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SEO Audit | Here is What to Look For

SEO Audit

Written by Jeremy Earle, JD

January 27, 2022

It’s important to look at certain page-level aspects of your website while doing an SEO audit. Here are a few things to look for and how to assess them.

Your website’s page-level features should be examined during an SEO audit.

Listed below are nine page-level variables that should be examined and how they should be evaluated.

1. Crawl Your Site

Screaming Frog may be used to do a site crawl.

Screaming Frog SEO Spider 7.2 was utilized in this crawl sample.

For all of these examples, I utilized CNN.com as an example site.

The screaming Frog is ready to go.

The following configurations under Configuration > Spider may be used for most basic audits.

Screaming Frog’s Basic Preferences are as follows:

In the advanced settings of Screaming Frog:

What to Look For

Check the following to ensure that all of these pieces are current and applied by your search engine optimization plan.

If not, then you’ll need to address the following issues:

  • The title tag should include the keyword you’re trying to promote.
  • Tag title begins with a keyword.
  • Description tags should include a keyword.
  • The H1 tag contains the keyword.
  • The document’s keyword is the most commonly used term.

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T):

  • Google’s quality raters’ criteria are updated annually and made public.
  • This has nothing to do with Google’s search algorithms but rather with how Google raters (human readers) evaluate a web page’s quality and strength.

2. E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness,” and it is the structure that they use.

Expertise

There is a requirement that you must be an expert in your chosen profession. According to Seoinc.com,

A specialist in your area is required. To demonstrate the author’s expertise of the Main Content (MC), you must make a point of mentioning it in your writing. As long as the information provided is accurate and helpful to visitors, any website may claim to have expertise. Medical, financial, and legal websites need expertise, but comedy and gossip sites don’t.

Authoritativeness

“You need to demonstrate your authority or the authority of the creator to the MC. Moreover, it is possible to get this knowledge from your authors or yourself. Authority is built on the quality of the debate on your website, whether a community or forum. Personal experiences, such as reviews, are just as important as credentials.

Trustworthiness

To gain your audience’s confidence, you must demonstrate that the MC, the MC firm, and the website all have solid reputations. eCommerce sites that need customers to enter their credit card information face a unique set of security challenges. Your website should make visitors feel safe and secure at all times. Since at least 70% of the results on the first-page use SSL (one of several of Google’s scoring signals), you should put in place an SSL certificate right away.

However, not all SEO experts think that E-A-T is a true ranking criterion, as SEO experts like Marie Haynes point out.

SEO experts have widely suspected the August 2018 Core Algorithm Update of impacting many websites. This is one of the most crucial SEO variables you cannot ignore if you want to reclaim your site’s performance.

That’s something Marie notes as well:

“According to Google, E-A-T is significant.”

E-A-T is critical for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites.

E-A-T is essential if your website is in the fields of medicine, law, or finance. YMYL may also apply to your website if it provides information that assists visitors in making an important choice. If you have a shop on your website, you’re probably YMYL as well.

We believe that most websites on the Internet are classified as YMYL. Your site, which offers ballpoint pens, may be said to be of little use in helping individuals make important life choices. People need to trust you if they’re going to use their credit cards on your site, and as such, you’re probably me.

According to the QRG, a YMYL site that lacks E-A-T is regarded as a low-quality site by the QRG (https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelinespdf).

According to us, a large number of websites are YMYL. People recognized as experts in their fields may be found in almost every field. Paying attention to Google E-A-T. even if your subject is not an apparent YMYL issue.”

In addition, Manish Dudharejia offers several suggestions for enhancing your E-A-T.

New Google algorithms have made E-A-T even more of a consideration.

However, it’s also crucial to ensure that all of your technical SEO variables are in order since if you’re not making your site crawlable and indexable, all the E-A-T in the world won’t help.

When and How to Do This

E-A-T-checking isn’t a scientific method but rather a creative one.

These points can assist you to uncover E-A-T concerns on a website during an audit:

You need to make sure the author information on your site is customized and that personalization has been enabled.

This includes the author’s bio, website, and contact information.

Is the material on your website reliable, authoritative, and based on personal experience?

High-quality, fact-checked articles are included in this category. The material included in the articles must be based on reliable data.

In addition, articles should be dependable in their treatment of the subject matter they cover. Your articles will not get a high E-A-T score if your writing is of poor quality and haphazardly organized. Don’t compromise on the quality of your content.

When it comes to SEO, does your website offer a unique perspective on the topic matter, and does it make Google want to place it on the front page of their results?

You may spend all day working on SEO and content optimization for the technical aspects of your site. Your site’s performance may be affected if your material isn’t up to snuff on the topic matter. It’s never too late to develop backlinks.

For the sake of SEO, your meta descriptions and title tags should all be very relevant to the content of your articles. They shouldn’t be thrown together on the fly.

3. The headlines are a big part of this.

The art of crafting catchy headlines for SEO purposes is a whole other animal.

Keywords are an important part of any SEO strategy.

The SEO value of your headlines should not be overlooked while writing for social media or your website’s visitors.

