Over the last couple of years, Google has made a variety of updates to its algorithm in terms of how they evaluate a site to show in their organic search engine results page (SERPs). Page speed is one of the recent ranking factors including the AMP Project, which aims to make the web better for all. The more advanced Google's algorithms are, site audits and audit reports become major necessities for businesses, resulting in half-year to yearly reviews of its website. Recently, Google has even re-upped its Lighthouse Chrome extension to improve its already vibrant features for SEO auditing, knowing how important this audit tool is for businesses.
What Exactly is an SEO Audit?
In a simplest term, an SEO audit is a process for evaluating the search engine friendliness of a website in many areas. This evaluation is based on if a website shows up on the SERPs. Just like when auditing for a business for following all the rules and regulations set out by the government, SEO auditing must dot every “I” and cross every “T” to determine what issues need to be worked through for the website. Also, SEO audits can be performed to see if there area areas for improvement within the website as well. This report card, of sorts, helps to identify a site that is clean and easy to operate compared to one that may have issues.
Types of Site Audits
There are so many audit types to choose from. However, there are a few audits that will tell you what’s working on your current website, what’s falling short and how you can improve your site for the opportunity to rank. These focuses include:
- Site health audit - assesses the architecture and usability of a website (oversees onsite and technical SEO, page speed, internal and external links, and other factors, including meta descriptions, broken links, load time, page titles, and site structure).
- Site security audit - It identifies vulnerabilities to security breaches. A security audit prevents compromising sensitive information of a business or its visitors.
- Conversion rate optimization audit - helps businesses understand how visitors move through your website, what actions they take (filling out a form, purchase products or otherwise) and what stopping the users from completing the end goals.
- Google penalty and recovery audit - identification of a penalty, which is either a manual or algorithmic issue, is assessed with a process to present solutions for site recovery.
- Competitor website audit – Knowing what your competitors are doing is one of the most important ways to stay ahead in your industry. By auditing your competitor’s website, you can find insights and opportunities to implement into your own digital marketing strategy.
- Content audit – Duplicate content may signal some structural issues within your site, preventing Google from understanding what they should rank for and what matters most on your site. Web pages with duplicate content sometimes is impacted by search engine ranking factors. This is a common issue for many large enterprise websites and therefore, it is imperative to conduct a content audit and produce authentic, robust, engaging, and unique content with the right target keywords to the best of your abilities.
Why Do I Need a Site Audit?
The changes to search engines over the years are vast on how search results are computed and how they perform. In the beginning, an individual would just include a keyword in the title and header tags, along with the content for the page. Gain and earn some some backlinks and your site would easily move up the SEO rankings.
Today, everything has changed! Business owners and marketing leaders who have been marketing a product or service for awhile have a hard time keeping up with the demands of SEO. Instead of a handful factors a decade ago, there are now hundreds of search engines factors to consider.
Recent additions that factor into SEO include:
- Page speed
- Technical code
Site audits need to take precedence after you've invested in building your entire website and the content. If you aren't seeing seeing the traffic results that are expected for your business from the organic results or if you've seen a decline in organic traffic, it's important that you invest in doing site audits. To have continued success with your technical SEO, completing an audit report helps check for errors and issues that can be addressed. An audit gets down to the root of the problems, so changes can be made to enhance the search visibility of your site. Learn more about how and what to prioritize in a site audit.