What is an SEO audit?
It essentially is a series of steps that you can take to make sure that your website’s SEO is functioning properly.
Just as your body needs regular checkups, your SEO strategies need audits.
This will help you identify problematic strategies, keywords that are no longer performing, efforts that are not panning out, etc.
You’ll be able to streamline and hone your strategy so that it is more effective.
Routinely doing an audit of your SEO is one of the best ways to make sure that you know exactly what your strategy is doing well and what needs to be improved.
What can you expect from an automotive SEO audit?
There are three basic things that you can expect to learn from an audit.
First of all, you can expect to see the current state of your website and how it is performing in search rankings, on social media, how robust your link profile is, etc.
Second, you should be able to assign value to each of the strategies you are using.
You should receive an explanation for why you are doing each strategy and be shown how it is working towards a better ranking for your website.
Third, you should get a good idea of what needs to be worked on and what can be done to improve what is already working well.
What does the SEO audit process look like?
You can either farm your audit out to a professional or you can perform your own audit, if you know what to look for and how to use the information that you receive.
Here’s how to do a very simple, quick, but effective audit on your own automotive SEO strategy:
1. Do a crawl of your website.
There are a variety of different tools you can use for this step, including Beam Us Up or Screaming Frog.
What a crawl does is essentially replicate the way that search engines look at your website and provide you with an insight into how those search engines look at you and your website.
This will often take a little bit of time, depending on the size of your dealership’s website.
2. Look at your website’s source code.
This can be done by right-clicking on your home page and clicking on “View page source.”
Once your browser has opened up the code, here are a few things that you want to be paying attention to.
Look for a title that is clickable. You know it will be clickable, because it will have the correct HTML delineations.
Look for a meta description that has been fully customized and one that specific encourages people to click on your link in the search results.
Look for the H1 tag. Does it follow SEO best practices?
Do the H2, H3, and beyond tags also follow best practices?
3. Run a few tests.
The first thing you will want to do is make sure that your content is unique.
You can do this by taking a paragraph from your dealership’s website’s homepage and pasting it directly into Google.
If someone else has skimmed the content off of your website or your content is a duplicate from another dealership’s website, Google will let you know.
This can also be done by using any one of the many free plagiarism checkers online.
The next test to do is to search specifically for your dealership, by name.
Is it the first thing that shows up? Next, search by the headline on your homepage.
Does your website show up?
If so, where in the search results is it?
4. Look at your data on the Google Search Console.
The very first thing you will want to look at on your Google Search Console is crawl errors.
These will show up as “Access Denied” or “Not Found” errors. These 404s are usually a product of a link being placed somewhere online to a page that has since been used to a different URL.
If you are also seeing 403 (Access Denied) errors, you might need to do a little more investigation into what is causing these errors.
5. Analyze your traffic.
The goal of your entire audit is to learn how you can improve the amount of traffic that your automotive SEO campaign is pulling in.
A good way to do this is to actually look at the traffic that you are getting and to determine what increases that traffic and what causes it to drop.
Is your traffic relatively consistent or do you have some spikes in your traffic and some significant dips in your traffic.
Try to find what causes those spikes and dips.
6. Take a look at your backlink profile.
Backlinks are extremely important to your dealership’s website and its ranking.
An audit of your SEO will necessarily include an overview of your profile.
This is a good opportunity to make down any links that might be dragging you down instead of lifting you up.
Take a look at your anchor text, if there are any broken backlinks, and whether or not you actually want the websites that are referring traffic to your website to be referring that traffic.
7. Check your site speed.
There are a range of different free online tools that will track how long it takes for your website to load not just on desktops, but on mobile devices, too.
The faster your website is, the better your site speed is going to be for SEO.
Most of the tools you can use to track your speed will help you to identify areas of your website that are slowing down the load time.