Improving the performance of a site on Google and other other search engine platforms become crucial to generate traffic and quality leads. A good SEO practice not only boosts your web visibility but also help you maximize your Return On Investment (ROI).
In order to check whether your WordPress site is performing well in search engines or not, you will need to do a thorough SEO audit. Since every single aspect leaves a great impact on site’s performance in search engines, make sure you know how to perform a successful SEO audit.
What is an SEO Audit?
It is a process under which you can assess the search engine friendliness of your site. Check the key SEO aspects, on-page optimization ranking factors, off-page optimization ranking factors, website control factors and a lot more to ensure whether your website is performing well in SERPs or not.
In simple words, an SEO audit can help you evaluate your site against a checklist to address and fix the issues related to search engine optimization. With this practice, you can improve the performance of your WordPress site in Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines.
Make sure that you do the SEO audits on a regular basis. This will help you know where your SEO efforts are going and how you can improve the search engine friendliness of your site. Below is the comprehensive checklist that will help you perform this auditing task with ease.
But, before this, let’s take a look at some of the key tools that will make your job easier while performing an SEO audit:
List of key SEO Audit Tools:
To successfully perform an SEO audit, you will need to collect data of your site. The following tools will help you do the same in a matter of few minutes:
- Screaming Frog: It is a simple and user-friendly tool that lets you crawl the URLs of your website and collect the on-page aspects to evaluate on-page SEO. You can download it for free or purchase a license to boast additional advantages.
- Google Search Console: If you are auditing your site for search engine optimization, then you can’t overlook the webmaster tools. They allow search engine bots to read and index all the pages of your site. They gather all the information related to the technical SEO practices of your site. These details will help you during the SEO audit process.
- Google Analytics: It is one of the most imperative tools that helps you get complete insight into your website’s performance on different search engine platforms. You can check whether your SEO campaign is going in the right direction or not. If not, then you can fix it as soon as possible.
A Complete Checklist for SEO Audit
- Run the Website Crawl
First, we need to start the site crawl to collect all the information related to your web pages and URLs from Screaming Frog tool.
Once the tool has been downloaded, you can type the URL address of your site in the top bar and click on ‘start’ button.
PASTE IMAGE “screaming frog tool screenshot”
While the website crawl is running, we can start with the SEO audit:
- Evaluating the site’s accessibility
So, the SEO audit will start with the evaluation of your site’s accessibility. Under this, we will check whether your website and all the webpages are accessible to web visitors and search engine bots or not.
To get better SEO ranking, you will need to focus on improving the accessibility of your WordPress site. Consider the following ways to check the readability and accessibility of your website:
(a) Check the number of versions of your site
Generally, a website can be accessed in four different ways:
You can choose any of the version as per your preference. But it is better to choose the ‘https://www.mywebsite.com’ as it is HTTPS enabled, which is good for your SEO campaign. However, for that, you will need to first install an SSL protocol. Having a HTTPS based website can help you get better ranking in search engines and also protect your site from being hacked.
Note: Make sure that you have only one version of your website. Having multiple versions could affect the performance of your site on SERPs. If you don’t, you might face problems related to the duplicate content and Google will find difficulty in indexing the unique version of your site.
(b) Check your robots.txt file
A robot.txt file basically restricts search engine spiders to crawl and index your site. The file is used when you don’t want to index some of the pages of your site by search engines.
So, in the next step of an SEO audit, you will need to check whether the robots.txt includes any rules that keep search engine spiders away from accessing a few pages of your site that you want them to be indexed by crawlers. You can check this, and allow Google spiders to read and index those parts as soon as possible.
(c) Test your Robots Meta Tags
These are similar to robots.txt that tell search engines whether to crawl and index a site or just follow the links on it. If robots meta tags are available in the sidebar, then it will stop search engines from indexing your site.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex” />
Therefore, it is essential to examine these meta tags while auditing your site for search engines. You just make sure that all your web pages are indexed by search engine bots. This will help you get better visibility on the web.
(d) Check the XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap tells search engines about all the pages of your site so that they can read, crawl and index your all the relevant web pages with ease. Since it is one of the crucial aspects of a good SEO technique, make sure check whether your XML sitemap is submitted to the Google Search Console or any other webmaster tools during the SEO audit.
