How to Perform a Thorough SEO Audit on Your Website

To make sure that all of the SEO methods are working in practice, you need to perform a thorough SEO audit of your website.

You will be able to tell which methods and strategies are bringing in traffic and allowing you to reach your target audience, and which aren’t so that you can improve upon them, or focus on new ones.

According to John Masterson, who works as an SEO specialist for SuperiorPapers,  here is what you need to check to perform a thorough SEO audit of your website:

Site Structure

Create an XML Sitemap

The existence of an XML sitemap allows the search engines to determine which URLs are actually on your website so that they can crawl them more quickly. You also need sitemaps to make sure that your site is viewed as the original source of content in case someone copies it or references it so that it doesn’t get penalized by Google.

You can use tools like sitemap generator or Free XML Sitemap Validator to generate your sitemap automatically.

Edit robots.txt File

Robots.txt file is needed to tell the search engine spiders which pages they should take into account when crawling your website.

By modifying the contents of the file, you can prevent the crawlers from duplicate indexing content, or make sure that they don’t crawl individual pages of your website which you want to keep private and outside of SERPs. Again, you can create your robots.txt file manually or automatically; it’s up to you.

Check Redirects

By using a 301 redirect command, you are informing the search engines that the page is no longer available, and redirecting them to a new address. As a result, they will remove the old URL from their index, and remember the new one.

Also, this will allow you to monitor the traffic that your 404 pages is receiving. You can implement a 301 redirect with Redirect Check.

Page Structure

Title and Meta Description

Note that your title is not the same as the headline of your article. Your title should be between 55 and 65 characters in length (including spaces) because that’s how much will be displayed inside the SERPs.

Your meta description should be no longer than 160 characters (since a 600-pixel container is used to display it) because all the extra characters will get clipped. It is important to include your target keyword in both. You can preview how they will look inside the results with SEO Mofo.

Alt Tag

Having relevant and high-quality images on your website is a must these days, but don’t forget to include alt tags and titles for your images that are relevant and descriptive. Check your image title tags with Image Alt Test.

URLs

Another factor that contributes to your overall SEO is URLs that are relevant, and preferably contain your keyword because it helps Google determine the connection between your content and the URL.

You can create your URL automatically or manually.

Usability

Mobile Friendliness

Since smartphones and tablets have become the dominant devices through which users consume content, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. In addition to that, Google’s mobile crawler takes it into account when ranking your website. You can test mobile-friendliness here.

Load Speed

Another important ranking factor, at least when it comes to Google, is load speed. Sites that take longer to load sport higher bounce rates and shorter on-page times, which means that users don’t have too much patience for slow sites. You can use the tools mentioned here to test how your website is performing in that aspect.

Health Checks

Broken links, both external and internal, can affect your SEO, as well as the overall user experience. Google bots check links on a regular basis, which means you need to take your time and check your outbound links periodically. You can use broken link checker tools to find the faulty one.

Duplicate Content

Having duplicate content means you can get penalized by Google, even if you have done it inadvertently or referenced your sources correctly. Use Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker to make sure that your content is original and unique.

SEO Audit Toolkit (Bonus Content)

You can also use the following tools to make your SEO audit more complete:

Accessibility and Performance-Checking Tools

Duplicate Content and Plagiarism Checkers

Page Speed Checkers

Conclusion

With these tools and tips at your disposal, you will be able to perform an incredibly thorough SEO audit of your website and improve its performance and ranking, instead of just guessing what works and what doesn’t. Start using them today.

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