Google is becoming more strict with their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rules. You can receive penalties like low page ranking for link spam and for having too many ads. A website audit is the best way to avoid unexpected penalties.
An auditor will completely evaluate your website and provide a detailed report that includes recommendations for improvement. A website audit should be performed annually or semiannually to ensure your website is maintaining proper health and meeting SEO guidelines.
Kristine Schachinger offers a complete reference guide to a website audit in her article, “SEO Website Audits: Everything You Need to Know.” She offers tips for preparing yourself for the various types of audits.
Types of Site Audits for SEO
- Site Health Audits are typically conducted before any additional audits to asses general website health if traffic is decreasing
- Red Flag Audits are used to assess the origin for penalties. This is typically conducted with a general site health audit, but can be conducted individually as well.
- Competitive Site Audits provide a detailed examination of how your site compares directly with competitors. Typically this audit is used to determine opportunities for growth.
- Conversion Optimization Audits analyze onsite or technical conversion issues.
- Negative SEO or Attacked Site Audits are done if your website metrics were lowered as a result of being penalized for using negative SEO strategies such as paid links.
- Penalty and Recovery Audits analyze lowered site metrics as a result of having been manually penalized.
- Security Audits are typically conducted on high-risk or high-value websites that are deemed vulnerable.
You should request a preliminary phone call with your auditor and grant access to your analytics and Webmaster Tools account before your audit begins. The phone call should cover your website history, past issues and SEO efforts. For best results, be honest with your auditor to get to the root of the problem. Provide your auditor with your analytics and Webmaster Tools credentials so he/she can view website data. Remember, you hired an expert to evaluate your website, so be flexible with their needs. Being defensive could hinder a proper diagnosis of the issues with your website.
Read more in an excerpt from the article.
Site Health Audits
Site health audits, or “Where Do We Stand” audits, are typically general audits where an auditor will look at your site and analyze the following areas for potential or existing issues, opportunities and challenges:
(Note: Every site is different and every auditor has different methods. This is what is generally advisable for a site health audit, but your audit may differ.)
- Technical (e.g., hosting, server metrics, down time, caching)
- Onsite (e.g., content, design, metas, schema tags, URL construction, page speed)
- LinksSocial media (e.g., profiles, optimization, links)
- Internal (e.g., internal link structures, anchor text, site architecture)
- External (e.g., links to your site, value, acquisition patterns, anchor text)
- Miscellaneous (e.g., citations)
These audits are meant to offer you a holistic analysis of your site and give you an overview of everything that is occurring or might have occurred to that site. These site audits are also helpful if you’re trying to root out a recent downturn in traffic or positioning of unknown cause.
These audits will typically include red flag warnings or some type of alert to you when something is found that might be violating the agreed on search engines’ (usually Google) terms of service. If you aren’t receiving “red flag warnings” in your audit, you are missing one of the key points of a site health audit. Make sure it will be addressed.