SEO website audit is an effective way to identify internal and external errors in its work, to reveal the potential of a resource for further promotion.
In this article we will talk about how to conduct an audit of the website yourself, consider the basic tools and services that will help in the work. And also we will discuss in which situations it is enough to use the instructions for the SEO audit of the website, and when it is necessary to contact professional optimizers.
WHY NEED A SEO AUDIT?
website analysis is superficial (express) and complex (complete).
A full audit of the website should be carried out by a professional who knows how to analyze, model and search for non-standard solutions. Expert analysis:
- answers narrower questions (how to raise low-frequency queries, why the website came under the filter and how to fix the situation);
- in research requires the use of special tools;
- requires experience.
A full audit of the website gives a more detailed picture of its technical condition, and is the basis for carrying out full-scale optimization activities. It opens up great prospects for advancement.
Express audit of the resource:
- gives a general idea of the effectiveness of the project;
- helps to identify gross violations that prevent full ranking;
- helps to improve behavioral factors and increase conversion;
- can be carried out independently according to the standard algorithm of actions.
In our text, we will consider a superficial audit of the website, which can be carried out independently and for free.
WHAT CHALLENGES MAY APPEAR WITH INDEPENDENT SEO AUDIT
For an independent audit, useful:
- Analytical mind;
- access to tools and services, which is not always free (it makes sense to evaluate which is more profitable - pay for services and spend time or pay for the work of a SEO specialist and get the result faster);
- have a visual representation of the process (you can study the productive cases of other companies, this instruction on the CEO website audit);
- monitor the emergence of new algorithms, areas of optimization.
Before proceeding to the first paragraphs of the audit plan, it is necessary to understand how the search engines work, what factors affect the ranking, how indexing is done. In general, immerse yourself in the backstage life of sites.
PRINCIPLE OF WORK OF THE SEARCH SYSTEM
The search engine action chain includes: preparing a plan, collecting data, indexing, calculating, ranking and evaluating the quality of search results. Let us dwell in more detail on some links in this chain.
search engine operation
A preliminary stage during which lists are compiled. To get into them you need to place a link somewhere, mention the website or go from the browser where the search toolbar is installed.
When collecting data (crawling), the search robot moves around the generated list, collecting technical data. Of great importance is the interaction with the search engine. That he quickly found the necessary documents, you need:
- monitor the size of the document - the smaller it is, the easier it is for the search engine to process its data;
- Install the robots.txt file for managing indexing
- embed the robots meta tag in the code of the web page - this will help to express to the search engines wishes about indexing the content of the page and the links placed on it;
- indicate encoding, server response code, document size in HTTP headers;
- to work out the website structure - it distributes priority between sections (clusters), on which data collection depends.
- At this stage, factors are important:
- content metrics - the amount of text content, the number of repetition of keywords;
- quality, number of links directing to a specific document;
- PageRank, SpamRank, TrustRank - ranking positions.
At this point, categories related to queries are taken into account.
- The region of the website and the user entering the request. When doing an SEO audit, you need to check the region assigned to the website and from which area (country) users are visiting. For example, if you want to promote Ukraine in the region, and the bulk of visitors from Russia, it means that the quality of the audience does not meet the needs of the website and you need to make adjustments.
- The language of the input request or the language settings of the browser. For example, the user usually enters queries in Russian, and today entered in English. He will more often see search results in Russian.
- The type of request determines the result of the issuance, because different ranking formulas are used for commercial, news and information requests.
- The range of queries is general, informational, transactional, navigation, multimedia. For example, under the general request of “Agatha Christie,” the search robot will select the groups and offer them all, because they don’t understand what the user wants to do - read books, a biography or listen to the songs of the musical group of the same name. Upon commercial requests, it can issue online stores, reviews, forums, price aggregators.
QUALITY ASSESSMENT OF SEARCH RESULTS
The quality of the results is assessed by a quantitative analysis of some behavioral factors.
- The number of clicks - the less they click on the website in the SERP, the weaker its position will be in the future. The search bot is not interested in having sites that users do not access in the TOP.
- The number of reformulations, additions made - when the user has to supplement the request by deepening the search, the system evaluates this as incorrect results.
- The number and speed of returns - the frequency and frequency with which the user returns to the resource. For example, a person went into an online clothing store, and a few minutes later went out and repeated the search to find a similar store, which means he didn’t like something on the website (he didn’t find contacts, the website doesn’t work, there are no necessary clothes). This does not affect the quality of issuance in the best way.
- The number of viewed delivery resources - the more pages a user visits, the worse the bot determines the quality of their delivery. The optimal action of the visitor is the choice of the first result of delivery. If he had to search further, it means that the website does not respond correctly to the user’s request.
WHAT TO ANALYZE ON THE webSITE?
Website analysis should be approached comprehensively, affecting 4 performance metrics:
- SEO (positions, traffic, semantic core);
- technical (indexing, loading speed, correct opening of pages, code, links, index quality);
- usability (behavioral factors - the number of views, returns, refusals, time on the website, the use of the internal search function);
- commercial (the number of regular customers, orders, sales, calls, check amount, conversion rate).
what to analyze on the siteCommercial metrics - an indicator of business success. They need to be monitored, but they depend not only on the CEO.
