Getting a new client or starting on a new account is an exciting opportunity. It's easy to get lost in the excitement to try and make a difference immediately. But jumping in head first usually results in troubles––you know the old saying about counting your carts before your horse eggs hatch (or something like that).
To prevent diving in too soon, one of the first projects we suggest when beginning an SEO account is performing a site health audit.
What is a Site Health Audit?
The name speaks for itself with this one, but in case it’s not clear, a site health audit is a shallow dive into everything SEO-related for a website in order to determine its SEO "health."
The audit is not limited to just on-page content, technical SEO, or UX, but instead is a broad series of observations about aspects of the site that might be impacting performance and keyword rankings.
The point of a site health audit is not as much about fixing problems as it is identifying them. Evaluating why a site may be succeeding or struggling with rankings can be a vast undertaking, and is usually a result of several factors rather than just one or two.
At Perfect Search, we have a checklist we like to run through during audits, whether it's working on a new site or with an old client that needs a tune-up.
Here's an inside look at our site health audit checklist:
The Site Health Checklist
1. Technical Health
A website could have the best content in the world, full of highly-authoritative and trustworthy information and earned backlinks from the most reputable sources. However, this won’t mean a thing if crawlers can’t find the page. That’s where we begin our venture, with the Robots.txt and the XML sitemap. From there, we like to take a look at the schema, crawl errors, and backlink profile of the site.
Now it’s time to get to the meat and potatoes, the bread and butter, the insert food metaphor here of SEO: the content. Every website has content, obviously, but not all content is created equal. Here are just a few of the questions we like to ask about content during a site health audit:
Is it optimized? This applies to both the meta data and on-page copy. Recognizing if the copy is already optimized let’s you know how drastic the fixes need to be.
What is the quality or amount? Even well-written content will struggle to push through the clutter if there isn’t a lot of it, but a lot of poor content isn’t better. Making a quick note of the content’s quality and quantity lets you see what is the bigger priority.
How’s the internal linking? How well does the website encourage users to stay on the site? These factors double as a positive technical review to see how well crawlers can navigate a site.
3. Conversion Rates
Last but not least, we always like to take note of some initial thoughts in terms of the site's user experience, or UX. UX includes everything that makes a website easier or harder for visitors to use, such as whether there’s a search function, how easy the homepage is to understand, and how the navigation bar functions.
Because UX is the last step in the SEO conversion funnel, it can also be the most vital. You don’t want to go through all the work of effective SEO and land visitors to you page only for them to become frustrated with the lack of user-friendliness and leave.
Of course, like everything, a good health audit is customizable to a site, meaning it can be personalized each time to focus on certain elements depending on the client's needs. By performing a site health audit with these 3 key steps in mind, you can immediately set your account up for success.
Interested in more SEO? Need a site health audit of your own? Perfect Search Media is a Digital Marketing Agency with over 15 years of experience specializing in SEO and PPC. Contact us today to learn more!