If not, then you can create and submit it using the best WordPress SEO plugin such as Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO Pack. Both the plugins come with a ton of advanced features to make your job easier as a WordPress site owner. In fact, you can also use Google XML Sitemaps to get your work done, without any heavy lifting.
(e) Test your site’s speed
Speed is one of the vital aspects that helps you determine the ranking of your website on search engine result pages. Both the web visitors and search engines love fast-loading websites over sluggish ones, so it is better to cross-check the speed of your site for generating better ranking.
To ensure the accessibility of your WordPress site, you will need to test its page load speed using any of the following tools:
Tip: Once after testing the speed of your WordPress site, you can improve it by using the WordPress speed optimization tips.
On-Page SEO Checklist
On-page SEO is one of the key aspects of the SEO audit checklist. By authing the on-page SEO factors, you will be able to improve the performance of your site for search engines. Let’s get started!
Titles: Make sure they are unique and search engine friendly. Your title should be engaging and stimulating and should convey what the content is all about. A rich, user-centric and captivating title can improve the CTR of your website.
Meta Descriptions: These are also good for generating higher click through rate. You can write relevant and unique meta descriptions for each of your web page. Don’t forget to add main keyword phrase into it as this will help you get better SEO ranking. Also, make sure your descriptions are under 155 characters.
HTML: When it comes to the on-page SEO audit checklist, you can’t overlook the HTML markup. It is one of the vital parts of a good SEO. If you have activated a quality theme, make sure you keep it updated on a regular basis – this will manage your HTML markup to a great extent.
Heading Tags: They are crucial for structuring the content (blog posts, articles) of your site. They not only enhance the readability and accessibility but also help search engines to crawl your content with ease. Use H1 for the main title and H2 for the main headings to add well-formatted content on your site. You can also use bold and italics for highlighting the key parts of your content.
URL Structure: The URLs of your web pages should be unique, SEO-friendly and relevant to your website/webpages. If you are still using the default URLs, then immediately optimize them by adding main keyword phrase into it. Use hyphens to keep your words separated.
Content: Make sure each of your web page has more than 300 words of content. Apart from the quantity, it should be unique, engaging and high quality. You can even optimize it by adding relevant keywords into your content.
Internal linking: Ensure that your pages are well linked with your related posts. This can improve the pageviews of your site and encourage search engines and users to stay longer on it. To get the most of internal linking, make sure the pages you want to get higher ranking should have the greater number of internal links. Plus, they should be linked to your homepage.
Keywords: Selection of the right keyword sets can help you get more visibility on SERPs. With the use of Yoast SEO, you can find out whether a focused keyword has been used before or not. If not, then you can use it to optimize the content of your site for search engines.
Images: Check whether the ALT tags fields of images are filled out. If yes, then check for the SEO friendliness and relevancy. You can even optimize the image file names to get a better position on search engine platforms.
Off-page SEO Audit
Now, we have to do an SEO audit of the off-page SEO factors that play a vital role in determining the ranking of the site. So, let’s begin with off-page SEO audit:
(a) Check the security of your site
A secure website builds trust among the potential web visitors. So, don’t forget to check the integrity of your site by detecting the issues related to malware and spam. Learn how to find loopholes within your site and fix them as quick as possible.
Also, never participate in the spam tactics such as keyword stuffing, or hiding text on a website. In fact, you can link only to reputed websites that can grab the interest of your targeted web visitors with ease.
(2) Check for the backlink profile
Still backlinks are one of the most significant SEO ranking factors. With this technique, you can encourage people to visit your site and convert into potential subscribers. This will make it easy for you to get higher SEO ranking.
In order to check the authenticity, we will evaluate the profiles of those sites that are sending you the link. You can either do it in Google Search Console (Search Traffic > Links to your Site), or by using a reliable tool. Also, consider the following things:
- How many unique domains linking to your site?
- Cross-check their relevance, authority and trustworthiness
- Follow or nofollow links
- Natural anchor texts.
This will leverage your link building efforts and make your job easier as an SEO expert.
That’s it. Performing a successful SEO audit for WordPress site depends upon how you consider these points. The above checklist will definitely improve the way you are optimizing your site for better SEO ranking. You just need to keep these points in mind while doing an SEO audit.