What is the importance of an SEO audit?

What is SEO audit & SEO score?
August 3, 2018
What are the free tools for an SEO audit?
August 3, 2018

An SEO audit or SEO audit, is a complete diagnosis of a site that aims to improve its positioning in search engine results. This step, essential for setting up a natural referencing strategy,  makes it possible to highlight the aspects blocking or hindering the SEO.

SEO Audit: Definition

SEO Audit Definition

Traffic losing speed? A site badly positioned on certain requests? Pages that do not exist in Google’s eyes or are not yet indexed? If you encounter this type of problem with your website, it’s time to embark on a strategic SEO audit. Before making changes, it is important to analyze the weak points but also the strengths of your website. The first step is the SEO audit. This inventory makes it possible to identify the blocking factors for obtaining a good positioning in the SERP. The audit makes it possible to make a global point on the SEO practices of a site in order to make improvements on its pages and to better position them in the Google results.

Free SEO Audits

Many offers of free or very attractive SEO audits are available online. Often fully automated, these audits have the advantage of being delivered in record time. However should we be tempted by these offers fast and cheap?  

Free audits are often a pretext for bringing in a second paid and more complete proposal. These pre-sales audits are therefore a sample that gives some summary information on the state of a site. They will not improve your positioning in the pages of Google unlike a “real” diagnosis.

For an SEO audit to be effective, it must make a complete check-up of the entire site. This long and meticulous work can only be done by an SEO expert. Unlike an automated tool, he is able to understand the business sector of the website and therefore to grasp its economic issues. The SEO consultant also prioritizes changes to a site. He decides which optimizations are the most urgent and which ones can be left out.

Unlike an online audit, the expert does not leave you without explanation. A technical audit, as its name suggests, can not be fully understood by a novice in SEO. The expert shows pedagogy and adapts its explanations according to your level in SEO. Unlike free online tools, the SEO does not just point out SEO mistakes. He also explains how to correct them.

An effective audit accompanied by a personalized follow-up can not be free. SEO know-how, it is paid. The price of an SEO audit varies depending on the size of your site and the number of pages to analyze.

Different analyzes for a complete SEO audit

SEO Audit Analysis

To achieve its goals and deliver the best recommendations, the SEO consultant must perform a full analysis. To be sure of not forgetting anything, he must follow an audit strategy and develop his analysis around several major axes:

Onsite audit

Analysis of everything that constitutes the site, as for example its structure, its performance, its tree structure, its internal redirects or its internal mesh. Onsite is the largest part of an SEO audit and requires careful and thorough analysis. The SEO expert is also alert to the use of structured data and metadata, the structure of URLS, the adaptation of the site to mobile format etc.   

Offsite audit

Audit of netlinking or audit of links: checking backlinks to know if they are qualitative, varied, natural and appropriate to the theme of the site. Without many quality backlinks, your site will not stand out because it will not benefit from the “link juice”. The more links to a site are numerous and quality, the better it will position itself. Analysis of competitor backlinks, referrings domains, referring IPs and anchor diversity can also be part of an Offsite audit.

Semantic Audit

Study of the keywords on which a site is positioned thanks to its contents or its internal mesh. The semantic audit therefore makes an inventory of the contents of a website in order to verify their length, their structure and the quality of the semantic fields used. It also makes it possible to identify the keywords which are not exploited and which have a potential for the traffic of the site if it happens to be positioned on these queries. The consultant identifies these keywords by making a comparative study between the different competitors. It is also attentive to internal and external duplicate content. With duplicate content on indexed pages, the site may be penalized by Google Panda and suffer a slowdown in indexing.

An audit is therefore a substantial document, divided into several parts, which can be more than a hundred pages long and requires a lot of SEO expertise. Each audit concludes with several actionable SEO recommendations and a large number of optimizations to achieve to improve the SEO of your site.  

The objectives of an SEO audit

Find SEO errors

The goal of the SEO expert is to find all the errors that need to be corrected to improve SEO. For this he identifies the flaws that could hinder indexing. The purpose of this service is first and foremost to make traffic progress continuously and permanently. For this reason, the consultant is obliged to keep abreast of all Google news and to know them at their fingertips. The Google Web Spam Team makes regular recommendations to webmasters on good SEO practices to adopt. By constantly updating itself, the consultant will be able to deliver effective recommendations in line with the Google guidelines.

Show new SEO opportunities

SEO auditing is not just about pointing out existing mistakes. Analyzes are also made to identify resources untapped by the site through advanced SEO techniques. For example, a neglected semantic field which nevertheless corresponds to the theme of the site and which has great potential for traffic or the identification of new queries on which to position itself. To find new opportunities, nothing more effective than the study of competition and market players who already have a SEO strategy that works well. A comparative study will reveal the procedure for your site.

SEO Audit

When to do an SEO audit?

In the case of an SEO audit, as for many other things, do not wait for things to deteriorate to act. It is for this reason that an audit can be done at any time. Do not wait for a trigger to do a website analysis. However, certain events in the life of a site or company are conducive to an audit. For example, an uncontrolled site redesign in terms of SEO can be a disaster for positioning, traffic and business. It is therefore more prudent to accompany the redesign of an audit and even to do it before any modifications. It is also better to make one when creating a site or when it experiences an inexplicable drop in traffic.

The tools used for an SEO audit

To carry out audits, SEO experts arm themselves with several tools to retrieve various data useful for their analyzes. Each part of the audit requires one or more tools:

  • Botify, Oncrawl  and ScreamingFrog Spider : crawlers that mimic the behavior of Google’s robot. They start by exploring the homepage and then progressively follow the internal links while going through the site’s robots.txt and XML sitemap. Thanks to this crawl, these tools are able to detect duplicate content, problematic URLs, ghost pages, internal links that point to 404 errors, title issues on pages, etc. These tools also detect pages that are not visited by Google because of bad mesh or coding errors that hinder the navigation of robots. If the SEO consultant had to use only one tool, he would surely choose a crawler, essential for an audit.
  • Ahrefs and Majestic : online services that provide analysis on backlinks. This information makes it possible to measure the popularity of the sites and therefore to monitor their netlinking. These tools inform the consultant about the number of links, anchors links or the quality of the domains that link to the site analyzed.
  •  SEMRush and Yooda Insight : tools to retrieve positioning information about keywords, traffic and competition. It is thanks to these tools that a site can know how it is positioned compared to other sites in the same sector.  
  • GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed ​​Insights : software that performs performance tests on sites to see how quickly they load. They then give suggestions for optimization such as reducing the size of the resources or optimizing the images.
  • SEOQuantum and Visiblis : semantic SEO tools to optimize the content of pages. They deliver an assessment of the relevance of the content to a query.
  • Copyscape and Kill Duplicate : external and internal duplicate content detection tools. Duplicate content negatively impacts the SEO of your site because on two similar pages, Google will only position one. In addition, the robot will spend time crawling identical pages instead of probably more important content.
  • Google Analytics and Google Search Console : Google’s free services for traffic analysis and indexing. Google Analytics provides a lot of data about traffic, ROI, or visitor behavior. Google Search Console allows you to check if a site is indexed by the search engine and to keep it in the results of the SERP.
  • Kibana Oncrawl and Botify : server log analysis tools. They allow the SEO consultant to understand the activity of the crawl of Google through the history of the passage and actions of the robot.