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SEO audit – when, why and how to read?

SEO audit can take many shapes. The favorite variety of customers is certainly the one that is accompanied by the slogan “for free”. Free SEO audits, as we have already written in other texts – as long as they contain substantive knowledge, in most cases they use generalities. Their value is low, and the knowledge provided is selective. The individual approach allowed by the paid audit allows not only to obtain reliable information on the state of the page and the level of its optimization, but also to analyze it in a broader context, taking into account direct competition and the entire industry. Let’s start from the basics, however.

What is SEO audit?

Audit is control. In enterprises, this wording is used primarily in the financial and organizational context. By adding “seo” to it, we signal focus on this sphere, so: AUDIT SEO – controlling the adaptation of the website to the guidelines of search engines; assessment of the solutions and technologies used and the keyword strategy adopted; assessment of the effectiveness of actions to increase the level of visibility on the web.

A comprehensive audit aims to assess existing efforts to increase visibility. It can be carried out regardless of whether they were taken or not. The task of the auditor is not only to analyze specific solutions or to place keywords in a given headline, but also to look from a broader perspective, taking into account current trends in search engine guidelines.

When SEO audit should be carried out?

In the company’s life cycle, audits are performed at several strategic points. It is similar with a seo audit. Three moments can be distinguished here in particular:

A. start of the page or its redesign, combined with a change in some functionalities – a change in the page often introduces confusion in brand visibility, especially if it is not carried out under the watchful eye of a specialist. Changes in URLs, page layout, content modification or limiting them … a look with a trained eye allows you to overcome this chaos and identify places that could potentially delay ranking in positions. In the case of starting the page (we mean not only starting from scratch but also refreshing it, connected e.g. with a change in CMS), it is worth handing it over to the positioner before it becomes available to the public. Earlier evaluation of solutions and introduction of modifications during work on the site will facilitate activities not only for positioners, but also developers who build the site.

B. a sharp decrease in visibility, no traffic from the search engine – at the time when such a dramatic change occurs, it is necessary to determine its causes. While the fluctuation is not caused by a modification of the algorithm of a given industry (such as high-profile changes in the medical industry that caused turbulence in traffic even on the largest health portals), which will be easier to track, drops in one domain will require deeper analysis and observation.

C. launching the campaign on other platforms and expanding marketing activities in the media – why is an audit necessary in such a situation? Let’s say you start activities and sales in an online store. Because of the products, you focus primarily on social media activities. Not every customer will go to the page directly from the Instagram bio link – some will look for the company in the search engine. Some will not remember the brand name and will search for terms associated with it or, e.g., hashtags, which they use on Instagram. Good visibility built around these slogans and proper presence in SERPs does not allow “clients” to be “lost” and will help direct them straight to the product card.

A comprehensive assessment of activities, made at a strategic moment and by an independent observer, is a great basis for organizing further work. Thanks to the knowledge contained in the audit, work planning and necessary time and financial expenses will be much easier.

To provide a full answer to the question of when it is worth performing a seo audit, it is also worth mentioning the necessity or need to check the activities of the positioning company. The subject may seem quite controversial, after all, “non-binding and free” audits are one of the methods of taking over customers. However, if we manage to abandon negative associations, we can easily see that the audit can help “look fresh” at the site and it is possible that we can see the potential for action in new places. More on how to look at the audit will be provided later in the text.

What gives a site audit for over $ 2,000?

How to start here without clichés … paid audits allow for an individual approach to the site. The price of a comprehensive audit is made up of many factors, primarily the time, knowledge and experience of the positioners who carry it out. Added to this is the cost of paid tools, which we support when evaluating a website or site.

Packet audit – this is the solution for those who prefer to have full clarity and all information in one place. The audit in the package covers everything that is smaller than it. The information contained in the document is expanded, however, with further elements that broaden the scope of data on visibility in the search engine and deepen their analysis.

Let’s discuss the following elements of the audit:

A. meta tag analysis – checking the elements contained in the <head> part of the page, which are displayed in Google search results. Properly prepared title and meta description will contain relevant keywords and encourage you to enter the website. The audit will provide information on whether these items are saturated with keywords, have the right length, and appear throughout the entire domain. Duplicates will also be indicated.

B. analysis of the page in terms of the lack of duplicates – the audit will indicate all possible copies of the page – whether they are non-redirected versions of http and https, or copies created on subdomains or created during the process of building the page and available to network robots.

C. content analysis on the site – a comprehensive content study will allow you to evaluate the content – its usefulness for the user, keyword saturation and comparison with competitors.

D. head section analysis – in addition to title & meta description, <head> also contains other elements important for positioning – meta robots, some canonical links.

E. correct structure of subpages – control of access to pages, convenience of use and finding information on pages, as well as internal linking – elements important both because of the orientation of web robots on the page but also because of the user’s convenience.

F. correctness of subpage code – indication of errors in the code, incorrect use of html, css, js or broken parts that may interfere with the correct loading of the page or prevent the use of some of its functionalities.

