In today’s video, I’m going to show youhow to perform an SEO audit for any website in 20 minutes or less.
[Music] Hey guys, it's Joshua Hardwick here with Ahrefs.
Before I dive into this process, let me firstintroduce the tools I’ll be using for this SEO audit.
So I've got Google Analytics, Search Console, PageSpeed Insights, Google Structured Data Testing Tool, Ahrefs obviously, Copyscape, a SERP Simulator, and a Web Page Word Counter And as you can see, I’ve already got thesealready open in multiple browser tabs.
So if you’re following along with this video, I’d advise you to do the same.
Get all of these open and you'll be good to go.
And this final tab is the website I’ll beusing for the bulk of this demonstration, which is simplelifeinsure.
But obviously you can use your own websiteor a client's website or whatever you want to use.
So, let’s get to it.
Now, the first thing that I'm going to dois I'm going to check that only one version of the site is actualy browsable.
Right now, I’m viewing the website at https://simplelifeinsure.
But I want to make sure that this is the onlylocation at which I can access this website.
So all of the versions of this site shouldredirect to this version, which we call the “canonical.
” So first, I'm going to check the non-secureversion at http, rather than https.
And straight away, you can see that this doesin fact redirect to the canonical https version, which is a good start.
Now I’ll try the www version with and without https.
So, let's type those in http, that seems toredirect and https with the www.
So that also seems to redirect too.
So there are no problemsthere.
All of those different versions that someone could kind of type in are in factredirected to the canonical version of the site.
So moving on, I need to actually crawlthe website so that I can check for any other issues.
And for this, I'm going to use Ahrefs’ SiteAudit tool, which if you’re following along, can be found at ahrefs.
And, just a quick side note: you could useScreaming Frog for this or another crawling tool.
But Site Audit is probably your bestbet if you’re following along, with this video.
So here, what I'm going to do is I'm goingto start a new project, enter the domain, select the correct http protocol, which inthis case is https, then I'm gonna hit next, and next again.
This just ensures that weget the most accurate audit.
And then I'm just going to hit “next” one final time.
Finally, I’ll just uncheck this option toschedule a weekly crawl, and finally just hit “create project.
” And that’s it.
The site is now being crawled.
So, while I wait for that to finish, I'm goingto perform a few more manual checks.
The first of which is making sure that thesite is actually indexed in Google, which I'll do by searching in Google for site:simplelifeinsure.
And it looks like there are around 222 results.
And as I know this site pretty well, I knowthat looks about right, but if you’re following along with this and you have no clue whetherthat number corresponds to the real amount of pages on your website, then come back tothis step once your crawl in Site Audit is complete.
So I actually already ran a crawl for thiswebsite before I started recording this video.
So to demonstrate this, I'm just going togo to the “Internal pages” report in Site Audit for the crawl that I actually completedbefore recording this video.
And in this case, you can see that there isa small discrepancy in the number of pages, being indexed compared to those that are actuallyon our website.
Which is actually being caused, as I've investigated this already.
Is beingcaused by Google indexing a few individual elements from the homepage, which is somethingthat, you know, needs to be fixed at some point.
So next up, I'm going to run a quick checkand check if the site ranks for its brand name.
So to do that, I'll just type in simple lifeinsure into Google.
And as you can see, it does in fact rank andit's the number one result too.
So there are no problems there.
So now I’m just going to jump back to thesite and I'm going to run a few basic on-page checks for all the most important pages onthe site, starting with the homepage.
So to do this I'm just going to right-clickand hit “view page source, ” which will show me the HTML for the page.
Then I'm going to start by taking a look atthe title tag.
So if you’re struggling to spot this, justhit CMD+F or CTRL+F I believe on Windows and type a less-than sign, followed by the word “title.
” You can see that it then gets highlightedin the HTML and you can see that title tag.
So here, the title tag reads, “Instant affordablelife insurance quotes – Simplelifeinsure.
” So at first glance, this looks pretty good, you know.
But I want to check a couple of things: Number one, is this a good length? Becausetitle tags that are too long get truncated in the search results, which doesn't reallylook good.
And number two I want to check whether thisis optimized around any worthwhile keywords, which it should be, ideally.
So number one is easy to check.
