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In order to know if the SEO of a website is good or not, it's prevailing to carry out what is called an audit. An audit is the analysis of the SEO key performance indicators of a website. It is generally followed by a statement about the current quality of its SEO and some recommendations on how to improve the SEO strategy. A website should be "audited" quite often, in order to have a global and realistic diagnosis of its SEO health.
What are the steps of a SEO audit, where to begin ?
What are the KPIs and important data to analyse ?
What improvements are to done ?
Today, we give you our best advice to become the master of SEO audits, thanks to our 7 stages method.
Let’s go !
I) Why the SEO audit is important ?
First of all, what's the goal of an SEO audit ? 🤔
An SEO audit is going to bring to light the actual state of a website SEO. It draws up a list of all the KPIs, the key performance indicators, constituting the good or bad SEO of the analyzed website. It is important to audit a website regularly as we go to the doctor's for a check-up. It enables
knowing the current SEO performances of the website 🏆
knowing the elements to improve 💪
setting up a real SEO strategy if it still hasn't been done 📈
Once the KPIs are analyzed, you'll just have to implement our advice to raise the position of your site or your client's one up the top search results ! 🥇
II) Why SEO auditing regularly
The SEO of a website is recalculated every second by the search engines algorithms. It means the position of a website in the SERP can really fluctuate because of the smallest change, and before all, within the shortest time lapse ! ⏱️
Not much is needed to shake up the positions of a site and see it go down the ranks. It simply depends on a bad content being published, a technical error, etc… or worst, the improvement of your competitor's website ! With the rising number of competitors, no one can accept to lose ranks in the SERP. The ranks and KPIs should be checked the most often possible, not to be overtaken by the others.
So, which are the KPIs to check ?
III) The steps and KPIs of a SEO audit
Now that you know what is a SEO audit and why you use it for, let's see how you do it.
According to the Cocolyze method, a good SEO audit follows 7 steps :
1) Define the keywords you want to be ranked upon
A website corresponds to a very specific request to which belong a very specific vocabulary. It is privailing for you to be ranked on keywords that are part of its semantic field. ✏️
For example, if you sell cars, it is not useful for you to be ranked on the word "fork". Am I right ?
You need to think about the words on which you want your site to be ranked on based on your offer and use them quite often in the texts posted on it. The determining of these keywords is the base of a good SEO strategy.
You can use a keyword research tool, like the Cocolyze's one, if you are lost. 🗺️📍
You can also look for information about the keywords used by the sites with a similar offer, like its competitors. If you want more details on the topic, we have written an article about it : How to find the best keywords to rank upon?
2) Identify the competitors and their ranking in the SERP
You need to know who are the competitors and being aware of their current SEO. 🥊
Once you identified your competitors, the first thing to do is to check their ranking on some chosen keywords and compare with yours.
These keywords can be the same than the ones you chose to be ranked on or totally different.
This step has 2 goals :
to know if the competitors overtake the website you audit on the keywords you have chosen
to know if they are performing well on other keywords
This step will help you to define your own keywords as explained above. You will be able to guess the most judicious ones to be ranked on thanks to your competitor's rankings on them. If some keywords perform well for a similar offer or activity than yours, it means that they are the keywords written in the search engine bar by your potential customers. You should so use these keywords as a reference. This is a quite marketing-like step, close to the "benchmark". It gives a clear sight of the competitors' SEO performances on some keywords and enables you to compare with yours.
3) Analyze the website's visibility on search engines
As for the competitors, you have to know where the website ranks on the SERP. 🔍
For each keyword you have decided the site to be ranked upon, you need to know the exact position. This step will enable you to see where it's located compared to the competitors and will give you a global statement of its current SEO situation.
4) Check the technical health of the website
A badly-coded page or a text published without the good keywords on the website can really damage your SEO. Therefore, you should regularly check if everything is alright on the technical side. 💻
To do so, it is important to make sure that :
the website pages are explorable, accessible, analyzable et indexable by search engines
the titles, descriptions, metadata of the pages are well done and completed
the metadata and published semantic content is unique and not duplicated or missing
the website pages load quickly
the website pages are responsive, mobile-friendly, or even better, mobile-first
5) Pay attention to the semantic content
Keywords are prevailing: 55% of search engine users prefer written content over videos or images in the SERP as confirms us this useful study about users habits. To be ranked upon the chosen keywords you absolutely must use them in the content published on the interface of the website. ⌨️
However, for the texts on the interface as the texts in the metadata, take caution not to repeat too often the same keywords in a short lapse of time. If you do so, you will be confronted to a « stuffing » issue. What is the stuffing ? The search engines algorithms can detect if you write a word too often in too little number of lines. If you do so, search engines think that you're trying to cheat and they punish you and lower the website's SEO...
6) Audit the referring backlinks
The SEO of a website is also calculated thanks to its e-reputation, in other words, its links with other websites. 🔗
The more the websites with backlinks toward it have influence, the more its SEO will be boosted.
That’s why it is essential to be sure that:
some websites have backlinks toward the one you're analyzing
these websites have a good authority and so the backlinks are qualitative
Also, make sure that the links toward your website are not « nofollow » links or haven’t been deleted if they come from influential websites.
To learn more about these kind of toxic links, go and check « How to find toxic backlinks for my SEO? »
7) Give your recommendations
According to the results and conclusions of the audit, establish a recommendation list. 👍
You can, for instance:
improve the global technical quality of the website
try to rank it upon more relevant keywords, you can check your competitors ones
adapt the semantic content with the good keywords, but watch out the stuffing !
find trustable new friends all over the world wide web to expend your net linking and make yourself solid gold backlinks
Great, now you know the recipe of the SEO audit "made in Cocolyze" ! If you need a SEO analysis and recommendation tool to audit websites, there you go ! And to congratulate you for reading our post we made you a little sum-up. Enjoy !