devices.
You can check your website’s mobile friendliness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Simply enter the URL of your website, and Google will how you how mobile-friendly your website is, as well as give you an overview of any issues you might want to address.
In general, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for mobile users to navigate your website.
This might involve implementing large fonts and buttons, as well as using more white space between different elements of your website in order to reduce misclicks.
Audit your website today
An annual or bi-annual SEO audit should be a part of every practice’s website maintenance.
By auditing your website on a regular basis, you’ll be able to spot SEO issues on time and address them before they affect your search engine rankings negatively.