If you’re thinking about launching a new website or have recently, an SEO audit is standard procedure. And an SEO audit isn’t just for new websites, it’s something that should be done on a regular basis.
The word audit probably screams boring, right? But in the case of SEO, it’s not about checking financials or internal procedures. It’s about setting up your website for success. And to help you get to that number 1 position in Google you desire.
When done correctly an SEO audit for small business will give you great insight into your website. It also provides actionable insights on how to improve your performance in the search engine results (SERPs).
As a small business, you don’t need to over do it with an SEO audit. But still a good review of your website once every 6 months is adequate.
What Is an SEO Audit?
Very simply, an SEO audit is a review of your website to determine if it needs improvement. But I like definitions and this is a great one from SEO Works:
An SEO Audit is a health check for your website. It looks at the technical infrastructure of your website, the on-page elements and off-page essentials to optimise Search Engine visibility, usability and conversion.
This is great, right? I am guessing the answer is wrong. As a small business owner you want to know, how do I improve my rankings?
To improve your rankings you need to conduct an SEO audit to understand what is working and where can you improve.
The key components to an SEO audit involve:
- Technical analysis
- On-Page analysis
- Off-Page analysis
- Competitive analysis and keyword research
Let’s run through the basics of what’s involved in each step.
The first thing to audit is the technical side of your website to ensure that it is up to scratch. I tend to think of technical SEO as the foundation of a house. Without a strong foundation, everything else falls apart.
When evaluating your technical SEO you want to understand how accessible your website is to search engines, such as Google and Bing.
As a small business owner, 9 times out of 10, you’re aren’t going to be a webmaster and you have had your website development outsourced. In the process of building your website, they may have implemented a robots.txt file. If unchanged, this could block access to areas of your website. In turn, not letting search engines rank your website.
Next up, XML sitemaps are important to help Google understand your website. If your web developer hasn’t set one up you should look into getting one.
Another very important technical aspect of an SEO audit is to review your website’s architecture. Your destination pages should always be three clicks away from the homepage and the more important the page the closer to the homepage it should be.
Site speed and mobile friendliness are perhaps the most crucial parts our your SEO audit. Google is focused on the user experience and as more searches now happen on mobile devices your website should be accessible to smartphones.
Additionally, there is nothing more frustrating to the user than a slow website. Research shows that anything longer than 2 seconds begins to impact your website’s success. You can run a test on your mobile friendliness and site speed with Google’s free tool, Google Page Insights.
The next step in your SEO audit is analysing the individual pages on your website. Are they following best practice when it comes to on-page optimisation?
There are 6 main components that we want to check here:
- Page title
- Meta Description
- Heading tags and image tags
- URL structure
- Anchor text
- Page content
Each of these elements needs to be reviewed on every web page and you need to make sure that best practice is being followed.
To learn more, check out Google’s General Guidelines here, which provide some further detail around how you can help get your site found and indexed correctly.
When auditing your off-page SEO performance, it’s great to take a look at your domain’s authority and back link profile.
Domain authority (DA) is super important in SEO, it’s determined by the quality of links to your website and it trustworthiness to Google.
Moz provides a great tool to help you analyse your domain authority. Anything above 40 is a reasonable DA. If you are above 80 you are doing extremely well.
To achieve a strong DA, you need quality backlinks. Thus, you need to evaluate your website’s link profile. There are many tools to assist you to do this, including:
When analysing your link profile look for how many unique root domains are linking back to you.
Secondly, are your links no follow? Don’t be alarmed if a lot of your links are because it’s a bit fishy if all your links are set to follow. But you want a good portion of your links set to follow.
Most importantly, are the links to your websites from high domain authority websites. And is the spam score low? Consider removing any links that are from low domain authority websites with high spam scores. As this could be impacting your rankings.
Competitor & Keyword Research
To complete an SEO audit and to develop a great SEO strategy you must understand the competitive landscape. Auditing the competition on the keywords you want to rank for is highly important.
This can deliver several insights, such as:
- Where your competitors are getting links from
- Help discover new content ideas
- Differentiating yourself from their strategy
Another important step to take in your audit is evaluating the search market. Do extensive keyword research and discover how much of the market you are ranking for. You can identify new opportunities to grow your traffic.
Search behaviour changes all the time so you should always be on the lookout for new trends in people’s searches.
As a small business owner conducting an SEO audit is crucial to maintaining the health of your website. You can discover new opportunities for improvement and growth for your SEO efforts.
If you take action on these insights, you can expect to get more people to your website through Google and find yourself higher in the rankings.
Remember, to get started analysing your website, you need to consider:
- Technical factors
- Reviewing on-page optimisation elements
- Analysing off-page techniques
- Investigating your competitors and new keyword opportunities
If you are looking for more SEO tips and information, check out these other Marketing.com.au articles:
- 11 SEO Tips for Beginners to Boost Website Traffic
- Seven Key eCommerce SEO Tactics and Tools You Should Be Using
- Four Strategies SEO Agencies Use To Supercharge Google My Business
- 9 SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid to Ensure Better Ranking
- 5 Simple Tips to Optimise Your WordPress Website for SEO and Increase Conversions
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