How to Conduct an On-Page SEO Audit
What should be evaluated in an on-page SEO audit?
There are two areas of focus within traditional search engine optimization: off-site and on-site. And they are very, very different.
In a general sense, off-site search engine optimization focuses on the actual marketing and promotion of a website. The tactics employed include getting a site discovered by an end-user by acquiring links/citations from portals and directories, as well as other websites (particularly those sites considered an authority in their niche).
While the tactics and techniques differ for on-site SEO, links are still what matter most and greatly influence a brand's ability to place in a competitive position on the search result pages of popular engines for the keywords end-users plug in to find a website and its products, services or solutions.
The quantity of the links acquired, believe it or not, may ultimately rely on the quality of a brand's website SEO. Would you be willing to link to a website that couldn't be found with a simple Google search? Unlikely.
To ensure you create the best possible conditions when others are considering linking to you, it is necessary to evaluate the quality of the SEO experience by regularly auditing Web pages/websites to understand if particular elements or properties are positively/negatively influencing how search engines (or others considering a link to your digital property) evaluate a digital property.
When conducting an on-page audit and analysis of a website, focus on four key areas that positively impact SEO performance:
1. Technical Issues
It's no secret that search engines like fast and functional websites as it creates a better experience for the user. The means understanding load times, analyzing domain canonicalization factors if any exist, and studying XML sitemaps in order to create the optimal environment for crawling.
2. Design/Development Issues
After technical barriers are identified, enterprises must look at the design and the user experience during an SEO audit. The focus should be on elements that may impact a search engine's ability to crawl pages. This includes identifying broken links if any exist, ensuring conversion elements are crawlable, and confirming that navigation is clear and organized. Another area to pay attention to is the construction of elements such as header tags, which indicate to search engines the prominence of particular page elements.
Read, "Web Design for SEO"
3. Content Issues
There is still a group of search engine optimization professionals whose sole focus is the development of content. Behind the practice of link building, I believe content (and the quality and quantity of it) is the next most important factor in SEO success (it is, after all, how many links are acquired). Search engines have become sophisticated aggregators, analyzers and providers of information, but they still rely greatly on websites to provide information, education and entertainment. Without content, visibility isn't possible.
4. Link Issues
The final step is to audit the quantity and quality of links that a website is including to external destinations (other websites). Essentially, who are you linking to? Believe it or not, it sends a strong signal to search engines about what an enterprise considers important and valuable for those visiting and using its website.
SEO used to be a lot easier. There was once a time when search engines would reward any website that could show them a relevance signal. Today, it requires a whole lot more. It requires high performance off-site and on-site, from a technical and marketing perspective. Let these areas of focus guide you to greater search engine optimization success.