It is quite difficult to know what is working, and what is not working if you are dealing with SEO, this is the reason why an SEO audit is good as it will enable you to properly analyze your website, detect problems, and then find ways to make the necessary adjustment that will enable your website to perform better, and bring you sales.
In this article, I want to list out the 10 important SEO checklists you need to be aware of, and why it is important to always check them if you are doing SEO checklists for your website.
But before I go further to listing these 10 important SEO checklists, I want to give you the definition of an SEO audit.
What Is an SEO Audit?
SEO audit is the first thing to do before starting out any SEO campaign, and it can be defined as the process of evaluating a website to see how effective its performance is, and how it can get better than it was.
It is really important for you to optimize your website so that search engines will bring more targeted traffic to your website.
Getting traffic from potential customers is what business owners really wanted as it will increase their website's possibility of delivering more sales.
However, as a business owner with no background in online marketing, you will find it difficult to know if your business SEO campaign is working effectively or not.
That’s why it is important for you to conduct an SEO audit for your website.
Conducting an SEO audit for your website will make it easy for you to uncover critical SEO problems that have occurred on your website, which might be affecting your website from ranking.
11 SEO Checklists For Your Website.
1. You Need to Make Sure Your Website is Visible to Search Engines
When conducting an SEO audit for your website, the first thing you need to make sure is that your business website is visible to search engines.
If your website is not visible to search engines then you will need to make it visible, all you have to do is enable search engines to crawl your website if you are using a WordPress website.
To do this, log in to your WordPress website backend (Dashboard), move into your settings >> reading from on the left side of the drop-down options, and make sure that the option with the “search engine visibility” is not marked.
If it is marked, then you will need to unmark it with your mouse, unmark the box with the option to “Discourage Search engines from indexing this site,” and click the button with “Save Changes,” to save what you have done.
After that, you can go ahead to check if your website is indexed in the Google search engine by typing site:example.com in the google question box. “example.com” will be replaced with your website domain.
For example, if I want to check if my own website is indexed on Google, I will simply go to the Google home page and type “site:oladigitalmarket.com” to check it.
Meanwhile, it will take a few days before your website gets indexed if you make the above changes, or if you just launch your website newly.
2. Improve Your Website Indexing with an XML Sitemap
The second thing you need to do is to check if your website has an XML sitemap and if it has been submitted to search engines.
Let me explain what an XML sitemap is to you. An XML sitemap is a file in your website that list all the important pages of your website so that search engines will be able to find your web pages and index them easily.
Submitting your XML sitemaps to search engines will not boost your website rankings immediately, but it will help search engines to crawl and understand your website better.
To make you understand this better if you are knowledgeable about online marketing, and SEO, you will know that having backlinks from third-party websites will boost your website rankings.
It will be difficult for you to earn backlinks if you are just starting a new website, in a case like this sitemap is what will help search engines to instantly discover new content that is on your website.
3. You Need to Ensure That Your Site is Encrypted
The third SEO audit checklist for you is to find out if your website is encrypted with an SSL certificate.
The use of HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is to encrypt the connection between your user’s browser and your website server.
Search engines love to rank encrypted websites higher than websites that are not encrypted, the reason is that they want to protect the information of online users.
It is really easy for you to check if your website is secured with an SSL certificate.
All you have to do is to look for the image of a padlock at the beginning of your website URL in the search bar.
If there is a padlock at the beginning of your website URL that means your website is not secured, you can contact your hosting provider to purchase an SSL certificate from them.
4. You Need to Ensure All Versions of Your website URL Lead to the Same Site
After you have secured your website with an SSL certificate turning it from HTTP to HTTPS, what you need to do next is to check all your website URL versions.
You need to make sure that the HTTP and HTTPS versions of your website URL are pointing to the same website.
An example of what I am trying to say is that, if an online user enters any of your website URLs, like “https://www.example.com, https://example.com, http://www.example.com, or http://example.com, they must be able to land on the same website.
You will have duplicate content issues if all the versions of your website URL don’t land online users on the same web page because search engines will treat your website URLs differently.
5. Check If Your website has any Missing Meta Tags
After you are done with the direction of your website URL, the next thing to do is to check your website Meta Tags.
Meta tags are snippets of codes that describe the content of a web page to search engines.
Search engines will be able to rank websites with meta tags in search engine results pages (SERPs) as they understand the content of the website, and the online users they are trying to serve.
There are various types of Meta tags that have a positive impact on websites, some of these meta tags are;
- 1Title tags
- 2Meta description Tags
- 3Heading Tags
- 4Image Alt Attributes
- 5Robot txt
- 6No-Follow Attributes
- 7Schema Markup and much more
But among all these meta tags, there are four meta tags that are really important, and they help in ranking websites higher.
