With the rise of businesses investing in SEO and Google’s continuous algorithm updates, the digital sphere is now more competitive than ever. As a digital marketer, you need to constantly look for new ways to boost your site’s exposure.
This means keeping pace with the latest SEO trends, identifying your site’s weaknesses and improving them to boost user experience and rise above your rivals. And, that’s where SEO audits shine.
Here are a few tips on how to perform an SEO audit effectively, as well as the hottest digital marketing trends that will redefine this process in 2019 and beyond.
Ensure your site has only one browsable version.
There are a few ways your site may appear in a browser, including:
Unfortunately, mixed content is never a good option for your SEO and it’s usually caused by switching to HTTPS. Therefore, when implementing SSL/HTTPS, make sure you move all static resource URLs.
Otherwise, some of your files will be still shown via HTTP and Google will label them as “not safe”. Apart from affecting your rankings, this may also hurt your user experience and show your site as untrustworthy.
Make sure your pages are indexable.
When indexing your site, Google reads each page individually. And, your goal is to check whether there are any pages blocked by the search engine by mistake. There are a few simple ways to do so:
● Use the site: operator (e.g. site: example.com) to see the pages Google listed for your domain.
● Check for robots.txt files to see the list of the disallows for your site. Type your domain name into a browser and add robots.txt to it (e.g. https://www.example.com/robots.txt).
● Test your index status. The Index Status in your Google Search Console will help you check the number of pages indexed by Google.
● Use Google Search Console to find your site and URL errors.
Test your site’s speed.
Slow-loading sites usually have high bounce rates that tell Google that your site is not optimized for its users. Now, even though page speed has already been a ranking signal for desktop searches, Google decided to make it a notable ranking factor for mobile searches, too.
Precisely because of that, website speed will remain a critical aspect of SEO. There are numerous tools that will help you test your page load times, including Pingdom, GTmetrix, and Google PageSpeed Insights.
In their recent SEO guide, Elevate Digital, a Hong Kong-based SEO agency, lists numerous strategies for improving poor website speed, including:
● minimizing HTTP requests
● reducing server response time
● enabling browser caching
● allowing compression
Assess your backlink portfolio.
It’s 2018 and it’s now more important than ever to take your link building strategies seriously. Building poor-quality links on suspicious sites can only hurt your rankings and even get you penalized.
This is why you need to analyze your backlink profile regularly. There are numerous tools that will help you perform a thorough analysis of your backlinks, such as Ahrefs, cognitiveSEO, and Majestic SEO.
How optimized is your site for voice search?
The voice recognition industry is evolving impressively fast and it’s predicted to exceed $601 million by 2019. Even though only one-fifth of all Google search queries are voice-powered right now, this number is expected to jump to 50% by the end of 2020.
Most importantly, it’s going to change the way we do SEO. For starters, it will impact your keyword targeting heavily, as voice searches are based on conversational, human-like phrases. This is something you should have in mind when doing keyword research or auditing your existing keywords.
Check your structured data.
Google has changed dramatically over time. In the past, the result of our search queries was ten blue links, right? However, today’s SEPRs are highly informative and engaging, providing us with the relevant data about the site without even clicking on it. That’s what structured data is for.
Even though it has never been a ranking signal, investing in it is incredibly important for your SEO. For example, rich snippets can increase your CTR by 30%. Once you implement Shema.org or similar structured data formats, perform regular audits to see whether rich snippets appear for your site.
See if your site is optimized for mobile.
We live in the mobile-first era, where the number of mobile users is expected to pass 5 billion by 2019. And, to keep its mobile searchers happy, Google has started indexing mobile versions of websites.
Its mobile-first indexing is one of the greatest changes that will heavily influence your SEO strategy in 2019 and beyond.
If your site isn’t tailored to the mobile users’ needs, your rankings will suffer.
Make sure your site is responsive and it looks gorgeous when viewed on a mobile device, focusing on page load speed, simplified navigation, UX design, and a logical order of information. When auditing your site’s mobile-friendliness, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test may be a great starting point.
By conducting regular SEO audits, you will be able to detect your site’s major problems and fix them before they start causing problems. Most importantly, by making the changes needed, you will significantly improve user experience and get ranked higher in the SERPs.
How do you perform an SEO audit?