Our article about manual SEO audits explains some of the reasons why you should regularly carry out an SEO audit on your site. But what if you want to do some auditing yourself? Here is a basic SEO audit checklist to help you do this effectively.
Step One – check your competition.
Keep an eye on your competitors! Look at current rankings for the shorter, more competitive keywords. Be sure to log out of your Google account and use multiple browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc) to help minimize personalization of search.
Tip 1: To improve your rankings for highly competitive terms, optimize pages specifically for those terms. To do this, the best solution is to create fresh, unique, interesting content and promote it well with techniques like social media and email marketing.
Tip 2: Optimize for long tail terms as well. Up to 26% of Google’s searches are now terms that have never been searched before. (Source: Google—at a recent conference in Lincolnshire, UK)
Step Two – check incoming and outgoing links
Use Moz’s free Open Site Explorer and check individual pages across your website, not just the root domain only.
- See what websites link to you, and your competitors
- Check your Domain and Page Authority – this number is how likely a domain/page is to rank based on how authoritative search engines consider it to be because of which sites link to it.
- Check the Authority of the sites linking to you – the higher the number, the more valuable the link is to you
- Look for good and bad links to your site (inbound links). As much as possible, make sure all the links to you are relevant to your business and are not spammy links.
Check your outgoing links with a tool such as SEO Quake (which runs in your browser) and allows you to see how many outbound links any website has; not just your own, but also your competitors.
Tip 3: Actively pursue links to and from your site with high authority domains. Here is a great article from Search Engine Journal that explains the link outreach process.
Step Three – Meta Data
Your page titles and meta description tag should occur on every page of your site and should be unique for each page, not the same throughout your site.
- Open your site in “View Source” on your browser
- See if you have the <title> and <meta description> tag in the header section (top of the code) – is it the same on every page, or is it written specifically for that page, using the keyword focus of that page?
Beyond the title and description, there are many other on-page SEO factors you need to get right for high ranking. Tools such as Screaming Frog will check all of your pages for multiple SEO elements on your pages, from header tags, alt text, anchor text, redirects and much, much more. (You can do this on your competitors sites too!)
From this step alone, you may see SEO problems with your site, such as old or low authority links, poorly written or non-descriptive meta data, missing SEO information such as alt text on images, or no keywords in your H1 and H2 tags.
All of these elements need to be right to win at the search engine game.
Paid SEO Audit Tools
- There are some useful paid resources too for an SEO Audit. Market Samurai, Majestic SEO and Moz are three of my favorites.
- Each one of these provides detailed information than can help you do a more detailed audit of your site, and your competitors.
While we love to have students attend our SEO Training Classes or schedule an in-house SEO training session, we understand that often companies want to do their own SEO audit of their current website. However, if you have any questions about how we can work together – contact us today at 214-550-4310 to schedule a complimentary 20-minute introductory phone meeting.