How to perform an SEO audit
Part 3: Site speed & Engagement

How to perform an SEO audit. Part 3: Site speed & Engagement

December 07th, 2017 – 11 Comments

This week, we’ve been showing you how to perform an SEO audit on your website. By regularly auditing your – or your client’s – sites, you can get a good feel for what you still need to do to improve SEO. In part 1, I talked about user experience and content SEO and in part 2, I’ve touched on general SEO issues. Here, I’ll round off this series with a look at site speed and engagement.

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Perform an SEO audit: Site speed

Let’s not forget the speed of your site, not just because we all browse the web a lot more on our mobile devices, over not-so-broadband networks, but also because a fast site makes Google and in most cases your conversion rate happier.

Combine and minify CSS and JS files

The first and easiest check would be to open the source of your website in a browser and do a search for “.js” or “.css”. If the amount of results scares you, you know there’s work to do. I can’t give you an exact number for this, but multiple lines of JavaScript files or CSS files, usually indicate there’s a large change that you can speed up your site by minifying JS or CSS files and combine them. Google Page Speed Insights will also tell you if this is an area you can improve in, and guide you a bit in the process:

SEO Audit: PageSpeed Insights

Click the “Show how to fix links” in there for more information. Another Google tool to help you check your site speed is Google Lighthouse.

Browser caching

Browser caching is about how a browser remembers / stores your website for faster visiting the next time you come to that website. There are plenty of plugins like WP Rocket or WP Super Cache that can help you with this. If you’re not sure if you need to optimize your browser caching, simply check how you are doing in the Google PageSpeed Insights we mentioned earlier, or websites like WebpageTest.org. It will tell you among other things how if your browser caching is optimized. These websites will also tell you if there is room for improvement regarding compression.

Enable compression

Compression is making your files as small as possible before sending them to the user’s browser (where they indeed might/will end up in your browser caching). As Google itself puts it:

Enabling gzip compression can reduce the size of the transferred response by up to 90%, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to download the resource, reduce data usage for the client, and improve the time to first render of your pages.

The same tools as mentioned at browser caching work for compression, but as I feel compression should be on for every website, I really liked to mention it separately. Check your compression yourself. In addition, there’s no need to compress files when your site is on a HTTP/2 connection. Read more about performance optimization in an HTTP/2 world.

Engagement

Google will bring people to your website, but engagement can help return visitors and for instance sales promotions.

Social media

The obvious engagement related thing is social media. Check some social platforms, starting with Facebook and Twitter and Instagram to see if your desired audience is present on these platforms. If you haven’t created a profile there, please do so and start building your audience.

If you are doing this, please check if these social profiles are listed on your website, and how they are listed. Would you subscribe yourself, or do you have to go on a search quest to find these buttons? Monitor clicks on these buttons, because a lot of people just look for your company on Facebook instead of clicking those. If nobody uses these buttons, replace them with a footer link or something like that. How to approach this depends on how popular your social profile is / will become.

Newsletter

We changed our newsletter approach for the better a while back when we switched from two to three newsletters a week. That seems like a lot, I know. Our main goal is to deliver something extra in every newsletter. Of course, we want to keep you up-to-date regarding SEO, our newest articles and promotions, and events. But we keep a keen eye on that newsletter and strive not to repeat ourselves.

If you are ready to start sending that newsletter, please add the subscription option for that newsletter on a nice spot on your website, not hidden from your audience, but in plain sight. Don’t ask you, subscribers, a ton of information about themselves, but simply have them fill out their email address and start sending that newsletter.

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You’ve just done your (first) SEO audit

If you have reached the end of this article series, you have intentionally or unintentionally, done your (first) SEO audit. I am sure that during the reading of this article, you have gone over your site, beit in your mind or actually over your site, and you have found something to work on.

If you perform an SEO audit now and then, you make sure your website’s up-to-date. It should be part of your frequent site maintenance cycle, I think. Good job!

Any additions for quick checks of your site’s SEO health? Love to hear from you!

Read more: ‘WordPress SEO: the Definitive Guide’ »


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11 Responses to How to perform an SEO audit. Part 3: Site speed & Engagement

  1. Gratisan
    By Gratisan on 12 December, 2017

    Thanks for the tips. Is there a minimum score that should be achieved in order to get a good position in google?

  2. torrent
    By torrent on 12 December, 2017

    Great Tips, Site Speed is key to optimize for seo these days, as it helps boost ranking of pages as google tend to render fast pages to users.

  3. Aaron Taylor
    By Aaron Taylor on 11 December, 2017

    Hi Michiel

    With this detailed 3-part article on SEO audit, you have definitely done a great favor to many SEOs, especially foe the newbies in the field, absolutely confused from where to start and where to head further. Actually the cobweb on the wall of SEO audit is impeccably clear and the view is crystal-clear and bright.

    Thanks a lot, Michiel!

    • Michiel Heijmans
      By Michiel Heijmans on 12 December, 2017

      Thank you so much for your comment, Aaron! Appreciated!

  4. Marcin
    By Marcin on 11 December, 2017

    This test on various wordpress templates separates good from bad themes. In some cases it straight forward job to optimise one, but some of of them are real pain. It’s worth to run the test before making the purchase.

  5. Sunday Ukafia
    By Sunday Ukafia on 11 December, 2017

    Good tips from the owners of the #1 WordPress SEO plugin.

    Following this guide I have been able to put together SEO audit steps for myself, to help me do a proper SEO audit for clients.

    Thanks Michiel.

  6. Windows10Full
    By Windows10Full on 8 December, 2017

    Great Tips, Site Speed is necessary to optimize for seo these days.

  7. Digember
    By Digember on 8 December, 2017

    I agree with all these points. Good Design and navigation is also key to improve user engagement and bounce rate. For the Site speed, I am using Cloudfare CDN on my blog, and the results are very good. Thanks again for all the site – audit tutorials.

    • Edwin Toonen
      By Edwin Toonen on 8 December, 2017

      Yeah, Cloudflare can be very benificial. Thanks, Digember.

  8. Rogério
    By Rogério on 7 December, 2017

    I followed and performed all the processes indicated. I just have to thank all that was taught and say that SEO Yoast once again saved my online business. Thank you so much for everything!!

    • Edwin Toonen
      By Edwin Toonen on 8 December, 2017

      No problem! Glad you liked it, Rogério.


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