A web audit will help you find and fix any issues you have on your website that could be negatively affecting your ranking position.
Here is the good news, auditing your website isn’t difficult and can improve the user experience and help your SEO. I’ll explain later in the article how to do an audit. But there’s a catch you need to be aware of, more on that later.
Table of Contents
- Why doing a site analysis of your website is important
- How to analyse website content
- Check title length
- Check description is present
- Check page link contains keywords
- Check page is indexed on Google
- Check your website is fast enough
- Check for broken links
- Check your content is helpful
- Check page has internal and external links
- Check for ROT (redundant, outdated or trivial content)
- Check mobile usability
- Automated Content Analysis
Why doing a site analysis of your website is important
Here are some reasons to help motivate you to analyse your site:
Improve the readability of your content
Easier to read content reduces bounce rate (visitors who visit your site then leave without going anywhere else on your site).
Improve site engagement
Visitors will stay on your site longer and visit more pages. This signals to Google your content is a good match for the query and helps you rank well.
Optimize site potential
It’s difficult to rank highly in search engines, there is heavy competition out there. To stand a chance you need to optimize everything about your site you can think of.
Ensure indexed by search engines
Your content may not be indexed by search engines. Publishing your content doesn’t mean Google will crawl and index it. There are some technical factors that can stop that happening. During an audit you verify it has been seen and indexed by Google.
Increase your ranking in search engines
Making your content more readable and increasing user engagement on your site will boost your search ranking position. This is because Google wants to serve the most relevant content it can find. Users engaging with your content is a good sign to Google you content was relevant.
How to analyse website content
Let’s examine the content we need to review on each page.
Check title length
The title of your article should be between 20-65 characters long. If your title is too long is will likely be truncated on search engine results pages.
Use keywords you want to rank for within the title. Don’t force the keywords, they should appear natural within your title. Your title is also important for attracting attention to your content, it’s worth spending time on crafting a good headline.
SEO plugins (for WordPress websites) will help you analyze and improve your titles. Read more about the All in One SEO Plugin here: All in One SEO Plugin will make you better at SEO.
Check description is present
The meta description of the page appears in search engine results pages underneath the title of the article. Your description affects how likely your link will be clicked so it’s important you include a description. The recommended length should not exceed 160 characters.
Again, like the title, try to include keywords within the description. You want people to be intrigued and curious about your content so they will click on the link and read it.
Check page link contains keywords
The page link or URL of your page should contain keywords you want the page to rank for. It can result in your page ranking higher in search results.
Check page is indexed on Google
Use Google Search Console to verify your page has been indexed by Google. You can also directly query google using “site:mysite.com” – change mysite.com to the domain of your website.
Submit your content to Bing using this link: https://www.bing.com/webmasters/. Alternative search engines such as DuckDuckGo and others also use the Bing index.
Check your website is fast enough
The speed of your website will affect your visitors opinion on your content. Slow loading websites will annoy your visitors putting you at a disadvantage before a single word has been read. Slowness is a negative ranking signal for Google when indexing your content.
Ensure you use a fast WordPress theme (for WordPress sites) and use a good hosting provider for your website.
Check for broken links
A broken link is a link that no longer works and results in an error page.
Links, either internal or external, could be working when you originally published the article but, over time, they may become broken.
Link rot is a term that means links naturally break over time. This is because external websites disappear or their internal structure changes resulting in missing pages.
If you are not actively checking your links on your website then, over time, expect some of your content to include broken links.
Check your content is helpful
You may think this is obvious but a lot of content on the internet is designed to rank for certain keywords without taking into account if the content is useful or not.
Google rolled out the Helpful Content Update recently (August 2022) to provide a site wide signal for websites that had helpful, people-first content as opposed to keyword focused content.
Read the Google article linked above to have a thorough understanding of helpful content but here are a few questions (according to Google) you should ask yourself:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
Check page has internal and external links
Internal links help users move around your website. This keeps users on your website which is good for user engagement. Internal links lets Google more easily crawl and index your site and provides a way to understand how articles relate to each other on your site.
A reader may want to know more about a topic you talk about. You can provide a link to another website that goes into that topic more deeply. External links allow your reader to research the topic more comprehensively and provide value.
Check for ROT (redundant, outdated or trivial content)
Your content may not be as current as it was once. Over time it can become less relevant so you will need to spend some time pruning content to keep it highly relevant for new audiences.
Visitors reading out of date content on your site will damage your credibility as you are obviously not maintaining your content.
Check mobile usability
People consume content on the internet primarily using their mobile devices. Google knows this and uses mobile-first indexing to process your site. This means that Google primarily uses the mobile version of your content for indexing and ranking.
This is why you should find and fix mobile usability issues on your site.
Automated Content Analysis
Here’s the catch I mentioned at the top of the article, without automating content analysis auditing all your web content will take a long time, even if your site isn’t that big.
Remembering all the individual checks you have to perform – for each page – is difficult and time consuming. In reality, most business owners will not take the time to thoroughly check their websites frequently, given all the other pressures of running a business.
Wouldn’t it be nice to automate this process?
Of course it would! By automating the process of checking your website content you ensure every check is performed consistently and correctly. An automated check can check a large list of issues that could be holding you back and lowering your ranking position.
They are a number of tools to help you audit your websites, usually they come as part of an SEO and keyword discovery tool. My preferred SEO, Keyword Research and Web Auditing tool is SE Ranking. You can get a plan for a modest amount per month that includes a comprehensive website and individual page SEO checker.
SE Ranking Web Audit tool
I will use the SE Ranking tool to show you automated web audit analysis of your website. Other tools will offer similar features.
A web audit tool will provide a dashboard showing you a number of widgets indicating the health of your website. I’ll explain a few of the most interesting widgets.
The health score is a calculated score taking into account all the issues found on the site and the severity of each issue. It gives you a quick indicator of your website health over time.
The dashboard also displays SEO issues grouped by category. Each category of issues is color coded so you can see the type and severity of issues per category.
Clicking the bar will take you to the Issue Report which gives a breakdown of all issues by category and severity.
The sidebar displays issues found for each category. Selecting one of the categories will jump to that section of the report so you can quickly find problems about your site.
The highlighted section on Mobile Optimization has zero critical errors and 16 warnings (down 2 from the previous report). Clicking on the sidebar will jump to that section of the report as seen below:
The report has flagged issues with “Minimum text to HTML ratio”, mousing over the pages column will show a dropdown button which went clicked will show all the pages affected.
Schedule regular web audits
The web audit can be scheduled weekly and emailed to you. Here is the schedule settings page:
Once set up you receive weekly emailed reports about the health of your website. This makes it much easier to keep your website optimised for search engines to ensure you ranking positions are as good as possible.
On-Page SEO Checker
Below is a graphic from an automated content analysis of a page on my site. Each category is given a score and graphed with green=good, yellow=okay and red=bad/error. It gives you an overview of SEO issues found.
Categories analysed are:
- URL (web page link)
- Text content
- Page experience
- Internal links
- External links
- SERP (Search Engine Results Page) features
Multiple SEO issues are checked for each category for a total of 110 issues for each page analysed.
This tool checks a large number of parameters and can compare your results with the top competitors for the keyword you are competing for.
You can check out this tool for yourself and get a report in two minutes. Click on the banner below and you will go to a page that will let you check your website for SEO issues.
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