Dr. Ipshita Basu Guha
How to do SEO Audit without Help (Part 2)
The previous post in this series was all about how to do a
Basic On-page SEO Audit.
I hope you liked it and tried out a few things to get a hang of it.
Aristotle had said, "For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we have to learn by doing them."
This week we will dive into Part 2 of How to do SEO Audit without help and discuss the other two elements -
Off-page SEO Audit
Technical SEO Audit
You are doing SEO to expand your online visibility, to help your prospects and customers find you and meaningfully engage. You cannot get a wide-range of exposure only through on-page SEO and enhancing your website.
Your target audience needs to know that you exist to reach your website.
This is where your off-page and technical SEO will prove useful.
In this second part, I will walk you through off-page and technical SEO audit points.
This post has been written with the sole objective of teaching busy small business owners like you to ramp up your SEO skills. I look forward to hearing from you if the language or the directions are too complicated to follow and practice.
Once you go through this post and complete the tasks explained in it, you will be able to constructively collaborate with your SEO Expert or Agency. You will not only save a ton of money and resources but also create immense value for your business.
Are you excited?
Off-page SEO as the name suggests is everything that happens away from your website (or webpage) but with the purpose of increasing your brand's visibility and traffic.
This part of the SEO strategy is often slow, steady, and organic. You cannot buy tools and resources to overnight improve your off-page SEO strategy and achieve the objectives.
Promoting the site through social and shares
Do you have a presence in social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.? If not, create your presence today! And start posting meaningful content and link back to content on your webpage.
Image credit - Photo by Pexels
Promote your website, products, services, achievements, solutions, and blog posts, ebooks, infographics on your social media channels. Prepare a schedule and post regularly.
Connect with your community including influencers through these channels and engage in regular interaction. Listen to what your prospects say or want.
It does not matter how many likes you get. That does not translate into business. What you need is viewers sharing it on their network and amplifying the post.
Remember you are not trying to sell to everyone. Because if you are, then you are spreading yourself too thin and probably not selling to anyone.
Guest posting or blogging
Guest posting is a good way of gaining attention and drawing traffic to your site. There are websites and portals within your industry which are well-known and attract a ton of traffic. You should post useful content on these dominant sites.
Seek out the opinion-maker sites of your industry and verify their guest posting guidelines or requirement. This is again an organic approach that takes time but builds a lasting and fruitful online image.
Medium is one of the powerful sites today with a huge viewership. It is fairly easy to post your content on Medium. If you have not started posting on it then now is the time. But do read their publishing guidelines before creating your post. It will save you from pointless editing.
Relevance of Backlinks
Backlinks are valuable digital assets. You might be thrilled if you attract backlinks from a lot of sites. But not all backlinks are useful or desirable.
Your website will benefit from backlinks received from authoritative or related industry sites. Ubersuggest is a fantastic tool to evaluate the quality of your backlinks and determine if they are helping or harming your off-page SEO.
Google My Business Profile
GMB is a free tool available for businesses and must be leveraged by companies. Do you have your company’s GMB profile? If not, create one for free.
This profile will enable your customers to find you online and interact even if they do not know about your website.
I will not be going into anchor text here. We must leave out something for the experts who will come in later to level up your website.
Technical SEO is all that is done to make the technical aspects of the site primed for search engines. This is usually where experts make a significant difference to your website.
Image Credit - Car Interior Image by Pexels and
Car Engine Photo by Mike from Pexels
Unlike off-page SEO, technical SEO can be done rapidly and the results are evident in no time.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is everything that is not visible to the viewer or customer but felt and experienced while they interact with our website. It affects customer experience and business revenues.
Here are a few Technical SEO questions for you. Try to think of an answer.
Is your website secure?
Yes, it is if your URL begins with https instead of http. If not, you can contact your domain name provider. Ask for https before your URL. It will cost you a few dollars more but it is worth every penny.
Screenshot of the website SiteLock to explain HTTPS.
As a simple means of exhibiting trust and security, prominently display your contact information on the website.
How is this connected to SEO? Well, online fraud is rampant. Users are informed and aware of the risks. The average person looks for “https” before trusting a site.
If yours is an online shopping site where people are sharing their credit card information, then you need additional trust certificates and seals.
Lack of security will affect your traffic and therefore, how Google ranks your website.
Has Google indexed all your webpages?
Google uses tools to crawl all the pages of your website barring those which have a “Nofollow” tag. (I will not get into the details of "nofollow" to keep this post basic).
