To understand what an SEO analysis is, let’s take a look at the past. Do you remember the telephone book? The yellow pages were printed business directories, categorized by category, and people used these directories to get service.
Today, search engines do the same thing that Yellow Pages editors do, but in a much more sophisticated and dynamic way. The way the “directory” (search engine results page, SERP for short) works has a certain standard and logic and is not sorted alphabetically or by industry.
Knowing SEO is the same as applying to be listed in the yellow pages and meeting their criteria. It’s a bit technical, but in this article, we want to explain the basics of SEO analysis and how to perform it on your website to help you understand.
What is an SEO analysis?
SEO analysis is an examination of a website’s overall condition, structure, content, and other factors relevant to its search engine ranking. In other words, imagine that you consult an expert to get more attention and visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs), the yellow pages of the Internet. The results tell you where you can improve to increase your SERP ranking and how to develop a better SEO strategy for your business.
Why is an SEO analysis important?
SEO analysis is the first step in developing a bulletproof SEO strategy. It highlights your weaknesses and strengths and clearly shows you what you need to work on to perform better in the SERPs.
In addition to an SEO audit of your pages and website, an SEO analysis of your competitors will help you identify trends, know where your SEO competitors are, so you can develop a strategy that will help you shine.
If you want to become number one in your field, drive more visitors to your website or achieve your business and growth goals, you absolutely need an SEO analysis. A detailed SEO report provides you with applicable knowledge and helps you design a solid SEO strategy.
How to perform an SEO analysis?
An SEO analysis consists of a series of technical components that can be divided into three groups
content (quality and keyword usage) and structural issues, including HTML source code, images, and meta tags.
concerns the elements outside your website that you can control, such as link building, SEO and placement on authority sites, guest blogging, etc.
the technical side of SEO deals with the structure and functioning of your website and its optimization for crawlers. Mobile optimization is also part of it.
First, we need to list and prioritize the items that need to be checked. Then, we plan who will perform part of the analysis and which part will be taken care of by the agency.
Some of the steps can be done using SEO tools and SEO validation tools that are available to everyone. For example, there are a number of keyword research tools, and there are options to suit every budget (some are free). You can choose to have the program automatically look for basic site structure issues and technical errors.
However, you can outsource the more complex technical details to a specialized SEO agency to perform a high-quality, in-depth technical SEO audit.
What you need to pay attention to during an SEO analysis
Now that we’ve explained the basics and the reasons to perform an SEO audit, we’ll cover some technical details in this section to give you a better idea. What are the key elements to look for in a full SEO analysis? What does a full SEO analysis look like? Let’s take a quick look at the details.
Your website’s URL is the “digital address” of your business and is an important part of your SEO practice. The URL for each page on your site helps you organize your content and access the different types of content you offer. They are like signposts in your store, linked by aisle or product category, so visitors can navigate easily.
What should you pay attention to when structuring your URLs? Here are some SEO best practices for URL structure.
- Whenever possible, make sure your URLs are readable and relate to your content, and are not a random collection of letters, alphabets, and numbers. In general, a header is a good idea.
- Including targeted keywords in your URL can have a positive effect on your ranking.
- The shorter the URL, the better; if the URL is longer than 100 characters, you should make it shorter.
- Dashes (-) and underscores (_) are used to separate words in the URL.
- Use a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) application and choose HTTPS instead of HTTP. This encrypts the connection and provides better protection against hackers; using SSL helps improve your site’s search engine ranking and makes it more attractive to users.
Content is probably the most important element you need to work on as part of your SEO analysis by any SEO company and is identified by Google as one of the three most important ranking factors. It is how you convey your message and how search engines perceive you. The content consists of text, keywords, originality, value, and relevance.
Search engines are getting better at recognizing spam and low-quality content and penalizing such pages in their rankings. If you pay attention to the details, you can improve your content and therefore your SERP ranking. Here are some tips you should consider.
- Research keywords before creating your content. Try to think of high search volume and high-density keywords. There are many tools available for keyword research, but you can also hire professionals.
- Conduct regular content gap analyses. Look at your competitors and see what keywords and topics they are ranking for. If there is a gap somewhere, you should fill it and keep up with them.
- Optimize your images Large, high-resolution images can slow down the load time of a page. But low-resolution images are also undesirable.
