You want to know what can be done better within your site to achieve more turnover, customers and visitors. Unfortunately, you currently do not have the resources to hire an SEO agency, you like doing it yourself or you are too unreasonable to let someone help you.
However, you turn or turn it: you want to get started yourself. And this article will help you with that because in 12 simple steps I will show you how to do an SEO audit yourself.
What is an SEO audit?
The word audit means checking, checking or checking. And with an SEO audit, you do a kind of APK of your organic findability.
To see it as a kind of diagnosis of your website / online presence with the aim of becoming easier to find. Opinions about the content of an SEO audit are divided, but in my view the following parts certainly belong:
- Technical check
- On-Page SEO check
- Off-Page SEO check
- Competition analysis
Why is an SEO audit important?
An SEO audit is important because you want to know what can be improved in the current situation. Because of course you can write even more content and even more guest blogging, but if the loading time of your website is 10 seconds and your website has 500 backlinks from Rusian websites, then you will never score well.
Which tools are important in an SEO audit?
There are now hundreds of SEO tools on the market and of course, there are plenty of alternatives to the tools that I will call that. But these are the tools I used to perform the SEO audit.
Feel free to use another program, because you happen to have already purchased it or find it more fun.
- SEO Site Check-Up
- GT Metrix
- Google Page Speed
- Screaming Frog
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google’s mobile-friendly test
- Google Structured Data Testing Tool
Start with a general SEO check
The first thing I always do when I start an SEO process is to get the client’s website through SEO Site Check-Up. SEO Site Check Up checks your website for the following points:
- Common SEO problems
- Speed optimizations
- Server and security
- Advanced SEO
As you may actually see, SEO Site Check-Up is a kind of SEO audit in itself. It validates the website on many of the aforementioned points.
I always start with SEO Site Check Up to immediately find the biggest SEO problems. Such as the lack of an SSL certificate, canonicalization problems or other improvements that should preferably be addressed today.
Crawl your website for errors with Search Console
Now that we have identified the first most urgent areas for improvement, we move on to another important step: crawling your website with Google Search Console and SEMrush.
Google Search Console is a tool from Google that gives you control and possibilities over your own indexation in Google. If you do not yet have a Google Search Console, I advise you to create it now:
Manual: Create Google Search Console and add your website correctly
When you click on ‘Cover’ in Search Console you will then see all problems within your website. Think of 404s, pages that are on index or pages that are blocked by your robots.txt.
Besides Google Search Console, I always use the Site Audit function of SEMrush to analyze and crawl the website.
SEMrush also looks at small points for improvement and missing elements. That’s something Google Search Console doesn’t do.
Step 3: Check all the On-Page SEO elements
I shouldn’t have to explain to you that the keyword you want to score on should be used in the text, in the URL, and for example the meta description.
Those ‘things’ that your keyword should be in are the On-Page SEO elements. In other words, the elements that you can influence within the page. If you don’t know them. These are they:
- Pictures (name and alt-text)
- Meta title
- Meta description
Of course, you can check the On-Page SEO elements manually (which is far too much work), but you can also do it with handy SEO tools.
I also use SEMrush for that. It has a handy tool called the On-Page SEO Checker. He will then easily tell you what the On-Page points for improvement are in the areas of:
- SERP features
- User experience
Tooltip: a tool that I also really like to use is Screaming Frog. With this, you can also easily find all URLs within your website, determine On-Page Elements and much more.
Step 4: Analyze the loading speed
It has long been known that the loading time of your website is a ranking factor. And that long loading time is very annoying and causes people to drop out is known for much longer.
To analyze your speed, I advise you to use two tools:
- GT Metrix
- Google Page Speed
Both tools are unique in their own way and work completely differently. I am a big fan of GT Metrix because it specifies what to do.
Consider, for example, optimizing images, enabling caching or using minification or by turning off certain functionalities.
Step 5: Check if your website is mobile-friendly
It depends entirely on which sector or niche your company is, but it may be that 90% of your visitors visit your website via mobile. And since July 1, 2019, Google also indexes mobile-first.
The first thing you can do to test if your website is mobile-friendly is to simply test it yourself on different devices. Click through the website, see if everything works and if everything is clear.
If you have passed that test, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to determine whether Google also thinks your website is mobile-friendly.
Step 6: Make the structure of your website transparent
Now that we’ve had some of the SEO principles, it’s time to tackle the more difficult matter. And we start with the structure of your website.
