Table of Contents
Introduction to SEO Audit:
In this comprehensive SEO audit guide, we are going to walk you through the exact process for conducting an effective SEO audit. This process will help you identify various opportunities to enhance your website’s rankings and increase your organic search traffic. So, grab your favorite note-taking device and follow along as we perform a live SEO audit on a real business.
SEO Audit part 1 : Unveiling the SEO Audit Process
The SEO audit we’ll be performing today focuses on rsblawfirm.com, a law firm in St. Louis. Our goal is to uncover areas where we can optimize their website for better search engine rankings and ultimately more qualified organic traffic.
Step 1: Analyzing Keyword Profile
The initial step is to assess the keyword profile. Using SEMrush, we examine the organic keyword trend to understand the growth and performance of the website’s keywords over time. This overview provides insights into any penalties or issues affecting their rankings. The fact that their performance has remained steady indicates a healthy foundation.
Step 2: Identifying Low-Hanging Fruit Keywords
Moving on, we identify low-hanging fruit keywords—those ranking from positions 2 to 15. These keywords present prime opportunities for improvement. By making minor optimizations and expanding site coverage, we can quickly boost their rankings. Focusing on keywords like “St. Louis criminal defense attorney” and “St. Louis criminal attorney” can yield significant gains due to their proximity to the first page.
Step 3: Enhancing Existing Keywords
We then delve into keywords ranking from positions 16 to 50. These keywords are important but not as urgent as the low-hanging fruit. By refining the pages that already perform well, we can indirectly improve the rankings of these existing keywords. This step often initiates a positive domino effect throughout the keyword profile.
Step 4: Exploring Clustering Opportunities
Keywords ranging from positions 51 to 100 offer clustering opportunities. Although these keywords may not be highly competitive, they often indicate that pages lack proper optimization to rank well. We emphasize hyper-relevance to the location and intent, as seen with terms like “child custody in Missouri.”
Step 5: Addressing Content Intent and SERP Analysis
For successful optimization, content must align with user intent. Analyzing the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) helps identify what content is currently ranking for specific keywords. It’s crucial to create content that matches or exceeds user expectations while addressing their intent.
Step 6: Building Topical Authority
Creating content that establishes topical authority is key to ranking well. By providing comprehensive and in-depth coverage of a topic, you position yourself as an expert in that field. This approach not only benefits users but also signals search engines that your content is valuable and authoritative.
Step 7: On-Page Optimization
Optimizing on-page elements, such as title tags, Meta descriptions, headings, and content, is essential. Each element should be strategically crafted to include target keywords and engage users while accurately representing the page’s content.
Step 8: Technical SEO Review
Conducting a technical SEO review ensures that your website is accessible and understandable by search engines. This involves assessing factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, structured data, and proper indexing.
Step 9: Backlink Audit
Backlinks play a significant role in SEO. Auditing your backlink profile helps identify potentially harmful or low-quality links that could negatively impact your rankings. Building high-quality, relevant backlinks is crucial for SEO success.
Conclusion: Improving Your SEO Strategy
An effective SEO audit is a multi-step process that uncovers various opportunities for enhancing your website’s performance in search engine rankings. By following these steps, you can systematically optimize your content, improve user experience, and boost your organic search traffic.
SEO Audit Part 2 : Unleashing SEO Opportunities through Technical and Content Audits
Evaluating Content for Keyword Intent
A crucial aspect of SEO optimization is aligning content with the user’s intent. It’s essential to recognize the distinction between keywords with transactional intent and those with informational intent. Attempting to rank an informational page for a transactional keyword, or vice versa, can result in an intent mismatch. To address this, we employ a strategy that involves creating top-of-the-funnel informational assets to target keywords of informational intent. At the same time, we ensure transactional keywords are directed towards pages optimized for conversion.
Building Topical Authority through Intent Clarity
For instance, consider the keyword “child custody in Missouri.” It’s evident that the website has been trying to rank a transactional page for a keyword with informational intent. To rectify this, we create a comprehensive informational asset dedicated to the topic “child custody in Missouri.” This resource serves users searching for information, while also driving link equity and relevance to the transactional page meant for “St. Louis child custody and visitation lawyers.” This strategy aligns intent and ensures better rankings for the relevant keywords.
Exploring Localized Clustering Opportunities
Diving into geo-specific opportunities is a pivotal move for local businesses. Keywords with a geographical component, such as “third-degree assault in Missouri,” provide a golden chance to create hyper-relevant content. These localized clusters allow you to establish authority within the community, enhance topical relevance, and cater to the audience’s specific needs.
Performing a Technical Audit for Website Health
Switching gears, the technical audit is vital for ensuring your website’s health and performance. SEMrush’s Site Audit tool is a powerful ally in this endeavor. Crawlability emerges as the most critical factor. If Google cannot crawl your site efficiently, it won’t index or rank well. Maintaining good crawl efficiency is equally essential to ensure all your pages get indexed smoothly.
