How to easily audit your website for SEO

Now that 2022 is here, you may be looking for a new year’s resolution that can help add value to your business.

Auditing your website for SEO can be a terrific way to review your existing content and get it ready for the upcoming year.

Here’s how to carry out a simple SEO audit for your company website, even if you have no SEO experience.

Get a list of your pages

The first step in an SEO audit is to get a list of all the pages on your website.

You can do this manually, but there are lots of tools you can use to get this information easily.

Screaming Frog is a great option, and it’s free for up to 500 pages. Beamusup is free too, but it has been discontinued, meaning there are no longer any updates available.

Just type in your website URL, and your tool of choice will pull together all your pages.

Pop this list into a spreadsheet for later.

Check your site is being indexed

It’s important to make sure your site is being indexed. If it’s not, then this means your pages will not appear in the search engine rankings.

You can find out if your site is being indexed properly in Google Search Console, by going to the index coverage report. Here you can see which pages have been indexed and which have been excluded. You can then cross-reference this list with the list of web pages you have.

If you don’t have access to Google Search Console, or you only have a small website, try typing into Google instead. This will show you which pages are likely to appear in peoples’ searches.

If a page isn’t turning up in the search engine results, you can try and fix the issue yourself, or ask your web developer to take a look.

Check your pages for on-page SEO

You’ll have to do this manually for each page of your website, so get the kettle on and the good biscuits out!

Use the list of pages you put together in step one, and go through each one at a time. Ask the following questions and put your findings on the spreadsheet:

  • Does the title tag reflect the content on the page? A title tag should be descriptive and relevant to the content on the page
  • Does the page have a unique meta description that is optimised for as many clickthroughs as possible? A meta description is the first thing people will see in the search engines, so it’s essential to make sure it encourages people to visit your site
  • Are headings and subheadings (H1, H2, H3) being used in the correct order? Structuring your subheadings makes it easier for search engines to understand the content on your page and are a great opportunity to use your keywords of choice
  • Do any images on the page have contextual and descriptive alt text? Optimising your images for SEO can help boost your page in the search engine rankings. Don’t forget to reduce the file size of them if they are too large – this can help increase your site speed

If you identify any issues, you can then make a note to fix them after the next stage.

Check for duplicate and ‘thin’ content

When you’re creating copy for a website, it can be tempting to copy and paste chunks of content. While this saves time in the short term, it can cause problems down the line. Search engines won’t know which version of the content to show web users, meaning the information you want people to see may be passed over in favour of another page.

The odd repeated paragraph or boilerplate on each page of your site is not likely to cause any issues. However, longer pieces of repeated content can lead to confusion in the search engines.

Similarly, ‘thin’ content is content that provides the web users with no value. Many people think ‘thin’ content is short content, which is not necessarily the case. A 1,000-word article can be thin content if it doesn’t help the reader.

Examples of thin content include content plagiarised from other sites, pages that are full of adverts, sparse category/tag/author pages and doorway pages. These are pages that have been created specifically to rank for specific keywords, with no additional purpose.

You can identify duplicate content on your site by using a plagiarism checker like Siteliner. This checks your site for repeated content, as well as any other issues like broken links

You can check for thin content by looking at a page’s bounce rate and visits. If the bounce rate is high and visits are low, it’s a sign that people aren’t finding it helpful. Once you’ve identified your pages, read them from start to finish. If you were a customer, would you find them useful? Or are they there for the sake of being on your site?

When you have found any duplicate or thin content, you can look at amending it to add additional value or deleting it.

If you do delete a page, be sure to add a redirect to point people to an alternative page. This will keep prospective customers on your website, and the search engines happy.

We hope this guide has provided you with the inspiration to give your website a good clean-up! Giving your site a regular audit can help ensure your pages are more likely to rank highly in the search engines.