A five-minute writing session won’t cut it here.

To ensure that your content headlines are written correctly, you should do the following three checks on each page:

Inquire about the tone and style of your headlines.

These normally tend to do quite well on social, and integration of your SEO keywords merely adds a great ring to it, boosting the quality of your headlines.

Write your headlines in a manner that focuses on user interaction and your brand’s image as a consequence.

Create intriguing and thought-provoking titles for your social media posts.

AIDA (Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action) sales principles will help you determine whether or not your headlines are good enough to be published on your site.

With this method, Rand Fishkin points out in his Whiteboard Friday that there are a few obvious conflicts:

“1. Social networking may be a major pain when it comes to SEO keywords. The more you attempt to squeeze keywords into your content, the worse your social media performance is.

For search engines, you need clarity to rank high and attract traffic from search engines, which means not declaring what the item is about outright but providing a hint of what it could be about. It also has an impact on your ability to target keywords in general.

It’s going to be difficult to create clickbait-style content for your website because of the necessity for interaction and your brand’s reputation for your website visitors.

As a rule of thumb, don’t rank for low-relevance keywords in search since you don’t care that your visitors will be displeased because your content doesn’t meet their needs.

It’s only natural that not all fields would contain all of the qualities listed in the headlines.

So, shall we?

Dry themes and other things that don’t pique the audience’s attention should be given a different treatment.

You can’t please everyone, but you can always find innovative methods to elevate material quality in routine, uninteresting fields.

Use the guidelines above to conduct an audit of your site’s headlines to identify those that will hold up over time and those that may be improved in the future.

4. Search Engine Optimization Writing

For some people, the process of SEO copywriting is so important that they overlook the importance of incorporating SEO into their content.

“If you publish it, they’ll come” is how they see it as a matter of course for them.

Unfortunately, putting pen to paper is only the beginning of the fight.

Another part of the fight is SEO – the actual SEO qualities of content that should be included to avoid problems with Google discovering your material of sufficient quality.

Ensure that your material is always up to date! When it comes to SEO, the concept of “freshness” has its place, but it wasn’t meant for every piece of material.

It is important to look at some of the most typical SEO writing issues that should be addressed in an audit:

Text Structure

The organization of your text is just as crucial as optimizing your content.

As per conventional practice, the text should address structure from an informational and a coding standpoint.

When defining headers and content sections, you should use standard semantic HTML, which includes the following: (H1 tags, H2 tags, H3 tags for headings, and P tags for paragraphs).

Content should be organized to be consistent with the subject matter.

Keep the conversation of your material focused on one or two key points rather than mixing in three unrelated issues.

Keyword Integration

Keyword integration is critical but avoids keyword stuffing.

The quality of your post will suffer if you add six hundred permutations of your keywords. That will never come to pass.

Concentrate on incorporating your keywords and keyword phrases into your content naturally.

Images

The use of images in text structure is also critical, although that topic is addressed elsewhere in this audit guide.

If you can strategically utilize a picture to reinforce your message, go ahead and do so. This is something to bring up in your website audits as well.

Keep in mind the importance of image optimization and how it affects your site’s loading time.

High-Quality Writing

High-quality content is a crucial aspect of every SEO page. High-quality writing makes any SEO material understandable, clear, and concise for the reader.

Don’t assume that your readers have the same level of expertise as you have regarding your subject matter. That doesn’t do anything at all.

In your audit, make sure that all text is understandable to the reader.

Every subject, every bullet point, and headline should be explained in detail in your writing.

Use as many as seven paragraphs if necessary. Including keywords, structuring the content, and graphics all go hand in hand with this goal.

Lists, Bullet Points, Bolded Words, and Text for Emphasis.

A well-optimized content should include checklists, bullet points, and bolded keywords and language for emphasis.

Using a list is a great way to go into greater detail about a subject. To the reader, they are also simple to grasp and deliver useful information concisely (depending on how they are constructed).

But don’t include lists merely for the sake of including them. Nobody benefits from this.

Ensure that any lists you include in your audit complement rather than distract from the website’s content.

Links to Other Websites and Amongst Their Own

In addition to external links, every piece of information should have links to similar material on the same page.

When done correctly, this helps readers get a deeper knowledge of the subject matter and contains authoritative references for other industry writers.

When you link out, you also enhance your linking chances via other authors who may utilize Google Alerts to inform them of any new articles published on their specific subject.

5. Cannibalism of keywords

As you can expect, this may be a more serious issue than you first thought.

Keyword cannibalization occurs when the same keyword is used on many pages.

When two sites compete for the same keyword position, Google is obliged to decide.

This implies that if your keywords are too similar, you won’t obtain much SEO benefit from your efforts.

Keyword cannibalization may potentially pose new issues. OnCrawl discusses the following:

If one page is more effective at achieving your goal, why waste time on the others? To obtain the best results, you should concentrate on one of these pages instead of wasting time and resources on a lower-converting version.

If you target many sites with the same keyword, they should all be on the same topic. You run the danger of having low-quality or duplicate material, which lowers your chances of getting links and referrals.