These meta tags are, title tags, meta-description tags, heading tags, and image Alt Attributes.
These tags make it easy for search engines to understand the content of your website.
It is really important to analyze website meta tags when performing an SEO audit, because your web page title is what search engines will use to serve your potential customers based on the keywords they are using, and your web page title is also the first thing online users sees when your website appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).
The same thing goes for your meta-description tags.
Your web page meta-description is a short snippet of your web content that appears under the title of your post and URL.
These meta descriptions describe your web content to both online users, and search engines.
What will determine if online users will click on your web page is how compelling your web page title and meta-description are.
6. You Need to Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-Responsive
The action in line is to check the mobile responsiveness of your business website.
The mobile responsive website provides a better user experience to online users because of this search engines make it a top ranking factor of a website.
Search engine giants like Google uses the mobile version of your website to index, instead of your website's desktop version, and the reason for this is because online consumers spend more time on their phone than they do with their desktop computer.
You can use the free Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google to find out about the mobile responsiveness of your website.
The tool will analyze all the aspects of your website, and provide you with results.
As a business owner, you need to know that a mobile-friendly website will boost your search engine rankings, and increase your sales and conversions because people shop on their phones more than they do with their desktop computers.
7. Analyze the Loading Speed of Your Website
After checking your website's mobile responsiveness, you also need to know how fast your website is because website loading speed is also among the top search engine ranking factors.
Your website loading speed should be one of the reasons why you are doing an SEO audit for your website.
If your website is slow it is important you analyze the reasons why it is slow because it can affect your rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs).
If your website is a WordPress website, you can analyze the speed of your website on your WordPress dashboard by using Monsterinsights.
All you need to do is to connect Google Analytics to your website, then go to Insights >> Reports from your dashboard, and click the ‘Site Speed” button.
You will be presented with various reasons why your website is slow and not fast in loading, and you will also be presented with recommendations on what to do.
8. Find and Fix the Broken Links that are on Your Website
Website broken links usually occur when a link that links two website pages together no longer exists. In a case like this, you will see the popular 404 not found error when you try to click on that broken link.
It is common to see 404 errors when a WordPress website is moved to a new domain, if the page linked to was deleted, or if the page linked to was moved to a new location.
Too many broken links have a negative impact on your website SEO campaign, it will affect your website user experience, and it will also affect your rankings because online users and search engines will not be able to access the web page.
You can make use of Monsterinsights to locate the broken links that are on your WordPress website.
Monsterinsights is the best analytics plugin for WordPress websites which makes it easier for you to track your website broken links without compromising the speed of your website.
After analyzing your website, if you found any broken links, you should try to fix them by setting up 301 redirections.
9. Track Your Website Keyword Rankings for Decrease in Organic Traffic
The second to last thing you need to do in your website SEO audit is to track your website keyword rankings and check their position in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Your website is ranking because of your keywords so you need to keep an eye on them to know how well they performing, this will let you know about the keywords that are bringing in traffic, and the keywords that are not bringing in traffic, giving you the opportunity to optimize them, and increase your traffic.
You can make use of Google Search Console to track your website ranking for free, but to make use of Google search console, you will need to add your website URL.
Adding your website URL will make it easy for Google search console to track your website activities.
If your website has been added to Google Search Console before, you can check your keyword performance by logging in to your Google Search Console account, and you head over to the “performance report” to check your keyword rankings by scrolling down the page.
SEMrush is another popular SEO tool you can make use of apart from Google Search Console.
This tool is an all-in-one SEO toolkit that has a keyword ranker tool used by many online marketing professionals and SEO experts like me.
To use SEMrush keyword rank tracker, you just need to enter the URL of the website you want to analyze in their ‘Organic Research’, and take the next move to click the ‘Search button.
You will be provided with comprehensive results that will make it easy for you to view your website's top performing keywords, track their positions on search engine results pages (SERPs), and many more.
10. You Need to Make Your Website Have Both Inbound, and Outbound Links
The last thing for you to do in your SEO audit is to make sure that your web pages have both inbound, and outbound links.
Inbound links are links that are linking different pages of the same website, while outbound links are external links that are pointing to a page of a third-party website.
Both inbound, and outbound links are essential for the success of any SEO campaign, it is not something to overlook if you want to be successful in your SEO efforts.
For example, inbound links are what makes search engines discover new content that is on your website which can be used to boost your rankings.
Apart from that, inbound links also make it easy for your website visitors to navigate your website and find other contents that they love to engage with.