Quite often, non SEO Experts are surprised to discover that a simple SEO Audit can be done for free and in the background, meaning as they do something else.
It’s easy, especially with one website-based service in particular, which is Ubersuggest.
Before we get to that, what we offer as a FREE AUDIT goes into far more than the simple audit I am about to teach you how to do. So, you should still get us to look at your site here.
Ubersuggest does offer a free account that will allow up to a certain number of uses per day (including SEO Audits or Keyword Research). And, if you are not in the SEO business, that might work just fine for you.
A paid account is as little as CDN$29/month, but the instructions below work whether you pay or use the free version.
How to do an SEO Audit
You will find audits straightforward to do. Reading the results is another matter, but we will get to that.
To do your own audit, follow these instructions:
- Click here to create an Ubersuggest account & log in.
- Click the SEO AUDIT option in the left panel.
- In the field that says “enter a domain or URL” enter the website on which you want to do an audit.
- Click SEARCH.
- Continue watching a baseball game or Jeopardy for 10 minutes, then have a peek at the device you are using (laptop or mobile phone) to get the audit report, as it should be finished.
- Click on SEO ISSUES to look at that portion of the SEO Audit report.
Below is an image showing the actual results of a poorly maintained website. Surprisingly, this report is from — believe it or not — an SEO company website in the Toronto area.
Would you hire them?
In a post linked to this one, which you can read here, are two similarly bad SEO reports. The one below is even worse.
The SEO Error report (above) created in Ubersuggest contains various issues that might be wrong with a website. And, for a novice, these need to be explained slightly, which I will do below.
Keep in mind that these are basic things. This is not the audit you would get from us. In fact, these are just a portion of what we look at.
You can even check out what your competitors are doing and even which SEO Expert is worth hiring. And that makes technical SEO audits the bomb.
Using this tool never gets old. You can learn so much in just minutes.
Now, finding SEO issues is just one thing these reports are used for. This tool is also great for determining what keywords we should target with the content (blog posts) we create and what keywords our competitors rank for that we do not (the keyword gap).
Since this post is featuring the SEO Issues in the reports, which are also called SEO Errors, here is the breakdown of various types of errors:
- On-Page Mistakes; like forgetting to repeat keywords, not having enough external links, not breaking the post or page into sections with sub-headers (H2, H3, H4), etc.
- On-Site Mistakes; including no Sitemap, too little content, no recent content, poorly formatted URLs (web page addresses), etc.
- Technical SEO; page load time, missing headlines (H1), the structural integrity of a page (how much it jumps around during & after it loads) and things like a poor hyperlink colour that make links hard to see.
- Off-site; too few backlinks. And the ones you have are from low Domain Authority sites.
The above is just a partial list of what should be contained in each category but more than enough for a novice to understand what we look at.
SEO Error Terminology
Next follows an explanation of the errors in the reports (in the order they appear):
- Low Word Count – the minimum word count for a post or web page should be at least 300. In most cases, I would argue that blog posts need more than that to establish that the writer is an authority, let alone rank on Google (search engines).
- Duplicate Meta Tags – this is two pages with identical Meta Descriptions, which can happen for many reasons. This is why website audits are done regularly on busy websites, which is part of SEO Maintenance.
- Long Load Time – this is a Technical SEO that is hard to fix. We steer clear of these in the website design phase by employing Image Lazy Load and other techniques.
- No Meta Description – this is part of your Google listing when you rank. If it is not there, you missed a chance to show people why they should click on your web page. It must be there!
- Title Tag that is too long – again, this is part of your Google listing. If it is over the length Google can display, Google will truncate it, which may alter the meaning. These must be 100% correct.
- Title Tag that is too short – means you have a web page with a title that contains too many characters (the maximum you should use is approx. 60). Why is it recommended to use a short title? For searches done on Mobile devices, Google displays a shorter page title. Regardless, the title is the first thing people see when looking at results from any Google search. It affects whether readers click on the listing or move on to the next one!
- Poorly formatted URL – I will list an external link to explain this error, should you need to run into it; Search Engine Journal.
That covers the report above. Now let’s look at some more that were not in that specific report.
In my article Steven Peter Burke talks about SEO I suggest that it is easy to see if an SEO company is worth hiring. Just do an SEO Audit and see if they can look after their own website, right?
I also made the same point when I posted on another website. Within that post, I asked this rhetorical question“Which GURU should I follow?” If they cannot look after their own website, how can you or anyone trust they will adequately look after sites belonging to their clients?
Just a quick thought there.
More SEO Error Terms
Here are some other potential SEO Errors that were not in the above report:
- Pages without an H1 heading – the H1 header is like a book chapter without a title! The H1 heading is the main headline that displays on a web page (not necessarily the page title, but it could be) and what I am saying in my analogy is the entire website is the book title, and the page is the name of the chapter. Would a book chapter start without a headline or chapter name? And the H1 is part of what Google looks at to understand what the page is all about.
