You can’t do SEO without knowing your site’s actual needs and capabilities. The Audit Of Website For Seo Planning is a critical first step for any SEO strategy. It helps you prioritize the biggest changes that will make the most difference, and avoid wasting time on low-impact SEO issues that distract from your core goals.
In this guide, we review the Audit Of Website For Seo Planning, how to audit a website, what is seo audit, and How long does it take to do a website audit?
Audit Of Website For Seo Planning
As a website owner, you want to be sure that your site is optimized for search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your site in search engine results pages (SERPs). The ultimate goal of SEO is to attract visitors who are likely to convert into paying customers. As part of a website audit, we will review several parts of your site and determine how well they support SEO efforts:
Accessibility is the ease of use and understandability of a product, service or environment. It can be provided by design and user interaction. Accessibility can be provided by technology that supports assistive technologies.
To be accessible, a website must meet the needs of people with disabilities and comply with general web design principles. This includes making sure your site is coded correctly so it can be read by search engines such as Google.
Usability is a broad term that encompasses many different factors. It’s about how easy it is for people to use a website, or perform tasks on it, and find what they are looking for.
The checklist we use when auditing websites for usability includes the following questions:
- Are your navigation options clear and easy to understand?
- Are the links easy to see?
- Is there enough room between each link so they don’t run into each other?
- Does your site have an excessive number of links on every page?
- Navigation should be easy to find.
- Navigation should be easy to use.
- Navigation should be easy to update.
- Navigation should be easy to maintain.
Search engine registration
- Search engine registration
- Registering a domain name with keywords and key phrases
Domain name selection
The first thing to consider in web site planning is the domain name. Choosing a good domain name is not a simple matter; it must be short, memorable and easy to spell. It should also be related to your product/service and have good PageRank.
To find out if you can register the domain name you want, try this link: https://www.whois.com/whois/. If it’s available, go ahead and register it!
Abundance of keywords/key phrases
- The first is that you are using the keywords in various places, including:
- The Title Tag
- In Headings and Describing Phrases
- In the Body Text of the Page
- In Image Alt Tags (Image Search)
- In your URLs (Search Engines Optimization)
Use of keywords/key phrases in Meta tags
Meta tags are an important part of the page and should be used to describe the content of a site. They must be relevant to the page’s content, and not just filler text. The Meta title tag is one of the most important on-page SEO factors as it appears directly above your website’s URL in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The title tag should include keywords that relate directly back to your business or product/service, so make sure you use them correctly! It’s also helpful if you can include a brand name along with those keywords; this increases brand awareness and helps people find your site through search engines when they’re looking for certain types of products or services. You’ll want to place these four elements within your meta description: , , , and . Each element has specific instructions as far as how much text needs placed within each field – check out our complete guide on optimizing meta tags for more information!
Use of redirects and robots.txt files to control spider activity
A robots.txt file is a text file that is used to give instructions to search engine crawlers. It can be used to tell search engines not to index certain files or directories and also prevent them from accessing files that have been placed in the root directory of your web server.
The robots.txt file should be placed in the root directory of your web server, for example: http://www.example-company.com/robots.txt
Use of keywords/key phrases in META description tags
Keywords/Key Phrases: The META description tag should be a short, concise description of the page. It should include the keywords that you want to rank for, but it shouldn’t be the same as your title tag or slug (the words that appear in bold at the beginning of a URL).
Use of keywords/key phrases in the webpage title tag
To help search engines understand the content of your webpage, you should use keywords and key phrases in the title tag, meta description tag, META keywords tag, first paragraph and URL. Each page should have a unique title to describe its content. The meta description will be used by Google and other search engines to show a brief summary of your page on their search results pages. It is important that this be written properly so that users can quickly determine if they want to click through to read more about what you have written. If not done correctly this could hurt your rankings instead of helping them!
Use of keywords/key phrases in anchor text links to the page from internal pages on a client’s site
- Use of keywords/key phrases in anchor text links to the page from internal pages on a client’s site.