- Add alt text to all images containing 10-15 words related to the image. When naming image files, use relevant and descriptive words and separate the words with a hyphen.
- Use a catchy page title or title tag with the keywords you want to rank for. The recommended length of a title tag is 50-60 characters. The title should be different from the title tag so that you can insert different keywords.
- Avoid duplicate content. Search engine robots detect and report duplicate content, both within your site and between two different sites. If detected, this can result in a drop in your site’s ranking or removal from the index.
A meta description or meta tag is a kind of summary that describes the content of your website for search engines. They help robots to index your pages according to relevant keywords and have a great influence on search engine optimization.
Make sure that each page has a meta description and that it does not duplicate the content. The description should be between 135 and 160 characters long and contain your target keyword(s).
A blocked resource is a file that GoogleBot cannot access because it is blocked. They are not crawled or indexed by search engines. Search engines will re-evaluate your site, especially if you add SSL to your site. If the resources are blocked, this process is hindered and your ranking suffers. This problem can be solved in the following ways.
- Use Google Search Console to search for blocked resources.
- Look in your robots.txt file for the line that blocks the resource.
- Refresh the line to allow GoogleBot to access the file.
Links represent the movement between related pages or sites and play an important role in the structure of a site and its relationship with other sites. SEO analysis works with two types of links: On-page (internal) links, also known as backlinks, and off-page (inbound and outbound) links. There are two levels. Below are some of the most important points to consider.
- If two articles are linked or if there is a term or concept that is relevant to other content on the site, you should reference it and highlight the link. This is called a contextual link.
- Adding a “Related Articles” or “Popular Articles” section can improve your internal link building.
- Don’t leave pages and content “orphaned”, make sure all your pages have backlinks and internal links so they show up in the SERPs.
- Regularly check the status of your links, correct any broken links, and prevent errors.
- Make sure your anchor text is appropriate. Anchor text is the text that can be clicked on in a hyperlink. It should be relevant to the content of the link and draw the reader’s attention to it, rather than being spammy and long. The same hyperlink should not be used several times on the same page.
- As part of your SEO analysis, check your backlink profile to determine if there are any poor-quality inbound links. If so, contact your website administrator to have them removed. You can also check your backlink list and check your website’s spam score.
- Another way to regulate backlinks is to distinguish between dofollow and nofollow links. If you don’t want search engines to consider incoming links from a given site, but you don’t want mentions to be removed, you can ask the administrator to add a small code to make the site a “nofollow link”, so that bots can’t follow links from that site. By default, all links are dofollow links.
Website structure (architecture)
The architecture of your website is of fundamental importance for the user experience. It also influences the way robots to navigate your site and determine what your site offers and where the different elements are located. There are several ways to optimize the structure of your site.
- List all your main pages at the top of the navigation bar so that visitors and crawlers can easily find them.
- Create an XML sitemap (directory or site map) so that crawlers can understand the structure of your site.
- Make sure that the content mentioned in the sitemap actually exists.
- Improve internal links so that visitors can easily move from one page to another.
The overall usability and load time
Search engines take into account how smoothly users can work with your site when deciding on its ranking. Pages that have fast load times and are user-friendly are rewarded with SERP rankings. There are a few things you can do to optimize load times and usability.
- Optimize your images and make sure they are not too many or too large.
- Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network). This way you can cache pages on servers around the world and reduce response times for multiple visitors in different locations.
- We check and correct all problems related to the backend of your site and all errors in your code.
Nowadays, most internet users access websites from mobile devices. Without proper optimization for mobile devices, you risk missing out on a large number of potential visitors and making it more difficult for visitors to convert. Search engines recommend mobile-friendly sites and display them at the top of search results pages. Here are some tips for mobile optimization.
- Check your site on mobile to see how it performs.
- Make sure your typography and design are also easy to read on mobile devices. Choose a simple, quick design over a complex, overcrowded design.
- Add responsive meta tags to HTML documents
- Apply media queries to layouts
- Make embedded images and videos responsive
We’ve explained what an SEO analysis is, how to perform it and why it’s important, as well as the main elements of an SEO audit. We hope this article will help you plan a thorough SEO analysis and improve the ranking of your site and pages.