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An audit is generally defined as a procedure for determining the status quo and the quality of processes. An audit is therefore part of quality management in business administration. In search engine optimization, an audit is one of the regularly performed analyses that help to measure the success of onpage and offpage optimization factors using defined KPIs. In addition, SEO audits are important for structuring and planning actions. The terms Site Audit, Site Clinic or Website Analysis are often used synonymously.
Success can only be measured if reference values are established beforehand and if regular quality assurance measures are carried out. Audits are the best means. These analyses can be carried out on different levels. For example, online marketing is a sub-section of marketing, and search engine optimization is a sub-area of online marketing. If the work of a marketing department is to be measured and checked, an audit is required. What has been common practice in companies and SMEs for many years – the regular performance review – has only recently become established in search engine optimization.
While it was still very easy to achieve top rankings with many backlinks and keywords at the beginning of the 2000s, the success factors for SEO have become more and more complex. Similarly, today's SEO experts need a much larger analysis base than in the past to derive new strategies. As a result, SEO audits are essential to achieve long-term success in website optimization. Due to the high update frequency at Google, the efficiency of measures have to be verified over and over again, and the strategy has to be realigned in case of ranking losses.
There are no fixed rules for setting up an SEO audit. Depending on the nature of the assignment or the objective of the investigation, individual aspects are taken into account to a greater or lesser extent. For example, an audit can specifically examine the reasons for a high bounce rate or analyze the loss of visibility of a website. For this reason, there can be no predefined list for an audit. In the following, possible indications of an audit for three major areas are outlined:
- Competitive comparison
- Measurement of visibility
- Indexed pages
- Structure: Crawability, dead links, forwarding, navigation, robots.txt, internal linking
- Performance: loading speed, source code, scripts, accessibility
- Content: duplicate content, TF*IDF, keyword stuffing, images
- Link popularity
- Domain popularity
- Link texts and targets
- Links to websites and their Class C networks
Significance for SEO
Audits are important components of daily work for SEOs, agencies, and customers. Audits provide customers with a good overview of the success or failure of SEO measures and make the work of optimizers more transparent. SEO services can prove that they provide work that is scalable through quality assurance.
Audits are important for SEO service providers themselves because they help to plan measures more precisely, and to better manage websites. In addition, website analyses ensure that in the event of a penalty, for example, errors can be easily identified and responded to.