- Internal link structure should be flat and accessible to spiders. A good internal linking structure is one that goes from the root page to all other pages of the website, and vice versa. This can be achieved by using one or more root directories (e.g., /), subdomains (e.g., category-a), and other subdirectories (e.g., /about). Having too many levels of depth creates unnecessary complexity for Googlebot to crawl through, which could cause you to get penalized for having too much “clutter” on your site.* Few clicks from root page: The fewer clicks it takes between your homepage and any given landing page, the better!
Internal links from high traffic pages with good PageRank to the page being optimized for search engines; internal link structure should be flat and accessible to spiders (i.e., few clicks from root page)
The site’s internal link structure should be flat and accessible to spiders (i.e., few clicks from root page). Incoming links with keyword-rich anchor text are good indications that a site is well-ranked for keyword terms within an industry.
For example, if you were optimizing an eCommerce site, you might have pages on your site that sell shoes, golf clubs, and dress shoes. A high-traffic page on the eCommerce website could be a category page dedicated to golf equipment or men’s dress shoes. Both of these pages would likely have some external links pointing at them from other websites in the industry or related industries. If those external links had keywords such as “golf equipment” or “men’s dress shoes,” then this would be an indication that those keywords were important search terms for ranking well in Google for long tail queries around men’s golf equipment or men’s formal footwear
Internal links from other high-ranking, relevant sites (especially .edu and .gov sites, which have higher domain authority) to the page being optimized for search engines; incoming links with keyword-rich anchor text are good indications that a site is well-ranked for keyword terms within an industry
- Links coming from other high-ranking, relevant sites (especially .edu and .gov sites, which have higher domain authority) to the page being optimized for search engines; incoming links with keyword-rich anchor text are good indications that a site is well-ranked for keyword terms within an industry.
- Inbound links should be analyzed based on their value to your site. For example, if you rank #1 in Google for the term “online marketing”, but your competitors are getting more traffic by linking to pages of yours further down in the SERPs, then you need to ensure that all of your pages are optimized with keywords throughout them so you can compete with them on a level playing field.
how to audit a website
An SEO audit is the process of evaluating how well your website is optimized for search engines. It identifies errors that can prevent your site from ranking well and opportunities that can help you rank better.
An SEO audit usually covers areas like:
It is basically an overall “health check” for a website.
SEO Audit Tools
An effective SEO website audit is based on hard data about the technical health, traffic, and backlink profile of your website (and the websites of your competitors).
The two most important tools that will help you with that are:
We’ll take a closer look at how to do an SEO audit using these tools in the next steps.
Let’s dive in. Here’s how to perform an SEO audit in 15 steps:
1. Check for Indexing Issues
Pages that are not indexed are not in Google’s database. Google can’t rank them.
To see whether your pages have been indexed, check for issues directly in Google Search Console.
Head to the “Pages” report under the “Index” section in the left menu. Here, you can see a graph of all pages based on their indexing status.
Underneath, you’ll see a list of reasons why pages haven’t been indexed.
Go through all the listed reasons one by one. Inspect the pages that fall within these reasons.
Remember that not all pages have to be indexed—only the ones you want to rank in search results. So it’s completely normal to have some URLs that are not indexed.
Here are some examples of URLs that don’t have to be indexed:
If you find a page that should be indexed but isn’t, fix the issue by following Google’s guidelines. Once done, hit the “Validate Fix” button.
Alternatively, you can just grab a specific URL and enter it into the top search bar in the Google Search Console dashboard.
You’ll see the URL’s status. You can also request that Google index the URL by clicking the “Request Indexing” link.
If you’ve changed the page substantially, you can request indexing again. Even if the page is already indexed.
If you want to learn more about Google indexing, read our guide on this topic.
2. Check for Duplicate Versions of Your Site
It is essential to ensure that Google is indexing only one version of your site.
Your site could sit on various versions of a URL (depending on whether there’s WWW in the domain and whether your site uses HTTPS).
To a search engine, these are all different versions of the site:
If your website runs on more than one of these URL versions, it can cause many issues with crawling, indexing, and ranking. Especially because Google will take them as duplicates.
Also, having multiple versions of your site can dilute PageRank, which can also have a negative impact on your rankings.
