When getting started with an SEO campaign the first step should be to conduct a thorough SEO audit of the website. An audit ensures that everything is as it should be in your website, helping you stay on top of every situation and on top of the rankings for the keywords you’re targeting.
An on-page audit is a good place to start as it will allow you to check key ranking factors within your website. Any fixes can then be made immediately to ensure good spider crawls and indexing.
Here are the most important steps of any on-page SEO audit:
The title tag is still one of the biggest on-page ranking factors for most search engines. They carry huge weight in terms of how well you site ranks, so try to spend as much time as possible writing great title tags. No page should be without a title tag and they should be optimized with the presence of keywords that reflect the page’s actual content. Just be careful not to stuff too many keywords into the title tags.
Meta Description Tags
Though meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor, it’s still important to write them with care. The meta description tag should be written similarly to a PPC ad. Just as good ad copy on PPC campaigns will increase your CTRs, a good meta description will increase your click-through rate (CTR) on organic search. Remember to keep your meta description tags under 200 characters.
These tags play a big part in optimizing your images as they are used by engines when including your images as part of image search. Just like title tags, each image you have on your website should have an ALT tag attached.
Image optimization can be one of those low-hanging fruits when conducting your on-page SEO audit but can drive good amount of traffic through image searches. Make sure that images are named correctly when doing your auditing. Ie instead of logo.jpg name your company logo [company name]-logo.jpg
Header tags tell the search engines that this is the headline of your page. While auditing your site look out for H tags – if you’re missing any, or you have too many. Ideally, your main headline should be in H1 and then maybe sub-headings in H2. Also if your header tags include “noindex,” “nofollow,” and “noarchive” get rid of them – they can restrict the Google spiders ability to crawl your website.
Robots.txt is a simple text document that search engine spiders read before they enter, crawl and index your website. It’s where a webmaster can tell search engines which pages they can access and which ones are off-limits. Make sure that all the webpages in your website that you want to rank in the search engines are not restricted.
Make sure you have one as it is very important to ensure high crawlability for your website.
If you find any duplicates, you can either edit the pages to make them more unique or in the case of exact copies, 301 redirect them to the “official” page that you want search engines to index.
Broken links are bad for your site’s user experience and it lowers your site’s quality score as far as Google is concerned. If you’re on WordPress, you can use a plugin called Broken Link Checker to locate these little bugs. You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to check for 404 Not Found errors which allows you to either fix or redirect pages that are down.
And that’s a wrap! Good luck with your on-page SEO audit. I hope these steps will help you with it. If you have any additional on-page SEO elements you include in your audit I would love you to share them below.