As far as technical optimization of a site goes, there’s plenty to be looked at. Questions like, What is Technical Optimization, and Why do You Need a Silo Structure Website might be running through your mind, but how do you know where to start?

The best way to determine how far you are along in the SEO process is to begin with a site audit. Through this audit, you’ll be able to assess how optimized your website already is and identify what steps you’ll need to take to make it even better.

What Does a Site Audit Entail?

SEO Site Audit

A site audit is simply the process in which you go through all the aspects of a website (design, organization, technical aspects, etc.) and take note of their different levels of Search Engine Optimization.

Different aspects that you’re going to want to be focusing on include: Search Engine Indexation, metadata, keyword density, keywords in headers, alt text, site structure, link statuses, and general design and flow. Without the proper training, these things can be hard to find, and even harder to make the right changes, however, with the right tools, anyone can do it.

A comprehensive tool for site auditing is the SEO Spider by Screaming Frog. Screaming Frog is an SEO company based in the UK that developed this free downloadable software that allows users to very easily enter a URL and have all the information you need for a site audit at your fingertips. To download this program, head to their SEO Spider page and select the right version for your operating system. You will need Java installed in order to run SEO Spider.

The Basics of Site Auditing

After installing SEO Spider, you just need to open up the program and enter in the URL you are looking to audit. The free version of SEO spider allows you to get the info on the first 500 URI’s the program can find. A URI is a Uniform Resource Identifier, and contains a URL (Uniform Resource Locator), a URN (Uniform Resource Name) or both. This is usually enough to be able to fully perform a site audit on smaller sites. A Premium version is available that will remove the 500 URI limit, and also allow you to access a few more features.

Link Status Codes

For the purposes of basic site auditing, the premium version is not necessary. Once you have entered a URL, and the Spider has collected you URI’s, you should be able to view the list of pages/links associated with your site. SEO Spider then enables you to view both internal and external addresses linked to your web pages, the status of all these links, page titles, meta descriptions, meta keywords, header tags, and images. These tables of data can be exported easily to Microsoft Excel for mass data editing and analyzing.
Response Codes should read as 200 (OK), or 301 (Permanent Redirect), and anything that comes up as 403 (Forbidden), 404 (Link Not Found), 500 (Server Internal Error), etc. should be marked, and changed. Search engines will be able to see that you have broken links on your site and will penalize you for it.What used to take a couple hours of searching and using different tools on the internet has been consolidated into one very helpful tool by Screaming Frog. You will want to go through every tab and ensure that everything is correct, and optimized for search engines.

Page titles, and metadata should be unique for each individual page. Pages and images should also have “alt text.” This text can be keywords or phrases relevant to the page/image, and help search engines determine the relevancy of your page. For more on information on Metadata, check out the article: How to Technically Optimize Your Website: Metadata.

Header tags should be relevant to the subject matter, and should contain keywords. Headers especially stand out to search engines, so headers that have keywords or phrases in them will help you rank higher.

SEO Spider by Screaming Frog is a complete tool for any aspiring SEO specialist. It offers all the tools you need to do a site audit for your own blog, or a company website.

Photo Credit: mansikka, Go Local Search

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director