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Elena Terenteva

SEO Audit with Chuck Aikens #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
SEO Audit with Chuck Aikens #semrushchat

Every day, marketing professionals deal with mistakes. When you write an e-mail, you do a grammar check before sending it; when you find a mistake in your report, you recount it; when you see gaps in your quarterly results, you create a plan for filling them next quarter.

This is what we do every day – checking, redoing and improving. And I’m sure you’ll probably agree that something as important as a website, which requires 1000 hours or more of teamwork, deserves at least the same attention to detail as your emails.

During our last SEMrush Twitter Chat, we discussed every possible aspect of creating an effective site audit process with hundreds of participants and our special guest expert Chuck Aikens, President of Volume Nine. If you still have questions after the recap of this event, please leave them in the comments.

Key elements of SEO auditOk, first of all, let's take a look at site audit checklist. Later we'll take a closer look at some of these issues.

SEO audit: key elements

Off-site links and brand signals auditBacklinks are tough! And most importantly – there is no way that Google will stop considering them one of their most important ranking factors. So a proper backlinks profile audit will always help your business grow and prevent possible failure.

One of the biggest struggles you can face during a backlink audit is the amount of data you need to check. Don’t worry – there are always helpers.

Your backlinks profile can have thousands of links. Remember, they are your most valuable assets. An automated audit is a big help, but not a panacea.

Be critical and attentive. On one hand, the purpose of your audit is to clear your site of ALL spammy and low-quality links, not just remove the worst. “If you find yourself arguing about whether a link is good or bad, you already know which it is” - Volume Nine ‏@V9SEO.  

One the other hand, you don’t want to go dead broke!

Pay a lot of attention to brand signals. The more people talk about your brand and spread the word about your company through the web and social media, the better.

For grabbing this data you can use tools, but even manual research can give pretty decent results. For example, Erik Campo ‏(@erikcampoparra) suggests that you “export stats from your preferred SM platforms (Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc.) and analyze them.”

Speaking of tools, at SEMrush, we use Moz's Open Site Explorer and Mention for brand mention tracking, but there are other solutions.

Common SEO audit mistakesYou already have a rough idea of what you need to do, but it's equally important to know what you shouldn't do during site audit. Our participants pointed out the most common mistakes you can face during an SEO audit.

Common SEO Audit mistakes

SEO audit fix that have the highest impact on rankingsIf you are looking for a simple answer here, I’m going to disappoint you – there is no special, secret issue that will suddenly improve your ranking. The only real answer involves taking a complex and consistent approach.

Performing a site audit can identify problems that you can fix right away, but remember that it can also spot gaps in your general strategy which take more than a day to fix. So for now, we’ll only talk about more immediate issues.

First of all, start with technical issues, which have a direct impact on website content. And take a closer look at your content itself – thin content is not interesting, even for robots.

Be sure that nothing is keeping search engines from crawling and indexing your site. Especially if you’ve recently redesigned it or added some new pages.

Don’t’ forget about UX fixes.

While fixing high-priority issues, don’t forget to fix the smaller ones.

A single 404 page will bring you no harm – it's not even crawled by search engines. However, small mistakes can add up and turn into a big problem.

SEO audit toolkitCheck out Top 15 of site audit tools mentioned during Twitter Chat.

TOP 15 SEO audit tools

30 minutes site auditAs a lot of our participants mentioned that 30 minutes is an insufficient amount of time for deep research. “If you can't dedicate more time than 30 minutes to an SEO audit, then why even bother? Make a sandwich instead” - Anthony Randall ‏(@tonyxrandall).

But still, 30 minutes is enough to provide direction for further movement.

Take a quick glance at your website as a user. There is no single best solution for a webpage; there are pages that help you to achieve your goals better than others, and there is always room for a critical look.

Analyze your content! Maybe 30 minutes is not enough to develop a strategy, but it’s totally enough for polishing and editing.

Also, it’s important to spend your time wisely, whether you have only 30 minutes for an audit or an entire week.

We hope you found a couple of new ideas for your site audit. And remember – there is no problem without solution! Good luck!

See you next Wednesday at 4 pm BST!

Special thanks! All images were created from tweets by following participants:

@AdamDince @AdamJamesMason @AgentPalmer @akshtz @AllisonLaDean @AndrewDennis33 @AnneCGallegos @BethKahlich @Beymour @Brad_Machine @BrandonTLuong @celilcan @chuckaikens @correctdesign @DavidProHQ @directom @DOZCOM @ECWseo @explorionary @GuideTwit @HermanTinkura @jacquesbouchard @jbergess @jennilized @JesseStoler @JosieMHardy @julienferras @KGarvSEO @kougarov @Levente_Szfarli @LJordanOnline @maharnouman @manishwebmaster @MikeBlazerX @MilwaukeePPC @mktackabery @msweeny @netvantage @nicolle_w1 @NileshYadav91 @oozn @popiplo @propecta @PU3YLO @rajeshseosem @Realicity @revaminkoff @SamGooch @Sams_Antics @saqibkhan1984 @SarrahMcgraw @searchrook @SEOcial @sergio_redondo @SnowWrite @TechWyse @ThinkSEM @tonyxrandall @webbeeseospider @writingforseo

Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush.

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