The key goal of every business website is to be found by potential customers. To this end, you prepare various digital marketing strategies, invest in Facebook™ ads and try to maintain an active presence on various social media networks. And one more thing: you try to optimise your website for the most relevant keywords and get a good SEO ranking.
You Are Never Done with SEO Work
However, many website owners fail to grasp the idea that SEO is a continuous work, which involves:
- Creating fresh content
- Removing broken links
- Keeping your site mobile friendly
- Researching keywords on an ongoing basis.
We have already shared an article about how to grow the SEO ranking of your website a few months ago. Now it’s time to teach you how to check whether your SEO strategy is working. This involves performing a SEO audit.
What Is a SEO Audit?
This process consists of several steps that deal with various aspects that impact the success of your SEO strategy. These aspects are:
- Whether your website is penalised by Google;
- How your website shows in search results;
- Wether your website structure allows crawling by search engine spiders;
- Whether each web page is properly optimised;
- Whether your backlinks are of good quality.
Now that we’ve shown you the basic structure of a SEO audit, it’s time to go in depth with how you actually perform it.
1. Check for Google Penalties
Google penalises websites that try to circumvent its ranking algorithms and use various black hat SEO tactics. Some of the issues Google penalises are: keyword stuffing, little or low value content, websites that are not mobile friendly, etc.
One of the ways of checking whether your website has been penalised is to go to your Google Analytics console and check the level of organic traffic after Google has applied a new ranking algorithm. If you see a sudden drop in traffic, then your website is probably penalised.
The second method is by logging to Google Webmaster Tools (by the way, if you do not have an account there, you should create one – it’s free and very useful). In the main Search Console, go to the Search Traffic section and click on Manual Actions. Here you will find out whether your website was subject to a penalty. If you find a penalty, then read its contents carefully, as well as the instructions to fix the issue.
2. Check How Your Website Appears in Google Searches
This is a very simple and easy step. Go to Google, type in your brand name (not your website URL) and look at the first results. If everything is OK, your home page should be the first Google search result, followed by various sub-links underneath it (such as, the About Us page, the Blog, the Products/Services page, etc.).
Next, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look at the section “Searches related to [search term]”. If your SEO strategy is working, these related searches should be about your website, social media accounts or individual products and services.
3. Is Your Website Structure Google Friendly?
This is the technical part of your SEO audit. You should check for the following aspects:
- Whether you’ve submitted your website to Google– you can easily fix this by registering your domain on the Google Search Console;
- Whether the robots.txt file in your website structure is optimised to allow crawling by Google spiders;
- Whether each URL of your website is SEO friendly – this means that it should contain the main keyword used in the respective page.
For this step of your SEO audit, you should enlist the help of the programmer who created or who maintains your website.
4. Check Whether Your Web Pages Are Properly SEO Optimised
If your website is built on WordPress (the most popular site building platform), you can easily check whether each page is optimised for the relevant keyword in:
- Page description
- Meta description
- H1, H2, H3 tags
- Alt text and descriptions of images on the page.
5. Check the Quality of Your Backlincks
Link building is part of the off-page SEO strategy. It means that links to your website appear on other sites. Among other algorithms, Google takes into account the quality of these backlinks. This means that if you’ve built links on website with a low ranking or even dubious reputation, your own website will suffer and get a lower ranking.
In link building, quality trumps quantity. Do not go enthusiastically to every website where you can place backlinks to your site. Choose only websites of good reputation and relevant to your business.