Nowadays, websites are very rich with content. It is vital to understand common issues with your website so it can load faster, is less confusing to users, and most importantly can be ranked higher than your competitors.
I am a web developer so I can understand most of the issues that I discover in my SEMrush site audit but even for me, some problems were new to me.
As a result, by doing a full SEMrush site audit I was not only able to fix the issues but also, I managed to learn to not make the same mistakes in the future.
Site Audit – 11 extensive tools to analyse your website
When you are in SEMrush and navigate Site Audit you will be presented with 11 comprehensive tools to analyse your website. There is Site Audit (we cover it in this post), Social Media Poster, PPC Keyword Tool, Position Tracking, Band Monitoring, Organic Traffic Insights, On-Page SEO Checker, Backlink Audit, Content Analyzer, Social Media Tracker and Link Building.
As you see this tool is amazing. In one platform you can cover everything you need. Here we focus on the first and most important option when you just started using SEMrush as in my case.
Site Audit setup
The first thing I did when I started using SEMrush was to check my own websites and fix all the issues. There is no point in looking any further if my website has many errors that cause it to be ranked lower than its competitors.
I would really recommend doing the same thing as it is important to have a nice, healthy website.
In this example, I added travelspicedlife.com for testing. This is a pretty new site so I did not expect to have many issues. Let me tell you – I was wrong!
Let’s go through the whole process together so you can learn and repeat what I have done here.
If you don’t have SEMrush account click here to register for an exclusive 14 days free trial with SEMrush and follow along.
It was not possible for me to describe all SEMrush settings and issue types but I used all problems that I discovered as examples and explained how to fix them. Please note that when you do your SEMrush site audit, you may get other issues. However, it is extremely easy to learn inside SEMrush how to fix them. So, let’s start…
1. Provide your domain name
2. Set the required parameters. Although there are 5 more parameters to configure you can leave them as default at least for the first run.
3. Now, the moment you press ‘Start Site Audit’ the crawler will start and you can see it by looking at the progress bar.
4. As you see in the above picture there are more other options in the Website Audit section but I am going to talk about them later in the second part of the SEMrush site audit.
After a few minutes, the SEMrush site audit is complete and you get the report as in the below picture.
5. As you see my site health is not bad but improvements can be found. Also, SEMrush reported 41 issues.
6. When you click on the numbers you will be redirected to the full, comprehensive report. The whole idea is to look at and fix errors first and then check warnings and notices.
Website Audit – issue definition
It is important to understand how SEMrush defines all different issues and to fix them in the right order. In general, the setting is based on issue severity that is the main factor of categorizing.
Errors are high severity issues and have to be fixed first as leaving them out can really impact your site ranking.
Warnings are medium severity issues and can only be taken care of when all errors are already fixed.
Notices are low severity problems and they are not considered as issues. However, SumRush still recommends fixing them if possible.
Note: Fixing errors may also cause warnings and notices to disappear from the list. Similarly, fixing warnings may cause notices to go away. Thus, it is important to fix the issues in the order of errors->warnings->notices.
What is good about the SEMrush Site Audit dashboard is that all errors, warnings, and notices have a visual graph to view the previous audit runs so you can compare whether the number of problems improved or declined.
Website Audit – fixing my errors
The critical thing to first see is ‘Top Issues’. In this instance, I got three top errors and this is how I fixed them.
1 page has slow load speed
Here I navigated to the slow loading page and was able to fix it later by compressing my images.
1 internal link is broken
It is very difficult to find broken links, especially when you have a huge website. By clicking on the link I navigated to the details page and was able to identify the broken link on my site and fix it. Awesome!
1 page returned a 4XX status code
This error actually related to the previous one, so I fixed two errors in one go.
Then I dived into some other errors, and the next one was quite interesting.
4 issues with duplicate title tags
It happened that I have a category and page with the same name and this can confuse search engines to decide what page is most relevant.
As you see on the image below I had a static page called ‘birds’ and also a category called ‘birds’. I did it so I can only display posts from my ‘birds’ category on the ‘birds’ page. That’s simply confusing. I decided to rename the page to ‘animals’ and by doing that I can display different animals by category which could be ‘birds’, ‘reptiles’, or mammals.
