Hello and welcome to my completed guide on how to complete a blog SEO audit for 2019. First of all, go and get yourself a cup of tea or coffee (or even mulled wine) because this is not going to be one of those blog posts you can just sit and read. Give yourself a couple of hours to go through the steps, then we’ll build a blog audit action plan on the things we need to work on in terms of Search Engine Optimisation for your blog in 2019.
I’ve focused a lot on using SEO in terms of content creation. It’s dead easy to slam some keywords into your image alt tags, change your meta description using Yoast and write titles and headlines just for Google. But how many of us look at the technical side of SEO?
Audit your blog ready for 2019
I’m guilty. I really am. It’s been a couple years since I’ve sat down and really dug deep into my blogs SEO. It’s daunting, but it’s okay. We’ll get through this together.
What we are going to do is put our websites through a few checks to see where we stand and then come up with an action plan for things to work on.
Don’t worry, I’ll write further posts on how to fix some of these problems so please do comment, email, Tweet or DM me on Instagram if you have some specific requests.
The Full Series:
- How to complete an SEO Audit for your blog.
- Step 1: Http vs Https
- Step 2: Rank for your brand name.
- Step 3: On page SEO.
- Step 4: Site speed.
- Step 5: Structured Data Errors
- Step 6: Broken Links
- Step 7: Mobile Site Speed
- Step 8: Indexing Errors
- Step 9: Crawl Report
- Step 10: Check the keywords you rank for.
The ultimate guide to conducting a full SEO audit on your blog.
Step 1: CHECK ONLY 1 VERSION OF THE SITE IS BROWSEABLE
For this you want to check that all versions of your website redirect to just one version. This should be the https version. Type in the following (on your own domain name, obviously, not mine!) and see if they all redirect back to one version.
Hopefully, you’re all good, time for step 2!
Step 2: CHECK RANKING FOR BRAND NAME
Most of us should already rank for our brand name. You want to rank top for your brand name because if someone is searching for you, you want to be found. But some of you might have a less specific blog name than skinnedcartree. It’s a made-up word and a lot of bloggers use something a bit more general. My good friend Katie Middleton, for example, often gets pushed out thanks to Kate Middleton and the royal family!
As you can see, I rank top for my brand name. If you don’t, it’s a point you need to work on!
If you do rank top for your brand name, you might want to see what else you can rank for – eg York lifestyle blogger.
Step 3: ON PAGE SEO CHECKS
Okay, so now we want to do some on page SEO checks – these include your title tag, your meta description and your H1 heading.
If you are struggling to rank first for your brand like in step 2, you might find a few golden nuggets in this step to see what you can do to help your ranking. You can do this by Googling your blog, or going to your home page and inspecting the pages HTML (right click -> Inspect in Chrome). You can also stick your URL into this SERP snippet generator and you’re good to go!
My title tag is ‘skinnedcartree – A UK Lifestyle Blog’ and I have no meta description. Yuck!
Following this, I’ve changed my title tag and meta description. It won’t update on Google until my site is crawled again, but you can see it in my code:
I’m hoping this will get a bit more attention to my blog tip posts and some of the content I’ve written about York since I moved here.
Looking at my HTML, I searched for ‘h1’ to find my ‘h1’ tag empty – something I need to sort out as ‘h1’ tags are something Google looks at when selecting webpages!
Step 4: CHECK SITE SPEED
Site speed is important – if your site loads slow, Google may place faster sites above you. Also, it might make people click off your website increasing your bounce rate and decreasing your time on page – all things Google looks at when ranking you on search.
I’m going to use two tools for this. One is Google’s free PageSpeed Insights Tool.
As you can see, the desktop version of my page loads fast, but there are some opportunities to look at. We’ll look at the mobile version in a later step.
I’m also going to check it with Pingdom. Because a second opinion is always good!
Here, you see my site only ranks a D. If you scroll down, there’s more recommendations you can work on.
Step 5: CHECK FOR STRUCTURED DATA ERRORS
Structured data is a way of classifying page information to make it easier for Google to understand the content, if you have structured data, Google may display it in rich results. Let me just show you two examples. It’s easier!
According to the Structured Data Testing tool, here are 6 errors on my homepage.
More things to add to my job list!
Step 6: CHECK FOR BROKEN LINKS
You might have the link checker Plugin installed and think you can skip this step. Hold up! Get over to Broken Link Checker and scan your site. Look how many I had!
Step 7: CHECK MOBILE VERSION
The mobile version of your site is important because Google is now moving over to mobile first indexing – which means it’ll be looking at your mobile site before your desktop version when displaying search results.
You can test your mobile site here. Alternatively, you can run. it through the Google PageSpeed Insight Tool we used earlier.
Again, there’s more work to be done here. You can get a detailed report emailed to you for free to give you some things you need to work on.
Step 8: CHECK YOUR SITE INDEX
If you haven’t got Google Webmaster Tools, then you need to sort that out! If you haven’t submitted your Site Index to Google, you also need to sort that out aswell.
Go to Google Webmaster Tools, look in Goolge Search Console at your sitemap to see it’s status. Mine has 1 error.
You can set up a crawl for your website, or you can check the ‘Coverage’ section in Google Search Console. This will tell you any errors as well as how to fix them.
My site has no errors.
Step 9: CRAWL REPORT
In this step, you’ll need to crawl your website. You can do this a few ways.
- Seomator (Free trial available)
- Screaming Frog (£149/year but has a free version)
- Beam Us Up (Free)
- Ahrefs’ Site Audit (can get a 7-day trial for $7)
From the crawl report, we’re going to look at which pages are missing meta descriptions and other HTML tags.
From the Ahref site audit, click ‘HTML tags’ to find the information.
Yikes, lots of things to improve on there! Be sure to. export the data before you trial runes out!
Step 10: FIND PAGES RANKING 5-10 FOR KEYWORDS
These should be optimised to try boost the ranking up by:
- Adding some more internal links to the pages
- Building some fresh backlinks to the pages
- Updating and relaunching the content
- Making sure on‐page is optimised for the exact keyword
You can find these on the Ahrefs site audit tool under ‘content explorer’. Enter your URL and click ‘organic keywords’.
If you don’t have a site audit tool, you can do something similar in Google Search Console by seeing which keywords people are using to get to your blog and then optimising those pages to boost them.
And there you have it, now we’ve learnt how to complete a blog SEO audit for 2019. Now we’ve audited our blog’s SEO, we’ve given ourselves lots of things to work on, it’s time to figure out how to fix the problems!
Watch this space for further posts on how to fix the SEO errors!