Everyone has their own way of auditing a site for mistakes or anything else. In most cases you’re dealing with a new client that has signed up with you for SEO services. And in all case you MUST run an audit and see if there are things you can do to improve rankings immediately. It could be simple as an accidental disallow all in their robots.txt file. I’ll share what I do for an SEO audit and hopefully you’ll pick up a thing or two.
SEO Audit Step 1
The first step that I take in every case is use a tool called screaming frog. Its extremely fast and you can pick up things Google Webmaster Tools doesn’t. You can suck a lot of information that would take hours without screaming frog. Screaming frog gives information like:
- Internal information
- External information
- Status of the URL
- Title tags
- Meta tags
There are a bunch of other useful options for you to scan through before starting your full SEO audit with screaming frog. Go through it and use this tool for all your projects.
Google & Bing Webmaster Tools
When there is something wrong with your site, two of the best places to visit are Google and Bing Webmaster tools. This would be my second step. You should check the section “Health” and you’ll see what Google is having trouble with when it comes to the site you’re auditing. With Google you can check:
- Crawl errors
- Crawl stats
- Blocked URLs
- Fetch As Google (great tool when you want to submit to the index)
- Index Status
You would be surprised how many times I’ve checked a site and they’ve forgotten to change their robots.txt file. This is where I could find this information fast. In all cases, you should check these tools and pick up issues if they are present. Plus, you’ll get a bunch of other stuff you can use for your SEO campaign.
SEO Audit / Full Spectrum Analysis
There are 5 steps to take when you do a full SEO audit. If you follow each one, you’ll know exactly what to do next. Here they are from most important to least important:
- Is the site accessible?
- Can search engine index what you want?
- Are all on-page SEO factors considered?
- Do all off-page factors follow Webmaster guidelines?
- Are there 404’s on the site?
Again, make sure your site is accessible to search engines in order to get indexed. This includes Meta tags that tell search engines to bugger off.
Or the robots.txt file might look something like this.
Also, make sure the XML sitemap is accurate and updated. Yoast offers a pretty cool auto XML sitemap generator you can use in this case if your site is done in WordPress.
Site speed is huge with Google. Make sure you have your site loading in under 3.5 seconds (4 max). Here are some tools you can use for checking site speed:
2. Is The Site Being Indexed In Google & Bing
I’ve come across a few ways you can check if your site has been indexed or not by Google, Bing and Yahoo. You can simply put “site:mydomain.com” in a search engine and see if your site is indexed (without the quotes of course).
My favourite way to do this is through Google and Bing Webmaster tools through Index Status in Google and through Reports & Date in Bing.
3. Are All On-Page SEO Factors Considered
Okay, it’s been pretty exhausting checking accessibility and indexibility. We now have to look on-page SEO factors. I am going to leave this up to you because if you’re here, chances are you’re pretty good at on-page factors. I will be writing a blog post about on-page factors for 2013 very soon anyway. Here are a couple of things to check before you forget:
- URLs have to be friendly with keywords included in them
- Are you using rel=canonicals
- Is the content “good enough” or is it boring and worthless
- Is information architecture done
- Are keywords being used more then they should
- Are the title tags, meta tags, headers, images, paragraphs optimized
4. Do all off-page factors follow Webmaster guidelines
Obviously, off-page SEO factors are extremely important. What good is a site if your not being linked too? I am going to go over some factors that we all should consider in every audit.
Is the site gaining traffic?
If the site you’re working on is consistently gaining traffic, someone is doing something right. Your task will be to increase this and awareness for the company you’re working for.
One thing you must remember is that your competition is fighting you for rankings. Most companies understand the importance of having a good website online that shows up in search engines. Your job is to research what your competitors are doing and improve your strategy. Couple of things to look for when researching your competitors is:
- Are your competitors using social media for an outreach?
- What kind of loss leader/promotion are they offering?
- Do they have a good internal linking strategy?
- Are they using best practices for on-site optimization?
- Does the site have good information architecture?
- Are they using proper anchor text implementation for links?
- What page/domain authority are we looking at?
- Where are they getting linked?
5. 404 & 301’s
404 Errors are really easy to pick up with screaming frog. Once you find out 404’s on your site, use 301 redirects to redirect the 404 to the proper page. You can correct this in Google Webmaster tools in the “Health” section and “Crawl Errors”.
SEO Audit Report
And in the end we must create a report to present to our client. I’ll go over what I use to get my reports out in order.
- Advanced Web Ranking Report
- You can export everything from keywords rankings to back link reports with this tool. It’s really an all in one tool that I like to use and send out PDF’s to my clients.
- SEOMoz has an amazing tool set, as I am sure you know by now. You can also export your reports in SEOMoz.
- Google/Bing Webmaster Tools
- You can definitely user Webmaster tools to export CSV files. Make sure it makes sense when you share it with your client.
- Google Keyword Research Tool
- This is a huge tool to get keyword reports out. I usually change them into something my clients would understand first unless my clients know the ins and outs of keyword research.
- Screaming Frog
- Again, you can use this tool to export everything from title tags on every page to 404’s. Great tool!
- Advanced Web Ranking Report
Some of these tools cost money but the benefits far outweigh the costs. I would really consider paying for SEOMoz and Advanced Web Ranking Tool. It will pay off in the long run. Trust me!
[schema type=”person” name=”Puya Turkiyan” jobtitle=”SEO & Online Marketing Specialist” url=”http://newmediasources.ca/” description=”Puya Turkiyan is an established online marketing specialist providing SEO services in beautiful Vancouver, BC with a great track record and an eye for conversion with lead generation.” city=”Vancouver” state=”BC” ] Puya has provided SEO Services all over North America.