Whether you’re a seasoned SEO veteran or an optimization newbie, you likely understand the challenges associated with improving your site’s search visibility. After all, even a site with the most beautifully written and diversified content fails to rank without the magic touch of SEO.
But what paralyzes so many marketing teams - established or not - is the daunting task of performing an SEO audit.
The analysis, the data, the uploads, the downloads, the Excel functions - where does it end?! For many teams, it’s not always possible to spend weeks or even months working on an in-depth site audit, especially in an industry that is always evolving in times that are changing.
Luckily, there is a way to maximize your success without maxing out your time and energy. A quick SEO audit may be the key to ensuring you have a technically-sound site that meets your users’ needs.
In this piece, you will learn:
- Why You Need a Site Audit in the First Place
- How Long it Really takes to perform an SEO audit
- A Quick Audit You Can Perform Regularly
We also added access to a free site audit and site health report at the end of this post to get you on your way to bringing your site to its most optimized, healthy state.
Why Perform a Site Audit in the First Place
As I mentioned above, it’s one thing to have the greatest content in your industry, or the most attractive landing pages, but it’s an entirely different ball game to have a technically compliant site that covers all of the bases of on-page SEO. So, why is a quick site audit beneficial to your overall SEO strategy?
For starters, a site audit ensures you're keeping up with changes in the search landscape. Time and again we’ve addressed the ever-changing SERP, the fundamentals of SEO, and content needs across your site. There are so many factors that affect your SEO - from content, to responsiveness, to page speed and overall topic authority - business owners need to consider much more beyond simple SEO best practices to achieve greater search visibility.
Furthermore, a quick site audit can help you optimize in real time as updates are being made constantly on your site, be it content creation or server configurations and everything in between. Consistent and quick “gut-checks” of your site allow you to identify and address any issues or errors that might crop up while making changes.
In addressing any new issues, a quick site audit might unveil new SEO opportunities. Performing an audit allows you to uncover greater, more long-term projects that can drive better site traffic, such as under-performing pages that need to be updated with new content, technical tweaks that can improve the overall user experience, and broken links that can be easily updated to point in the right direction.
Overall, these areas of quick improvement usually help boost conversions on your site. An analysis of your site health - even one that’s as brief as 15 minutes - can lead to the potential for greater traffic and ultimately more on-site conversions.
Recommended Reading: What is a Site Audit?
How Long Does an SEO Audit Take?
Yes, it’s true - you can complete an SEO audit in 15-minutes While we’ve previously created a more exhaustive SEO audit checklist to perform a full-scope audit of your site, it is recommended that you address tip-of-the-iceberg issues that may lead to larger, long-term projects. The important thing is that you just get started!
There are several considerations to make before conducting any audit - quick or otherwise. First, you must consider the number of pages on your site. A quick SEO audit on a smaller site will undoubtedly take less time than trying to perform a quick SEO audit on, say, a large eCommerce site with twists and turns between product and category pages. Fortunately by combining our crawler with some quick workflows this can be accomplished regardless of the size of your website.
Another consideration is your crawl speed. Different site audit tools can crawl your site at different speeds and have various strengths and weaknesses - something to look out for if you’re considering using a crawl tool. This quick 15 minute audit is post starting that initial crawl with the seoClarity platform.
Lastly, you must consider the bandwidth of your team (or your own bandwidth if this is a personal project) to analyze and attack the insights you receive from a crawl. It’s one thing to crawl a site and uncover the data from an audit, but that list of to-dos is just that - a list of tasks you need to perform in order to get your site in good technical health.
For the purposes of doing a quick SEO audit, you can break these tasks out in order of importance, prioritize among members of your team, or spend time isolating categories of tasks (i.e. content-related activities on one day, technical implementation the next day, and so on). The argument for this post is that in just 15 minutes, it is possible to do an audit of your site health if you have the right tools and structure in place.
(Looking to complete a more thorough technical SEO audit? Check out our SEO audit checklist. Bookmark this post for reference when you want to maintain site health and perform quick SEO audit tasks in the future.)
