If you take care of your website, your website will take care of you. A great place to start the care treatment is with an SEO audit. So, what exactly is an SEO audit? An SEO audit is an evaluation of your website from a technical SEO backend as well as an onsite analysis. A well done audit will look at everything from how well your site is being crawled, to the number of pages that are indexed, to basic content keyword strategies. But, before you can dive into an audit you need to understand the importance behind it.

Why should you do an SEO audit?

Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and if you aren’t staying up-to-date with those changes your site will suffer. From the front end, everything might look great, but you could be building bad links and getting penalties without realizing it. So, it’s important to take the time to review your site so you can spot red flags before they cause too much damage.

When should you do an SEO audit?

Everyone with a website should do an audit at least once a year and every time there is a major search engine algorithm change. However, if you depend on your site for your business to be successful, like an online retailer for example, SEO audits should be done several times throughout the year. Another good time to conduct an audit is whenever you are making big changes to your site. If you are going through a major site redesign, it’s a great idea to conduct an audit to ensure the new changes will not negatively affect your SEO.

Who should do an SEO audit?

An audit will only be beneficial if it’s done by someone who knows what they are looking for. There are a lot of great, free tools out there that can be used to conduct an audit. Tools that will run scans of your site and provide you with useful information. The problem is taking that information and properly analyzing it, especially if there are red flags that need to be dug into deeper. If you have someone on staff who knows what to look for, that’s great. If not, then it’s best to hire out. If you are already working with an agency on your SEO, they should be doing frequent audits for you. They may not be presenting the information as the results of an audit, but don’t be afraid to ask what they monitor for you on a regular basis.

What should a good SEO audit look at?

The best place to start is with the technical backend of your site. You need to make sure that search engines are finding your pages before addressing how well those pages are being optimized. You should be looking at whether or not your pages are being crawled. If not, is it because you have a lot of crawl errors or your links are returning server errors? Check to see if your pages are being indexed and that you don’t have any rules in your robots.txt file that are blocking pages you do want crawled. Make sure your site provides an XML Sitemap for search engines to crawl. Analyze your back links to see if they are coming from quality domains with content relevant to your business.

After you’ve taken a look behind the scenes, then you can move on to an onsite analysis. How are your keywords ranking? Are you using the right keywords? Are those keywords in your Meta information, title tags and URLs? Do you have an H1 tag on every page? Do you even have title tags and Meta descriptions? Are your URLs formatted correctly? It’s also a good idea to look at the structure of your site in general. Sites that are easier to use tend to be rewarded with better rankings.

There are a lot of things to consider when conducting an audit and it can be overwhelming. But don’t worry, there are great tools and resources out there to make the process easier. Moz is a great resource to learn more about conducting a thorough audit and provides overall useful information about SEO. There are also free tools like Google Webmaster and Google Analytics that will provide great information and insight on how to improve your SEO. Once you’ve conducted your SEO audit, take time to analyze and prioritize the data. For example, you might be missing meta descriptions on your pages, but you’re also missing a site map. It’s more important to provide a site map than meta descriptions. A proper SEO audit does take time, but if you depend on your site for your business, it’s worth it.