SEO Audit: An in-depth analysis of your website!
Before setting up a search engine optimization strategy, it’s important to observe and analyse not only your own website but also the competition’s.
This essential step is what we call an SEO audit or website audit. It is, in fact, the most important step when launching a new website or if you wish to improve upon a current version, as an SEO audit report is a true strategic document which will be useful for months to come!
Thanks to this little guide, you’ll understand the point and the goal of this impressive SEO audit report and discover what it contains.
SEO audit definition
Before we begin, it is important to take a moment to explain what an SEO audit is. An SEO audit service involves professional research carried out by an SEO specialist in order to get an in-depth and impartial analysis of one or several websites. The website audit process is often composed of different parts that we invite you to learn more about below.
What’s an SEO audit for?
It’s a website analysis in the form of a rather large SEO audit report: Eskimoz’s reports exceed 50 pages! This SEO site audit document shows an overview of your website in its current state (on-site and off-site audit) as well as your rankings and keywords (Keyword SEO audit).
Using the various information obtained through this website audit, we come up with recommendations and actions to implement to improve your website optimization. What we call an SEO site audit is therefore the creation of a strategic search engine optimization document which is also used to help with the digital actions a company takes. This website audit report provides a reliable foundation on which to build a search engine optimization strategy to help a website get the best ranking possible.
Which aspects of a website does an SEO audit analyse?
Even though all websites are different, be it in their architecture, their target audience or their goals, there are some essential elements to analyse whenever a technical SEO audit is carried out. Some websites, however, require additional modifications.
Any SEO site audit should include the following criteria:
- The website’s keywords and semantics are analysed to determine which queries are the most interesting, where the traffic potential is the strongest and to build a semantically sound SEO architecture.
- Studying the competition to understand their on-site and off-site strategies and how each website performs. This allows us to have a good idea of the methods your competitors rely on and to use them as inspiration, to improve upon them to achieve better results and to beat them in the search results.
- Traffic and search engine positioning give excellent insight into a website’s history. Our work will indeed not be the same if the website already performs well in terms of search engine optimization.
- Studying the content, the semantics, the markup or the architecture of the website is a good way to know if the site we are performing a technical SEO audit for is well built, well optimized, etc.
- A technical SEO audit looks into the website’s speed, its mobile compatibility or the presence of Schema.org-type rich snippets. The more efficient the website, the better Google will see it and crawl it.
- An off-site SEO audit studies the website’s link building strategy. We go through all the backlinks and anchors with a fine-tooth comb to assess their quality.
Over the course of our study, we then analyse many additional points, which allows us to generate a high-quality SEO audit report about the website.
The various recommendations our SEO audit service offers
Thanks to our SEO site audit and the many elements it analyses, we can make recommendations to improve a website’s search engine optimization.
What are these recommendations we can draw from an SEO audit?
What are these recommendations we can draw from an SEO audit?
- Improving the website’s SEO architecture or overhauling it based on the queries to optimize for on each page and a sitemap. (see: Internal Linking)
- Possible HTML markup and semantics issues (in compliance with W3C): title and meta description tags, H1, H2, H3, etc. (see: Google Webmaster Tools)
- Website contents (texts, images and videos) which can be improved and optimized based on the keywords to be integrated in each page.
- Possible technical issues: if the website is too slow, difficult for a search engine to crawl, isn’t mobile friendly, etc.
- Setting up rich snippets, which can improve a page’s CTR (click through rate) in the SERPs or help the crawlers comprehend the content more easily.
- Link building strategy which can be set up to optimize the website’s rankings.
- Creating entirely new sections for the website, such as a blog, new pages, etc.
The recommendations given in the SEO audit report should be implemented to see changes in traffic and rankings.
Our SEO audit methodology
As a specialized SEO agency, Eskimoz performs audits on a regular basis. The goal is to establish a picture and determine the necessary steps to improve a website’s performance on Google. At the end of your website analysis, you will be given several recommendations which can serve as a roadmap.
Our website audit document is divided into several sections: read on to learn about them.
BRIEF DRAFTING AND ANALYSIS OF YOUR WEBSITE’S NEEDS
The first step is to draft a brief before proceeding with the analysis of your website. It is indeed important for your SEO site audit consultant to know every issue pertaining to your site to ensure the quality of their work. Communicating on this topic is also essential to see what your needs are and drive the website audit (and therefore the recommendations that will ensue) in the right direction.
KEYWORD AUDIT AND SEMANTIC ANALYSIS
This should be the first step in any full SEO audit service, even if it isn’t always performed at all. It is, in fact, one of the most important steps for anyone looking to put a true SEO strategy in place.
An in-depth analysis of the keywords and semantics of the website will indeed allow us to determine the most interesting queries to work on (using Google’s Keyword Planner ), how competitive they are, and the most adapted SEO friendly architecture. We also assess how the site ranks for these keywords on a given day to determine whether we can reach the first page quickly.
