Today, I’m going to walk you through the steps you should take to conduct an SEO site audit for your SaaS business. If you want to achieve higher Google rankings, pay attention to the actionable steps I’m going to share.
What Is an SEO Site Audit and Why Is It Important?
An SEO Site Audit is the process of looking for issues that may prevent your website from ranking on search engines.
If there are issues, your website can’t be crawled and indexed properly, causing you to miss out on organic traffic.
When you’re missing out on traffic, it also means you aren’t meeting your sales goals. Instead, your competitors will enjoy this traffic plus the conversions.
That’s why you should audit your site regularly. You should also audit your site if you’re experiencing a drop in traffic and want to know the reason.
Part of your ongoing SaaS SEO strategy should also include regular audits to enable you to find and resolve issues quickly (I recommend doing this every quarter).
What You Should Check When Conducting an SEO Site Audit?
There are many things you need to pay attention to when conducting an SEO technical audit for your website. Below, I’ve listed the most crucial things.
1. Start Tracking Your Keyword Rankings
If you aren’t tracking your rankings in the search results, it’s time you begin doing that.
There are many rank tracking tools available. Personally, I use Ubersuggest. The tool doesn’t just track keywords, it also shows you organic monthly traffic and more.
Below are Grammarly’s organic keywords, organic monthly traffic, domain authority and backlinks.
Ubersuggest also finds the keywords you’re ranking for. Here are some of the keywords Grammarly is ranking for.
2. Check Your Organic Traffic
If you want to know the traffic you’re getting, open Google Analytics.
Under “Acquisition”, scroll down to “All Traffic” and click on “Channels” as shown below.
Under “Channels” click “Organic Search” to see the number of people that visited your website the previous month from Google.
Next, adjust the dates to the last 5-7 months to see if your organic traffic is moving in the right direction.
If your organic traffic is declining, keep reading to learn how to fix that.
3. Fix Broken Links
Sometimes back, Google said that its bots don’t lose sleep over broken links.
Broken links affect user experience and can impact your SEO efforts.
How do you fix broken links on your website?
First, look for broken pages on your website that Google isn’t indexing. To find this information, head over to Google Search Console’s Index Report.
As you can see, this site doesn’t have any broken links.
If your pages are returning 404 errors, here’s what you will see.
Sometimes, this can be due to the “orphan” pages you deleted (more on these shortly). If so, you don’t have to do anything.
With time, Google will stop reporting these broken pages as crucial issues. However, if Google is unable to access a page you want to rank for, publish it immediately.
Next, find broken external and internal links using Broken Link Check.
4. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Nowadays, mobile SEO is very important because 60% of searches conducted on Google come from mobile phones.
Google also began using their mobile-first indexing. This means Google uses the mobile version of your website for desktop and mobile searches.
So, how do you know if your website is mobile-friendly?
Use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. Just type your website into the tool to see if your site is optimized for mobile devices.
Here are the results of binticare.com.
5. Improve Your On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is very crucial. However, you don’t have to optimize each page on your website if you don’t have the time to do that.
Here’s what you can do.
First, determine your 5 most essential pages. They can be pages that:
- Rank well and have the potential to be among the top 5
- Get less traffic than they were receiving
- Target an important keyword
Let’s assume you have published an article that’s already ranking on Google’s 1st page.
If you included basics things like your target keyword in the title tag, it can rank among the top 5 articles if you do these things:
- Use LSI keywords (search terms related to your main keyword)
- Include your keyword in the first 100 words
- Add 5+ internal and external links
6. Assess Your Backlinks
Backlinks correlate more with rankings than any other factor. However, you need to develop a link building strategy to earn links. Here’s how to analyze your link profile.
You can also use Ahrefs or Moz Pro. I used Majestic SEO to get Grammarly’s report on links.
Also, remember to check Domain Authority (DA) and referring domains (number of sites linking to you). Don’t worry about the exact number because you are only benchmarking where you’re at.
Domain Authority lets you know the authority of your website based on the quality and quantity of your backlinks.
Below are Domain Authority examples.
Lastly, check for toxic links.
To do this, look for common anchor text within your link profile.
If you see lots of branded anchor text like “Grammarly.com” or “Grammarly” you’re good.
However, if you notice several keyword-rich anchor text such as “free online writing assistant” or “writing software”, that’s a toxic link profile.
Here’s a link profile with toxic anchor text.
Also, ensure your backlinks are coming from REAL sites. If you notice your links are from unquestionable websites, just disavow those links.
