"Statistics show that the first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. According to HubSpot Marketing Statistics, website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time.
Website speed performance is thus very crucial for your eCommerce. While it's very easy to point out a slow website, it can be quite daunting to get to understand what slows down your website hence the need for an SEO audit. A good SEO audit tool will not only unravel what's slowing down your website but also give grades for pages according to their SEO scores. What's more, such tools go ahead and provide solutions to resolve on-page SEO errors.
SEO audit should be a priority for businesses if they are to get the most out of their websites, which have come to play a very critical role in times such as this where COVID-19 mitigation measures have forced businesses to rethink and to reimagine how they do business. Indeed, it is business unusual and SEO is a tried and proven way of driving qualified traffic to your website.
Social media marketer Monica Oneil agrees, “SEO can be competitive, but it is still by far the most effective way to drive sustainable traffic to your website.”
According to Forbes, “Optimizing your website for search engines is a powerful means for strengthening your website and extending its reach, allowing you to better connect with customers and increase visibility on your brand.”
As clients and businesses move online, companies must ensure that they offer their clients a seamless customer experience lest they lose their audience to competitors. Once you have attracted a lead to your site, you want them to stay with you till the end where they purchase a service or product or even download an e-book.
Since you don’t want to lose them, ensure that you don’t give them any reason whatsoever to drop off as you will need to work much harder to regain their attention. One of the easiest ways to lose your site’s visitors is through a slow website. In this day and age of SEO audit tools, no business has an excuse for a slow website.
How to easily conduct an SEO audit
Search engine algorithms are constantly being upgraded and you keep on adding content to your site to make it active. To ensure your brand's site is up-to-date with these changes, it is vital to regularly conduct an SEO audit.
Here’s how you can get started with your SEO audit.
1 Competitor research. Begin your audit by scrutinizing your competitors. Look at how they are generating their organic search traffic for certain keywords. This will help you know what they are not doing so that you could generate content to surpass them. A competitor analysis could be easily done with an SEO auditing tool such as Ninja SEO.
The main areas to look into are competitor keywords, their estimated monthly search traffic, inbound links, and domain authority among others. These statistics need to be evaluated and compared to help you figure out how much content competing sites are churning, and their weaknesses and strengths. With this knowledge, you will understand where to focus your strengths.
2 Crawling and indexing. Crawling is determining how your website is read by search engines while indexing is adding your web page to search engine results. Indexing and crawling are vital to a successful SEO approach. Leveraging a proper SEO analysis tool will help you establish whether your site is being crawled or indexed.
The robots.txt file is helpful when trying to comprehend what content is blacklisted from crawlers and evaluating the sitemap to see if it meets all requirements. You might be surprised to discover that the entire website has been blacklisted by a search engine. Most sites contain information that is not useful for SEO operation and search engines mostly ignore them.
3 Accessibility. One of the reasons that damage visitors’ access to your site is slow loading times and 404 errors. Site speed in the SEO industry is increasingly vital. Search engines rank slow sites very poorly; speed is a major UX signal for search engines. Slow load time frustrates readers and search engines. Ensure you check the speed of the entire website. Most clients check the homepage speed and they forget that is just a page and the entire website is the book.
Also, analyze your competitor's site speed and compare it with yours. Most crucially, measure both the desktop loading time and mobile site speed. This will give you an in-depth report on your site performance in terms of speed and suggest what errors to eliminate to improve your site visibility to search engines and functioning.
4 Link analysis. Search engines use relevant links as one of the major determinants in ranking websites. Determine how the site is linked both externally and internally to reputable third-party sites. Ninja SEO and Google Search Console are some of the incredible tools that can analyze links in your website and determine what pages linked to yours are important and how your data is linked. It could be backlinks or referring domains.
Domains are a much stronger signal than backlinks since one site generating 10,000 backlinks is still one referring domain. It is easier to manipulate a site for backlinks but harder to get numerous domains. When analyzing links to your site, referring domains and backlinks should all be evaluated as spam links influence website performance - weed them out.
5 Keyword analysis. Audit what keywords can generate high-value organic search traffic on your content and determine where these keywords rank your brand. Understand the keywords bringing traffic and how the traffic is converting to clients. Auditing tools help you understand how keyword ranking affects your site performance.
6 Content evaluation. Your content should be based on what interests your audience. Audit your content to determine what value they are adding to your brand. Know what pages are generating high-value traffic and how to leverage this information to boost your website performance.
Auditing will provide actionable data about content optimized for target keywords, time spent by visitors engaging on specific content, duplicate content issues, meta description, target keywords, among others.
Use the report to develop an SEO strategy that has an action plan for your content creation. This information will help you understand what competing firms are not doing and could improve your brands’ understanding of what areas to focus on.