Just copyand paste the title tag into a SERP simulator such as SERPSim, which is what I”m using hereand it’ll kick back whether or not it’s too long.
In this case, you can see that everythinglooks good.
So let’s move on and check the keywords.
So to me, it looks like this title tag hasbeen formulated around the keyword “affordable life insurance, ” or perhaps “life insurance quotes.
” So I'm going to check both of these in Ahrefs’Keywords Explorer.
So if I just quickly type that in, you cansee that both of these appear to have a decent amount of search volume, so again, you know, there's no problems there.
It looks like this is quite a well optimized title tag.
So let's move on and check the meta description.
Again, you can find this easily by searching.
Just type in the less than sign and then you know, meta, and you'll get kind of all ofthe meta descriptions and title tags and all that kind of stuff.
So I'm just going to paste this again intothe SERP simulator later.
And as you can see, length is totally fine.
And it also looks to me like it's been prettywell-written, you know, it's quite a nice description that kind of sums up the site quite well.
So finally, I’m just going to check theH1 tag on the page.
Now, it’s not an absolute requirement thesedays, but I do generally prefer there to only be one of these on the page, so one H1 tag.
And it’s also best, in my opinion if the keywords are sprinkled in there as well.
So on this page, you can see that there areactually two H1s, which are effectively just duplicates of each other.
So this is not a big deal.
Personally I’dprefer to remove one of them, but aside from that, you know, it's a nice length and I cansee the keywords we just checked are indeed sprinkled in, so this is another pass forthis website.
So I recommend performing these manual checkson all the most important pages on your website.
And by “important, ” I’m generally referringto those with the most traffic.
You can use Google Analytics to find thisout, or alternatively, if you're not using Google Analytics you can go to Ahrefs’ SiteExplorer, enter your domain, and then go to the Top Pages report, which will show youthe pages that perform the best in terms of organic traffic.
Then it’s just a case of working down thislist and performing the same manual checks on each of those page.
But anyway, let's move on and let’s getback to the crawl report in Ahrefs’ Site Audit.
This tells us a ton of information basically.
But I’m going to start by checking the “HTML Tags” report to see if it found any otheron-page errors across the site.
And as you can see, it did.
44 pages with multiple H1 tags, 33 pages missinga meta description, and 7 pages where the title tag is too long.
And there's also onepage where the meta description is too short.
So I'm not going to bore you by sifting throughevery single one of these errors in this video, but these are issues that should at leastbe investigated and probably fixed at some point.
So let's move on and next I’m going andcheck for duplicate and thin content.
So, sticking with the Site Audit, I'm goingto go to the “Content Quality report.
” And under “Clusters of duplicate pages, ”you can see that it’s reporting no duplicates found.
So again, this is a pass for this particular site.
But it's worth noting that this only looksfor duplicate content on your domain.
On the domain that you actually crawled.
It doesn’t check if any of our content isduplicated across other websites.
To do this, you'll need to use Copyscape.
So I'm going to do this and I'm going to enter a URL from the site, and I’ll just use thehomepage for this example.
And in this case you can see that Copyscapehas actually found a few matches, but despite this, I don’t think they’re anything toworry about here.
If you look closely, these look to be triggeredby the disclaimer in the footer which, in all honesty, is probably just a stock disclaimerand nothing to worry about whatsoever.
So for this site, I’m not too worried aboutstolen content or anything like that so I'm not going to bother checking any more pages.
But I do want to check for thin content, whichis content that's kind of short and pointless and doesn't really provide any value.
So I'll just quickly hop back to Site Auditand check the “Content Quality”report once again.
And here I’m looking for “Low word count”errors, of which as you can see, this site doesn't appear to have any.
So you know, we’re all good at the end inthis instance.
So next up we've got site speed.
Now, the most obvious tool to use for thisis Google’s Pagespeed Insights which is a good tool, when it actually works.
If I try this with the Simple Life Insurefor the homepage, for example, you can see that it kicks back a “Speed unavailable”error.
Which is obviously pretty useless.
There are other tools that you can use tocheck site speed, such as GTmetrix, but actually, this is something else that Site Audit shouldhave already checked.
