Before we can diagnose problems with the site, we have to know exactly what we’re dealing with. Therefore, the first (and most important) preparation step is to crawl the entire website. Below is an example of how to begin your website analysis with crawling.
Crawling Your Website
Crawling a website is the first task you must do and you should perform it regularly after that. Start on your Home page and make sure that every link can be reached in one or two clicks. There are tools you can use to do this task, but nothing beats the owner learning for themselves.
Go to the Home page and click each link to make sure none are broken and each link goes to the site you want it to reach. If you want to use a crawling tool, you will need to configure it with the same parameters that will act like the search engine you most favor.
There is a valuable Moz web blog article called, “How to Perform the World’s Greatest SEO Audit,” posted by Steve Webb, Ph. D. to Advanced SEO, which is very helpful step-by-step guide.
Good Site Architecture
There are ‘dumb’ crawlers ‘smart’ crawlers. The smart packages cost, but they will give the in-depth research you probably need.
When you have found the tool you are comfortable with, it must be configured to act like your favorite search engine crawler like Googlebot, Bingbot, or any other. You should set the user agent to a proper string. Here are two Search Engine User Agents:
Googlebot – “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)”
Bingbot – “Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm)”
Working With Search Engines
Once you have your site crawl, you should raise the stakes and consult the web’s search engines. To do this you will need to use webmaster tools. If you haven’t yet registered your website, now is a great time to do this. Most of the search engines provide diagnostic tools. Google Webmaster Tools and Bing Webmaster Tools are available for free.
Next, you need to get responses from your visitors by using the website’s analytics. There are many analytics, but it doesn’t matter which you are using. You just need to look into the traffic patterns. You now have enough observations to begin an analysis.
Analyzing the SEO Audit
There are five major sections in the analysis.
- Accessibility to make sure that every page on your website can be reached by any of the search engine crawlers.
- Indexability is often incorrect, but if the site’s total page count is far more or less than the estimated relative to actual page counts, you have a problem that needs to be fixed.
- On-Page Ranking Factors These tasks have to do with the characteristics of your website that catch the desired rankings in each search engine.
- Off-Page Ranking Factors This measures the popularity and trustworthiness of the website and ensures that there is no spam-like behavior in its pages.
- Competitive Analysis Once you have finished the analyses for your own website, you should next completely analyze your competitors’ websites.
The SEO Audit Report
After your analyses of your website and those of your competitors, you will need to write a feasible SEO audit report. Experts recommend that you write for different audiences, that you prioritize your facts so that the most important information is presented first and, finally, that you produce suggestions that can be put into action in specific time frames.
A well-written report will offer concrete steps to improve the traffic to the website and, when suggestions are implemented, improve the bottom line.