Every SEO audit is likely to be somewhat different from others, however every on-page audit will start with the obvious elements, such as the meta title and description. Depending on the size of the website this can become a pretty hefty document. The best way to lay this out is to have your pages or categories in rows on a spreadsheet with each on-page element as your header.
Of course some may not hand-write each improvement but instead give strategic suggestions for improvement. Either way, let’s cover the important on-page elements.
The purpose of a title tag is to make each page unique in terms of the page’s content. Title tags also carry huge weight in terms of how the website will rank, so its good to spend as much time as possible on writing great title tags, including your keywords for each page.
Meta Description Tags
Meta description tags are written in a very similar way to how you would write PPC ad copy. Both of which have the purpose of increasing click-through rates (CTRs). Make sure to keep your description under 160 characters but to effectively describe what the page is about, detailing and value added and calls to action.
Missing Title Tags
As well as having unique title tags it is important to note any pages where the title tag is empty. A good free tool to check this is Google Webmaster Tools in the HTML improvement section. Other options are Moz site crawl or Screaming Frog.
Duplicate Title Tags
You may have several cases of duplicate titles tags. Again, auditing these and making sure they are all unique can be an excellent win. You can also find these in the HTML improvements section in Google Webmaster Tools.
Missing Alt tags
Optimising images is just another piece of the on-page SEO puzzle. Alt tags play a big part in this as not only are they what search engines use for displaying images in image search, but they make the site disabilities compliant (by providing a text version to a non-text element).
Missing Image Names
Naming images correctly is an important part of image optimization. For example, if there are products on the site then ensure that names are using accurate keywords to describe that product.
Image optimization can easily be overlooked when it comes to SEO, but if audited well, correctly named images can drive a good amount of traffic through image searches.
Header tags serve as the headline of your page, and a way of letting search engines know what your page is all about. Therefore it’s important to look out for any missing H tags, as well as pages with duplicate H tags or too many. Ideally, the H1 tag should serve as the main headline and then subheadings should be H2, H3 etc.
One thing which is very important to cover in an on-page audit is mapping keywords to specific pages on a site. It’s very important not to have multiple pages targeting the same keyword, for the following reasons:
- It confuses search engines as to which page to rank for and therefore is taken out of your hands as the search engines will decide which page is more relevant. You are essentially competing against yourself!
- It also means you have less opportunity for ranking a higher number of keywords for your site, each page should have a different purpose and target keyword.
A good strategy in place for mapping keywords to pages is critical and will help resolve any issues with ranking well optimised pages.
Each page should have unique copy, describing exactly what the page is about and at the same time engaging users. There is no minimum or maximum word count as long as the copy is providing value to the user and clearly conveys the purpose of the page.