Creating an aesthetically-pleasing and informative website is the first step in cultivating an online presence. In order for a website to promote a business and attract customers and subscribers, people need to view and engage with it and Search Engine Optimization is vital for driving traffic to a site. To assess the state of a new client’s SEO strategy, conducting a SEO audit check is a valuable way to get started on a new plan to improve traffic.

After new plans have been implemented, you can decide how often to perform these checks.

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Google and other search engines are constantly working on and improving their algorithms to provide users with the most accurate and desired results for their search queries.

To ensure you’re keeping up with improvements, try these six SEO audit checks and keep updating your SEO strategy.

1. Analyze Accessibility for Users and Crawlers

First things first, ensure the website is actually running properly and without technical glitches. The most important things to be concerned about in this regard is accessibility, that is, if users can easily find and navigate the site.

The website needs to be easy for searchers to use. To keep the bounce-rate low, ensure that finding whatever a user needs is easy. This includes checking the site’s speed as slow sites that take ages to load tends to drive away traffic. Also consider the site’s interface and ensure it is intuitive and mobile-friendly.

Some aspects that improve accessibility is being able to navigate from the site’s landing page to the desired page quickly and without hassle. Although it is necessary to redirect users to another page when content has been moved or deleted, redirects mean crawlers are unable to access that page, so avoid overusing them.

Checking the site’s robots.txt file, which is a file created to encourage search engines to crawl the site’s pages and is usually found in the root of the domain, will ensure that your site is able to be ranked in searches and thus accessed by users. Additionally, you should check the meta tags and XML sitemaps. XML sitemaps help search engine crawlers and should be formatted properly.

2. Improve the Website’s Indexability

Indexability describes how well search engines can rank the site. Analysing indexability involves checking up on whether search engines are presenting your pages to searchers.

Websites with a significant amount of content are indexed quickly, while for smaller sites usually belonging to non-professionals, the process can be slower. If you find that your site is not being returned after queries are made, it may be because your lack of activity is causing Google to lack faith in your website’s trustworthiness.

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3. Analyze Your Web Pages

Think of a website as a book made up of related chapters that move the story along or build on a body of knowledge. Web pages should serve as chapters and comprise content that promotes the overall theme and objective of the site.

To rank well in search results, you should aim to have the site be considered by search engines as the go-to source for a particular category of information. If pages conflict with each other or are too broad and vague, Google may rank the site lower. This is something important to keep in mind for websites which promote brands or endorse products.

4.  Check Content-structure and URLs

Content is the cornerstone of a successful site. Avoid having duplicate information. Publishing posts about the same topic may keep people interested in that topic drawn to your site, but it will also confuse Google which will index more pages than your site actually has. When the same keyword is used repeatedly across different pages, the most prominent one tends to be ranked in results while the others aren’t.

Rather than using content as tools to attract views, think of them as representations of the website and its brand. Structure each post well and in the way that is most beneficial to users. Only focus on good SEO for a post if you’re sure the post is worthwhile to read and contributes to the overall purpose of your site.

Good content should be 500 words or more. The URL for your website and individual posts should comprise a keyword and should be short and clear.

Text is not the only element on sites that can be ranked and attention needs to be paid to optimizing images as well.

5.  Conduct an Off-page Analysis

Off-page factors can help you determine how users are engaging with and responding to a website, that is, how much traffic is driven to the site and how users are linking to it. Being a trustworthy source for search engines is thus highly important.

To increase a site’s popularity, create content for people, not search engines. If you’re not seeing a consistent increase (albeit small) in your site’s traffic, being mentioned on social media or having other sources link to your content, you may need to reconsider or adjust your SEO plan.

You should ensure that the data shows a low bounce-rate and that users spend ample time on the site.

6.  Research the Playing Field

Do regular keyword research so that you’re up to date with what keywords people use to search for the product or service the website offers. It also helps to know what competing sites are using and how the website’s ranking compares. There are a number of tools to help you do this and are constantly updated to reflect the latest words and phrases used.

Keywords are the foundations of good SEO and research should be done into what keywords to use. Typically, keywords should have an average difficulty to rank and an average amount of traffic unless you’re hoping to boost your ranking. You may then want to research high-performing keywords.

A SEO audit check is should be the first step you take when dealing with new clients as it helps you to accurately assess a website’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of its SEO strategy. Understanding this will help you devise a new strategy that can improve on areas that users weren’t responding to and to improve on aspects that were working well. SEO strategies need to be update as search engines work on their algorithms to help give users the best experience possible.