In this podcast episode, Rebecca reviews the importance of website audits. She talks about how things can go wrong, provides examples of real-world crawls, and also includes a list of her favorite tools for running audits.
Why Audits Matter
I performed my first official website audit back in 2011. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long and that so many prospects and clients have come and gone over the years. One thing that stands out over the years is this simple fact:
Older Websites + Larger Websites + Lots of Admins = A Much Bigger Mess
Things go wrong and technology changes. It just happens. Ongoing audits help us keep our website healthy, which means it produces a more positive experience for human visitors and search engine crawlers.
I’m a strong believer in audits. So much so, that this is something that we review each month with our ongoing SEO clients at emagine. And it isn’t just them. We do a pre-launch and post-launch audit for all new website builds.
You may think that is overkill, but it really isn’t. Even with the best teams and the best intentions, things can creep through. The ongoing process of auditing websites is just part of a solid SEO strategy.
What to Review
- Redirect loops and chains
- Broken links
- Image optimization
- Meta issues
- Keyword cannibalization
- SSL implementations
- Header usage
- Content depth
Example of a Recent Data Pull
I crawled 10,000 URLs and only 25% were actually healthy. Here is an example of what I discovered:
- 5,333 pages have duplicate meta descriptions
- 4,439 issues with duplicate title tags
- 4,331 pages have duplicate content issues
- 3,106 redirect chains and loops
- 1,657 non-secure pages
- 1,130 issues with mixed content
- 86,485 links on HTTPS pages leads to HTTP pages
- 983 internal links are broken
- 498 pages returned 4XX status code
- 17,609 images don’t have alt attributes
- 5,245 pages don’t have an h1 heading
Website Audit Tools
I use a standard set of tools for collecting the data. While most are free, some are paid. I pay for a few tools because they save me many hours per month in work. For me, it is totally worth it, because the money spent is far less than what I can bill for the time saved. You need to find your own balance between free and paid tools.
My favorite tools include:
- Bing Webmaster Tools – On-Page SEO Suggestions and Issues Related to Crawling and Indexing
- DYNO Mapper – Visual Site Maps and Site Wide Accessibility Audits
- Google Analytics – Performance Issues
- Google Search Console – Crawling, Indexing, and Mobile Issues
- Mangools SEO Extension – Meta and Subheader Checks
- MozBar – Meta and Image Alt Text Checks
- SEMrush – Full Blown Technical Audits, Ranking Reports, and Competitive Research
- Google Lighthouse – Technical, SEO, and Accessibility Audit at the URL LEvel
If you are going to invest in only one premium tool, make it SEMrush. This is because it provides a significant amount of data for both existing content ranking and technical SEO issue. This tool will not only help you figure out what is wrong, but it will also help you fix and validate the issues.
If you are not doing ongoing audits, you need to start now. If your SEO agency or consultant isn’t performing these for you, then you need to find a new agency.
Technical SEO is critical for today’s SEO. You have to be vigilant on website maintenance and you cannot ignore this important element of SEO.
Today’s Episode Sponsor
A big thank you to Scripted.com for sponsoring season three of the SEObits podcast!
I’m very particular about who can sponsor our show and who I’ll put my name behind, however, today’s podcast sponsor won me over when I did a walk-through of their Cruise Control content offering. They had all the core ingredients for attracting search engines and appealing to the real humans we all want to convert.
Effective content marketing takes hard work, time, and expertise. The Cruise Control package offers all three. Don’t let content get in the way of achieving your SEO goals. Get help from the talented team at Scripted.com.
If you’re interested in the Scripted.com offering, just head on over to scripted.com/seobits so you can review the special offer for listeners.
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