It’s been over 30 years since the World Wide Web was made available to the public. Over the years, IT researchers and computer scientists have developed countless strategies to help businesses improve their websites in order to not only attract customers but also increase conversions. Some of the most useful strategies include optimising content for both users and SEO, establishing content authority, and perfecting your site’s technical SEO.
However, in order to optimise your website for maximum conversions, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive SEO audit checklist for your website. Before you set out to conduct a comprehensive SEO audit for your website, you must first understand the importance of SEO auditing.
What is SEO Auditing?
SEO Auditing basically refers to the process of testing your website for how well it is optimised for search engines and finding opportunities to improve its search performance. This involves “finding technical, on-page, content, and link-related issues to fix or improve.”
This article will walk you through a 10-step SEO audit checklist that you must follow to conduct a thorough evaluation of your website’s SEO performance. By adhering to these steps, you can pinpoint areas for enhancement and create a more user-friendly and search engine-friendly website.
Before exploring the most important steps in conducting an SEO audit, let’s examine some of the benefits of going through this process.
Benefits of SEO Auditing
You can compare your website to your competitors.
One way that this can be done is by finding out about all the keywords which your competitor ranked for on Google, but you didn’t. This will give you a clear idea about which keywords will perform better in terms of generating leads and attracting conversions, and you can then direct your content creation team to make use of those keywords.
Other factors that can be considered for comparison are mobile-friendliness, user-friendliness, website design, etc.
You can improve your SEO.
An SEO audit will help you in pointing out SEO-related mistakes, such as overuse of keywords, the inclusion of filler content, etc. Moreover, by forcing you to prioritise the user experience over search engines, this process will prevent you from falling prey to misconceived notions of rising up in Google ranks while compromising on content quality.
You’ll optimize conversion rates.
You can reassess your website’s performance in terms of lead generation and conversion via website audits. This will enable you to find any previously unnoticed opportunities to convert visitors into leads so that you can include pertinent CTAs (Call-to-action) . It will also enable you to find flaws in your landing pages so that you may improve them to increase conversions.
You can optimise your website performance.
Getting rid of broken pages, redirecting backlinks, and refreshing declining URLs will ensure that your website runs seamlessly and, thus, optimise its performance. Apart from that, the SEO audit will also keep your web design user-friendly, for example, by ensuring users can navigate to the information they seek.
You can identify issues early.
Conducting an SEO audit is the best way to spot any issues your website faces, such as wrong backlinks and broken pages, which can harm SEO and conversions. This is why it is important to go through your SEO audit checklist regularly and ensure that there are no errors on the website.
5-Step SEO Audit Checklist
Step 1: Check for Manual Actions
Manual actions are indicators of something being very wrong with your website. It is highly essential to always first check for these because if it so happens that you have a Manual Action on your website, it can cause many problems. When a human reviewer at Google determines that your site does not adhere to the Google search requirements, manual actions will be taken.
You might have received a manual action for the following reasons:
- Keyword stuffing
- Unnatural links (both to and from your site)
- Various kinds of spam
- Thin content with little or no added value
In this case, users may be unable to view your website or parts of your website during a Google search. In order to check for manual actions on your website, you can simply go to the Manual Actions report in Google Search Console. Then you can proceed with resolving the issue. If the Google Search Console says, “No issues detected,” then you are safe, and it means that there are no manual actions on your website.
Step 2: Check for Indexing Issues
Indexing issues can be caused by the presence of pages that are not indexed, which means that they are not in Google’s database. As a result of his, Google will be unable to rank those pages. Non-indexed pages do not show up in Google search results and so they do not even affect SEO. This can impact the SEO optimisation of your site. Check Google Search Console for errors to determine if your pages have been indexed. Navigate to the “Pages” report in the left menu’s “Index” section. Here, you may view a graph of all pages organized by the status of their indexing.
Google Search Console also allows you to take a look at the reasons why a page hasn’t been indexed. Underneath the graph, there is a list of reasons, and you will need to evaluate every page that is non-indexed to check why. However, it is important to note that not all pages need to be indexed, only the ones you want to use for SEO optimisation.
Below is a list of pages that do not need to be indexed:
- Pages with redirects
- Admin pages
- Alternate pages with canonical tags
- Feed pages
If you discover that a page that needs to be indexed has not been indexed, then you must resolve this problem using Google’s guidelines. After that you just need to click the “Validate Fix” button shown above.
Then you can request indexing again and your URL will become available on Google.
Step 3: Check if your site is mobile-optimised
In 2019, Google opted for mobile-first indexing, as a result of which, mobile-optimisation of websites has become a priority. As a matter of fact, it is now a major ranking factor when it comes to SEO ranking and just general optimisation of websites, among other factors, such as correct use of keywords and user accessibility.
