SEO Audit for Beginners

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

If you’re an SEO beginner or you know your website needs optimising then this video is for you.

Before you start an SEO campaign you need to know what you’re working with. There’s no point in creating fantastic content and acquiring backlinks when you’ve not even got the basics in place.

So today, I’m going to show you how to do an SEO audit on your website.

Hi I’m Oliver from Mechanised and we’re a digital agency based in Manchester. At Mechanised, we get extremely good SEO results for our clients. Our clients are now doing seven figures in sales and ranking very highly for competitive keywords and it all starts with a manual SEO audit and building a strong foundation for an SEO campaign.

As a bonus, I’ll leave a link in the description so you can download our SEO audit template so you can start to improve your website.

Before I get into it, if you like the video, like the video and if you would like more SEO related videos hit that subscribe button.

Okay, let’s get into it.

What I love about an SEO audit is that it gives you a chance to find opportunities and not just problems. What you need to do is work through the audit and then at the end, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to lay down a solid foundation.

Before I walk you through the audit you’ll need to download the SEO Spider from Screaming Frog. If you’ve got less than 500 pages on your website then you’ll be able to use the free version.

What will also be helpful is a good SEO tool to help you pull website stats. Now we use SEMrush but you can also use Ahrefs or Moz. If you’ve not got access to them then you can just use Ubersuggest which is free.

Okay, so let’s take a look at the audit template that we’re going to use today.

So this is something we’ve created to suit our needs and this is what we use for every single SEO audit that we do. As you can see it’s split into various sections which covers the main areas of SEO.

So we’ve got the Website Stats, On Page, Technical, Backlinks, Speed and Google My Business.

Now in the left-hand column, you can see that you’ve got a list of the important items that you need to check, the centre column is a brief description of what you’re checking and the third column is where you record your results.

So in the website stats section, you simply click on the cell and just enter the number in there to record your result and all the other sections we’ve created a colour-coded dropdown with the results already pre-selected.

So you’ve got a choice of non-applicable, pass and recommended.

Section 1 – Website Stats

Okay, so let’s take a look at the first section website stats. So here we’ve got a look at the Authority Score, organic traffic, the amount of ranking keywords, referring domains and total backlinks.

So I’ll show you how to complete this and we’ll use our own site as an example. So what you need to do is copy your URL and as I mentioned previously we like to use SEMrush to get our domain stats and we’ll just search for that. So this gives you some nice stats about your website.

So what we need to do is just go to our audits so we’ve got authority score which is 38, organic traffic 237, amount of ranking keywords 269, referring domains that is 444 and total backlinks is 7700.

Section 2 – On Page

Okay so let’s move on to the on page section. Now, this is where it gets a little bit more technical but it’s still quite easy to do. So let’s just reset that.

So first off is you need to use the SEO Spider tool to crawl your site.

So beforehand if you download the Screaming Frog SEO spider tool and that is from here screamingfrog.co.uk and you got the free version which will do nicely.

If you’ve got under 500 pages so all you need to do is just get your URL and copy it into there and hit start. Now this will start crawling your website and you’ll get tons of data about your website.

It’s best to keep in mind that when you’re doing the audit you want to generalise the data. So for example, if there are a few pages without meta titles and description I’d still mark that down as recommended because you need to optimise them all anyway.

So the data for the items you need to check it either comes from this SEO tool or it’s more of a visual check that you just look on your own website as well.

So if I give you an example, we’ll go through the meta title on our website and the meta description as well. So if you go to the SEO spider so what you want to do is change this all to HTML and then you can see all the different pages here let’s just make this a little bit bigger.

Okay, so if we click on page titles so you’ve got your URLs here and these your meta titles here. So as you can see you can scroll down and see them all if there’s any missing or if there’s any that are too long or they don’t look like they include your target keyword then you want to mark it down as “recommended” but if it looks pretty okay then I’ll mark it down as a pass. So we’ll put “pass” on this.

And for the meta description, you just click on the meta description tab and we’ve got the same thing here.

So there and it gives you the length as well the length and the pixel width as well which is quite important. So you can see that you’ve got descriptions for other pages as well so I’d also mark that down as a “pass”.

So that’s good to know is that. So if we click into the first page our home page and then you go to SERP snippet at the bottom you can get a visualisation of what it’ll actually look like in Google which is quite good. And this is where you can start to play around and see what fits.

Okay so let’s give you another example so if we go back to the audit, let’s have a look at navigation. So the navigation is more of a visual check.

So what we’re looking for is that the navigation needs to be clear, uncluttered and structured with the most important pages listed first. So let’s go to our website and so we’ve got home, our services pages with all the services underneath, we’ve got our proven track record which is our case studies, we’ve got work, articles, contact.

So everything is nice and clean. It’s easy to see, it’s not confusing, it’s quite straightforward, so we’ll mark that down as a “pass” so navigation, “pass”.

Section 3 – Technical

Okay, so let’s move on to the technical section. So again I’ll do a couple for you.

So let’s start with the robots.txt. So we need to make sure that it exists and that it’s not blocking any of our important pages, like a home page, service page, contact page.

So what you need to do is go to the SEO spider tool. We’ll go to response codes and click on “all” and “blocked by robots”. So you want to make sure that your home page and your important pages aren’t listed here. This looks like, that’s fine, so that’s okay. So let’s go back to our audit and mark that down as “pass”.

