HOLD ON! This audit takes 1 hour but if you only have 15 minutes and want to check-off 80% of the list below, check out our Quick Website Audit guide. We guarantee these fixes will improve your organic traffic – but only if you promise us you’ll follow all the steps!
We get it. You don’t have a lot of time to spare and performing an SEO audit is a pain in the Arsenal. So we’ve put together an ultra-fast SEO audit you can perform in under an hour. Yes, you read that right – one measly hour!
To slash the time it takes to conduct a full audit, we concentrate on the key areas where a few tweaks will improve your SEO.
Let’s dive straight in!
Of all the quick audit tests in this (roughly) one-hour audit, backlinks is the most time-consuming, so let’s tackle that first and get the ball rolling. You can leave your backlink tool to search whilst you are carrying out some of the other performance checks. We prefer SEMrush to check backlinks, but there are other backlink SEO tool options out there.
And yes, we know what you’re thinking: if backlinks are good for SEO, why do I need to audit them? Well, backlinks can also have a negative effect on your page rank.
Whilst it is true that Google use backlinks to gauge the quality of a website, the search engine company encountered a problem; digital marketers were trying to manipulate organic search results by publishing content with backlinks on link farms – low-quality 3rd party websites.
To combat this problem, Google judges the strength and credibility of a backlink by assessing the quality of the website the link is hosted from. The search engines audits the build, quality of content, online reputation and many other metrics.
As a result, online business owners need to check that backlinks pointing to your site are not damaging. Sometimes this is a judgement call. So check the quality of the website bigging you up is publishing good content and not just phishing for spam.
The SEMrush tool is one of the best profile checkers available. It gives you a list of all the backlinks you are receiving, but with valuable data about the status and quality of said websites including top anchors used, the referring domain to referring IP ratio, and TLD distribution. All of these factors contribute to how reputable your backlinks are (for example, whether there are varied anchors being used, which suggests your links are authentic).
You could just use the Trust and Authority data from Majestic SEO, but that only gives you information about websites that have an existing reputation.
But what about up-and-coming websites that have not been online for so long? Consider whether thee website are legitimate businesses which have a relevance to your linked webpage. If you feel the host website will gradually build a reputation and contribute to higher ranking for you as time goes by they are worth keeping.
Indexing and accessibility
Websites are assessed by their usability – which means visitors and search engine crawlers need to be able to access webpages so that their interaction is recorded.
For that to happen your website has to be properly indexed. Red flags will show up as 4** or 5** server errors or 3** redirect errors. These SEO audits are easy to perform even for first time users.
Use an audit tool such as Screaming Frog that is capable of checking crawling options. Check that the status of robots.txt file is formatted correctly. If they are not, you will need to go to the robots.txt settings in your SEO audit tool and allow crawlers access.
User-experience is high on the list of search engine values. And how quickly a website loads is high on the list of priorities of end-users. If your website does not download within an instant, end-users look elsewhere.
Checking you site speed is quick and easy. There are several free online tools you can use, but to be sure you fall in line with the expectation of Google, use their pageSpeed Insights tool.
There is no escaping the mobile revolution. On the contrary, the internet is more likely to become a mobile –first platform. Google has already upgraded to a mobile-first index to publish search results.
This means online businesses need a responsive website that performs on mobile devices. To perform a quick test, use another of Google’s free web testing tools.
Content is THE driving force behind SEO. We expect you are already publishing high-quality content that provides great value for readers. If not, make it a priority. In-depth content outranks competitors.
We have covered content audits in greater depth in another article so won’t go over old ground again here. When optimizing your content just be sure to update the following with the most relevant keyword and related longtail keywords:
- Page Title (and URL)
- Opening paragraph
- First 100 words
- At least one subheading
- Alt tags in images
- Meta description
If you’re looking to perform a quick audit on your website with a few tests to increase SEO rankings, these corrections will have the most impact and should be conducted fairly regularly.
However, we recommend conducting thorough audit checks at least every six months. Maintaining your website ensures your online store stays in good working order and you don’t miss out on valuable traffic.
Where to next, captain?
Does your site have content? Guides, a blog, your services and products? Then you need our Content Audit Template to improve your SEO, boost your ranking and increase organic traffic.
If you have an hour spare and want to give your website a clean bill of health, check out our Technical Audit Checklist. It’s a simple guide, for simple and not so simple websites (and people!) and we guarantee if you work your way through this list, you’ll see a huge improvement in website performance, repeat sessions and a lower bounce rate.