The structure of a website is important for several reasons:
- A website should be easy to use by a visitor and people should be able to click through the site without effort
- Google should easily crawl through the website to find and index all pages
To explain it, I have two images for you. One of the things to do:
And one of how not to do it:
The biggest difference? There is a logically layered structure in the first image. The second image is a ‘mess’.
The structure is even more important for webshops than for websites. This has to do with the fact that you usually have to deal with many more categories there and you want to help Google and visitors to find them as well as possible.
Step 7: Check whether your website has structured data
And we immediately proceed to the next step. Structured data is the marking of a piece of content to make it easier to understand for Google. Think for example of reviews, products or recipes.
When we talk about structured data, two things are actually important:
- Does your website have structured data?
- Is the structured data added correctly and does Google accept it?
You can answer both questions with the Google Structured Data test.
This will tell you exactly which structured data is being used, what is currently going well and what is not going well at the moment.
Step 8: find out which pages score well (and which don’t)
So. We have had SEO technical matters. Now it is high time to see which pages score well and which do not.
We will do this by looking at which pages in Google Analytics have had many organic visitors.
First of all, go to the Google Analytics website and log in to the correct account.
Then left-click on ‘Acquisition’, then on ‘All traffic’ and then on ‘Channels’. Then click on ‘organic search’ and click on ‘landing page’ just above the table. You get a list of the pages that have had the most organic visitors
Do you want to know which pages have had the least organic visitors? Then click ‘Users’. Then the order of the list is reversed.
Then you can immediately analyze a bit further in the table how good the traffic is on that page. For example, do you see a bounce rate of 100%? Then that may mean that people do not find what they are looking for.
Unfortunately, it is still the case, but backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors within Google. Backlinks can make or break your website.
To perform a backlink analyzer, I mainly use Ahrefs and SEMrush. During the backlink analysis I mainly look at:
- The number of backlinks
- The number of domains the backlinks come from
- Spam score
- Anchor tags of the backlinks (and the relationships between the anchor tags)
- Referring IP addresses
- Domain authority
- Page authority
- Nofollow / Dofollow ratio
- Extension of the links
- Whether there are bad links between the link profile
Ahrefs has the largest database and shows the most information. That is why I mainly use Ahrefs. If I really want to go deeper and analyze a link profile deeper and better, I mainly use SEMrush.
SEMrush shows a bit more useful information and graphs to show how well or not you are doing. It depends entirely on what I want to know or what I want to do to determine which tool I use.
Step 10: Spy on your competitors with a competitive analysis
To rank higher in Google, you need to do one thing above all else: beat your competitors. So it is very important to keep an eye on what your competitor is doing.
What content do they have? What backlinks do they have? How fast is their website?
These are all things that you can easily find out. I just explained how you can do that with your own site. Now you can also do that with their website.
When I analyze the competition in the field of content, I look at three parts:
- What are the keywords that my competitors are found?
- What is my competitor’s highest-scoring content?
- On which keywords can my competitor be found and I not?
Ahrefs gives me the answer to all these three questions.
Determine competitor keywords
Ahrefs is incredibly simple. First of all you have to enter the domain of your competitor and press enter.
Then click on ‘Organic search terms’ on the left of the list and you will see a list of all keywords that your competitor is found on. You can then select by country, position, volume, difficulty and much more.
Best scoring content from competitors
Finding the top-scoring content from competitors is as easy as determining the organic search terms.
In the left row within Ahrefs, do not click on ‘organic search terms’ but on ‘top pages’ and you will see the best-scoring content of the domain you entered.
Keywords that your competitor can find and you don’t
You can also easily find out with Ahrefs. Click on the ‘content gap’ in the left row. Then enter the URL of your competitor and at the bottom of your domain.
Choose whether you only want to see keywords that are in the top 10 (or even outside of them) and then click on ‘Show search terms’.
Step 11: The next step
So. In an extremely short time, you have done an analysis of your website. What I advise you to do is keep track of your keywords. You can also do this with SEMrush.
Why do I advise you that? Then you keep a finger on the pulse and you know when you drop or rise in Google. You can then quickly analyze and adjust where necessary.
The next step is to get started with the areas for improvement within your website. Please note, chances are that you will need help with this.
But if you want to try it yourself and have questions about something? Then chances are I wrote a blog about that. If that does not help you either, please feel free to contact me.