If you want to boost your Google rankings, an SEO audit is what you need. This ultimate SEO audit guide based on the work of Brian Dean, can really help you increase your search traffic. And best of all it is totally non-technical. Let’s get to it!
1. Search For “Zombie Pages”
Zombie pages are extra pages that got indexed more than they should. You can find the zombie pages by typing “site:(name of your website).com” into Google. For example, type “site:cloudlgs.com” into Google. When you hit “Enter”, it will show the number of pages Google has indexed.
So what should you do with the zombie pages?
Delete them so your site can gain more organic traffic. Google usually prefer sites with a few amounts of high-quality pages so deleting zombie pages
will give the search engine what it desires. Some of the most common forms of zombie pages are archive pages, old press releases, and search result pages.
2. Determine Whether Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
Mobile SEO is now an important thing with the rollout of Google’s Mobile-First Algorithm. In addition, more than 50% of Google searches are now made from mobile devices so it’s high time that you join the bandwagon.
To know that your site is mobile-friendly, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool
by Google. Simply enter the name of your website and determine whether Google sees your site as mobile-friendly or not.
3. Ensure That Google Indexes One Version Of Your Site
It’s possible that you have more than one version of your site indexed in Google. All those different versions may look similar to you but not to Google. The search engine will see them as different websites unless you redirect them correctly.
You can check whether your site runs in different versions or not. Simply type your site in different versions in the browser, like this:
Only one of these versions should be browseable. All is good if the HTTP version of your website redirects to the HTTPS version. If not, simply 301 redirect it to the version you desire. We recommend that you use https:// as it boosts trust, security, and eventually rankings.
4. Check And Improve Site Speed
Speed is even more important with the rollout of the Google Speed Update. The first thing you can do to speed up your site is to clean up the HTML code. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights
tool to search the issues with your code.
Next, run a speed test to determine any bottlenecks that slow your site down. Large images are also another detriment for site speed so we recommend that you compress the images.
5. Solve Any Indexing Issues
Sometimes, there is a list of pages that Google fails to index because they’re inaccessible. This is a serious problem because no indexed pages simply mean no rankings. Your goal now is to find these pages using online tools, like Google Search Console
In Google Search Console, hit Google Index then select Index Status. If you find a page that’s inaccessible, find out why it’s meant to be blocked. If you meant to block these pages, then it’s time to do the next step.
6. Inspect Your Organic Traffic
Now, it’s time to check your organic traffic to know where you at. To do that, use Google Analytics, then select Acquisition, All Traffic, Channels, and Organic Search. At this point, you’ll see exactly the number of visitors on your site from the previous month.
You can set the date further from the past few months to see whether your organic traffic
is increasing or not. If you find that your organic traffic is decreasing, don’t worry because this SEO audit will help you improve it once you’re done with this guide.
7. Enhance Your On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is a large task. If you have limited time to optimize each page on your website, you can focus on a few important pages. These pages can be anything that targets a significant keyword, obtain decreasing traffic, or already rank good.
Once you’ve identified them, include your keyword in the title and in the first 100 words. Add at least five external links and five internal links. As possible, use latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords.
If you have no idea how to execute this, you can ask the help of an expert. Cloud LGS
offers SEO services and helps create a mobile-friendly website with suggested on-page SEO within 12 hours. They’ll help you optimize the headers, meta tags, and Alt tags.
8. Check Your Rankings
Now it’s time to know your rankings in the search engine result pages. Head to Google and type your brand name in the search bar. You should see your site on top of the organic result. If you don’t, then there’s a chance that Google considers another site as a more proper result than you.
This is usually one of the problems when you use a generic term for your brand name. To solve this, you need to build your brand and do link building. Run a promotional campaign to get your brand name out there and put your site on a Google Business listing.
9. Evaluate Your Backlinks
To do this, first, enter the homepage address of your site into any online backlink analysis tool, like Majestic SEO, Moz, or Ahrefs. Now, you may want to look at your referring domains and Domain Authority. Referring domains tells you the number of sites linking to your site whole the Domain Authority indicates the credibility of the site based on the quality and number of backlinks you have.
