Before going into the detail of the key SEO audit pointers, I would like to share a sort of preface here. To recall, Google, the search engine magnet has over 200 ranking signals that they use to rank website(s) in SERPs. Google has been vocal to the view that chasing algorithms hardly serves any purpose. Webmasters need to work on their existing or future strategies strictly under Google guidelines. We are listing here SEO audit checklist that identifies critical areas where improvement is needed.
A full fledged SEO audit answers a number of serious questions about your website's health and its functions. SEO Service professionals however recommend three primary observations with a standalone audit. The first answers they get is about the current state of a running website.
The observation revolves around the website's performance in search, social media and other platforms. It also suggests webmasters a number of actions to be taken with the explanation. And finally, an audit helps them to draw up a report describing a complete strategy for improving the site performance.
Why SEO Audit is Required?
Search engine optimization audit of a website is a comprehensive process that identifies complex areas where improvement needed. Complete SEO Health Check helps webmasters to create an action plan to keep your website parallel with the growing business emergence of the competition.
A website has a number of components that together give it a complete presence. If any one of these components starting to function ambiguously, website's health deteriorates. Therefore experts push-in a complete SEO audit procedure to fix the overall health of a website. Illustrated below is a comprehensive guide of the search engine optimization audit.
Comprehensive 10 Point SEO Audit Checklist 2020
This SEO audit checklist will offer search professionals an insight into their auditing process, and will help them improve that by focusing on the areas where attention is needed. They directly impact the ranking process.The list explained below shouldn’t be taken in entirety.
Now, check out the comprehensive checklist of SEO audit items one by one. An audit can be classified as on-site SEO audit and Off-site SEO audit. Either two plays a very significant role in assessing a website's health.
1. Domain Age & TLD
Once, in a webmaster conversation video, Google’s Matt Cutts said that the domain age doesn’t necessarily a significant ranking factor. It doesn’t play any significant role in deciding the search rankings. Albeit, Matt indicated that domain age is used in some way and for some reasons.
Domain names help to establish authority. Older the domain name is, stronger its authority will be. Google lately started bolding keywords that appear in a domain name. Though, it isn’t surely a proof of ranking signal, it makes sense that Google notices keywords used in domain. But, since it’s not a ranking signal, you needn’t to worry about when buying signal.
2. Domain Registration Length:
The point could be seen in the correlation with the first point explained above. Google’s official version on domain registration length is more than clear. In its patent statement, Google defines that – legitimate domains are those that are registered for longer duration. They are registered for several years in advance. The length is anything but more than a year. Though, not a ranking signal, the data showing the expiry date of domain can be used to measure the legitimacy of the domain.
3. Domain History:
When buying an existing or older domain, check factors such as link profile, previous owners, and instances of Google penalty it likely went through. A domain with vicious history can negatively impact your SEO efforts. There are tools out there that you can use to check domain ownership, history, DNS history and much more.
4. Domain Penalty:
If a domain that you have recently purchased isn’t yielding expected results, might be the website could have been penalized in the past. Use Penguin detection tools to check whether you’ve been penalized by any recent algorithm penalty.
5. Page Load Speed:
Google lately has begun giving page speed significant weightage as a critical ranking factor. Googler John Mueller, in a Google hangout, admitted that a website with less than 2-3 seconds seems good one in terms of visitor influx and ranking preference from Google.
It’s evident that slow website hurts your rankings. If your page speed is killing your prospect, use different tools to identify multiple factors that are causing this. Tools can help you spot server bottlenecks and other issues that can cause longer load times.
6. Number of Outbound Links:
Matt Cutts once argued the significance of outbound links in a page. He asserted that certain number of such links is acceptable, while excessive links could damage the page’s performance. Again there are tools that can be used to sort out outbound links and measure their proximity.
7. Number of Internal Links Pointing To Page:
This is another important factor to consider during an SEO audit. More quality links pointing to your website are always significant to the ranking. They increase your website’s authority and brand value. There are tools out there that can be used to check internal links. Run them to find the quality and relevance of internal links. Weed out the irrelevant and spammy links using Google disavow and retain those that produce the real link juice.
Linking the internal pages is very useful both for search engines and users. While doing this you must ensure that you are using non-keyword anchor text and keyword anchor text for linking. You should also ensure that an individual page should have an appropriate number of internal links. The pages should be linked to the home page as well for better search rankings.
Although no specific link limit is yet defined by the Backlink Profiling Services experts, putting it between 2-10 will be a great idea. Similarly, you can use tools to find out broken links. It helps you find pages that appear broken in Google search results. Fix them before they turn out a major issue.
8. Content Check:
It’s also important to audit the content that provides value and uniqueness to the users. It can be done via a comprehensive competitor analysis. Run a thorough analysis to identify the competitor’s pages and the content that provides value and unique insights. Content published on the pages are always very crucial. In the internet marketing terminology content is termed as the king.
If your website is not doing good in SERPs, content quality can be a valid reason. To ensure quality content on the website check it through Copyscape or other authentic software. It removes any possible duplicacy in your content part. Post-penguin and panda algorithms and updates, duplicate content can invite big blow in the form of Google penalty. Rather to fix the mess later using exclusive Google Penalty Recovery Services, keep your content fresh and relevant in beginning.
9. URL Length:
Length of the your site’s URL is also important. Though, couldn’t be linked directly to ranking signals, having an appropriate length is always recommended. Use tools to identify issues with overly long URLs. It is also very important to check whether or not URLs of each page are unique and properly formatted. A good URL includes keywords that help it to get searched in the SERPs. Formatted text with bullets, heading tags and other formatting tags (B and I ) helps paragraphs to get visible and turn precise for better readability.
10. Anchor Text:
Poisonous anchor text basically from well-known spam niches like gambling or viagra could hurt your site. In search engine optimization vertical, this is a notorious activity dubbed negative SEO technique. Here a competitor deliberately points links with spammy anchor text to another competitor for dropping their rankings. It’s recommended to identify instances of such anchor text. Run disavow to filter and weed out such links.
Tarun Gupta, CEO of Brainpulse Technologies, is a prolific author and digital marketing specialist. His insightful writings span SEO, content marketing, social media strategy, and email campaigns, offering invaluable expertise to businesses worldwide. Tarun’s contributions continue to shape the digital marketing landscape, guiding success in multiple niches.