You can check this very simply:
Just enter all the versions of your site into a web browser.
You should be automatically redirected to the preferred version. For example, if your preferred URL version is https://yoursite.com, you should be redirected to it if you enter any other version into your browser.
If you can access your site through various versions, use a 301 redirect for the other versions. Read our guide to SEO redirects to learn more about this topic.
3. Run a Site Crawl
A good SEO audit is crawl-based.
That means you should be able to simulate the way Google crawls your pages. And see all issues related to those pages the way Google might see them.
To do that, you’ll need an SEO auditing tool like Semrush’s Site Audit. First, you’ll create a project and set up the audit.
There are several configurations in this step. You can check out this guide to help you go through it.
Once you’re all set, click the “Start Site Audit” button.
Based on the number of crawled pages, it may take a little while until it is finished. Once done, you’ll get an email letting you know.
The audit dashboard looks like this:
The main metric you should pay attention to is the Site Health score. It is an overall indicator of the SEO health of your website based on the number and seriousness of issues found.
Next, you’ll see the issues divided into three categories:
These will help you prioritize your fixes.
You’ll also find some “Thematic Reports” that will help you take a closer look at various aspects of technical SEO:
We’ll dive deeper into some of these in the following steps.
However, the main purpose of the Site Audit tool is to help you see all the issues in one place. Click on the “Issues” tab next to the “Overview” tab:
Here, you’ll find a full list of all the issues. Go through them one by one and start fixing them.
Click each issue to reveal the list of all affected URLs.
Here are some examples of issues you may encounter:
Some of these issues are quite easy to fix. Some may require a more complex solution.
If you’re not sure where to start, the tool offers an explanation and a short “how to” guide for each issue. Just click the “Why and how to fix it” link next to the issue name.
You don’t have to wait until you do your next SEO audit to use Site Audit. Run the Site Audit tool on a regular basis to track your progress and discover new issues that may have appeared since the last crawl.
4. Check for Manual Actions
If your site violates Google’s spam policies, it may receive a manual action from Google.
In practice, a manual action means that your site’s rankings will drop until Google revokes the action. This action can either be at the page level or sitewide.
Some reasons why you may have received a manual action include the following:
You can check if you’ve received a manual action in Google Search Console. Down the left-hand side menu, you will see a “Security and Manual Actions” section, and within this, a “Manual actions” link.
Click it, and you’ll land on a page where you’ll see the status.
Hopefully, you see a green tick that shows that no issues are detected.
If there’s a manual action against your website, you need to fix the issues and make a reconsideration request. Check Google’s Manual Actions guide for more details.
For example, if you’ve received a manual action as a result of buying backlinks (“Unnatural links to your site”), you’ll need to get rid of those backlinks either by contacting the webmasters or disavowing them.
Need more details on this? We also have a helpful guide on navigating and avoiding manual penalties.
5. Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues
We live in a mobile-first world, and if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, there’s a good chance that you aren’t putting your user experience first.
Mobile-friendliness is one of the main Page Experience signals for Google. In fact, it has been a ranking factor since 2015. Which means it can directly influence your ability to rank in search results.
You can check for any issues in the Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console. Just click “Mobile Usability” under the “Experience” section in the left menu.
Here, you’ll find a quick overview of the usability of your pages in time:
The report will also list all the issues related to mobile-friendliness.
It may look something like this:
You can expand each issue to see all the affected pages.
Once fixed, you can validate the fix to make sure Google rechecks the page and confirms that the issue is resolved.
6. Analyze Your Site’s Speed
It is more important than ever that your site loads quickly. Page speed has also been a ranking factor for a long time. So it can help you rank higher on Google.
What’s more, it is an important user experience factor. Looking at user behaviors, data shows that the slower a page loads, the higher the chance of a user leaving the website.
To check the speed of your website, head to the “Site Performance” report from your Site Audit dashboard.
Here, you’ll see a list of all the performance issues with detailed tips on how to fix them.
7. Analyze Your Core Web Vitals
In 2020, Google introduced three new metrics related to page speed and user experience:
Together, they’re called Core Web Vitals.
