Your site still doesn’t appear in the first pages of Google? Your site is badly positioned on certain queries or keywords? If you encounter this type of problem with your website, it is time to launch a strategic SEO audit.
Before making any changes, it is important to analyze the weak points but also the strong points of your website. The first step is therefore the SEO audit. This inventory allows you to identify the blocking factors to obtain a good positioning in the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). The audit allows to make a global point on the SEO practices of a site in order to make improvements on its pages and better position them in the results on search engines.
Analysis of everything that makes up the site, such as its structure, platform, performance, tree structure, internal redirections and internal network. The Onsite constitutes the largest part of an SEO audit and requires a careful and in-depth analysis. The SEO expert remains vigilant regarding the use of structured data and metadata, the structure of the URLS, the adaptation of the site to the mobile format, etc.
Netlinking audit: verification of the backlinks to know if they are qualitative, varied, natural, toxic and appropriate to the theme of the site. Without many quality backlinks, your site will not stand out because it will not benefit from the “Page Authority” and “Domain Authority“. The more links to a site are numerous and of quality, the better it will position itself. The analysis of competitors’ backlinks, domain referring, referring IPs and the diversity of anchors can also be part of an Offsite audit.
Study of the keywords on which a site is positioned thanks to its contents or its internal network. The semantic audit thus makes an inventory of the contents of a website in order to verify their length, their structure and the quality of the semantic fields used. It also makes it possible to identify the keywords that are not exploited and that have a potential for the site’s traffic if it manages to position itself on these queries.The consultant identifies these keywords by making a comparative study between the different competitors. He is also attentive to internal and external duplicate content. With duplicated content on the indexed pages, the site risks being sanctioned by Google Panda and suffering a slowdown in indexing.
An audit is therefore a substantial document, divided into several parts, which can be more than a hundred pages long and which requires a lot of SEO expertise. Each audit concludes with several actionable SEO recommendations and a large number of optimizations to be carried out to improve the natural referencing of your site.
The geolocalisation of the results proposed from the outset according to the location of the users is one of the evolutions of search engines in recent years. A development as important as the shift from blindly jamming advertising in mailboxes to sending targeted emailings.
Remember 46% of Google searches are local.
The objectives of an SEO audit
Find SEO errors
The objective of the SEO expert is to find all the errors that need to be corrected to improve SEO. To do so, he identifies the flaws that could hamper indexing. The aim of this service is above all to improve traffic in a continuous and sustainable way. For this reason, the consultant is obliged to keep up to date with all Google news and to know them at his fingertips. Google’s Web Spam team regularly makes recommendations to webmasters on the best SEO practices to adopt. By constantly updating himself, the consultant will be able to deliver effective recommendations in line with Google’s guidelines.
Show new SEO opportunities
The SEO audit is not only used to point out existing errors. Analyses are also done to identify resources not used by the site thanks to advanced SEO techniques. For example, a neglected semantic field that corresponds to the theme of the site and has a great potential for traffic or the identification of new requests on which to position oneself. To find new opportunities, nothing is more effective than studying the competition and the market players who already have an SEO strategy that works well.
When to do an SEO audit?
In the case of an SEO audit, as with many other things, you don’t have to wait for things to get worse before taking action. That is why an audit can be done at any time. You don’t have to wait for a trigger to do a website analysis. However, some particular events in the life of a site or a company are conducive to an audit. For example, a site redesign not mastered in terms of SEO can be a disaster for positioning, traffic and business. It is therefore more prudent to accompany the redesign with an audit and even to do it before any modifications. It is also preferable to do one during the creation of a site or when a site experiences an inexplicable drop in traffic.
Tools used for an SEO audit
To perform audits, SEO experts arm themselves with several tools to retrieve various data useful for their analyses. Each part of the audit requires one or more tools:
* Botify, Oncrawl and ScreamingFrog Spider: crawlers that mimic the behavior of Google’s robot. They start by exploring the home page and then gradually follow the internal links while passing through the robots.txt and the XML sitemap of the site. Thanks to this crawl, these tools are able to detect duplicate content, URLs that cause problems, ghost pages, internal links pointing to 404 errors, title problems on pages etc. These tools also detect pages that are not visited by Google because of bad meshing or coding errors that hamper robot navigation.
* Ahrefs and Majestic: online services that provide backlink analysis. This information allows to measure the popularity of the sites and thus to closely monitor their netlinking. These tools inform the consultant about the number of links, the anchors of the links or the quality of the domains that link to the analysed site.
* SEMRush and Yooda Insight: tools to retrieve positioning information on keywords, traffic and competition. It is thanks to these tools that a site can know how it is positioned in relation to other sites in the same sector.
* GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights: software that performs performance tests on sites to see how fast they load. They then give suggestions for optimization such as reducing the size of resources or optimizing images.
* SEOQuantum and Visiblis: semantic SEO tools to optimize page content. They deliver an assessment of the relevance of the content to a query.
* Copyscape and Kill Duplicate: tools for detecting external and internal duplicate content. Duplicate content has a negative impact on your site’s referencing because on two similar pages, Google will only position one. In addition, the robot will waste time crawling identical pages instead of probably more important content.
* Google Analytics and Google Search Console: free services from Google for traffic analysis and indexing. Google Analytics provides a lot of data on traffic, return on investment or visitor behavior. Google Search Console makes it possible to check if a site is well indexed by the search engine and to maintain it in the SERP results.
* Kibana, Oncrawl and Botify : server log analysis tools. They allow the SEO consultant to understand the activity of the Google crawl thanks to the history of the crawl’s passage and actions.
* Lighthouse: the new Google extension for SEO audits. This free extension offers a check of several important points in terms of SEO. Simply install the plugin on the Google Chrome browser to get a report of the page of your choice. Lighthouse delivers an analysis of a page and not a website, unlike a full SEO audit.Although the term SEO audit is used to promote extension, automated analyses provide only basic information. Lighthouse can be a starting point for an SEO analysis, but it cannot be a powerful audit tool on its own.