SEO AUDIT TO ASSESS THE COMPETITION
To understand your market, it’s imperative to study the competition. This part of the website audit process is therefore paramount as it allows us to carry out an in-depth analysis of its main competitors’ on-site and off-site strategy. Some markets are highly competitive, others much less.
This analysis allows us to pinpoint the main advantages of a strategy and to determine the best recommendations for the website we are auditing.
How is your traffic evolving? For which queries do you get the best rankings? And on which pages? Through analysing the situation such as it is, our SEO site audit helps us to understand your website better and to see its true potential.
Depending on the size of the website we carry out an SEO audit for, the performance analysis isn’t the same. The actions to implement are also different based on the site’s goals and its performance on the day of the analysis.
ON SITE WEBSITE AUDIT: TECHNIQUE AND EDITORIAL
On Site auditing is at the heart of this study. It is the most important part of an SEO audit service in terms of how many pages it involves and often constitutes the area with the most opportunities for growth. We analyse the site down to the smallest detail, crawl it and go through every aspect of it to discover what works and what doesn’t using various SEO tools. This in-depth research shows the strongest and weakest elements and allows us to come up with recommendations as to the strategies which could be implemented to improve the website’s rankings.
There are two subdivisions to an on-site SEO audit service: an editorial part and a technical part.
- Semantic markup and Hn: are the markups well optimized for search engine optimization?
- Website architecture: is it well built from an SEO perspective, including a semantic shift, for instance? Are there any new pages to create?
- Content: do the texts published on important pages include the right keywords and a wide semantic field?
TECHNICAL SEO AUDIT
- Speed: is your website well built from a technical perspective and not too heavy for Google to crawl?
- Crawl errors: 404, 301, 302, 503, with special attention to the HTTP errors that can happen when a website is crawled.
- Mobile friendliness: mobile traffic represents 45 to 50% of the total amount of traffic: is your site perfectly readable on a smartphone?
- Rich snippets: which rich snippets could be implemented and for what reasons?
The SEO audit we perform on-site aims to determine what needs to be done to improve a website’s performance, such as the traffic it generates or the number of queries for which it ranks well. Among the internal solutions our SEO audit service allows us to give are:
- New SEO architecture based on the right keywords.
- Markup and content optimization based on the predetermined semantic field.
- Content creation (category pages, blog, guide, etc.)
- Optimization of the website’s speed. (see: Google Page Speed Insight)
These recommendations pertaining to the internal part of your site are very important. It is by implementing technical SEO audit recommendations that we will see an evolution of the traffic to your site.
OFF-SITE AUDIT: POPULARITY AND LINK BUILDING
This is another important part of SEO which, this time, addresses the site’s external popularity, and therefore link building. The links are the very essence of how Google works, so it’s important to have quality incoming links. Yet, search engines have become more and more demanding over the years.
One must now not only have links, but these also have to meet a number of requirements.
An off-site SEO audit provides a study of your website’s link building situation:
- Changes in the number of links and in referring domains: a positive evolution is necessary, and each referring domain should have few external links to your site.
- Referring domain quality: do your links emanate from quality sites or not (various tools can assess domain authority)?
- Link building theme: it is best to favour building links around a theme and/or from a page about a similar topic.
- Deep linking (links to internal pages): the home page cannot receive all the links. It is necessary to send some to deep pages.
- Link anchors: taking care not to overoptimize anchor profiles as this could lead to a penalty.
Let us not forget that the external part of Search Engine Optimization (link building in particular) is very important, so an off-site SEO audit is especially important.
Our SEO audit service proceeds with link building analysis and then establishes an SEO strategy which will specify how many links should be created, which themes to cover, etc.
Our SEO audit report offers several types of recommendations:
- If your site contains too many low-quality links, some will need to be disavowed manually or via Google’s disavow backlinks file
- Implementing quality link building: types of backlinks to create, domain themes, anchors, etc.
Off-site is essential to SEO. To improve a website’s performance, it is important to follow the SEO audit report recommendations to the letter.
KPIS FOLLOW UP
Following the SEO site audit and after implementing SEO recommendations, it is interesting to study how the website’s performance evolves. For instance, we could look at the following elements:
- Traffic to the site
- Rankings for the main keywords
- Number of queries for which the site ranks or changes on Majestic’s Trust Flow
- After a technical SEO audit, crawling the website again to see if the markup and the HTTP codes are correct is necessary
KPI monitoring is done for the main elements and should be considered as a follow-up to a website audit, to see how the trend evolves.
Many of our well-known colleagues use a very similar approach for their own SEO audit process. A general quality assessment is usually the mandatory foundation on which website modifications can stand.
Thanks to an SEO audit, you will discover which improvements your website needs to build the foundations of a successful SEO strategy. Your SEO audit report is one of the most important documents to start optimizing a website, so don’t go without it if you wish to rank high in the SERPs!
Do you want to know more about setting up an SEO strategy?
Contact us now!