Since Core Web Vitals are a ranking factor, checking these metrics for your key pages should definitely be part of your SEO website audit.
Google Search Console comes to the rescue here again.
Head to the “Core Web Vitals” report under the “Experience” section in the left menu.
Here, you’ll see both “Desktop” and “Mobile” reports listing all the issues and the affected pages.
These reports will give you detailed insights into any Core Web Vitals issues your site may have.
The tool distinguishes between pages that have severe issues (“poor URLs”) and those that just need some improvement.
Go through the issues and follow the instructions on how to fix them.
There’s also a dedicated Core Web Vitals report in Semrush’s Site Audit:
You can see all the metrics on the level of a single page and keep track of your progress over time. You can also manually select 10 URLs to check for Core Web Vitals issues.
Note: The First Input Delay (FID) is based on real user events in Google Search Console. That’s why it is replaced by a similar metric—Total Blocking Time (TBT)—in Semrush.
8. Analyze Your Internal Links
Internal links are a crucial part of SEO for three reasons:
In Semrush’s Site Audit, there’s a report dedicated to internal linking issues. It’s “Internal Linking” under the list of “Thematic Reports”:
After you open the report, you’ll get a list of issues related to internal links and tips on how to fix them.
The report will also give you a useful overview of your pages based on Internal LinkRank (ILR)—a metric that measures how well interlinked a page is.
Going through each category will help you identify two types of pages:
10. Check Your Organic Traffic
Organic traffic means visitors that land on your website after clicking on unpaid (“organic”) search results.
This is one of the most important indicators of the success of your website when it comes to SEO.
To see your organic traffic, go to Google Search Console and open the “Search results” report under the “Performance” section in the menu.
There are four main metrics in the report. The metric that will be most interesting in this context is “Total clicks”—how many times a user clicked through to your site during the specified time frame.
There are numerous ways to configure the report to see the data you need. For example, you can view results by queries, pages, devices, and countries:
These reports will give you a lot of useful information about the organic traffic to your website. And help you establish benchmarks and track your progress.
what is seo audit
Any company, agency, or freelancer will perform and pull together an SEO audit in a different way. Here at Pepperland Marketing, we do a variety of things that will give you the full scope of issues on your site. We follow a set of steps that allow us to carefully examine each aspect of your site during the auditing process.
1. Run a full website crawl/audit
We first need to run a full crawl/audit of your website to emulate how a search engine would do it. While this is usually the first and only step for many agencies, we take everything one step further by looking at more than one audit source.
2. Understand key points of crawl/audit report
Once we have our initial findings, we will look through each section of our audit. Our audits include checks in the following categories:
When we identify a section of the site under-performing, our team of SEO experts will do a deep dive in that particular section and perform manual page by page reviews to uncover any hidden issues that the tool may not have picked up.
3. Documentation & Resolution
After we have a full understanding of the inner workings of a site, we will pull together full documentation. Our documentation has been as long as 100+ pages and as short as 45, it all depends on the severity of issues on a site.
4. Manual Page-By Page Review
Like we said before, if a particular section of a site is under-performing we will do a deep dive and check each page manually for issues. Page by page reviews are tedious but a necessary part of any audit. Doing manual reviews not only uncovers additional concerns, it allows us to understand the inner workings of pages templates, element configurations, and more. Having this deep understanding allows our team to provide solutions that can be implemented quickly.
What should be included in a website audit?
What’s included in a website audit report is always up for debate. Put simply, a website audit should include a full picture of the website hierarchy and all issues standing in the site’s way of improved performance.
It’s difficult to provide a list of things we think should be in a technical audit but the list of checked issues in section 2 is a good start. In general, we want to check these areas:
The list above is more vague than the one we included in the beginning but these sections encompass everything in that list. We provide all of this information in our audits and we organize it in a way so you understand what the issue is, what it means, where it’s found, and how to resolve it.
What is an SEO audit tool?
An SEO audit tool is just that, a tool. A tool can’t give you the insights that a trained eye can. Now, we’re not saying that tools are bad, they do a great job of highlighting potential pitfalls of a site. Once we have identified these sections, our trained technical specialists will do further analysis to uncover what’s causing the problem.