So jumping back again to Site Audit, I’llcheck the “Performance” report this time and see if there are any “Slow page” errors.
So there are in this instance.
And clicking through to the full report onthis issue will reveal a list of all the slow-loading URLs so you can kind of investigate those individually.
And you can even order this list by organictraffic so you can then prioritize the fixes, which is a nice hack in my opinion.
So moving on, next up, I'm going to checkfor structured data issues.
So for those of you not familiar with structureddata, it’s basically a type of structured markup that some sites choose to add to theirpages so as to supply Google with a more structured view of that page.
If you’ve ever seen results with star ratings, or reviews, or calorie counts or any of that stuff in the SERPs, then you’re probablyfamiliar with structured data or at least the results of it.
So to test structured data, there’s a GoogleStructured Data Testing tool.
So basically, you just enter a URL, and itkicks back whether or not there are any errors with the structured data on that page.
Now the site I’ve been using thus far doesn’thave any kind of special structured data markup, so I’ll use a different URL for this example, which is a pizza dough recipe from Martha Stewart dot com.
So I've pasted this into the structured datatesting tool and run the test and it kicks back a couple of warnings.
The lack of anauthor name and the lack of nutritional information for the recipe.
Both of these things, not a particularly bigdeal, but worth fixing nonetheless.
Ok, so before I continue, I should mentionthat I’m just going to switch gears here and use the Ahrefs blog as the example sitefor the next few steps.
The reason for this is because I’ll needto access data from analytics and search console, and I don’t actually have this data forSimple Life Insure So, next step, a quick organic traffic analysis.
So for this, I’m going to head over to theAcquisition report in Google Analytics, and then I'm going to go to Overview and thenOrganic Search.
So I'm also going to set the time period forthe past month.
And it looks like, as you can see, we’reaveraging around 1, 800 visits a day from organic search on the Ahrefs blog, which isn’t too bad at all.
So next, I'll check the “Landing Page”report.
So this shows you the pages that are bringing in the most search traffic.
And as you can see, for the Ahrefs blog, itlooks like it’s our website traffic article.
So finally, I’m going to set the periodto the last 12 months to get a sense of whether traffic is increasing or decreasing.
And as you can see, it looks like it’s risingquite nicely actually.
So if for whatever reason, you don’t haveGoogle Analytics installed, you can instead use the Top Pages report in Ahrefs’ SiteExplorer to get a sense of the pages that receive the most organic traffic.
So it’s clear that organic traffic is movingin the right direction for Ahrefs' Blog But what about rankings? So to check this, I’ll go to Ahrefs' SiteExplorer, enter the blog URL, and then check the Organic Search tab on the Overview report.
Looking at the Organic Keywords graph, I cansee that the rankings are indeed on the increase.
Which again is good and is what you wouldprobably expect when you see a rise in organic traffic as we are doing with Ahrefs' blog.
But actually, as we recently rewrote our “SEOtips” article, I kind of want to know how that specific page is performing.
So next up, I'm going to enter that into thesearch bar and check this same graph.
So it looks like there was a slight dip inJanuary, but it’s now ranking for more keywords than ever.
Which again, is definitely a good sign.
Digging a little deeper, I also want to knowhow it’s performing for the main target keyword, which in this case is “SEO tips.
” I’ll check this by searching for “SEOtips” in the Organic Keywords report and then viewing the history chart.
So it looks like rankings have increased since the update in September, and now the rankingsare reasonably steady in positions 3-5, you know, hovering around that area.
So pretty good, but still room for improvement.
Which leads me neatly onto the next step ofthe audit process actually, which is finding low-hanging keyword opportunities.
So let me go back a step and view data forAhrefs’ blog as a whole.
And then I’m going to navigate to the OrganicKeywords report once again.
And in here, I’m going to filter for keywordswhere Ahrefs’ blog, pages on Ahrefs' blog, currently rank in positions 3 to 5.
And I'm I’ll also going to add a searchvolume filter, and set that at a minimum of 1, 000 searches per month.
So now I can see keywords that have a goodnumber of monthly searches, for which we already have rankings in positions 3-5.
Basically, these are low-hanging opportunities.
If we could increase rankings by just oneor two positions for any of these keywords, it would no doubt result in a nice traffic boost.