A Quick SEO Site Audit You Can Perform Regularly
The following are the components for a foundational SEO audit you can consider performing regularly with your own crawler tool. We’ve also included the seoClarity method in this overview.
Task 1: Sitemap Check
There are two ways I would suggest checking your existing sitemap for errors. The first way, and the way that best fits our 15-minute time frame is to check the Google Search Console data to find all of the errors that Google came across in your sitemap. Take that data and provide it to your dev team to fix those issues, and—voilà!— you have successfully checked your sitemap for errors and taken action to address them.
Another approach that is helpful in identifying core issues is to start with an XML sitemap crawl (noting that the crawl itself may take longer than 15 minutes on an enterprise-level site). Once completed, (and this next part moves quickly) export the list of all URLs along with their status code. Utilize our Research Grid to export a list of all currently ranking pages. Create a simple Vlookup to check the pages that are within the XML sitemap but not ranking (see below).
Also create the same VLOOKUP to see which pages are ranking but not contained in your XML sitemap.
This analysis will quickly allow you to isolate any problems you have with your site including pages that should be removed from your XML sitemaps (404-status) and pages that are missing and should be included (200-status) in your XML sitemaps. You will identify pages that are 301-redirecting that are still appearing in search results and create a strategy to crawl those pages.
Pages that have canonical tags and/or should have canonical tags will be identified. Duplicate content can also be identified this way. Issues with content too deep in the site that need internal links are identified if they are contained in the XML sitemap (200-status) but not appearing in search results. You can quickly review your sitemap and make sure that it is up-to-date and accurate. If you are using ClarityBot, you can then submit the URLs (200-status) to identify any additional issues.
Task 2: Check Your Robots.txt File
The above workflow can also be used to make any necessary edits to your robots.txt files. If you see pages contained in search results that you do not want to appear in search results at all, you can add these as lines to your robots.txt file. For example, if a page is a /accounts page or erroneous parameter that is ranking and you don't want that page to rank, then disallow that page through robots.txt or add a no-index tag.
Also, if there are pages in the XML sitemap that are not appearing in search results, you can quickly identify the file structure and check to see if those pages are being blocked. Utilize Excel’s function to sort the URL structure by columns.
If pages are being blocked, add an allow rule to enable indexing.
Task 3: Review Site Errors
Comparing the amount of indexed pages listed in Google Search Results with the amount of valid pages listed in Google Search Console can also be helpful to identify any issues. Review the amount of indexed pages against your XML sitemap and your ranking pages.
If a particular page type is not appearing in search results, utilize the Google Search Console Fetch and Render tool to see if Google has canonicalized the URL to another page. This will let you know if you still have errors that need to be addressed.
Task 4: Check Page Speed
seoClarity provides users with a page speed report for average desktop speed and mobile speed. To be efficient, we recommend focusing on improving Mobile page speed. Check the folder structure most affected for URLs that might be slowing down your site and quickly identify what issues are impacting performance.
For URL's download the pages affected and start working through the items listed, sharing those with your team and checking off which need to be image size compliant. Review your page’s backend code by selecting View Source in a browser and check for “srcset=” and ‘src=” to make sure that your site is loading separate images for mobile and desktop and that they are sized to scale.
Task 5: Monitor Your Structured Data
Since Google Search Console has been adding more markup resorts to their data, this is a great place to start and see which pages have a valid markup and which pages have an error.
Get a Free Site Audit and Site Health Report
Lucky for you, all of the above is made simple with a FREE site audit and site health report from our team at seoClarity! Our quick assessment through our unlimited crawl capabilities can recognize any issues and is custom to your whatever pace, depth, and frequency you require - giving you the power to create a technically sound and error-free site to provide your customers with the best user experience.
Once you make a request for a free site audit, a member of our team will be in contact with you for an introduction to understand your needs. Then, they will customize and set-up a site audit and crawl your site. Lastly, you will be provided with a site health report that addresses the current state of your site, provides a list of projects to complete, and includes recommendations for next steps based on our analytics.