In order to have a site that is SEO and user-friendly, it is essential to maintain its on-page health. Detecting various issues affecting the health of the site can be quite a challenge irrespective of the size of the site. These can be detected by using relevant tools for SEO audit.
What is SEO audit?
An SEO audit entails crawling any website and detecting technical SEO issues. Based on this data is provided for analysis. Various factors go into a website’s SEO. You will need to analyze maximum areas of the website to improve its SEO. The tool used for this is SEMRush. It facilitates high-speed technical SEO audit. It enables you to find and fix on-site errors in an effective manner.
SEO audit for a website reflects its overall health. The audit helps make the website more accessible for search engine robots. It also enhances the user experience.
The result of the audit carried out can be seen through a Site Audit Overview report.
A Site Audit Overview report depicts the results of your first audit of your project. This report will show you an estimate of your website’s on-page health. It will also indicate the problems that need to be addressed.
Your website will be scored between 0-100%. This metric is calculated based on the number of errors and warnings found during the crawl compared to the number of checks performed.
A high Total score indicates a lower problem density. Errors impact the Total Score predominantly compared to warnings. However, you should address both these issues to enhance the health of your site.
A Site Audit Overview report depicts the Errors, Warnings, and Notices in the following manner:
- Errors are indicated in red color. They are the most severe problems on your website.
- Warnings are shown in orange representing issues of medium severity.
- Notices are depicted in blue. They are lesser in severity when compared to errors and warnings. Although notices contain data that can be used for fixing a site, they do not affect the overall site health score.
Major SEO issues to be addressed on a website to boost the SEMRush Audit Score. The SEMrush Site Audit tool carries out a comprehensive check for websites. This check covers 40 unique issues associated with website health and structure.
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These issues are categorized as below:
The user experience can be enhanced through the use of relevant images. These images can be optimized for SEO as well. Search engines not only crawl the text on your website but also look into the descriptions and labels of the related images. They will identify the subject of the image after reading the file name and its ALT attribute. Based on this they will determine the relevancy of the images to appear in the search results.
- Broken external images
- Broken internal images
- Missing alt attribute
Search engines face a difficulty while ranking pages for relevant queries for pages without the appropriate structure for content on the site. The best way to get ahead of the competition for highly valued keywords is to provide information that is being searched in a clear and simple manner. This can be achieved by hosting detailed, unique, relevant content on your website. This content should be well-written and easy to comprehend.
- Duplicate content
- Low text-HTML ratio
- Low word count on page
Links are one of the most critical components of SEO. Crawling them enables a search engine to determine the overall quality of the website, its structure, and which pages are important to the site. Hence, in order to maintain a healthy website, it is essential to follow the best practices when using links.
- Broken internal links
- Broken external links
- Too many on-page links
- Internal links with nofollow attributes
- External links with nofollow attributes
- Orphaned pages (after connecting Google Analytics)
iv) Crawlability and Indexing
Indexing of websites by search engines is done by crawling every URL on a site to read what each page. A domain’s search visibility is negatively impacted if there are any issues that prevent search engine bots from crawling the pages.
- 5XX errors
- Pages couldn’t be crawled (redirection or HTTP flood protection)
- Pages couldn’t be crawled (DNS resolution issues)
- Pages couldn’t be crawled (incorrect URL formats)
- Redirect chains or loops
- 4XX errors
- WWW resolve issue
- Temporary redirects
- Underscores in the URL
- Too many parameters in URLs
v) Meta Title and Descriptions
The title appears on the tab of your browser while viewing a page or above the URL of a result page. All HTML documents require thetag element. It is considered the most significant on-page SEO element. An effective title is one that accurately reflects the content of the webpage and appears relevant to a search by the user. To optimize pages for search visibility, the titles for every page should be clear and relevant.
A meta description is a short explanation of the page’s content. It appears as a tag in your HTML. When a queried keyword is found in a description, search engines show the meta description below the search result. These descriptions can appear on the results pages. Hence, they should be in the range of 150-160 characters to fit the results space. The click through rate of your page is positively impacted through accurate descriptions using keywords.
- Duplicate title tags
- Missing or empty title tags
- Duplicate meta descriptions
- Too long title tag
- Too short title tag
- Duplicate H1 and title tags
- Missing meta description
vi) H1 Heading
The main headings viewed by the visitors on a webpage are the H1 headings. Along with the title tags, the H1 headings define the topic of the page enabling search engines and users to understand. To categorize the content of a webpage, an effective heading hierarchy that can be followed would include using relevant H1 tags, and H2 tags.
- Multiple H1 heading
- Missing H1 heading
vii) Sitemap and Robots
A Sitemap.xml file is basically a directory of all the web pages on a domain. This file is on the website. It enables search engines find and index the pages of the site. Web crawlers can navigate and read every page of a website through a clear and thorough sitemap. This leads to indexing and ranking in search results accordingly. A sitemap.xml file needs to be formatted properly so that it is read correctly. Guidelines are outlined here on sitemaps.org.
A robots.txt file is embedded on your website and it instructs search engines regarding navigation of pages of your site. These instructions pertain to the areas of the site that the robot should visit or avoid. This drastically reduces the time spent by search engines in crawling and indexing websites.
- Format errors in robots.txt
- Wrong pages in sitemap.xml
- Format errors in sitemap.xml
- Sitemap.xml not indicated in robots.txt
- Sitemap.xml not found
- Robots.txt not found
- Orphaned pages in sitemap
HTTPS is a protocol that ensures secure communications over computer networks. Google considers the website’s security as a ranking factor. Hence, websites that do not support HTTPS connections experience less visibility on Google’s search results. Site Audit also verifies HTTPS encryption on the homepage of your domain.
- No redirect or canonical to HTTPS homepage from HTTP version
- Homepage does not use HTTPS encryption
- Internal links on HTTPS pages leading to HTTP pages
- HTTP URLs in sitemap.xml
- Mixed content
- Expired certificate
- Certificate registered to incorrect domain name
- Old security protocol version (TLS 1.0 or older)
- Non-secure pages with password inputs
- No Server Name Indication (SNI) support
- No HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) server support
SEMRush is a useful tool that provides a clear analysis of the health of a website. You can view the errors, warnings, and notices pertaining to different aspects of SEO. These can be resolved to enhance the score of the website. This results in improved health leading to better visibility and user experience.