So you’ll actually notice that one of thesekeywords on the list is “SEO tips, ” which is definitely a keyword that we should focus on.
So again, this brings me nicely onto the nextstep which is a backlink profile analysis.
So much like the organic traffic analysis, this isn’t so much about finding specific problems and fixing them as it is about makingsure things are generally heading in the right direction.
So I’ll start by going to the Overview reportin Site Explorer, and checking out the Referring Domains graph.
So it looks like the number of referring domainsis steadily increasing as is the traffic.
But what kinds of anchors are those domainsusing when linking to us? So let’s scroll down to the “Anchors Cloud”and take a quick look.
So it looks as though there’s a mixtureof anchors, but as you can see, it's mostly branded anchors, which is again quite good.
So finally, I’m going to dive a bit deeperand make sure there are no dodgy sites actually linking to the Ahrefs blog.
So for this, I’ll go to the Referring Domainsreport, then sort the domains by domain rating from lowest to highest.
So nothing is jumping out at me particularlyin this report, so on the whole, things I would say are ok.
Obviously, this is a very quick and high-levelview.
So if you’re concerned about dodgy sites linking to you, then I would recommendspending more time in this report and delve in a little bit deeper.
Ok so next up, I want to make sure there areno broken pages on the blog.
And especially not broken pages with a lot of backlinks.
So, I’ll go to the “Best by Links” reportand then filter for 404 pages.
So it looks like there are a few broken images, but nothing too worrying.
No pages with a lot of backlinks.
Most of these images are likely the resultof old blog posts being updated or deleted.
None of them, as I say have a lot of linkspointing to them, so these are nothing really to worry about.
If you do see broken pages with a ton of referringdomains, then you may have issues.
In that case, I would actually recommend checkingout the full guide to finding and fixing broken links, which you can find atahrefs.
So I’m also going to check for broken outboundlinks on the blog.
And for this I'll use the Broken Links report under Outgoing Links.
So it looks like there are a few of theseeither need to be removed or updated, ideally.
Which brings me to the final two steps inthe SEO audit process, both of which revolve around content.
So the first is a content gap analysis.
This basically involves finding keywords thatcompetitors currently rank for yet, we currently don’t.
So for this, I’ll use the Content Gap tool within Ahrefs'.
So I already know a handful of competitorsfor Ahref.
Backlinko for example, Siege Media, and Hobo Web.
And I'm going to enter these domains as atarget in the Content Gap tool.
Then I’ll add Ahrefs blog under the, “Butthe following target doesn’t rank for” option.
By the way, I should stress that all of theseneed to be set to domain mode.
So finally, I'm just going to hit “showkeywords” to uncover any content gaps.
So right away, there are quite a lot of results.
But to filter these down, I’m going to filter only for keywords with a search volume ofat least 5 thousand.
So now I can see a few good keywords thatour competitors are ranking for, yet we currently aren’t.
These would be well worth us creatingsome content around.
After all, if our competitors are rankingfor such terms, then what’s to stop us ranking for them? So onto the last step in our SEO audit process, which is running a full content audit.
Now we did this a couple of years back andended up deleting over 200 pages from the Ahrefs blog.
All of these were low-quality pages that servedno purpose and brought virtually no traffic to the site.
But the cool part is this: our organic trafficactually increased after we deleted these pages.
So what exactly did we do? Well, it was quite simple, actually.
We found low-quality pages with little tono organic traffic and if they had potential and could be easily improved, thenwe updated and relaunched them.
If not, we deleted them and redirected theURL to another relevant page on the blog.
To be honest, this is quite an in-depth topic, and it’s one that we plan to tackle soon with a full post on the blog.
But for now, I would advise that should youchoose to perform a content audit, you should avoid deleting content unless you’re absolutelycertain that it serves no purpose and has no value.
Even then, it may be better to just improveand relaunch that content.
And that just about brings us to the end ofour 16-step SEO audit process.
So I hope it was useful and of course, don’tforget to check out the full post on the Ahrefs blog, where you can find a much more in-depthwrite-up of this entire process.
And again, if you enjoyed this video, don’tforget to hit “subscribe” because there’s plenty more where this came from.
Cheers guys! [Music].