7. Ensure Google Only Indexes One Version of Your Website
Did you know Google can index different versions of your website?
Here are four different versions of one site.
To you, those URLs are the same. However, Google views them differently. Unfortunately, if you don’t redirect these versions correctly, Google considers them separate websites.
Luckily, this is easy to fix. Just type all the four different versions into your browser and ensure they end up on the same URL as shown below:
If a version of your website is not redirecting properly, just perform 301 redirects to take it to your preferred version.
If all is good, move onto the next step.
8. Perform Competitor Analysis
Are you wondering how you can spy on your competitors?
Follow these easy steps.
Step #1: Research Your Competitors Best Keywords
You can find this information using Ubersuggest.
Assuming Grammarly is your competitor, here are some of the keywords that are driving traffic to their site.
If your competitors are ranking for these keywords, you can also rank for them because they’re great keywords to target.
Step #2: View the Pages That Are Ranking for Those Keywords
To do that, click on “Top Pages by Traffic” Under “Competitive Analysis” as shown below.
Here’s what you’ll see.
Once you have identified those pages, check what they have in common to know the type of content that works best within the SaaS industry.
For example, you’ll notice the content on the highest-ranking pages:
- Cites statements, data and research studies from reputable sites
- Contains illustrations and images
- Is long-form with 3k over words
Step # 3: Check the Sites That Are Linking to Those Pages
To do that, click on backlinks as shown below.
When I click on the first results, this is what I see:
This lets you know the influencers within your industry so that you can start establishing relationships with them for link building.
9. Check Your Website’s Loading Speed
Sometimes back, Google confirmed your website’s loading speed is a ranking factor.
A while ago Google rolled out another update that makes speed more important.
What To Do To Make Your Website Load Faster
There are several things you can do to make your website load faster.
Clean Up Your Website’s HTML Code
To identify problems with your code, use PageSpeed Insights.
After analyzing your page, also test other pages from your website such as category pages, service pages and blog posts.
Run a Speed Test
Compress Your Images
Large images can slow down your site speed. That’s why I recommend using TinyPNG to compress your images.
You should also upgrade your hosting. Don’t expect your website to load faster if you spend $3/mo on hosting.
Last year, I moved from a budget host to $300/mo premium hosting. The speed difference is insane.
10. Make Your Content Better
Another great thing you can do while performing an SEO site audit is to make the content on your optimized pages 10x better.
Have Short Introductions
Nobody wants to read long intros like this.
Instead, keep your introductions short and sweet.
Here’s a good example.
Use Small Paragraphs
Small paragraphs are appealing to the eye. Moreover, people skim through content, they don’t read.
That’s why you should use small paragraphs to help your target audience consume your content better. If you have been paying attention, you may have noticed I’ve used small paragraphs throughout this post.
Below is another great example.
Now, compare the above small paragraphs with these huge blocks of texts. Which article do you enjoy reading?
Use Several Subheaders
Subheaders break up your blog post into digestible chunks as illustrated below.
Use Videos, Images and Visuals
Visuals make your content more appealing. They also help your audience learn and understand.
For example, in this SaaS link building strategies post, I used lots of images.
I’ve also used a lot of images and visuals in this post to help you understand better what I’m talking about.
If your posts are easy to read and understand, your users will spend more time on your site.
11. Find and Delete “Zombie” Pages
Zombie pages are pages on your site that generate little to no traffic. Although they may be indexed by Google, they only generate bot traffic and do not attract views from visitors.
To find these pages, type site:yourwebsite.com into Google as shown below.
This will show you the number of pages Google has indexed.
Do not be surprised if this number is higher. In fact, most websites have 50-75% more indexed pages. Deleting those extra pages can earn you more organic traffic.
Why does this work?
According to Google, more content doesn’t make your website better. Deleting these pages also makes SEO audit easier.
Fewer pages = fewer problems.
Here are some common types of extra pages.
- Content with less than 50 words
- Tag and category pages
- Search result pages
- Boilerplate text
- Old press releases
- Archive pages
12. Optimize for UX Signals
RankBrain, Google’s AI algorithm determines how users interact with your website.
How Does RankBrain Use UX Signals
I’ll explain this using the following steps.
- User types their target keyword into Google
- RankBrain converts keywords into concepts
- Google shows different results for that concept
- If the page satisfied the user, Google ranks that page
- If the user wasn’t satisfied, RankBrain will show different pages next time
What does this mean?
