All’s well that ends well. This statement holds water but not all the times. Your SEO strategy is the best example of the cases in which the beginning matters. If there are flaws in your SEO audit, the beginning of your SEO strategy is not going to be well and the end is also not going to be well. You certainly don’t want this kind of return on your investment. Time and money are two of the most important resources you are spending. If you want your efforts on your SEO strategy 2021 to be fruitful, you need to do complete website SEO analysis. SEO audit offers you an opportunity to analyze your SEO strategies.
Experts say that you should do an SEO audit half yearly and they have a genuine reason to offer to support their says. SEO is dynamic. Trends keep on changing. Google often announces new updates in its algorithms. So, the strategy that delivered satisfactory results during the last six months, may dash your hopes in 2021. So, doing an SEO audit twice a year makes sense. This will keep your website up-to-date with the latest SEO developments. In order to save your website’s SEO from taking a nosedive, if you are looking for an SEO audit checklist 2021, as always, we have got one for you.
Technical SEO Audit Checklist
Start with a technical SEO audit checklist in 2021 to win good rankings this year. The good list of technical things you need to work on goes:
- Work on Mobile friendliness
- Find and fix broken links
- Remove that ‘Not secure’ label
- Update Robots.txt
- Ensure HTML and XML Sitemaps
- Focus on the Speed of Website
1. Make your website mobile friendly
Mobile friendliness is one of the Top 10 Google SEO Ranking Factors you can never ignore. If the images and text on your website look cluttered, something like your college hostel room, when you open your website on a mobile phone, you are not going to get ranks. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly i.e. it is responsive. Design your website with mobile phone users in mind. After all mobiles phone users are more than desktop users. Google has provided us with a free Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Use it to find out whether your website is mobile-friendly or not. Simply enter your website URL in the textbox and hit the Run Test button. If your website fails this test, work on the mobile-friendliness of your website.
Imagine receiving a text from your boyfriend promising that he has booked a table for a romantic candlelight dinner. However, when you appear in the restaurant, no place for you. He never booked a table. A website user clicking on a broken link can understand your feelings.
You can’t afford having broken links on your website. These links not only impact the user experience but your ranking as well. Before you work on fixing or removing broken links, you need to identify these links and you can use a Check My Links Google Chrome Extension for that.
3. Secure your website with HTTPS
You should have moved from HTTP to HTTPS back in 2014. Or, maybe your website is not that old. Anyway, HTTPS has been a ranking factor since 2014.
Looks like Google had a time machine back then and already knew about what data leak could do(talking about you, Mark Zuckerberg). Google understands the importance of your privacy and data protection (with some exceptions, you! Google+ ).
If you want to understand the relation between HTTPS and Google ranking, you can do a small test. It will hardly take 10 seconds to see the results. Google anything, say ‘how to do SEO analysis of a website’. Now, how many results on the first SERP have HTTPS and how many results have HTTP.
Is it clear why getting SSL certification must be there in your technical SEO audit checklist in 2021?
4. Update Robots.txt
What makes Google throw attention on robots.txt? Why is SEO incomplete without the robots.txt file? Such questions knock your head before understanding robots.txt. It’s also known as a robots exclusion protocol that informs web robots or search engines to crawl the website’s pages. However, one can restrict web robots from crawling specific web-pages.
In a nutshell, Googlebot crawls the pages to ensure users have an excellent experience while surfing your website’s pages. The bot set the crawl limit, which highlights the maximum fetching rate of the site. For instance, the slow responding page can have a low crawl rate limit that impacts the website’s ranking. Robots.txt is not only improving SEO but helping the visitors for a user-friendly experience.
5. Ensure HTML and XML Sitemaps
A sitemap is a crucial part of search engine optimization as it indexes the website. The search engine gets to know that your website exists, and once a robot.txt file is submitted, the crawling is done. The sitemap stores the pages & links in a structure to avoid chaos to search engines & users.
Hence, there is a difference between HTML & XML sitemap. An XML sitemap is read by Google, whereas an HTML sitemap assists users in navigating the pages. A large website can create a hassle for users; with HTML sitemap support, they can smoothly find a particular page.
6. Focus on the Speed of Website
The speed of the website plays a pivotal role in improving ranking. Google algorithms deliver importance to website speed performance (including desktop & mobile speed). However, a low speed leads to the loss of visitors as it gives rise to frustration.
On-Page SEO Audit Checklist
Search engine optimization is a fundamental aspect of internet marketing and On-Page SEO is a fundamental aspect of Search Engine Optimization. Our On-Page SEO audit checklist 2021 goes:
- Shorten URLs
- Include focus keyword in the title tag
- Include focus keywords in the first 150 words
- Include focus keyword in H1, H2, or H3 tags
- Use of Different Schema.org
- Monitor Compressed Images and Image ALT Tags
- Check Thin Pages, External and Internal Links
- Check for Pagination and Breadcrumbs on the website.
1. Shorten URLs
Use short URLs whenever and wherever you can. Make it easy for Google to understand your URLs and web pages. Google will return the favor in the form of high ranks (if you are efficiently and consistently working on other SEO aspects as well). According to the analysis Backlinko did on 1 million Google search results, short URLs play a significant role in improving the rank of a website.
Which of the following two links is easy to understand?
If you look at the 1st URL, the webpage is 4 clicks away from the homepage (blog, category, subcategory and seo-audit-template-2021).
When you look at the 2nd URL, the webpage is only 2 clicks away from the homepage (blog and seo-audit-template-2021).
A webpage with a long URL has low authority and poor ranks.