Okay, so let’s see if there are any 400 and 500 errors. So again under response codes, we’ve got this drop down and we’ll just click on client error 400.

Okay, so you can see here that there’s a couple of errors. This looks like they’re external links, not actual pages on our website, so that isn’t too bad now but I will fix that in a minute. So let’s mark that down as “recommended”.

So, also you’ve got 500 errors so you can check that just there so there’s no server errors so everything’s fine which is good. So that’s marked as “recommended” still.

Okay, so then just work your way through all the other items on the list. So things like XML sitemap submitted in your Google Search Console. You’ll know that if you’ve got Google Search Console or if you’re doing this for a client I’d mark that down as “recommended” just because sometimes they don’t always have it done.

Things like mobile friendly that’s visual so you can see that straight away just have a look on your mobile device and Google Analytics again if it’s your own site you should know if you’ve got Google Analytics set up or if it’s your clients just ask them.

eCommerce conversions, so in our case it’s “not applicable” because we’re not an eCommerce site and HTTPS, just take a look at your website and you can see that you’ve got a secure connection straight away, so mark that as “recommended”.

Section 4 – Backlinks

Okay, so next let’s take a look at the backlinks section. So the first one just generally backlinks you can get this from your SEO tool.

So in the SEMrush we’ve got 7700 backlinks and 444 referring domains. Now what you want to do is a little bit of competitor analysis and you want to see how you measure up against your competitor in this area usually you are going to need more backlinks so I would mark that down as “recommended”.

Also, for the disavow backlinks and the backlink profile you’re not actually going to know this until you get stuck in and start analysing what kind of anchor text you’ve got. So I’d also mark that down as “recommended” even though we’re just defaulting to “recommended” it’s something that needs to be done. So it is just acting as a checklist at the moment.

As for disavow backlinks that’s the same. I’ll put that down as “recommended”. The majority of people aren’t going to have to be disavowing backlinks, it can get very messy if you start messing around with disavow files. So I’d generally stay away from it but if you can see that you know there is a massive dip in traffic or if you’ve been hit by a negative SEO campaign and there’s like thousands of just really crappy links and then I’d probably look into disavowing backlinks.

The last one local citations. So you want to make sure that basically the local citations across the internet is correct. So it mentions your name, phone number, address and they’re all identical to the one on your website.

So places you need to go to is places like Google My Business, Yell, local directories and Facebook. Okay, so next let’s take a look at the speed section. Now to measure your speed what we need to do is go to Gtmetrix.com and this is a really good page speed analyser.

So what you need to do is just copy paste your URL into there go to analysis options and select the location closest to you and use a realistic broadband connection. So I’m going to use this one. Let’s just analyse and what this is going to do it’s going to give you a list of everything that needs looking at and pass and fails, recommendations.

Don’t get too hung up about this because you’re not going to get 100% if you’re using Google fonts, Google Analytics, Google Maps, third-party widgets like reviews and chat windows, you’re not going to be able to cache everything so you just need to get it as good as possible.

Okay, so once it’s done you’ll get a grade and some performance stats like this. It’ll show you what’s going on with your website.

So you have your summary, performance, structure, you’ve got your waterfalls you can see when things are actually loading in what times. So let’s just go back to the summary. So these are the main things that have been highlighted.

So if we go back to our audit the main thing is, so they got the page load speed, so you know it is a bit on the slower side you know it’s kind of modern web design for you. You have big beautiful images but there are places that you can make savings. So like for ours the image size is a couple of the things we need to work on. So what we’d do is we’d put that down as “recommended”.

So as for gzip compression, browser caching, modification, if these show up here then that means that they’ve not been implemented. So that’s something to look out for.

I’m not going go through it now but these are the reasons why they’re important and it can give you a bit of extra speed. Okay, so just to complete this section we do have gzip so that’s passed, we have browser caching, we have modification. And I know that we don’t use a CDN so I’m going to mark that down as “recommended”.

Section 5 – Google My Business

Okay, so the final part is Google My Business. So the first thing to do is to check that your profile exists. So simply just type in your business name and where you are and you’ll see your Google My Business profile up here.

Now if you’ve not done this before then Google automatically creates your one and then you can just click on “own this business” and then go through the process of owning it.

If you’re super brand new and there’s absolutely nothing there then just go through the process of creating one. I have done another video on this, I’ll leave a link in the description. So you can go to that.

Okay, so let’s have a look at the audit. So you want to make sure your profile exists, check, you want to make sure that your business details are exactly the same as the website.

So we’ve got our address there, got the phone number added, our opening hours as well, so we’ll check that get some reviews. Reviews are really important for Google My Business so make sure you ask your customers to leave some reviews.

And then what you want to do is you want to add at least three photos in each section. This is just to complete the Google My Business profile a bit more just to optimise it for local search. So I’d mark all them down as “recommended” because most people don’t have them all in.

Okay, so when you’ve completed your whole audit you should have a nice checklist of what needs looking at, then it’s just a case of setting some time aside and then just working through it and then at the end you can re-audit your website using the same template and then hopefully all your recommendations will turn to passes.

So that concludes today’s video. So if you want to start increasing your website traffic and ranking better make sure that you audit your website, find your opportunities and optimise. If you’ve got any questions please leave them in the comments below and I’ll make sure that I answer them all thanks for watching and see you next time.

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