7 On-page optimization. Auditing on-page includes looking at header tags, missing elements in pages, page title length, URL, and ALT tags on images.
8 Site design and architecture. The goal of search engines is to ensure clients get a safe and enjoyable experience. To keep up, brands should evaluate customers' behavior and experience. Improve customer experience by ensuring your site is mobile-friendly, secured HTTPS, and easy navigation. These are key areas that search engines use to rank websites, negative reports injure your online visibility and website performance.
10 Execution. Once you point out areas that require action, do not hesitate to find solutions. The primary goal of an SEO audit is to find what interferes with your website performance; however, it should be geared on priorities. Take action on recommendations based on how crucial they are, and ensure all recommendations are looked into eventually.
SEO Auditing Tools
Here is a list of some reputable and incredible auditing tools you can use for your SEO audit.
1. Google search console
It is a product of Google and it was previously known as Google's Webmaster Tools. It is a free tool with powerful capabilities that anyone can utilize. It provides its clients with news and updates from google. In case of any mishap in your website, Google instantly notifies you.
Google Search Console also has powerful search analytics and capable of conducting audits on the total number of clicks, number of impressions, average click-through rate, average position, link analysis, manual actions taken by a search engine, and mobile-friendliness among others.
One of the key advantages of this tool is how it outlines keyword change in position. It can easily conduct a competitive analysis on keywords, rank them, and display what pages are linking to the keywords. It has a free version but with limited usage but has a paid version with incredible tools. Use it to also conduct an audit on average click-through rate, average position, link analysis, page speed, and many other areas.
3. Ninja SEO
It is one of the best SEO auditing tools in the market. It enables you to conduct page audits analyzing your website on the primary key basis and checking errors that damage your overall visibility in SERPs. It does a website audit by crawling the page in seconds and providing reports on all minor and major issues. It also identifies broken links on your website that lowers your content ranking and fixes them to improve your website health and content rating. It analyses your speed and improves it by rectifying errors that hinder user experience. It comes with a 30-day free subscription and an infinity suite that you can subscribe to for $50.
4. Google Analytics
It provides a pool of information to any SEO. It provides an x-rayed report on your traffic and visitors' behavior. You can monitor what readers are doing on your site and the time they spent on your content. It outlays key information on the average time users spend on site besides issues like page speed, webpage ranking, and keyword analysis. Engaging content is what will improve your content visibility in search engines, the information provided by this software will help develop valuable, relevant, and trending content readers will like.
How SEO Audit tools help improve website performance
SEO audits are vital in improving website performance and they do this in the following ways.
1. Find SEO weaknesses.
Auditing your website will help you understand what issues are damaging your website performance. It will also enable you to stay updated with changing search engine algorithms. Search engines rank website performance and visibility using different metrics now and then. With an SEO auditing tool, brands can determine issues damaging their online presence and find suitable solutions to change this.
2. Evaluate competition
Auditing is not only about your site but also what other competing sites are doing. You can analyze various aspects of your competitors’ websites to know their strengths, weaknesses, and where you can beat them. An SEO audit tool will analyze keywords your competitors use and where you rank, it will also look at your competitor’s site backlinks and determine which ones are spam and can even provide an opportunity to replace a competitor's backlink with yours.
Auditing your competitors will shed light on the strategy they are using and what mobile site they are utilizing. Furthermore, you will know how they are generating traffic, and if they are generating engagement from social media.
3. Improve your brand’s marketing
SEO audit will outline what causes your site’s downtime. Things that affect usability such as customized 404 pages, favicons, or structured data mark-up improve users’ experience. Optimizing these and indexing and crawling issues boost brands' organic search ranking. Search engines rank highly sites that provide apt user experience such as mobile usability.
4. Content audit and site health.
Engaging content attracts more click through and conversion of leads. Auditing the website will outline what hinders your content ranking. Content ranking eventually improves website performance, thus, it needs constant scrutiny to ensure its relevance. An audit also outlines the health of webpages and suggests what issues should be improved.
5. Evaluate content consistency and quality
Web content should be easy to read and engaging to intrigue the readers to share it. The ranking of content affects website performance and visibility. Through auditing, you get to understand the quality and consistency of your content as well as areas of improvement.
6. Improve user experience
Auditing enables brands to improve various issues such as slow loading times, spam links, content quality among others. This eventually improves user experience and generates traffic. Through auditing, brands can ensure their content is mobile friendly. Slightly over 55% of search engine traffic is from mobile phones and tablets. Search engine rewards sites optimized for mobile and desktop use.
The Key Takeaway
One of the indicators of a healthy website is its loading time. An SEO audit will help you identify the issues affecting your website so you can effectively nip them in the bud before they cause extensive damage to your website's reputation both on the interwebs and to your target audience. It is also advisable that you use a reliable SEO audit tool that will give you more insights about your website.