- Pages blocked from appearing in search engines – is any web page that the designer of the website instructs Google, Bing and Yahoo not to index. A login page is sometimes handled this way, and that is why some membership businesses run two sites. One for selling purposes and one for the members. There are many reasons why blocking the search engines from indexing a page should and should not be done (if it can be helped). That is what you need an SEO company to help you with.
- 4xx errors – this is a page that can no longer be found, and the error is crazy as it is so easy to manage (non-existent pages & broken links are easily fixed). No one with basic SEO knowledge should ever have it happen (the operative word is “should”).
- No Sitemap XML file – all websites have a small text file called robots.txt, such as ours. In that file is the web address of the Sitemap (so search engines can find it), which contains all the pages on your website. This is our sitemap address;
Of those who write about SEO, some argue that Google no longer requires a Sitemap to crawl a site. However, such arguments are not that simple.
In some ways, Google no longer requires a sitemap, but there is more to it than just what Google needs, as you will see.
The old-school idea was that Google could not find the pages on your site without a sitemap and thus could not rank them.
At some point, Google gained the ability for their web crawlers to read Site Nav (navigation or menus), as they indexed sites. But it really doesn’t matter.
If you have a Sitemap, the concern about what Google does or doesn’t do, like penalizing sites for not containing a Sitemap, is a non-issue.
Here is an issue with not having a site map; if a web page is purposely not included in your site’s navigation (NAV), like a long-form selling or landing page, how could that hurt the site?
So few think about this that I have never read it in over a thousand respected SEO blog posts.
No sitemap plus no Nav from the site’s homepage menu to a landing page is quite common. These pages are designed for specific ad campaigns, so many think they should not be indexed.
Not indexing landing pages makes sense as they need the ad to set them up. They don’t make sense without the ad, right?
Instead of confusing website visitors, they are not indexed, nor can you click a menu item to get there. But what if they were indexed and there was no way to navigate to them from the site?
If that long-form selling page is well written, it could rank for keywords (this is a bit oversimplified but . .). And, even though this type of page is meant for ad responses only (not attracting people to a site), the site rank and authority are increased or decreased by page rank. So, no sitemap, no lift on Google for an exceptionally well-written web page.
See, there is more to consider than what initially flashed through our mental processes, and an SEO expert can help with such things.
I would never link to a site that has no sitemap. Because I would wonder what else was not right.
This is a reputation discussion.
Google may be able to read the site but do they reduce the site rank because there’s no sitemap? I think so.
Having one shows anyone who looks that you are putting in the effort. That alone is reason enough to spend one whole minute to get a sitemap in place, is it not?
Yoast, which is a simple-to-use WordPress plug-in, like Yoast, does this for you with a few clicks. Thus, one minute to get the Sitemap in place is not an exaggeration.
In addition, all websites have a file called robots.txt that points to the location of the website. I have seen SEO Experts with no sitemap but their robots.txt file, which is public information that anyone can look at, still have the sitemap address!
To be clear, I think Google does consider this in their ranking algorithm. And, I would not hire a GURU or an SEO Expert that did not have a sitemap on their site.
I also don’t do buy from a company that has a website loaded with the issues we’ve discussed. So, yes, I run this report for everyone to see if what is behind the scenes matches the in-person webinar persona!
Looking at that SEO Audit error report, you will see two columns on the far right that indicate the severity of the SEO Impact and the ease of fixing the problem.
Clearly, long load times are bad news because that is tough to fix. Really this means someone was hired to do the web design that didn’t do what they should have done (or doesn’t know better).
Slow load times cause people to bounce. And high bounce rates are an indicator of Google to rank. Websites with high bounce rates rank lower, and this makes sense.
If people bounce from a web page, there must be a reason. And that logic appears to be what Google thinks.
Anyway, the SEO impact in these reports tells us if a site is well constructed and maintained. Whereas the SEO issue tells us what needs to be corrected.
Understanding an SEO Audit
Understanding an audit report is where the real value is.
For instance, you can see what your competitors are doing that you aren’t. So, if you are sick of them beating you even though you are better at what you do, you need to comprehend this thoroughly.
I would not be an entrepreneur today without a solid understanding of SEO, even if I outsourced the work. And that begins with understanding an SEO Audit.
Here are some links that can help with that understanding:
- There is a great post by Neil Patel about fixing 10 SEO Issues or errors here
- Also, there is a good post called 15 common SEO Mistakes and how to fix them by Simple Learn
Within a month, I will post on how to use these reports to build a keyword list for a content creation plan, and; how to follow what your competitors are doing that you are not, which is called the keyword gap.
What an Ubersuggest SEO Audit won’t do that we include in our Free SEO Audit is what comes with both partners of this company having 25 years of experience each with all things website-related!
Click here to find out what we include for FREE that dovetails neatly with the Ubersuggest report, making the pair a priceless resource that will show you how to make more money with your website!
I hope this post helped you.