Search Engine Optimization has been a key focus of marketers in the past decade. The race to rank first in the plethora of competing brands has got every brand working tirelessly on their website content and technicalities to follow Google’s esteemed algorithm while also trying to crack the code of how to create a better experience for users.
With 2020 bringing new expectations and forecasts for search engine marketers, most of us are wrapping up our new year audits of the websites we handle for our companies or clients. I’ve been researching new SEO findings for the new year too, and as per my observation, are a few technical SEO Audit essentials you shouldn’t miss in 2020. But before we take a look at the list, let’s talk a bit more about SEO audits and their impact on your SERP strategies.
What’s an SEO Audit
An SEO audit is an analysis of how friendly your website is in terms of search engine optimization. Audits usually include a full overview of technicalities and content that’s available on your website. Technicalities may include responsiveness, page speed, URLs, interlinking and more; while content audits include checking keywords, reviewing heading tags, meta titles and descriptions and more.
Why are regular Audits important?
SEO optimization isn’t a one time task. Just like trends and campaigns change every season for each brand, search analytics also keep changing based on the new websites that keep entering the market, Google algorithm, the new pages you add on your website, and your competitor’s marketing strategy. Considering that your market is ever-changing, you need to keep your website updated and thus, regular audits are important. They not only help you identify the changes that you need to make on your website but also provide Google with regular information of what edits are being made on your site and thus, create validity for your pages on a technical end.
But it’s important to know what are the essential features you should be auditing every time you review your website. Take a look at the checklist below:
1. Website Architecture
Website architecture refers to your website’s structure and overall build. The way your website is constructed is extremely important to analyze to check if there are any gaps in the architecture and how they can be fixed. Following are the few features you should be reviewing:
2. Findability Analysis
Findability analysis helps you determine how easy it is to find website information for both search engines and users. This may be the most important option in your SEO audit checklist and can help determine how to place information that can be easier to rank and digest by the user.
One of the most important features to look for is Indexation Status which is the number of indexed pages on your website by search bots. A low indexation rate may be due to errors like no interlinking, low Domain Authority (DA) score or others. Resolving such errors can improve performance and ranking both. You can check the indexation status of your website by visiting Google Search Console platform.
Other features to consider are XML files – that help index the visual and written content on your website, use of Pagination that are tags that help combat duplicate content and indexation issues, Custom 404 Pages that help guide users to other pages if a certain page they want to visit has been removed or edited, and more such features that help analyze the overall technicalities of your website’s content and pages.
3. URL Analysis
URL analysis helps analyze your website’s URLs to see if they’re fit for optimization or not. If you have a large website that has constant pages or content being added to it, frequent URL checks or guidelines can help prevent any mistakes or major errors.
One of the major analysis factors includes checking URL delimiters, i.e. the usage of hyphens and underscores in the links. Because underscores cause search engines to read URL strings incorrectly, it is recommended to use hyphens at all times as they’re read as spaces rather than symbols – which aren’t recommended.
Other factors to consider include URL relevancy and friendliness in terms of memorability, structure and content.
4. On-Page Analysis
One of the most important parts of website analysis is looking into your on-page SEO. Because at times a lot of team members may be involved in updating on-page content, it is crucial to understand what are the major and minor factors which should be considered in this section.
5. SEO Equity and Link Checks
SEO equity is the power of your website and how well it’s distributed across pages. Your SEO audit report should always include an analysis of whether that equity is bleeding out or not, and how to counter that.
6. Social Media and Platform Analysis
Social media platform analysis checks if your website is properly connected to your social links or not. This includes:
7. Google Search Console Check
And finally – an analysis of Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) that should be a core part of your SEO analysis. These are the steps you should follow while checking your account:
That’s all – for now. The list may seem long and daunting but once you have an idea of how search engine optimization really works, it’s easier to sift through the clutter and find exactly why your website isn’t ranking as required. But to make sure that your site has the right structure and compatibility to rank on Google or any other search engine, it is important for your development and content team to understand what the main terminologies are and what pointers are they need to follow while setting up.
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