Finally, find out for any toxic links. These links usually have keyword-rich anchor text. If you want to go further, check the quality of your backlinks and make sure that they come from reliable sources and not from any shady sites.
10. Find And Fix Broken Links
Broken links are responsible for the 404 errors on a page. You need to fix the broken links because they can cause a bad experience for your users that would eventually affect your SEO rankings.
To fix broken links, first, you need to find the broken pages that Google can’t access. Use Google Search Console’s Index Report to find the pages that provide Google 404 errors. Next, find the broken links using an online tool, like Ahrefs or Broken Link Check.
Once you have found the errors, try replacing the content and redirect the broken page to a live page. Make sure that you delete or replace all broken links because they may cause poor user experience.
11. Conduct Competitor Analysis
Now it’s time to know what your competitors are doing right. You can easily find the best keywords used by your competitors in SEMrush or Ahrefs. These keywords can serve as great recommendations for your next target keywords.
Next, find the pages that are ranking for those keywords then identify the similarities of those pages. That way, you discover what form of content works best in your field.
Finally, determine the sources who linked to those pages using Ahrefs. This lets you know who are the influencers in that niche area. Begin building a good relationship with them.
12. Create High-Quality Content
Nothing beats high-quality content
in making your pages rank better. When making introductions, make them short and succinct. Paragraphs need to be small to allow your readers to skim your content more conveniently.
Creating lots of subheaders also helps in breaking up the content into digestible pieces. To make your content more appealing and understandable, use images and videos. Most importantly, avoid duplicate content and be original.
13. Optimize For User Experience (UX) Signals
With Google’s new artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm called RankBrain
, the way your users interact with your site is already measured. So if you want to get a better ranking in Google, optimize your site for UX signals. In simple terms, make your users happy with your content.
User signals are linked to UX because they can measure a user’s experience on your site. When a user spends more than five minutes on your site, then that could be a sign that the visitor is more engaged with your content.
14. Simplify The Architecture Of Your Website
Website architecture is significant for SEO because it helps Google find and index your pages. When your site is messy and unorganized, Google’s going to have a hard time finding all of the pages. You need to link the pages together so Google can quickly find and index the whole site.
The architecture of your site is also vital in telling Google which pages are the most significant. Generally, the page is more important if it’s closer to your homepage.
So the question is, what is the best website architecture?
The answer is super flat. This means going from your homepage to any page should take less than three clicks. If this is difficult for you, you can ask a developer to fully renovate the navigation of your site or simply add internal links to various pages.
15. Revise Identical Meta Tags
Good title and description tags are one of the simplest things to rank better in search engines. Make sure that these tags are relevant to your content and that they have no duplicate. The best way to find these duplicate metas is to use the Google Search Console.
Just go to Search Appearance then select HTML Improvements and you’ll see a list of duplicate metas. If you have duplicate meta tags on your site’s important pages, rewrite them immediately.
16. Initiate A Skyscraper Post
The final step of this SEO audit guide is to use The Skyscraper Technique to post content. This technique helps Google to index all the modifications you just created. So how do you do it?
First, take a look at the top 10 results for a keyword that you like to rank. Read each post and get ideas on how to make your own content.
Next, create content that’s way better than what you discovered. You can make your content better by including some more detailed steps or adding compelling visuals. Finally, promote your content in social media, like Facebook and Twitter.
Take Advantage From Your Internal Links
Perhaps, the most underappreciated SEO strategy is internal linking
. So how do you do your internal linking the proper way? Just link to pages with great importance.
Use An Audit Tool
If you want to go further in your SEO audit, then you may need to use an audit tool. Some tools that we recommend are Seobility and SEMrush. Seobility has a very easy user interface and the reports are easy to understand. SEMrush, on the other hand, presents a very thorough site audit feature that only a few realized.
Optimize For Featured Snippets
Featured Snippets are one of the most effective ways to boost your organic traffic. These are selected search results shown on top of the organic results.
To be seen in the Featured Snippet, you need to optimize your content for mobile and use many headers. Answer questions no more than 42 words. Don’t forget to install HTTPS and link to credible resources.
By following the steps above, you should discover a lot of issues and create the necessary changes to boost your rankings. A more technical SEO audit process is a much arduous process but this guide is a good way to start a new SEO campaign.