The value of internal anchor texts may be concentrated on a single page when targeting many sites with the same topic matter.

External links: A single keyword-focused page might benefit from external links in the form of increased SEO value. It’s a different storey if you have many landing pages targeting the same keyword. Thus, the external link value is distributed throughout many pages rather than concentrated on one.

When and How to Do This

After Screaming Frog has scanned our site, we can look at the page titles and meta descriptions to see if any sites are using the same keyword.

You should check Google to see whether these sites appear in the search results.

Your site may have keyword cannibalization concerns if more than one result for these keywords shows up on the search engine results page.

6. User Engagement & User Experience

Today’s search engine optimization relies heavily on your website’s user interaction quality. This is a key aspect of the overall quality of your page.

As Anna Crowe points out, it affects SEO:

Search engine optimization (SEO) is influenced by user experience (UX).

Toss your site in the garbage with your TV meal and mushy peas since you don’t care about the user experience (UX).

If a website’s content and style are unappealing, 38 per cent of consumers will leave.

Updated content and optimized call-to-action buttons drove a 66% increase in views for the attorney profiles of Main Street Host, a digital marketing firm.

Ezoic’s profits per 1,000 visitors increased by 186% due to improving the user experience.

High-quality design and content contribute indirectly but intangibly to higher rankings by enhancing the user’s experience and increasing their involvement with a website.

Because they can’t be tied to specific ranking criteria on Google, they’re considered temporary.

We can’t claim “we altered the keyword here, and this led to a significant increase in click-throughs on the button just next to the term.”

This is a difficulty that many SEO experts encounter in their reports regarding user engagement: it’s not definite.

What measures of user engagement can you reliably link to your SEO efforts so that you can go ahead with the right plan that works? How can you do it?

It’s crucial to remember that customer satisfaction may be affected by the quality of a website.

Among other things, the quality of your website design is a component of quality. Your writing quality.

All of these may have a significant indirect effect on whether or not someone decides to buy your goods or subscribe to your service.

In addition, the quality of a product might influence consumer involvement.

It is reasonable to anticipate just two user engagement metrics: dwell time and a click on the call to action button at the conclusion for a one-off landing page that is mostly text content.

Many buttons for calls to action, such as live chat, a phone number to contact us or subscribe to our newsletter, are available on more complicated sites. You should develop a list and audit them to ensure that your site has the required user involvement.

To monitor these individual user actions and more, you may utilize custom URLs. Exactly.

Aside from that, Google Analytics provides a plethora of indicators for measuring user interaction that can be used to better understand how visitors interact with your site.

The good news is that there are several methods to ensure that your actions are having a beneficial impact on your site.

7. Identify any URLs that have been created specifically for tracking purposes.

When and How to Do This

This is a simple check using Screaming Frog.

All of the important URLs crawled by Screaming Frog may be easily audited. Look for URLs beginning with “UTM” using the program’s search tool.

Screaming Frog should pick them up if you have links to them on your site.

Unique IDs are used in UTM parameters. Any campaign conversion component that a site owner wishes to monitor may be assigned a unique URL using UTM parameters.

UTM pages may also be found in Google Analytics since they will be included in the primary traffic for landing page URLs in the GA database.

You just have to click on Acquisition, All Traffic, and Source / Medium to see the traffic sources.

In this section, you should see all of your UTM URLs.

Amelia Willson’s SEJ instruction on utilizing UTM codes to monitor conversions is a good place to start.

Google’s Campaign URL Builder may be precisely what you need if you’re reading this and don’t know how to make UTM URLs yet.

8. Use Google Analytics to look for an unusually high bounce rate.

A high bounce rate in the 65 per cent and above range may indicate sluggish page performance, poor design, poor content, or other problems contributing to low engagement.

It’s also possible that your themes aren’t generating much interest from your audience.

Search Engine Journal contributor Maddy Osman has a wonderful chapter on measuring user engagement metrics in Google Analytics. There is a slew of more indicators to verify in her manual.

9. User Reviews

If you want to see how well your SEO strategy works, you may utilize user reviews.

Customers are more likely to make purchases from your company if your website has a high level of user engagement.

If your company has a high level of user interaction, customers are more likely to write good reviews.

When and How to Do This

Check out Yelp, BBB, and other review sites to see what other people have to say about your business or service.

Every month, keep track of the analytics from these websites.

Your site’s user involvement will be better measured with their help.

Certainly, it’s a contributing aspect.

However, it might be a good indicator of how your website is doing in terms of traffic.

Also, reviewers provide comments on your website, which may be a good indicator of how well your site is doing (or not).

That said, it isn’t always a deciding factor.

There are always going to be a few outliers in every rulebook.

Someone recruited me to be a “reputation hit man” to go after the firm and publish nasty reviews on one of my affiliated sites.

Such individuals indeed exist.

Reputation hitmen may target a company’s reputation all day long, but unhappy customers and ex-employees may also play a role in certain circumstances.

By reading reviews, make sure you don’t fall for a scam like this.

Audits on this section of your company are vital since reviews may also provide you with much information about how your site is functioning, how engaged people are, and how long they stay on the site.

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