Do you know where your website stands in terms of search engine optimization? By periodically analyzing how your website is performing in search engine results pages (SERPs) and conducting a website audit, you can make adjustments to your on-site SEO strategy and improve how your website ranks in search engine results. Below are seven major things to check when conducting a website SEO audit.
Site speed is a crucial factor in providing a good user experience, which means a slow website can negatively impact overall SEO. In fact, the bounce rate probability for a site that takes between one and five seconds to load is about 90%. Considering user experience factors like site speed are part of Google’s Core Web Vitals, high bounce rates and slow load speeds could lead to poor performance for your website in SERPs. To check your site performance, you can use tools like PageSpeed Insights, which analyzes both mobile and desktop versions of your website and breaks down performance using Core Web Vitals metrics.
An HTTPS encryption on your website can play an important role in how Google ranks your website in SERPs. While an HTTPS encryption may not automatically give you a boost in search engine results, it does tell Google that your website is trustworthy, which can help your site’s SEO performance. In order to get an HTTPS distinction, you’ll need to purchase an SSL certificate. Without this certificate, users may get a security warning while trying to visit your website, which could convince them to leave altogether.
Another crucial aspect of user experience is a clear and easy-to-navigate website structure. Not only is navigation helpful for site visitors looking for information on your website, but it also provides a path for search engine crawlers to find new content for indexing. Ideal site navigation should look like a pyramid and include breadcrumbs that allow users and crawlers to travel from top-level pages to pages deeper in your website structure. If pages don’t utilize internal linking, or your website doesn’t have a sitemap, you could be missing out on valuable content indexing.
Google rolled out its mobile-first index in 2021, which means all websites are now indexed and ranked based on mobile-friendly website standards. If your website doesn’t have a mobile version or utilize responsive design, makes it difficult to access content and links in mobile view, or loads slowly for mobile site visitors, your website’s visibility in SERPs for relevant queries will most likely take a hit. Fortunately, there are several tools you can use to check mobile performance, including Mobile-Friendly Test and Google Search Console.
If keyword optimization has been an important part of your organic SEO strategy, you’ll want to check your ranking keywords to identify where you have opportunities for improvement. Start by looking at keywords in Position 0 (also called Featured Snippets) and Positions 1-3. These are the keywords that are performing well for your website optimization efforts. For new opportunities, however, review keywords in Positions 4-10. While these keywords mean your website content is appearing on the first page of search results, they’re also below the prime spots, which means you have room to move up with better implementation.
When auditing your website, you’ll want to check on your SEO content marketing efforts as well. Take a look at website metrics like organic sessions, average time on page, and bounce rate to get an idea of how your website content is performing in SERPs. During your content audit, you should also note how frequently you’re adding new content, if there are opportunities to update existing content, and whether webpages and blog posts are hitting the recommended SEO word count (i.e., 250+ words).
Search engines use metadata like title tags and image alt text to better understand what kind of content is on your webpages, which means missing metadata can hurt your website’s chances of appearing in relevant search engine results. With SEO audit tools available through ahrefs and Semrush, you can crawl your site and identify any webpages and images that need metadata added or better optimized.