The reason for this double-analysis is because tools can’t tell a story as well as a human can. Once we find the root of the problem, we can accurately describe what’s happening behind the scenes and what we can do to stop it from happening in the future.
How do you do SEO analysis?
Providing SEO analysis takes a long time to nail down and get good at. Our specialists here at Pepperland have been trained and have practiced diagnosing issues over several audits we’ve performed for other businesses.
The concept I want to stress is that just having an SEO tool is half the battle. To get real insights and real results, you need someone who can explain and walk through specific issues and provide a solution. With each issue we spike out in our audits, we provide a path to a resolution which you can then decide to take in-house or get external help to solve.
When is the right time to get an SEO Audit?
When your organic traffic declines, traffic begins to stall, before, during, and after a redesign, or when things are going well. Most of the time we are auditing a website that is in need of a bit of redirection. We help them get back on track with their goals and leave with a much healthier site. When things are going well is another time to consider an audit. You’ll be surprised at what you can find.
There is never really a bad time to get an audit. Most of the time when people decide to get an audit, it’s too late. They have already seen traffic decline, loss of important and valuable keywords, or their content is getting dropped from search results.
The best time to get an audit is right now. If you’re already considering it, it’s probably the right time to do it. You don’t want to wait too long until you start seeing a drop in performance. Here at Pepperland Marketing, we offer technical audit services that will uncover everything in your way so you can wipe out the competition.
How long does it take to do a website audit?
Does your website rank on the first page of search engine queries for most search phrases in your niche? How easy is it for first-time PC or mobile users to navigate and find what they’re looking for? Does your content satisfy most visitors’ search intents? These are only a few of the many vital questions that an SEO audit should answer. Regular, planned audits make it a lot easier for companies to understand how prospective customers interact with their website and make continuous improvements. Industry experts like High Voltage SEO recommend that smaller websites conduct an SEO audit once every year. Larger websites may need to have comprehensive SEO audits done every 6 months to keep up with changing SERP ranking algorithms and shifting customer browsing patterns.
How Long an SEO audit takes
More businesses now seem to grasp the opportunities that an optimally performing website can generate. Those who feel like they’ve arrived a bit late to the party would want to have their sites audited and optimized in the shortest period. Whether it be to decide if an audit is worth investing in or pure fascination, businesses often ask, “How long does an SEO audit take?”. It doesn’t help issues that different SEO companies and freelancers promise results in as short as a few hours to as long as 6 months. You can find software that can pop out a questionable audit in a couple of minutes. However, even if it may look professional, such an audit is typically confusing and off the mark.
On average, a manual SEO audit that generates an easy-to-read report that meshes well with your overall business objectives takes about one week to complete. For smaller websites with less than 10 pages seeking to start off on the right foot, an audit should only take a couple of days.
What Does an SEO Cover?
Before we delve deeper into how long it takes to complete an SEO audit, let’s take a look at what the process entails. On-page SEO consists of elements within your website that you can control and optimize. A large part of on-page SEO has to do with your content and how easy it is for search engines to find. It’s not all about stuffing keywords and hoping that something sticks — your content should answer users’ search queries with few to no unnatural keywords. An SEO audit also looks into how the internal link structure helps users and search engine crawlers to find pages.
Off-page SEO looks into aspects outside of your website that you can, however, try to influence. Perhaps the most important off-page SEO element is the number and quality of backlinks. An SEO audit checks the number of authoritative websites linking to your own, compared to competing sites. A technical SEO audit takes a microscope and goes under your website’s hood. We’re talking about how quickly the website loads, how well it translates to different mobile device screens, and how secure the site is.
Can You Speed Up the Process?
If you own a small website in a narrow, non-competitive niche, your SEO audit can be completed a lot sooner. While there’s the temptation to go for the quickest solution, sometimes you have to sit it out and get the best possible results. For a larger website, a week’s wait doesn’t seem too long, especially when you’re getting value for your time. If you’re keen on getting quick results, you can always forego a full audit and go for a keyword or technical SEO audit.