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Performing an SEO Site Audit

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Endire, May 23, 2013.

  1. Endire

    Endire Elite Member Premium Member

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    If you are looking at websites for clients or trying to figure out what to change on your own site in terms of SEO, perhaps this list will help you organize what you need to do. Note that not all sites are the same and there could be things here that don?t apply to your site or things that are missing.

    Check your indexed pages
    Using the site:eek:perator, enter your domain into the Google search bar. It should look something like this site:www.example.com. Your home page should show up first. If it doesn?t, there could be a penalty at work or some other issue.

    Branded pages


    Search for brand names to see what shows up. You should see at least some relevant pages in search. If not, there could be an issue here. Using quotes will help you get the results you are looking for instead of a broader term.

    Content
    -Make sure your home page has at least one paragraph of content (more is better but don?t force it).
    -Make sure the content on all of your pages is unique and not spun or scraped from other sites.
    -Make sure pages you are targeting keyword phrases with have those terms and their variants in the page with a density of about 2-3%
    -Make sure images on relevant pages have target keywords as file names and in alt attribute if possible (again, don?t force it).
    -put keywords in headings if they are not already and ensure the content beneath them is about the keyword in the heading.
    -keep a good amount of content above the fold.
    -Use a tool like SEO4Firefox to see how each page of your site shapes up.

    Search Engine Accessibility
    -Make sure you have a robots.txt file and that it is not blocking important pages.
    -ensure your site?s linking strategy still works with JavaScript, CSS and cookies turned off.


    Technical Stuff

    -Do you have 301 redirects? Make sure they aren?t 302?s and make sure they configured properly.
    -Don?t send bots through more than 4 successive redirects before finally ending at a page. Try to keep it at 1-2 jumps.
    -Don?t put important content in iframes.
    -Try not to serve content using Javascript where possible.
    -Avoid putting important content in flash
    -look at your site using a tool like Firefox?s User Agent Add-on to see what your site looks like to search engines.

    Organization
    -is your site organized in a logical way?
    -Are there methods on the site that make it hard for search engines to crawl it?
    -Is your most important content close to or easily accessed from the home page?

    Web Master Tools
    One of the most powerful resources for web masters is Google Webmaster Tools. I can provide tons of information on errors, links, keyword rankings, malware and other factors that are both positive and negative for a website. By submitting a website to WMT, you can get lots of information on things to fix such as HTML errors, bad links, robots.txt errors and more.

    HTML Errors


    • Does the site have any HTML errors? These can be things like duplicate, too short, too long or missing title tags and meta descriptions.
    Crawl errors
    • Are there any crawl errors? Can all pages that are supposed to be accessible be reached? Sometimes there may be URL?s inside templates for websites that cause crawl errors.
    Sitemaps
    • Has a sitemap been submitted for the website? Submitting a sitemap helps a website get indexed that much faster.
    Index Status
    • How many pages of the website have been indexed since the sitemap submission or in the time that the WMT account has been established? If pages have not been indexed or are taking too long, this could be a sign of an issue.

    Canonicalization and URLs



    • The canonical version of the page can be made through a 301 redirect. Verify that this is the case through a server configuration file.
    • The canonical version of a page can also be verified through Google Webmaster tools.
    • Ensure that absolute URL?s are used and not relative ones. Using relative URL?s can cause issues if you have a root domain with secure sections.
    • Does the site use tracking ID?s in navigation? This can cause confusing with search engines.
    • Is the site using preventative redirects? For instance redirecting non-www to www versions of a page or vis versa via a 301 redirect makes URL?s less confusing for search.
    • Does the site exclude ?email a friend? or ?printer friendly? versions of a pages. These are essentially the same pages that some sites will assign a parameter too. Exclude them from search.
    • The site has clean URLs. Most key pages should be static with no session ID?s, parameters or other automatically generated characters.
    • Short URLs are also better from a usability standpoint. It won?t kill your pages if you have long URLs but the shorter the better if you can control it.
    • URLs use the primary keyword phrase that they page is trying to rank for.

    Title tags and Meta Descriptions
    Title Tags

    • Every title tag is unique. Each page on your site should be unique and about its respective topic. So to should each title tag.
    • Title tags are front loaded with the target keyword phrase. If the page is trying to target a specific phrase, that phrase (or the most important variation of it)should be first in the title tag followed by a less important variant or a brand name.
    • The page title includes branding if applicable. Not all sites are the extension of a business however if it is, you brand name should be at the end of all title tags.
    • All title tags are 65-70 characters in length. Search engines only display this amount of characters in search so if the site has title tags that are longer than this, they should be shortened. Conversely, if the title tags are much shorter than this, you can lengthen them to take advantage of space.
    Meta Tags
    • All pages have a meta description.
    • Each page has a unique meta description
    • Each meta description does a good job of describing what the page is about. Meta descriptions typically show up in search engine results pages. While this is not always true, for the most part it is and it can confuse visitors if the meta description has nothing to do with the actual content of the page.
    • The meta description has the keyword phrase present near the beginning. The target keyword phrase should definitely be in the meta description and ideally it should be near the front. When people scan search results, they often read quickly from left to right. When you have your target phrase near the beginning, it is less likely to get cut off and people will not have to scan a lot to find it.
    • Meta robots tag is present. This does not have to be present but if it is, ensure that is has the proper setting for the page. Ensure that important pages are not blocked by this tag.

    Here are some other resources on performing a technical audit,

    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-do-a-site-audit
    http://www.seomoz.org/blog/how-to-perform-the-worlds-greatest-seo-audit

    What things to do you look at when you audit a website?
     
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