Website usability affects both business metrics and SEO metrics. The tendency to create resources convenient for people motivates owners to start sites with additional elements that simplify their use.
Traffic directly depends on technical indicators. Of fundamental importance is the absence of blank pages and duplicates in the index. You need to get rid of them so that the index contains exclusively useful pages.
SEO audit of a website involves, first of all, analysis of technical and CEO metrics. From the usability side, for the first time it’s enough to show a little “concern” about users. Convenient catalog, buy button, price list - for comfortable shopping or searching for artists. Contact information, warranty and return information, feedback form - for trust and peace of mind.
REQUIRED TOOLS FOR INDEPENDENT SEO AUDIT
To collect data for website analysis, you will need many tools. Some of them are available for free use, and for some services you will have to pay.
Keep in mind that buying tools for auditing a single website can be more expensive than paying for SEO services. In their arsenal, by default there are more paid quality services. But we are now talking about independent audit of the website and decide how to make it with the least loss. We turn to the practical part - the preparation of tools.
Mandatory publicly available tools for resource analysis include:
- SEO checklist - a structured algorithm of actions that must be taken to cover all issues of analysis; checklist example
- Google Analytics - service for obtaining a large amount of statistical data on the website’s performance and behavioral factors of visitors;
- Xenu Link Sleuth - a website parser that collects statistics of the technical plan, going to all addresses. Sizes of documents, HTTP headers, type of encoding, placement of broken links, etc.xenu program;
- Web Developer Toolbar is an extension for Mozilla that provides great opportunities for webmasters. Web developer toolbar;
- Firebug is a functional extension for analyzing the technical characteristics of a website (HTML codes, page loading speed, tracking script elements that take longer to load).
- The RDS bar toolbar is a browser add-on that adds an additional toolbar to your browser for analyzing website performance in whole and page by page. Rds bar plugin8
SEOquake is a free plugin that provides data about the website and page optimization, some functions are similar to the RDS bar. seoquake plugin.
Paid tools are many. You should not be guided by the principle “the more the better”, but some are worth paying attention to.
Key Collector - a program for working with semantics, analysis of search queries. The capabilities of the service are periodically expanded. Key collector clustering and semantics collector.
Ahrefs is a service that allows you to analyze the quality (new, outdated, etc.) and the number of links online.
Majestic SEO - a service similar to the previous one, but with a bias towards.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider - resembles the Xenu Link parser, but offers more audit capabilities. Convenient work with filters, settings.
Key assort - a service for clustering the semantic core of queries by the top sites in search engine results.
SEO Power Suite is a whole package of programs that will allow you to select the necessary key queries, analyze the top, find errors on your website, check your link profile and your competitors, establish contacts for crowd marketing, prepare wide reports for customers on the website.
HOW TO CARRY OUT A website AUDIT. INSTRUCTION
website audit includes several types of analysis:
- technical - analysis of technical factors;
- external - analysis of reviews, external links, references to the resource on third-party sites;
- internal - audit of internal links, website content;
- semantic - analysis of the semantic core, keywords and phrases;
- structure analysis - close attention to the convenience of the structure, how indexing is going on, and what are the opportunities for optimization;
- commercial - website inspection in terms of consumer appeal.
Getting down to business.
HOW TO MAKE A TECHNICAL (INTERNAL) website AUDIT
This step includes analysis of the website code, page loading speed, page size, HTTP headers, robots.txt, meta-robots files, optimization for mobile devices.
1. IDENTIFY ERRORS IN HTML AND CSS
Errors in HTML, CSS markup give incorrect display of pages. The consequences are serious - from reducing positions in the SERP to falling under the filter of search engines.
- Use of a non-recommended tag
- not recommended characters in links;
- tag is not closed;
- Required attribute not indicated.
How to check:
Using HTML and CSS validators. Services based on the scanned code form a detailed report with the errors found.
2. CHECK THE CORRECT CORD
Incorrect encoding may distort the display of content. This is unpleasant for visitors, prevents the indexing of the website and is fraught with falling under the filter.
How to check:
On special services (for example, htmlweb.ru).
The encoding is indicated by the line underlined above. In this case, the encoding is UTF-8.
Now you need to check the actual encoding of the website and make sure that it matches the one that the server sends. To do this, right-click on the page of your website and go to “view page code”.
The result should be looked for in the line containing the word charset (inside the head tag).
UTF-8, Windows-1251 encodings display the resource correctly and support the Cyrillic alphabet.
3. 404 ERROR
A website on which a series of pages with an error of 404 (not found) is opened to users will not please visitors and will give up their positions in the search results. Such situations may occur if:
- the deleted (moved) page was saved in the index of the search bot - users receive a link to it in the search results;
- when internal links to a deleted (moved) page remain on the website itself;
- other sites link to the remote page;
- there is a typo in the address bar.
