Carrying out an SEO audit requires a wealth of knowledge and skills.
At SEO.fr, we have many years’ experience of audits, with a wide variety of cases and issues. On this page, we present the main parameters to be taken into account during an SEO audit: technical, semantic and popularity factors. Performing an SEO audit is the foundation of any good web visibility strategy. This key element requires in-depth knowledge and solid expertise in SEO, which our SEO agency can provide.
What are the main SEO criteria to be taken into account during an audit?
What is an SEO audit and why is it important?
The SEO audit is a crucial stage in the optimization of a website. It’s an in-depth evaluation of all aspects of a site’s SEO, aimed at identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement.
An SEO audit examines elements such as site structure, content quality, keyword optimization, technical performance, search engine visibility and competition. It provides an accurate picture of the site’s current situation and highlights priority areas for optimization.
Its importance lies in the fact that it enables us to identify problems that may be affecting a site’s visibility and ranking in search results. By detecting gaps, technical errors or irrelevant content, it offers concrete recommendations for improving the site’s SEO performance.
A well-executed SEO audit can help increase a site’s organic visibility, attract more qualified traffic and improve the user experience. It also helps you stay competitive in a constantly evolving environment, by following SEO best practices.
The essential steps
The SEO audit is an essential step in optimizing a website for search engines. It is a detailed process to examine in depth all key aspects of site performance. Each category represents a specific aspect of SEO that requires in-depth evaluation to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.
The SEO audit is divided into several categories to examine the key aspects of website optimization.
Content and semantics
This category of audit focuses on evaluating and optimizing the technical aspects that influence a site’s visibility and overall performance in search engines. During an SEO audit focused on technical performance, several elements are examined in detail.
- Indexing: The first parameter to check during a site SEO audit is the state of indexing. You need to know whether the site’s pages are correctly indexed (known and visible in Google results), and if not, why not. A simple command “site: mon-site.fr” allows you to check how many pages are indexed on Google.
- Robots.txt: Robots.txt is a file used to prevent search engine robots from analyzing and indexing certain irrelevant pages on your site. This is particularly true of the access page to your administration area. This is a sensitive file, and the slightest error can have negative repercussions on SEO. The SEO audit is therefore an opportunity to check that no “useful” pages are banned from the search engines’ crawl.
- Sitemap.xml: The sitemap.xml, or XML sitemap, is a file intended for the indexing robots of search engines. It lists all the URLs on your site (pages, photos, etc.) that you want indexed. To optimize resources, Google only allocates a limited amount of time to its crawlers (robots passing over your site) to review the various URLs on a site. This file optimizes this time by centralizing all the links for a given domain name.
- Loading time : User experience (UX) is a key SEO criterion for search engines. With the advent of cell phones and Google’s Mobile First rollout, the loading speed of sites on mobile is more than ever one of the factors determining good positioning in the SERPs. This criterion is becoming increasingly important, and we’re starting to see more and more use of the term SXO.
- Text-to-code ratio: The ratio of text to code is one of the points to be evaluated in an SEO audit. Semantics is an important factor in understanding a page: search engines need a sufficient number of words to analyze it and understand its theme. A page with a lot of code, but little textual content, is not likely to rank well on Google, Qwant and other search engines.
- Keywords in URLS: This is the first thing robots see when they visit a page. In addition to making URL sharing easier for Internet users, your site immediately sends important information to search engines about your theme. The impact of keywords in URLs may not be fundamental, but all these optimizations put together contribute to better visibility.
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Content and semantics
Once the technical aspect has been analyzed, it’s time to deal with the semantic aspect. Content, structure and internal linking play a key role in SEO strategies.
META title and META description tags
Being indexed on Google isn’t enough: you also need to be visible on results pages that are increasingly rich in information, and be able to attract traffic.
The “META title” and “META description” tags not only inform the search engine about the page’s content, but also play a fundamental role in attracting visitors. The higher your click-through rate (CTR), the more relevant your site can appear to the global search giant on a given query.
Hn are used to structure a page with headings and subheadings. The aim is twofold: to make the page easier for search engines to understand, and to make it easier for the web user to read (and therefore to enjoy a better user experience).
They range from H1 to H6:
- H1 corresponds to the page title ;
- H2 corresponds to a paragraph title;
- H3 corresponds to a sub-paragraph title;
Each Hn must describe the content of the following text as well as possible, in particular by using as extensive a lexical field as possible.
From an SEO point of view, tree structure refers to the depth of pages. It’s one of the first things you need to think about when creating your site. Unfortunately, this aspect is all too often neglected, and the corrective measures required are often time-consuming and costly.
The principle is simple: the closer a page is to the home page, the more likely it is to be well positioned. Since you can’t put every page on your site at the root, you need to :
- Set priorities according to your business objectives, for example;
- Position your landing pages to maximize conversion.
“Content is king. More than ever, the content of your site is an essential SEO criterion, but also a powerful conversion lever.
By auditing the texts already in place, the SEO specialist in charge of your site is able to diagnose a number of blocking points:
- Poor textual content and/or content poorly adapted to SEO needs and targeted queries;
- Duplicated content;
- Restricted lexical field;
- Relevance of content;
Your SEO project manager will then help you to structure and enrich your content, using professional and impeccable web copywriting.
Your site’s popularity
Certainly one of the most important aspects of your SEO strategy, but also one of the most complex.
Analysis of your external links
For a long time, Google’s algorithm was heavily based on external links, allowing some to manipulate the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) solely by acquiring hundreds of often low-quality links. Since 2012 and the deployment of Google Penguin, such Black Hat techniques (so called because they don’t respect Google’s charter) are no longer an option, as they result in penalties.
However, acquiring links, also known as link building or link building, is still an influential SEO lever, provided they are natural and qualitative. The analysis of inbound links (also known as referring pages) is therefore an essential part of any SEO audit. It enables us to establish a sustainable netlinking strategy, in particular by detecting any toxic links or highlighting a low number of backlinks.
A referring domain is a site that links to a page on another site. More than the number of links, it’s the number of these referring domains that is essential in Google’s eyes. Indeed, if a domain name has 500 referrers, it’s much more likely to be natural than 500 links from a single ndd.
Of course, this aspect alone is not enough, as other parameters such as the quality of the referent, his authority and his theme also come into play.
Links per page
When a page makes a link, it transmits popularity. From this point of view, it’s easy to understand that a link made from a page containing dozens of links only transmits a tiny part of its popularity, which will be dispersed over all the page’s outgoing links. Worse still, it can send the wrong signal to Google if this number turns out to be very large.
With all these parameters, you’ve got the basics you need to carry out an SEO audit. But there’s another important factor: experience. The tools provide the information, but only experience can interpret it correctly and structure an effective, long-term SEO strategy.
The real added value of a person dedicated to SEO will be knowing how to prioritize optimizations to bring the best ratio of time invested to SEO benefits.
Pour élaborer la vôtre, prenez contact avec nos consultants SEO qui réaliseront un audit gratuit de votre site internet et établiront avec vous un plan d’action pour un SEO de qualité sur une année ou plus.