In order to check for mobile-optimisation, you can head over to the Mobile Usability report of your website, which can be accessed via Google Search Console. As can be seen in the screenshot above, this report will inform you regarding whether any of the URLs from your site have errors, which will impact mobile-optimisation.
If most of your pages have a similar layout and design, they will all yield the same result, so you don’t have to check for mobile-optimisation errors for all pages.
Step 4: Ensure that there are no duplicate versions of your site
Every website exists on several versions of a URL, which can vary based on whether it uses HTTPS and whether it uses WWW in the domain. However, it is important to make sure that Google only indexes one version of your site.
The list below shows the four possible versions of your page. Also, the Search Engine reads all of these versions as unique to themselves.
The problem arises when the website runs more than one of these URL versions. For example, there may be issues with crawling, indexing, and ranking, which can adversely affect Google ranking of the site.
Additionally, having numerous versions of your site might weaken PageRank, which can hurt your rankings.
This is extremely easily verifiable.
Just type all of your site’s variations into a web browser. The desired version should be immediately redirected to you. If your preferred URL version, for instance, is https://websitename.com, your browser should route you there if you input any other version.
Step 5: Check Core Web Vitals
Google measures user experience using Core Web Vitals metrics. They gauge how quickly a page loads, how interactive it is, and how stable the material is as it does so. It would be best if you didn’t become fixated on them because they’re now a weak ranking indication. However, it still pays to take a glance at how well your website is performing.
Check Google Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report to do this. The fundamental metrics that you ought to benchmark against are as follows:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
- First Input Delay (will be replaced by Interaction to Next Paint in March 2024)
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
Step 6: Make sure your sitemap is error-free.
The web pages that you would like search engines to index are listed in a sitemap. Redirects, non-canonicals, and dead pages should not be listed because they provide Google with conflicting signals.
It’s crucial to check that your sitemap contains the most significant pages you want to be indexed. As shown above, by visiting Google Search Console and selecting Sitemaps, you can keep an eye on any problems with your sitemap.
Step 7: Check for Declining Web Pages
One thing to keep in mind when applying SEO to your website is that URL or web page rankings do decline over time. Because of this, even those pages which earned a good Google ranking upon being published and led to a high rate of conversions can eventually fall down in terms of rankings. This usually occurs due to content becoming outdated. For example, even the list of important steps, which should be included in this SEO audit checklist, will change over time as Google creates new functions and discards old ones from its Search Console.
You can find declining content in Google Search Console using the following steps:
- Go to the Search results report
- Set the date filter to compare mode
- Choose “Compare last 6 months to previous period”
- Click the “Pages” tab
- Sort the table by “Clicks Difference” from low to high
The only real solution to this issue is to refresh and reupload declining pages by updating them with new information. This has proven to bring web pages back up in terms of Google rankings.
Step 8: Check your site for broken pages
Broken pages are those URLs that display a “404 not found” error on the screen. This error is very harmful for your website for several reasons. For example, if that page has backlinks, this error will render them useless.
In the case that your web page was deleted accidentally, you must reinstate it. If, however, that is not the case, then you must first check for backlinks. If the web page did have backlinks, you need to redirect them by removing or updating internal links.
Step 9: Check for optimisation of the website
One of the final steps in the SEO audit checklist is to check whether the various aspects of your website are optimised for users. This involves ensuring that there are effective ways for customers or viewers to navigate the website easily and interact with it, for example, by leaving comments, filling feedback forms, leaving contact information, subscribing to newsletters, and so on.
One way to test your website for user-friendliness is by conducting tests to see whether your target audience can easily access the information or tools they are looking for when they visit your website. This can also be in the form of testing how responsive your web design is.
Step 10: Final Technical check
The final technical assessment of your website should involve rechecking the three main aspects of site responsiveness, SEO, and conversion rate in order to ensure that you have caught all key changes that were needed. At this stage, you may seek out the help and expertise of an IT technician who can evaluate the website for the above-mentioned requirements.
In conclusion, the ten main steps to conducting a successful SEO audit are to check for Manual Actions, indexing issues, mobile-optimisation, duplicate versions of the site, core web vitals, sitemap issues, declining web pages, broken pages, overall website optimisation, and lastly making a final technical check of the site.
Overall, the main goal of an SEO audit checklist is to maximise conversions by attracting the target audience for your digital services. To achieve this, one must make sure that all indexed web pages have high Google rankings and that proper usage of keywords is being implemented. So reach out to The Dreams IT & Marketing Agency today and hire an expert who will conduct this SEO audit for you.