[ContentMarketingInstitute] How to Do a Helpful SEO Audit in a Few Hours

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You write to rank. But how often do you pause typing to see how your SEO-focused content is performing? A glance at the first page of Google won’t cut it. A simple SEO audit can provide a better understanding of the positives and adverse aspects of your site’s pages in the eyes of Google and other search engines.

It’s an important undertaking so you can improve upon what works and eliminate bad SEO tactics that affect your rankings (and in some cases, could result in your site being removed from the search engine altogether).

(Pre-step) Know the site’s purpose

While this article focuses on an SEO audit, it must be done on a solid foundation. First, document the answers to these questions around your brand’s purpose for the site:

  • What do you want to be found for online?
  • Which landing pages are most relevant (i.e., contribute to your goals)?
  • What platform is the website built on?

With these answers, you’re ready for the audit.

Divide the SEO audit into 3 parts

Search engines use what are called “crawlers” to go through your website and analyze:

  • Which keywords (i.e., search phrases) the website addresses
  • How well the content meets the initial needs of a searcher
  • How the content keeps the searcher on the site
  • Its speed and technical security
  • How well it meets the standard search engine guidelines

Google and others also use real-life searches to see if your pages deliver what their users are looking for.

An SEO audit should be split into three sections:

  • On page – on your site
  • Technical – coding and other elements behind the page
  • Off page – online but off your site

Analyze on-page ranking factors

On-page SEO is the heart of your website. Knowing how well these factors stack up is the most important step because you can control (i.e., change) your pages.

Among the elements to assess:

  • Landing page URL – text of web address after your domain (It should include one keyword.)
  • Meta title – blue link of page title appearing in search results (It should exist and include the keyword no more than once, be 55 characters or less, and be unique and relevant to the page’s content.)
  • Meta description – text shown below the title link in search results (It should exist and naturally label the page’s content in 50 to 160 characters.)
  • Heading 1 (H1) tag – headline or title shown at top of page (It should include a keyword, explain the page’s content, be between 20 and 70 characters, and stand out on the page.)
  • Heading 2, 3 (H2, H3) tags – subtitles within the content on the page (They should use variations of the keyword.)
  • Images – name, title, and size of visuals on the page (Their title should be associated with your keyword. Their size should be 100 kilobytes or less. They should include alt text – what appears when the image can’t be seen on the page.)
  • Internal links – hyperlink URLs in text that points to other pages within the site (They should be included in the page’s content, naturally linking the reader to current and relevant content – and often other relevant keywords – on the site.)

Use the table format below to conduct your on-page factor audit. At a minimum, list the URLs for every landing page identified in the pre-step as key to your site and brand.

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