To rank in search engines today, you have to optimize for UX Signals. In other words, your content should satisfy users. When you do that, Google will reward you with higher rankings.
For instance, if you notice a certain post on your website isn’t ranking well for your target keyword, analyze the post.
If your content has outdated screenshots or isn’t giving users what they’re looking for, Google will bury it because you haven’t optimized it for UX Signals.
What can you do?
Update the post and include new, relevant information that suits what your user wants. If you write the post to satisfy searchers, it will rank well and even hit the #1 spot
13. Find Pages Google Isn’t Indexing
To do this, check your Google Search Console report. If you go through the “Index Coverage” report, you’ll see a list of pages that Google can’t index because of some reasons.
As you can see, this site is error-free.
To ensure, everything is okay, double-check the report using Screaming Frog, an amazing SEO tool.
This tool crawls your website the same way Google does and lets you know the pages it can’t access.
For instance, if a page has a non-index tag or if you’re accidentally blocking it.
14. Flatten Your Site Structure
Your website’s structure shouldn’t be complicated, it should be simple to help your users navigate your site better. Basically, it’s how the content pages on your website are organized.
Here are two reasons why your website’s design is important for SEO.
Reason #1: Website structure helps Google find and index your pages. If your site’s design is complicated, the search engines will have trouble finding your pages.
Here’s an example of a complicated site structure
However, when your website design links your pages together, the search engines can easily find your site and index it.
Here’s an example of a simple site structure
Reason #2: Structure tells Google the most important pages on your site. In fact, your crucial pages should be closer to the homepage.
Pages that are close to your homepage are the most important ones as illustrated below.
So, how should your website’s structure look?
Keep your site structure flat as shown in the second image (simple site structure). It shouldn’t take your users more than three clicks to go from your homepage to other pages on your website.
In some cases, you may need to look for a developer to change your website’s navigation. However, you can also add internal links to several pages and to the sidebar.
As long as your users can access any of your content pages in three clicks or less, your site’s structure is good.
15. Publish a Skyscraper Post
Another excellent thing you can also do while conducting an SEO site audit is to publish a post using the skyscraper technique. The technique helps search engines to quickly find and index new content.
Here’s how the technique works.
First, analyze the top 10 results on Google for the keyword you want to rank for. For example, if your target keyword is “Contract Management Software for Law Firms”, check out Google’s 1st page to see the articles that are ranking.
As you can see, the content I found is good. However, there’s nothing special about it. So, when writing your post, ensure it’s 10x better than what is ranking.
- Open all the ranking posts to see what they have covered.
- If the content isn’t in-depth (not covering all the aspects of the topic), write a post that’s better.
- Check to see if the content features any statistics, studies and images. If not, include them in your post.
Once you’re done writing your post, promote it. This is very important because when Google notices many people are visiting your site, they send their Googlebot there immediately.
You can either send a newsletter to your email subscribers or promote it on social media.
16. Use a Site Audit Tool
I tried to ensure this SEO site audit process is non-techy. However, if you want to analyze your technical SEO, use an SEO audit tool. I use Semrush and Seobility.
Unlike other audit tools, Seobility is easy to use. Its reports are also easy to understand and implement.
While most people know SEMrush as a keyword research tool, it also has an excellent site audit feature.
To begin your SEO site audit, click on “Start Audit”. You’ll be taken to a page that prompts you to enter your domain name.
Once the audit is completed, you’ll see pages crawled, site health, errors, warnings and more as shown below.
Next, click on any of the results to get detailed information. In this case, I’ll click on “Site Health.
Here are the details.
The good thing with Semrush is that it also shows you how to fix the issues.
17. Optimize Your Posts for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets can boost your organic traffic.
Here’s an example of a featured snippet.
How can you get your blog posts in the featured snippet spot?
For your content to appear in this spot, you need to:
- Include short answers (about 42 words) to questions
- Optimize your content for mobile
- Use lots of H2 and H3 header tags
- Link out to authority websites
- Install HTTPS
Do You Want To Get Higher Google Rankings?
If you want to scan your website for SEO and technical issues or want all the important pages of your site to be accessible and indexed by the search engines and don’t know how to do it, schedule a free consultation. I’ll conduct a detailed SEO site audit analysis and give you clear and actionable recommendations.
Maclean is a SaaS Copywriter & SaaS SEO Consultant with over 7 years of experience in the industry. She’s also the founder of SaaS Thrive, a blog focused on helping SaaS startups and large enterprises improve their search visibility and grow their organic traffic plus ROI. Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin