Staff Writer: Carolyn Johnson
If you were to buy SEO services, the first thing an ethical SEO company would do is perform on on-page site audit. An on-page site audit is the first step for the best SEO service to understand the current state of SEO on any site or new project. Knowing the best ways to go about an on-page audit will help the best SEO services immensely in their endeavors.
When it comes to performing an on-page audit, an SEO has two basic options:
- An extremely thorough audit that takes a matter of days
- A “quick hit” audit where an SEO looks over the top hierarchy pages, which takes a matter of a few hours.
If your choose the first option, you’ll have to divide your work into three categories: the on-page site audit itself, the technical audit and the link audit.
Whether you’re going exhaustive or quick, an on-page audit usually starts with the more conspicuous parts, such as meta description tags and title. It may be best, depending on the complexity of the site, to create an Excel spreadsheet that records each element of each page, with your page and/or site categories in rows and your columns containing the elements of your audit.
There are specific elements of an on-page audit that are more important than others. We’ll take a look at the elements that are deemed more important in a site audit.
The first thing to look at is title tags. Because each page should be unique and have different content, the title tags should reflect this and also be different for each page. Title tags can actually have a very big influence on a website’s rankings. Be sure that title tags contain relevant keywords. For different pages, you may end up using variations on the same keyword. It’s also preferable to use a keyword over your company name in the title tag. A title tag should be no more than 69 characters in length.
A meta description tag, another important element in an on-page site audit, follows the same basic rules as writing good ad copy for PPC and marketing campaigns. An effective meta description tag will increase your click conversion rates. The basics on a good meta description tag is that it summarizes the page’s content, its value to the readers, and followed by a good call to action.
Keep a list of any missing title tags in a separate Excel spreadsheet so you can return to them and fill in the holes. With missing tags, you can use Google Webmaster Tools and use the HTML Improvement tool in the Optimization menu. There, you’ll find suggestions related to title tags.
Other common problems you may run into during an on-site audit includes duplicate title tags, missing alt tags, and missing image names. The HTML Improvements category in Webmaster Tools can also stop any duplicate title tags on the site. Alt tags, which are associated with images on the site, should be well-accounted for, as they have a good effect on Google recrawls. Making sure the image names are correct are also a big part of optimization.
Whether to perform a quick or extensive site audit depends on your objectives for the client. In any case, most oversights and errors will likely be an easy fix, while others might be little more complicated; either way, make sure you have an eye for detail, as overlooking anything can be costly.