To make sure that all of the SEO methods are working in practice, you need to perform a thorough SEO audit of your website.
You will be able to tell which methods and strategies are bringing in traffic and allowing you to reach your target audience, and which aren’t so that you can improve upon them, or focus on new ones.
According to John Masterson, who works as an SEO specialist for SuperiorPapers, here is what you need to check to perform a thorough SEO audit of your website:
- Create an XML Sitemap
The existence of an XML sitemap allows the search engines to determine which URLs are actually on your website so that they can crawl them more quickly. You also need sitemaps to make sure that your site is viewed as the original source of content in case someone copies it or references it so that it doesn’t get penalized by Google.
You can use tools like sitemap generator or Free XML Sitemap Validator to generate your sitemap automatically.
- Edit robots.txt File
Robots.txt file is needed to tell the search engine spiders which pages they should take into account when crawling your website.
By modifying the contents of the file, you can prevent the crawlers from duplicate indexing content, or make sure that they don’t crawl individual pages of your website which you want to keep private and outside of SERPs. Again, you can create your robots.txt file manually or automatically; it’s up to you.
- Check Redirects
By using a 301 redirect command, you are informing the search engines that the page is no longer available, and redirecting them to a new address. As a result, they will remove the old URL from their index, and remember the new one.
Also, this will allow you to monitor traffic that your 404 page is receiving. You can implement a 301 redirect with Redirect Check.
- Title and Meta Description
Note that your title is not the same as the headline of your article. Your title should be between 55 and 65 characters in length (including spaces) because that’s how much will be displayed inside the SERPs.
Your meta description should be no longer than 160 characters (since a 600-pixel container is used to display it) because all the extra characters will get clipped. It is important to include your target keyword in both. You can preview how they will look inside the results with SEO Mofo.
- Alt Tag
Having relevant and high-quality images on your website is a must these days, but don’t forget to include alt tags and titles for your images which are relevant and descriptive. Check you image title tags with Image Alt Test.
Another factor which contributes to your overall SEO are URLs which are relevant, and preferably which contains your keyword because it helps Google determine the connection between your content and the URL. You can create your URL automatically or manually.
- Mobile Friendliness
Since smartphones and tablets have become the dominant devices through which users consume content, you need to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly. In addition to that, Google’s mobile crawler takes it into account when ranking your website. You can test mobile friendliness here.
- Load Speed
Another important ranking factor, at least when it comes to Google, is load speed. Sites which take longer to load sport higher bounce rates and shorter on page times, which means that users don’t have too much patience for slow sites. You can use tools mentioned here to test how your website is performing in that aspect.
- Broken Links
Broken links, both external and internal, can affect your SEO, as well as overall user experience. Google bots check links on a regular basis, which means you need to take your time and check your outbound links periodically. You can use broken link checker tools to find the faulty one.
- Duplicate Content
Having duplicate content means you can get penalized by Google, even if you have done it inadvertently or referenced your sources correctly. Use Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker to make sure that your content is original and unique.
SEO Audit Toolkit (Bonus Content)
You can also use the following tools to make you SEO audit more complete:
- Screaming Frog – This tool is a website crawler which allows you to gain a deeper insight into onsite SEO by checking images, links, CSS, apps, and so on. Also comes in the shape of a desktop application, which makes the process faster.
- SEMrush Site Audit Tool – With this particular tool, you can analyze your website efficiently and thoroughly. It can capture all of the errors, as well as provide recommendations. Its party piece is the ability to compare audits, which gives you an insight into how much you have improved.
- Google Search Console – Google Search Console is an essential tool for maintaining your website, as well as allowing it to interact better with Google. Capable of spotting a wide variety of errors.
- WooRank – With WooRank, you can crawl your website and identify indexation issues, figure out if there is any metadata that is missing, find duplicate content, check links, and plenty more.
- Zadro Web SEO Auditor – This SEO audit tool provides you with both Page Authority and Domain Authority for your website, Google Page speed, your top keywords, social media links presence, and so on.
Accessibility and Performance-Checking Tools
- txt Analyzer – Allows you to get more out of your robots.txt file through careful analysis and suggestions on how you can improve it.
- YSlow – With YSlow, you will be able to track the performance of every single component your website consists of, and learn what you can do make it work faster.
- Meta Tag Analyzer – Analyze not just your meta tags, but your headlines, URLs, and keywords inside your content.
- Ahrefs – Ahrefs not only allows you to improve your traffic, but also to monitor what your competitors are doing, and figure out what they are doing better than you.
- Majestic – Majestic allows you to view all the backlinks on a page you are browsing because it relies on the world’s biggest link index database.
Broken Link Checkers
- Broken Link Checker – With this tool, you can monitor the health of links inside your articles, pages, comments, and fields. Also detect missing images, redirects, and search links by URL. You can also choose to be notified via email or through the app’s Dashboard.
- Xenu Link Sleuth – Don’t let its simple interface fool you. Xenu Link Sleuth is very good at discovering broken links on web sites.
- W3C Link Checker – Simply paste a URL inside the field, and the tool will provide you with a summary, save options in a cookie, and so on.
Duplicate Content and Plagiarism Checkers
- Copyscape – Probably the most famous and one of the most useful plagiarism checkers out there.
- Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker – If you are looking for a free plagiarism checker, you might want to check out this tool.
- PlagSpotter – Capable of finding copies of your pages online in an instant.
Page Speed Checkers
- PageSpeed Insights – Improve your page speed across all devices with this straightforward and efficient tools.
With these tools and tips at your disposal, you will be able to perform an incredibly thorough SEO audit of your website and improve its performance and ranking, instead of just guessing what works and what doesn’t. Start using them today.