1. SEO audit – what is it?
What is a SEO audit, and how does it differ from keyword or pagespeed optimization? The answer is very simple. Whereas the two latter optimization strategies deal with specific strategies of the SEO landscape, a SEO audit deals with the overall SEO performance of your website. It’s what you perform on regular basis when you’ve implemented several SEO strategies. It’s an overview of all the SEO key indicators and their performance, and this guide will tell you how to understand this overview of all your on-page SEO, and how to prioritize all the different key indicators that may need optimization.
Keep up with search engine algorithm updates
Search engines change and update their algorithms regularly, to ensure they display the right information to users, and to encourage webmasters to create better and more user-friendly websites. Google changes algorithms 500-600 times a year, but that’s primarily small changes. Only a couple a times a year do they implement big algorithm changes, and yes, reading about major algorithm change can be scary, but if you focus on creating user-friendly websites with great credible content that will give you earned links, then you shouldn’t have to worry.
Read more about what you should tend to after a major algorithm change here.
A SEO audit can improve your content strategy
Like keyword and pagespeed optimization, a SEO audit also affects your content strategy. By performing a SEO audit, you discover what content that needs to be updated in order to keep up with the competition. An apparent example is old or wrong keywords that are giving you high bounce rates and no conversions. If that’s the case, then it could be worth taking a look at your competitors and see which keywords they are ranking for, and eye10’s Compare Top10 Tool will tell you just that. The tool combines data from Google PageSpeed Insights and GT Metrix, and shows all of the data in one single screen.
In general, a SEO audit is a good way to discover ‘thin’ content that doesn’t convert like it should. In plain SEO lingo, ‘thin’ content is content that doesn’t meet the user’s need, and that includes everything on the website: navigation, font, text, image, etc.
The importance of mobile responsiveness
Remember though, that you can do all the SEO updating you want, but it will all be a waste of time if your website only works on desktop and doesn’t respond to mobile or Ipad. In march 2018, Google announced that they were going to start with Mobile-First Indexing, and in September 2020, all websites started being ported over to the Mobile-First Index. But what does that mean exactly? It means that Google use your mobile version of your website as a starting point when indexing your website, and as the baseline for their rankings, and that’s why there’s really no more excuses not to have a responsive website.
And there’s a reason why Google focus on responsiveness. 60 % of all searches happens on mobile, and this number increases every year, so you’ll lose a lot of traffic if your website doesn’t comply to the mobile design. All in all, though, the Mobile-First Index shouldn’t change a lot, in fact, it probably won’t change your rankings, it’s primarily just one more way to keep webmasters prioritize user-friendly mobile designs. And it’s also important to know that Mobile-First Index isn’t a separate index for Google to joggle with, it’s THE index, because Google has only one index from which it serves the results.
2. A SEO audit for the Mobile-First Index
Here are what we know to be the most important factors when doing a SEO audit for the Mobile-First Index:
Headings: HTML headings goes from 1-6. Search engines use headings to index the content one your webpage. Heading <1> is of course the most important heading, heading <2> is less important, and so on. Always make sure that you have your keywords in at least heading 1,2 and 3. You can alternatively, use synonyms that you know your users use, but we only recommend doing that from heading 3-6.
Keyword in URL: Always have the keyword in the URL.
Keyword in meta-title: Always have the keyword in the meta-title.
Keywords in meta-description: Some say keywords in the meta-description aren’t that important, and that it probably won’t help your search engine rankings, but we believe differently: You should always have your keywords in the meta-description, otherwise, why have a meta-description at all?
Keyword density: The keyword density should be 1-2 %. This means that the keyword should appear 1-2 times per 100 words. There shouldn’t be too few, but you also want to avoid keyword stuffing.
Word count: We recommend at least 500-1000 words per page.
Use of favicon: A favicon is an icon or a logo that’s placed before the URL. It represents your website and is also used when a user bookmarks your website. It’s the first visual impression the user will get of your website, so there’s a reason a favicon is important.
3. How to get a head start
Looking forward, there are a number of subjects that you can focus your attention on, when expanding your website and making it more user-friendly. As explained by Advanced Web Ranking, these subjects are important, because in the future, the Mobile-First index will have more and more impact on the development of websites and how they are indexed:
Prioritizing Mobile UX: This is a given, not least for webshop owners. Mobile-friendliness has now completely overtaken any desktop priorities, and 69 % of users use their mobile when doing product research.
Think beginners: As mobiles become more popular, the average user is no longer a millennial, it could be your grandfather, but he doesn’t necessarily have the same basic it-skills and knowledge as his grandson.
Content audit and UX: Content always need an audit, regardless of how responsive your website is, and any content missing from your desktop version that supports SEO, and is absent on your mobile version, will result in a loss in rankings.
Link building: Link building will not change for the time being, which means that it is as important as always. Desktop and mobile links carry equal weight, and for now, it looks like it will stay that way.
Crawl friendliness: Crawl friendliness for mobile is crucial. The simplest way to check if Google has indexed your website for mobile, is to check site:website.com on your smartphone, and see what does or does not show up.
Load speed: Needless to say, a fast load speed will become ever more important with the Mobile-First Index, and Google will of course detect the bounce rate and the loss of users and conversions that comes with slow website loading.
4. Do a SEO audit on a regular basis
The number of audits you should do per year depends on how the market and especially the keywords evolve, and how much new content you continue to publish on your website. Many webmasters do it once a month, and the SEO Audit Tool from eye10 will give you the data you need to find and edit all the things that need optimization.
We recommend doing a SEO audit on a regular basis. That way, you have no unpleasant surprises if your new content doesn’t convert like it should, or if your content has trouble living up to the Mobile-First index criteria.