How to check:
Using the webmasters panel (Google), the free Xenu Link Sleuth service. It is better to use several methods to identify the maximum broken links.
Next, you need to “remove” non-existent pages from the index. To do this, use the webmaster panels.
To prevent page 404 from provoking a user to leave your website, make it unusual. Accompany with an explanation, reference information, insert links to the main sections of the website, an interesting image.
Using the ErrorDocument directive located in the .htaccess file in the root folder, specify the service path to redirect users to when the 404 error occurs:
- ErrorDocument 404 http://examen.com/404.html, (the address of the interestingly designed 404 page is indicated).
- Other errors can be similarly eliminated (401, 403, 500).
4. CHECK PAGE DOWNLOAD SPEED
Slow download speed is annoying for users; search engines do not like it. We need to strive to ensure that on the desktop, pages load in 3 seconds, on a tablet, smartphone - in 7-9 seconds.
How to check:
First of all, we recommend using services from google. To check page speed, you can use the famous PageSpeed Insights or install the Lighthouse extension. For a more detailed check of the mobile version of the website and how your website loads on mobile networks (2G, 3G, 4G), use the online service for testing on mobile networks https://testmysite.withgoogle.com/intl/en-ru and the section "Check Mobile Optimization on the google search console. We also recommend that you pay attention to the new service from google - https://web.dev/fast.
How to minimize load time:
- reduce page size;
- compress pictures;
- enable data cache;
- get rid of unnecessary redirects;
- reduce the number of server requests.
5. CHECK ROBOTS.TXT FILE
Long files clog the index and cause the robot to spend a lot of time. But he could spend it on indexing valuable documents.
How to check:
On Google search console and other services.
6. CHECK DOUBLE
When creating subdomains for testing, we sometimes forget to close them from indexing. This creates duplicates that worsen the ranking of the main website.
How to check:
See if there are test subdomains in the results.
7. WHAT ANOTHER ACCOUNT FOR THE INTERNAL AUDIT
Check for completeness of content and meta-description.
Add unique titles (store) to the headings.
Get rid of junk index, unnecessary pages.
Be careful about the moderation of comments so that they do not fall into profanity and do not touch on prohibited topics.
EXTERNAL website AUDIT FOR FREE
This stage covers: analysis of link profiles, donor IP addresses, competitive sites.
(Alexa service. shows the dynamics of the resource’s popularity)
1. REFERENCE PROFILE ANALYSIS
It is important to monitor the naturalness of the reference mass. For example, do not insert links to adult stores in borscht recipes.
You can use the Ahrefs service, which analyzes the quality of inserted links.
2. ANALYSIS OF DONOR SITES
It requires control of aggregators, link exchanges, moderation of purchased links. Otherwise, your flooring can be closely intertwined with drugs for genital infections.
When conducting an external audit of the website, it is also necessary to pay attention to the naturalness of the anchor list.
3. COMPETITORS ANALYSIS
For monitoring foreign “colleagues”, the optimal SemRush tool is for Serpstat to cover Ukrainian, Russian, Bulgarian, and Kazakhstan bases, for SpyWords for Moscow, at the peak of Ahrefs popularity, but Seo Power Suite with its Spy Glass tool is more often used only in the western market.
At this stage, the semantic core, the distribution of requests and their potential are subject to audit.
Tools for working with semantics:
Google Analytics, LiveInternet, Wordstat, search hints, Key Collector, Rank Tracker (from Seo Power Suite), parsing highlights and thematic words from the online service arsenkin.ru and others. There are also ready-made databases of key queries, such as Pastukhov Base, Bukvariks base (is an online service), etc.
To distribute key queries, both the manual sorting method and special programs are used. Today, one of the most popular is the key collector. Note that key collector also has a similar function. For a choice you can see - desktop options: MegaLemma, TopSite, MindSerp. And online services: Kg.ppc.panel, S: toolz, JustMagic, Coolakov, Seointellect, Topvisor, SEMparser, SE Ranking, Rush Analytics, Keysa, MC-Castle.
In programs you can see statistics, create query groups, apply various filters.
website STRUCTURE ANALYSIS
The structure of the website is closely intertwined with its semantic core. At this stage, the correspondence to semantics, nesting depth, and navigation are analyzed.
- nesting level more than 4;
- structure does not correspond to semantics;
- spam, which can lead to the website being banned.
COMMERCIAL website ANALYSIS
At our level, it is enough to check the availability of the contact page, driving directions, working hours, certificates and other documents that are trustworthy of customers.
Setting goals in web analytics contributes to a more simple independent SEO analysis of the website. Although for a high-quality free audit, you still need to have not only a desire, but also to have knowledge and an analytical mind.
If you do not have enough time and confident knowledge, it is worth thinking about assigning an audit to special companies. The amount saved on the services can turn out to be much less than the amount of lost profit due to the incorrectly adjusted work of the website.
SEOTM offers you its services. Professional audit and comprehensive disclosure of the potential of the website - you are guaranteed.