G. analysis of page indexing capabilities – controlling exclusions and bans on web robots that may prevent data collection.

H. analysis of website mobility – not only whether the website is responsive, but also whether the speed and solutions used enable proper use of the website on smaller screens of mobile devices and with a weaker Internet connection.

I. display speed analysis – the issue of page rendering speed also applies to the desktop version; tests allow you to specify elements that delay pages loading and find solutions to eliminate these problems.

J. analysis search console – data collected in Google Search Console allow you to determine the status of the page in the Google index. Audit of older domains without GSC analysis will not be complete – the console provides detailed data on how crawlers crawl, how Google really sees pages and what errors it encounters. In the case of a new, new site and new domain, complete GSC analysis may not be possible – the data collected will be residual.

K. standard link profile analysis – similar to GSC analysis – for a domain with history. The analysis allows determining if and which pages contain links leading to a given domain.

L. detailed analysis of the link profile – a more detailed study of links allows determining the dominant sources of links and assessing their value.

M. detailed analysis of keyword potential – assessment of the selection of keywords based on the number of searches, click-through rates and Google search engine trends specific to a given industry.

N. examination of the substantive content of the page – in the extended version of the audit we also provide information on whether the site contains the necessary data, enabling users to find the necessary information. Deficiencies in product or service descriptions and the need to add additional technical information will be indicated.

O. Crawl Budget – an important element for large websites that provides information on how many pages in a given domain are able to scan the Google search engine.

P. detailed competition analysis – what are they doing better, what makes them higher and / or have better visibility in the search engine? Competition analysis allows you to see solutions that work in a given industry.

Q. detailed analysis of website visibility – during the audit, a wide visibility test is carried out, which requires the use of several independent tools. Analysis of the collected data allows you to get a full picture of the visibility of pages and tips for further development.

R. indications of changes – the extended version of the audit also allows you to include dedicated domain guidelines, whose introduction is aimed at improving the results of the website in Google search. The guidelines apply to all the elements listed above – the selection of keywords, their placement on the page, the number and quality of texts, the speed of the site. The audit also suggests places that allow increasing the diversification of incoming link sources or pointing places for links necessary for a given industry.

How long does it take to audit the website

The time of conducting the seo audit and receiving its final version will depend on the scope in which it is to be performed. This “high-end audit” also contains guidelines and may take up to two weeks to prepare.

The size of the website also has an impact on the duration of the seo audit. Sites with several dozen tabs, due to smaller working material, are analyzed much faster. Larger websites usually require more work. If it is necessary to provide extensive guidelines, deadlines are usually set individually.

What does the positioner do at this time? He prepares at this time an analysis of all the previously mentioned points. The work on some is facilitated by the provision of Google Search Console and Analytics – the data collected by Google robots allows you to quickly outline the main problems and areas where corrections need to be made. During work, other tools are also used to analyze traffic, website statistics and Google search engine data.

How to read a website audit?

Automatic audits, which some agencies use to take over clients, usually highlight all the negative elements that the auditor was able to find. They are dominated by a narrative emphasizing deficiencies and shortcomings – often without indicating specific places where they were noticed. In most cases, it comes down to a critique of the actions of other positioners.

A professional audit will focus on all aspects of the site – it will indicate correctly carried out work and places where the site does not stand out from the competition and does not deviate from Google guidelines.

By analyzing, for example, an online store’s website, the positioner is aware that the store’s engine does not allow changes. Therefore, information on this subject will be included in the audit, with an annotation that the X engine on which the store is located does not allow making the required changes. These types of remarks should be considered when planning the reconstruction of a website. If the CMS used is a niche solution (e.g. proprietary solutions), and the positioner does not have full access to the site, he will not have knowledge about whether given technical solutions allow the introduction of suggested changes.

How do you get started with the suggested changes?

A. Technical issues
By analyzing the page, the positioner indicates problematic places in the code. Some of them result from old solutions that should be replaced by newer ones. Others may require changes and, for example, shifting some snippets of js code, which will allow the website to load faster. In the case of popular CMS and templates, some code fragments are permanently embedded in the solution and their change requires advanced actions on the part of the developer. The introduction of some suggestions may involve additional costs, hence our attention at the beginning of the text – changes on the website should be consulted with the positioner already in the development phase.

B. Content
Some of the sites audited have poor content. Building a text database takes time, but creating content suitable for the user and web robots will pay off in many fields. The comments included in the audit will help determine the direction and prioritize the addition of certain content.

C. Site Links
The audit will contain information on the number and quality of links and compare them with competitors’ links. It will also indicate places where the owner of the page can add a link himself – e.g. by asking contractors to update the data on their page and supplementing them with their link to the page.

SEO audit – positioning game

SEO audit is a great start to website positioning. Having all the knowledge about the current status of the page in one place, you can easily plan changes. Note – performing point-by-point optimization is a persistent task! Preparation and updating of the code, followed by supplementing the content is a process that only in the first phase can take several weeks. It is also worth considering further cooperation with the agency – optimization work and all activities related to it will not disturb the normal work in the company, and the effects will appear faster!

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