Crawl Depth Analysis: Avoiding Keyword Cannibalization
The crawl depth analysis reveals the architecture’s efficiency. Ideally, pages should not be more than three clicks deep from the homepage. This architecture promotes better crawlability and indexing. If pages are buried deeper, it signals to search engines that these pages are less important. Maintaining an optimal crawl depth is pivotal for your site’s overall health and rankings.
Addressing URL Structure for Effective Indexing
Analyzing the URL structure is crucial, particularly for local businesses. Utilizing focused folder structures and avoiding keyword overlap in URLs is essential. Incorrect URL structures can lead to keyword cannibalization, where multiple pages compete for the same keyword. Ensuring clear intent and differentiation in URLs enhances your content’s SEO effectiveness.
Assessing Core Web Vitals for User Experience
Core Web Vitals, which include metrics like page speed, interactivity, and visual stability, play a significant role in user experience and subsequently impact SEO rankings. Websites with excellent Core Web Vitals tend to provide a smoother browsing experience, which Google rewards with higher rankings. Evaluating and optimizing these metrics contribute to improved overall site performance.
Conducting a Comprehensive Content Audit
Transitioning to content auditing, SEMrush’s Content Audit tool is a valuable asset. Integrating Google Analytics and Google Search Console data empowers you to assess content performance accurately. The tool presents a comprehensive overview of your content’s current status and potential improvements.
Unearthing Content Opportunities
The Content Audit tool categorizes content into segments that require action. It identifies pages that need rewriting, removal, updating, or even just reviewing. This breakdown guides your efforts in optimizing each piece of content effectively.
Strategies for Underperforming Content
For content that’s not meeting expectations, such as posts with low average view duration or limited traffic, a strategic approach is essential. These underperforming pieces could be due to various factors like keyword selection, content quality, or relevance. Analyzing these elements helps you determine whether to rewrite, update, or remove the content to enhance overall performance.
SEO Audit Part 3: On-Page SEO, Backlink Analysis, and Action Prioritization
In this segment, we will delve into two critical aspects of SEO audit: on-page optimization and backlink analysis. Furthermore, we’ll discuss how to prioritize actions based on the insights gained from the SEO audit. So, let’s dive in and explore these crucial steps in the audit process.
On-Page SEO Enhancement
Optimizing your website’s individual pages for relevant keywords is essential for better search engine visibility. One of the most effective tools for this task is SEMrush’s On-Page SEO Checker. By inputting the page URL and the target keyword, you can receive valuable recommendations to improve your on-page optimization efforts.
The recommendations provided by the tool cover various aspects, including keyword usage, readability, content quality, and more. By implementing these suggestions, you can align your content with SEO best practices, making it more relevant and valuable to both users and search engines.
Remember that on-page SEO is not just about inserting keywords but creating a holistic and informative user experience. By following these recommendations, you’ll enhance the overall quality of your content, making it more likely to rank higher in search engine results.
Analyzing Backlink Profile
Your website’s backlink profile plays a significant role in its SEO performance. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sources can boost your website’s credibility and visibility, while low-quality or toxic backlinks can harm your rankings. SEMrush’s Backlink Audit tool allows you to analyze your backlink profile and identify potential issues.
The Backlink Audit tool categorizes your backlinks, helping you distinguish between high-quality and potentially harmful links. It also identifies any spam or toxic links that could negatively impact your SEO efforts. By reviewing the link profile and anchor text distribution, you can assess the quality and relevance of your backlinks.
It’s essential to consider that not all backlinks are created equal. Focus on acquiring high-quality editorial links that are relevant to your content and industry. This strategy will improve your website’s authority and search engine rankings over time.
Prioritizing SEO Actions
During an SEO audit, you’ll likely uncover numerous opportunities and issues that need attention. However, not all actions carry the same weight in terms of impact and urgency. Prioritization is essential to ensure you allocate your resources effectively.
When prioritizing SEO actions, consider the potential impact on your website’s performance and the feasibility of implementation. Actions that can deliver significant results quickly should take precedence. High-impact actions include keyword optimization, content enhancement, and acquiring quality backlinks.
On the other hand, some actions might be part of a long-term strategy, requiring more time and resources to implement effectively. These could include technical improvements, site architecture changes, or comprehensive content campaigns. By prioritizing actions based on their potential impact and complexity, you’ll be able to create a roadmap for improving your website’s SEO performance systematically.
Building a Winning SEO Strategy
The culmination of the SEO audit process is the development of a comprehensive strategy. Your strategy should leverage the insights gained from the SEO audit and address your website’s unique goals and challenges. It should encompass technical enhancements, content creation, and link-building efforts to achieve sustainable and long-term SEO success.
A robust SEO strategy aligns with your business objectives, focuses on high-impact actions, and adapts to the evolving landscape of search engine algorithms. By creating a detailed roadmap, you’ll have a clear plan to guide your efforts and continuously improve your website’s search engine visibility.