How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes

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Have you ever been curious to discover what’s making your website rank high (or low) in Google and other major search engines? Have you ever wanted to peek under the hood of your competitor’s website …

Have you ever been curious to discover what’s making your website rank high (or low) in Google and other major search engines? Have you ever wanted to peek under the hood of your competitor’s website to see what’s working well for them?

Here are some quick tips to help you conduct a basic SEO audit in 30 minutes which you can use to improve your site’s performance.

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  • 1. How to Conduct a Basic (But Effective) SEO Audit in Under 30 Minutes blog.dlvr.it /2014/04/how-to-conduct-a-basic-but-ef f ective-seo-audit-in-under-30-minutes/ Art Enke Have you ever been curious to discover what’s making your website rank high (or low) in Google and other major search engines? Have you ever wanted to peek under the hood of your competitor’s website to see what’s working well f or them? Here are some quick tips to help you conduct a basic SEO audit in 30 minutes which you can use to improve your site’s perf ormance. Tools There are several tools you’ll need in order to successf ully conduct your audit (most are f ree): Webmaster Tools Screaming Frog Google Site Search Commands WebPagetest, Google PageSpeed Insights Ahref s Webmaster Tools (5 minutes) Google Webmaster Tools provides detailed inf ormation f or site owners and should be used alongside any other tools you use f or a SEO site audit. Of course, this won’t be available f or competitor sites but you’ll gain some valuable tips f or your own. Webmaster Tools gives visibility into how content is being crawled, provides backlink data, shows which domain is set as the pref erred/canonical domain and more. Spend f ive minutes mostly viewing the sections under “Search Traf f ic”, “Google Index” and “Crawl”. Under Search Traf f ic, you’ll see if there are any “Manual Actions” or Google penalties manually applied to your site. If there are penalties present, these will need to be resolved f irst bef ore the site can perf orm properly. Important Note: Google Webmaster Tools is good f or viewing general trends and to f ind trouble spots. However, it is rarely accurate f or providing true values and data. In other words, don’t rely on it as a quantitative tool. Screaming Frog (10 minutes*) Af ter discovering general trouble spots f rom Webmaster Tools, you can then use Screaming Frog to thoroughly crawl all of your site content. It’s a handy desktop application that shows you how Googlebot and other crawlers see your content and can be used to quickly identif y priority issues such as duplicate titles, 404 pages, inadvertent directives blocking content and much more. As an added bonus, it’s f ree to crawl up to 500 URIs (note: URIs are dif f erent than URLs).
  • 2. Run Screaming Frog on any domain (competitor sites included) then export a “Crawl Overview” f rom the Reports tab once the crawl is f inished. Even bef ore the crawl is f inished (*large sites will take longer), you can export a report anytime during the process by stopping the crawl and exporting a .CSV f ile with all the data. Google Site Search Command (5 minutes) Once you have some quantitative data f rom the site crawl, use the inf ormation to compare what you see in Google by using various site search commands in the Google search bar. Here are some of the handiest commands: site:rootdomain.com shows all indexed pages under a domain site:rootdomain.com -www. shows subdomains indexed site:subdomain.rootdomain.com shows all content indexed on a particular subdomain site:rootdomain.com inurl:keyword shows all URLs containing a particular keyword site:rootdomain.com intitle:keyword shows indexed pages with a specif ic keyword in the title What’s important here is that you use the above search commands to compare what you discovered in your Screaming Frog crawl and contrast that inf ormation with actual content Google has indexed.
  • 3. Quick tip: Generally speaking, if your site crawl reveals a site has more content (HTTP pages) than what is actually indexed in Google, the site has crawling/indexing issues. In contrast, if there is much more content indexed in Google than what is f ound in your crawl, then there are duplicate content issues (seek Panda-specif ic solutions). Page Speed (5 minutes) There are multiple page speed tools that can give you exhaustive action items f or your developer. Some of the best are WebPagetest and Google PageSpeed Insights. These provide waterf all views, compression opportunities, script errors, broken f ile paths and other items which af f ect page load time. Additionally, you can see very specif ic site perf ormance issues f or both mobile and desktop browsers.
  • 4. Ahrefs (3 minutes) No SEO audit is complete without at least a quick check of a site’s backlink prof ile. In just a f ew minutes using Ahref s.com, you can see the number of backlinks pointing to a site along with anchor text inf ormation. You’ll like the Ahref s anchor cloud which reveals which anchor text phrases are most used. If a high percentage of links are coming f rom a keyword phrase instead of the company’s brand or home page, then the backlinks are over-optimized and prone to Penguin penalties and potential manual action by Google. In summary, you can easily complete a basic audit in as little as 30 minutes using inexpensive or f ree tools. The purpose of the audit should be to discover how search engines are viewing your site and give insights into what competitor sites are doing. With more time, you can use the above tools to conduct an in-depth and thorough audit. With this inf ormation, you can prioritize action items and start taking steps to improve your SEO today.