In my complete guide to conducting an SEO audit, I taught you how to test various parts of your website to see what improvements can be made in regards to SEO.
Now I’m going to go through each step in more detail so you and see why these issues are important and what we can do to fix them.
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 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.
In step one, we spoke about checking that only one version of your site is browseable.
You want your website to only exist on one version. If all pages are viewable on more than one address, it can be bad for a few reasons:
- Duplicate content: duplicate content is a negative SEO factor as it makes Google view your website as low quality, so ranks it lower in search.
- Link juice: Having backlinks point to the same site will increase the authority of your website more than if they are diluted in different versions of a site.
- Save on crawl budget: Read Google’s blog for more info.
- For security reasons.
HTTPS vs HTTP
First things first – you should be using HTTPS, not HTTP.
HTTPS is a secure website that is protected with an SSL certificate to ensure data flowing between your website and server is secure. This is to ensure it doesn’t get intercepted by hackers. This is something that users look out for when browsing the web. Many browsers will warn a user if they are on an unsecured website – one of these is the most used browser out there – Chrome, which now calls out websites that are not secure by displaying a ‘Not Secure’ message by the website in the address bar.
Having an SSL certificate is a way to build trust and give people confidence their data is secure, as well as giving you an advantage in search as Google favours HTTPS over HTTP.
Thing about it, would you ever enter your personal details or bank card information int a site that wasn’t secure? I hope not!
If your site isn’t secure and you want to get yourself an SSL certificate, then sadly you do have to pay for this – it’s typical around £50 for a year. The easiest way to get an SSL certificate is through your hosting company, if you buy more than one year at a time, it can work out cheaper which is ideal if you know your blog is a long-term project! When you get one, your site should automatically redirect to the HTTPS version if you enter HTTP.
If your site is browseable on multiple versions.
If your site is showing on more than one version, you need to set up a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect points users to a new URL.
How to set up a 301 redirect.
If you’re on WordPress, the easiest thing is to install this redirect plugin. It’s easy to enter the current URL and then the URL you want to be redirected to.
You can also add a redirect by using the web server configuration file .htaccess. This way is a bit more tricky and risky – one small mistake can cause major problems, so ensure you backup your .htaccess file before changing anything!
You need to connect to your website using an FTP client or log into your web-based control panel. The .htaccess file will be in your WordPress site’s root directory. You may need to force your FTP client to show hidden files if you can’t find this.
To edit your .htaccess file, you will need to connect to your website using an FTP client. The .htaccess file resides in your WordPress site’s root directory.
If you can’t see your .htaccess file there, then you need to force your FTP client to show hidden files. (See why you can’t find the .htaccess file on your WordPress site.). Use these codes to create your redirect.
If you are on blogger, you can create redirects in your settings.
What to do next.
Once you have set up a 301 redirect, or if you have bought an SSL certificate and now use HTTPS instead of HTTP, there are some things you need to take a look at.
- Check ad accounts (Google Ads, etc.): Warning messages can appear if you embed unencrypted content to an HTTPS site so ensure your account is aligned.
- Convert Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics: register the version you are using in webmaster tools and Analytics!
- Updating XML Sitemaps: the sitemap also needs to be updated and recorded in the Webmaster Tool.
- Checking external and internal links.
Thanks for reading and hope this makes sense! I’ll be going through more steps of the SEO blog audit soon!