The first place to start with search optimization is a website audit. While website audits can become extremely complex, they don’t always have to be. For the purposes of this guide, the audit should allow you to identify the top pages on your website and evaluate how well they are optimized for search. You’ll want to start by identifying the most frequented pages on your website. These are the pages that are most important for your business.
Conducting a Website Audit 2.0
For smaller websites, it could be your homepage plus key pages such as the ones about your company, your products, and your services. For publishers, it could be your homepage, key pages, and content pages (blog posts, video collections, etc.). For larger websites, it could be your homepage, key pages, and hundreds or even thousands of product pages.
There are several ways you can grab the URL of your top pages. You can start with your website’s navigation bar, as you have likely added your most important pages to it. You can use your Web analytics tool to identify your top pages based on traffic or conversions. If you use WordPress, you can use an XML site map generator plug-in to create a site map that you can copy URLs from, or you can use XML-Sitemaps.com for any website to build a document with your page’s URLs in it (free for up to 500 pages). A tool such as Site-Explorer can also compile a list of your pages based on external links. Once you’ve got your top pages’ URLs, you’ll want to put them into a spreadsheet. You can then create additional columns for the following:
This is the type of page (homepage, product, about, landing, blog post, article, press release, support document, FAQ, etc.).
Keyword #1, #2, and #3
You will use these three columns to annotate the keyword the page focuses on as well as two additional keywords it is currently optimized for or should be optimized for.
Is there an image on the page that is keyword-optimized? Use “yes” if there is an optimized image, “yes” in red if there is an image but it is not optimized, and use “no” if there is no image.
Enter the meta description for the page. Use red text for meta descriptions missing a keyword.
Enter the SEO title for the page. Use red text for SEO titles missing a keyword.
Is there a keyword in the URL?
Note structured data markup type for the page, or note in red what type of structured data markup should be added to the page (such as authorship for blog posts).