To maximise outreach, website owners need to invest a lot of effort into every single aspect of their online presence.
The ultimate goal is to be on the first page of search results when someone looks for products or services relevant to your industry. To achieve this, you need to devise a comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
And every SEO strategy begins with an SEO audit.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is an analysis that informs you about the issues that affect your organic search performance.
It points out to 404 pages you stumble upon cause somebody deleted a product page. Or the missing meta descriptions the last intern “accidentally forgot” to write when he/she was uploading new products.
Running an e-commerce website is a hard task as you have to know a bit about everything (from coding to copywriting) and the toughest bit is that digital rules change rapidly.
We don’t over exaggerate when we say that a complete SEO audit should be done every 6 months.
That way the website is kept up to date with the search engine algorithm changes (mostly the ones Google makes) and you avoid the bad effects of all the mistakes made on a website.
So, we mentioned some of those mistakes, but the checklist of a complete SEO audit is much longer.
The SEO audit checklist
1. Ranking factors
First things first, check the current rankings.
A lot of things influence rankings, but to see if there is even a problem present, and how big is it, we check the organic traffic volume.
If you’re lucky in SEO terms, the organic traffic is going up. Along checking the numbers on traffic, we also check link fluctuation.
2. Crawling and indexing audit
Crawling (spidering) is when a search engine sends a bot to a website to read it. Indexing happens when that spider bot crawls through the website and sends signals to the search engine.
These are the basics of SEO, and in this chapter, we audit if something is blocking that spider bots to do their job.
Well that, and a lot of other things connected to it like:
- Is the site mobile friendly?
- Where does the brand name appear in the search results?
- Is the sitemap set up correctly?
3. On-page elements audit
Crawling and indexing deals with the optimisation processes that developers handle, while the on-page elements audit covers all the mistakes that usually happen in the backend where the admins dwell.
On e-commerce websites, those mostly occur while uploading new products.
There are many elements that are checked that affect search engine rankings, and some of them are:
- Checking if every page has only one main heading (H1 heading).
- Checking if the meta descriptions are duplicated.
- Checking to see if all images have alt attributes.
4. Content evaluation
Content evaluation is one more thing that gets checked, and you can immediately fix it after the audit.
The focus here is keyword research, we scan if all the keywords are appropriately placed in the SEO tools.
5. Link structure
Every website is a collection of interlinked web pages. When semantically similar content is connected, that makes the website valuable in SEO terms.
While auditing link structure we asses elements like these :
- Is the home page linked to all-important category pages?
- Are product pages linked to relevant category pages?
- Do product pages link to other product pages?
6. Status codes
When something doesn’t work online, a code appears. Who reads it, right? ( You probably just click X in the right corner when something funny appears on your screen.)
Well, search bots read it, and so do we in this part of the SEO audit.
The most famous status code is 404, which means “Page Not Found” but the checkup goes a lot further. We check all statuses that are different from the usual one – the 200 status.
Websites have different versions according to the markets their selling to. Sometimes, with several languages on the site, accidents appear.
The German version is linked to the Spanish one, the French one doesn’t have a translation or there is no indication of a different language in the URL.
This kind of issues is checked in the last chapter of a complete SEO audit.
Why is an SEO audit important?
If you’ve read through the audit checklist, you must have sensed that all the little bits that make a website can go wrong.
If your website is running smoothly, it will be closer to that top search results, and that means more traffic and more conversions.
The best tools for an SEO audit
To perform a complete SEO audit, you have to use the best tools out there. The knowledge itself isn’t really enough.
We use the following tools:
1. Screaming Frog
SEO tools sometimes come with a name that sounds like a metal band. This one, particularly, is one of the best out there for checking technical issues.
As it’s a crawler (it mimics the actual search engine bots) it’s great for checking crawling and indexing issues and status codes.
It’s also handy for checking on-page elements and content evaluation.
Screaming Frog is really easy to use, you just have to enter the URLs you want to check
2. Google Page Speed Insights
Web Page speed is a significant ranking factor. Luckily, Google Page Speed Insights is an excellent tool to check it.
It tests the speed for any given URL, both desktop and mobile and provides optimisation suggestions.
3. Google Search Console
We use a paid tool like Screaming Frog but checking data through Google Search Console (GSC) is a basic move.
It has a lot of functionalities, but in an SEO audit it:
- Provides you with the information about traffic (which pages gain the most traffic)
- Checks which pages have been indexed or not
- Identifies the backlinks flow
An SEO Audit is just the beginning
A detailed SEO audit is the beginning of every SEO strategy. After all the spotted errors and recommendations are fixed, the website is ready to be launched towards the top of the search results.
When you get that free visibility, there is your window of opportunity to push it even harder with creating new content and building links.
We know how to do it. You just have to contact us.