Making sure that your website, blog, or your business finds its way to the right kind of audience involves quite a bit of SEO. Fortunately, there is plenty of material online which provides you with a detailed insight into what you should do, even if you are a complete beginner. But, even if you have done everything according to the instructions from reputable sources, you still have no way of knowing why, how, or if any of that will work. Sure, you may get significantly more visitors, but you still won’t be able to tell why that is. Unless you decide to perform an SEO audit of your website or blog.
According to Kenneth Brown, who is an SEO expert for Essayontime, here is what your SEO checklist should always include:
1. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is essential for your SEO audit efforts because it tracks so many different stats, such as the traffic numbers, bounce rate, which pages get the most visitors, average time on page, and so on. All of those can help you pinpoint your target audience pretty accurately and see how all the methods you have implemented are working in practice.
2. Google Search Console
In addition to Google Analytics, your SEO audit should also rely on data gathered from Google Search Console. Whereas Google Analytics tells you how your visitors find and use your website, Google Search console tells you how your website interacts with the search engines and their crawlers. It allows you to do the following:
- Select which pages you want to be crawled
- Identify spam and malware coming to your website
- Identify keywords which have caused a spike in traffic
- Find inbound links
- Analyze how mobile-friendly your website is
and plenty of other things.
3. Bing Webmaster Tools
It’s would be a huge mistake on your part to neglect Bing, because it’s still the second biggest search engine out there, and one which can drive a lot of traffic your way. For that, you will need to use free Bing Webmaster tools, which are able to generate detailed SEO reports, identify backlinks of your competitors, help you with your keyword research, and basically anything SEO-related.
4. XML Sitemaps
Google doesn’t like duplicate content, even if it’s properly attributed. XML sitemaps not only help the search engines index the contents of your website but also to identify your website as the original content publisher. It is up to you to decide whether to create one manually or to use a sitemap generator to do it automatically.
Robots.txt file is a way to tell the search engine bots or spiders which pages to crawl on your website. For example, if you have pages with private or duplicate content which may influence your SEO negatively, you can tell the bots via robots.txt file not to index those pages. As with XML sitemaps, you can create your robots.txt file manually, or automatically.
6. SSL Certificate
One of the things that can influence your SEO is security, which is why it’s getting increasingly important for your website to have an SSL certificate. It can even affect your ranking, which is why you should either purchase one today, which will set you back about $16, or wait to receive one for free.
7. Social Media Identity
Even if you don’t plan on running multiple social media accounts, you need to claim them all nonetheless. Why? Because, someone else might set up one with a similar name, which would just confuse your audience. They can even tarnish your reputation by posting inappropriate content.
In addition to having awesome content, which is the most important SEO element, your meta data needs to be great, as well, because that’s what search engine bots rely on when indexing your content. This includes meta tags, meta descriptions, alt text, and so on.
9. Title Tag
Your meta data needs to be organized using a particular order, as well, if you want to make the most out of SEO. You should put <title> first, and follow it up with <descriptions> and <keywords>, in that order. There can be other tags between them, but these three need to follow that particular sequence.
10. Number of Characters
If your title tags are longer than 55 to 65 characters, depending on the width of the characters you used, any characters beyond that number will not be visible on the search engine results. Also, meta descriptions which are longer than 156 characters will also get cut off, which means you should aim for brevity.
Despite the fact that Google no longer indexes keywords inside the keyword tags, include them just in case. Make sure to insert your keyword inside the title and description tags, URL, the title of your article, at least one heading, first and last paragraph, and inside the body of your article.
Producing high-quality content nowadays doesn’t just include writing informative articles which are longer than 700 words, but also ones which include images and/or video, infographics, diagrams, screenshots, slides, and any other type of media that is relevant. Also, include social media sharing buttons.
13. LSI Keywords
LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are those keywords which are different to your main keywords, which are still related or sound similar enough to them. This means you insert them into your content, as well, in order to rank better. You can use Keyword Planner to identify your LSI keywords.
14. Segregated Codes
15. Site Performance
Finally, to make your SEO audit complete, you need to make sure that your website is stable and that it’s working at all times, because if it’s not, Google will most likely rank it lower inside the search engine results. You can determine this by simply browsing your website. Keep an eye out for factors such as speed, 404 errors, broken links, responsiveness, and navigation issues.
SEO is crucial to the success of your website or online business, and SEO audit is one of the ways of making sure you’re done everything right. Even if you are absolutely sure you have done everything by the book, you will be surprised at what your SEO audit may turn up.