You can go to Google.com and type site: <yoursitename> to see the results. If some of your pages do not show up, submit your sitemap.xml to Google’s Search Console. If you want to generate your sitemap then try this tool. Submit the output file in your domain’s root directory.
o You can also submit the individual URL of any page in Search Console’s URL Inspection tab to request for crawling and indexing. Crawling means to reach that page and indexing is to record it in the search engine and make it available to the world.
How long does the site take to load?
An average website should load in 3 seconds according to Hobo. But it is also a function of the 3G/ 4G speed in the home country. But as the page load time increases so does the chances of your audience bouncing away from your site.
You can check your page load speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It is pretty simple and straightforward.
The question of page speed is for your awareness. You need to know if you are doing well as per benchmark or need expert help to tweak your site and perform better.
If you are crazy about data like me, here is a whole bunch of statistics on page speed and bounce rate. It will convince you to improve your page speed.
Is your website mobile friendly?
In Jul 2020, more than 50% of the world is accessing websites using their mobile devices claims Statista.
Just go to Google Search Console and click on a mobile-friendly test. Insert your website’s URL and click on the Test URL.
If your site is not mobile-friendly, your SEO expert will take care of it.
Does your site have duplicate content or broken links?
Most of your webpages are internally linked to one another. That is how you draw your audience deeper into your website and keep them engaged.
If you recall earlier in Part 1 of this post, we had discussed dropping obsolete pages or changing the URLs to include keywords.
Two things might happen – you inadvertently delete a page that is linked to some other page. And thus, creating a broken link. Or you create a duplicate content page while changing the URL. Duplicate content confuses search engines. They don’t know which URL to show. You don’t want this to happen. Because it damages customer experience and affects your traffic.
Broken links are what your customers might see when they click on a link and the target page is missing. Customers will simply bounce off your site in case of such errors. Not everyone will go back to the original page.
Digitalmarketinginstitute recommends using Siteliner to detect duplicate content on your website. One solution is to redirect your duplicate content to the correct URL. You can use a 301 redirect to point towards the original page among the duplicate ones. Too technical? Leave it to your SEO expert.
If you want to find broken links, go to Google Analytics or Screaming Frog. The free version allows you to find broken links. Make a list of all such links in a Google Sheet as part of your audit finding.
How much traffic is your website attracting?
Site traffic is a critical metric. You would want to track if your traffic is increasing or decreasing over months.
The best tool is Google Analytics.
Here is a video if you want to learn how to set up and use Google Analytics
Video Credit - WP Smackdown
Use Google Analytics or Ubersuggest to calculate your traffic both regular and unique. The unique pageview metric tells you if your reader base is growing. Thus, you can identify your top pages. This will give you an idea of how to prime your lower-ranking pages and boost their page views.
Is your website architecture simple and flat?
One thing which I should have discussed earlier is - website architecture. I believe in clean, flat architecture. You must reach your deepest pages within 3 clicks from your homepage.
You can use the sitemap to analyze your website structure and the depth of your pages.
The question is how does it affect your SEO? Everything related to your website boils down to two words – Customer Experience (CX). The easier it is to find the desired information, the higher chance of prospects/ customers engaging with you. Otherwise, you might have a higher bounce rate.
We had started this two-part blog post with an introduction of SEO Audit and went ahead to determine your website objectives.
On-page SEO objectives are low-hanging fruits which can be achieved with relative ease.
Off-page SEO has a strong potential to help you significantly grow your online visibility. But it takes time to build an audience, followers, and a network of prospects who will engage with you and amplify your existence. In the off-page SEO audit section, I have pointed out the easier elements to make headway. There are many other things like engaging with your audience on Quora or Reddit, building your email list and sending newsletters, and commenting on posts with meaningful responses to boost engagement.
At the center of our SEO activities lies technical SEO. The best efforts in creating authoritative content and social media visibility will fall flat if our website is not optimized to handle the incoming traffic. Technical SEO affects customer experience, which affects sales, and therefore our revenues (top line). This is the segment where experts and SEO agencies can help make a significant difference.
When you do your Basic SEO Audit comprising of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO, you will get a great insight of your SEO preparedness. You can be ready with your must-haves and "nice to have". The expert gets a good headstart and you get swift results. It is all win-win.
Let me know your experience of SEO Audit. What did you like or dislike? What is it that you learned? What proved to be difficult? Is there something that you need help with?
If you have any queries or doubts, hit me with your questions. Let's try to work some magic on your website and attract paying traffic.
Watch this space for bonus material shortly. See you soon.
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