2. Include focus keyword in the title tag
Make sure that you are including the focus keyword in the title tag. Some people find it confusing when it comes to where to use the keyword in the title tag. The best practice is adding the focus keyword right at the beginning of the title tag. This will take no time to provide the visitor with the idea of what’s in for him. This will also make your website more rankable.
3. Include focus keyword in the first 150 words
A good introductory paragraph can quickly ignite the interest of the reader in your content. Exactly the same way, including the focus keyword in the first 150 words can help Google in having the quick and better understanding of the content. This is exactly what we have done in this post.
After adding the keyword to the title tag, include the focus keyword in your H1, H2 and H3 tags. Sometimes, it is not possible to use the focus keyword in H1, H2, and H3 in a natural flow. The keyword should sound relevant.
5. Use of Different Schema.org
Schema.org handles structured data in a specific vocabulary that helps search engines to understand. It provides a series of properties and tags to explain products, local business listings, reviews, etc.
6. Monitor Compressed Images and Image ALT Tags
Visual representation is always as powerful as it attracts the audience. A website without images will make it dull & boring. Relatable images help visitors to have a better idea about the website.
But search engines can’t understand until the image is not well described. Alt tags are read by the crawlers and an opportunity to increase organic visibility. Even images must have an adequate size that prevents page loading time.
7. Check Thin Pages, External and Internal Links
A drop in ranking can be because of thin page content. Wondering, what is thin page content? It’s low-quality content that doesn’t serve a purpose to users. The low quality can be due to fewer words, duplicate content, and even unnecessary keywords. Google restricts such pages, which influence the visibility & ranking.
8. Check for Pagination and Breadcrumbs on the website.
Pagination is a procedure that divides your website content into a series of pages. It’s a prominent technique for websites that divide the lists of articles/blogs into a format. To deliver a better user experience, websites need to split the content across various component pages.
Whereas breadcrumbs reduce users’ work by avoiding several actions on the website to reach the higher-level page. It’s a secondary navigation scheme that indicates the users’ location on a website. Users with the help of breadcrumbs can trace the path back to the starting landing point.
Off-Page SEO Audit Checklist
- Do Your Own Website’s Backlinks Audit
- Competitor Backlinks Audit
Once the on-page checklist is done, time to step to off-page SEO. Definitely, one looks for higher domain – authority & page authority. That depends on the number of backlinks & ranking of the website. To get effective & authentic backlinks for your website, off-page SEO is a task to do. See what the checklist contain:
Once your website is ready to go, traffic becomes the priority. Otherwise, how users will get to know about your business. Poor traffic gives you a red signal to audit the backlinks and prevent the issues. With the audit, monitor the broken & dead links which need to be corrected. It’s an opportunity to make a productive link strategy.
To discover valuable backlinks, you need to keep an eye on competitors’ backlinks. Organic traffic is a challenge but delivers fruitful results when high source backlinks are implemented. Measure the top-performing pages of your competitors and catch the essential backlink sources.
Keyword Research Audit Checklist
Ranking the right keywords will be very rewarding for your website and when you fail in identifying the right keywords, you will be ranking the wrong keywords. Ranking wrong keywords may bring more traffic but it will increase the bounce rate as well.
This is not good for your website. Our keyword research audit checklist goes:
- Identify low competition keywords
- Use Google Keyword Planner to find more solid keywords
- Use long tail keywords
1. Identify low competition keywords
There are some paid and free keyword research tools you can use to identify keywords. If you are using a lot of keywords that are too common, you will find it hard and sometimes even impossible to rank those keywords. There are too many websites targeting the same keyword. So, find unique keywords with low competition. Keywords with low competition and high monthly searches are best for you. Google Keyword Planner is one of the most used free keyword research tools.
2. Use Google Keyword Planner to find more solid keywords
With Google Keyword Planner, you can explore, identify and analyze keywords that are the most suitable for your business. This is a great tool designed for Google Adwords. You can use it for both PPC and SEO. This tool is using the data generated from Google. Your keyword research will be pretty accurate.
3. Use long tail keywords
Short-tail keywords are less specific while long-tail keywords are more specific. Even google can suggest you some keywords. For example, if you type ‘buy shoe’ in the search bar and don’t hit the Google Search button, Google will give you some suggestions such as:
- Buy shoes online
- Buy shoes at the lowest price
- Buy shoes near me
Google suggests these keywords because a lot of people are using these keywords. These are high potential keywords but make sure that you are checking the monthly searches and competition for these keywords.
We are ending the article with the same note. It can’t end well if the beginning is not well. An SEO campaign without complete and accurate SEO audit is destined to be a failure. Do it completely. Do it accurately. Don’t miss anything when you are doing an SEO audit.
Talk To Experts
Expert help is a high-yielding decision to make your business stand out of the crowd. Let’s start the project and make it the way you dreamt. Our SEO professionals will improve traffic, engagement metrics, and all technicalities of your website. Contact us to create a difference.
Co-Founding Webspero Solutions about a decade ago and previously having worked in the field of web development – realizing the dream of transforming ideas sketched out on paper into fully functioning websites. Seeing how that affected the customers’ generation of leads and conversions, I wanted to delve deeper into the sphere of digital marketing. At Webspero Solutions, handling operations and heading the entire Digital Marketing Field – SEO, PPC, and Content are my core domains. And although we as a team have faced many challenges, we have come far learning along and excelling in this field and making a remarkable online reputation for our work.
Having worked in building websites and understanding that sites are bare structures without quality content, the main focus was to branch into optimizing each website for search engines. Investing in original, quality content creation is essential to SEO success in the current search climate. Succeeding in this arena ensures the benefits of producing visitor-friendly content. Directing all our teams to zoom in on these factors has been a role that I have thoroughly enjoyed playing throughout these years.