The next error was about missing images and that really surprised me as I thought I deleted them already.
3 internal images are broken
To fix this error I navigated to my website and checked if they existed. Indeed, they were deleted but the Elementor image placeholder was still on the page so I had to delete it to fix the error.
Now, after fixing all errors I clicked on warnings as there were quite a few.
Website Audit – fixing my warnings
By looking at this list you can really get a heart attack, but don’t worry. Some warnings are very little and can be ignored while some can be fixed with a few clicks. Let’s discuss them one by one.
Minification is a process of removing unwanted lines, comments, and spaces from the file thus saving space on the server. I am a web developer so I know how to fix the problem but in case you are not you can click ‘Why and how to fix it’ and SEMrush will tell you what to do. To fix the problem you can install a WordPress plugin like Autoptimize or WP Super Minify.
Low text-HTML ratio
This is an interesting one. If your pages have a low text to Html ratio they will be posted as a warning. Search engines focus on pages with more content so it is important to make sure all your pages are relevant and they offer something to read.
This warning can be often found on the main page and also, contact or about pages or any other static pages that act as placeholders for posts.
Outgoing Internal links contain nofollow attribute
This is a very important warning. Nofollow attribute means to not pass any link juice and as long as you want your website to be ranked high and not be ignored by Google never use nofollow for internal links. It is a different story when you want to use nofollow for external links. Then, you might consider using this attribute if the linked website has a very low domain score.
Pages don’t have an h1 heading
This warning is pretty simple. Using the correct post format with H1, H2, H3 tags is vital to rank well with Google.
Pages have a low word count
This warning will be triggered when the page/post row count is less than 200 words. As I mentioned already with the ‘Low text to HTML ratio’ error it is easy to fix by adding more text content.
Pages have too much text within title tags
This warning says that the page or post title is too long. Simply update the title with shorter but meaningful text.
Pages don’t have meta descriptions
All pages have to have a meta description and must contain your keyword. This reminder helped me find posts that I simply forgot to set meta.
Website Audit – fixing my notices
Outgoing external links contain nofollow attributes
This notice is similar to the one in warnings but is related to external links. It is up to the site owner to decide if we want to pass the ‘link juice’ to the external website.
In general, you should not have many external links on your page and it is a bad idea if all your external links are nofollow. Any search engine optimization tool like Yoast or RankMath recommends having at least one dofollow link in your post.
Links have non-descriptive anchor text
It happens when you have links like ‘Check best Darwin attractions here’. The ‘here’ has no meaning to the search engine and it is a better idea to use something like this: ‘Check out 11 best Darwin attractions in a dry season. By doing that the search engine recognises easily what page you are trying to point to.
URLs with a permanent redirect
This notice can normally happen if you have page redirects when you change a domain and you want to redirect users to the right link. The problem may occur if you have too many of them the crawler may not be able to finish its job due to many redirect pages.
Resources are formatted as page link
This is when images are formatted with tags. When you use images they should only have the tag. If the tag is embedded in the tag it can confuse the crawler and indicate that your site does not have a correct structure.
Pages have only one incoming internal link
I think the general rule is to have more than one internal incoming link in your post so make sure to do so.
Pages have more than one H1 tag
I was really surprised by this notice. You always make sure to have a properly structured post with H1, H2, and H3 headings.
Pages need more than 3 clicks to be reached
It is important that in your site structure users don’t have to do more than 3 clicks to reach the required page or post as it can discourage search engines to rank it high.
Honestly think if you landed on someone’s homepage how likely would be that you will do more than 3 clicks to reach your content. It could be quite confusing. It is always better to use a simple page structure so users don’t get lost.
Pages has no anchor text
This notice is triggered when you have a link on your page but no anchor to point to the site. Just make sure if you place a link add it properly and test if it works.
Site Audit – progress chart
There are many other tabs and statistics but one I want to mention. It is a Progress chart.
You should be performing SEMrush site audits on regular basis and by doing so, you can view the health progress of your website in one chart. However, the best part of it is that you can select any error, warning, or notice type to adjust the graph.
This way you can see if your website is improving over time.
SEMrush Site Audit
To be honest with you I did not know what to expect before buying SEMRush. What I knew was that it is a comprehensive tool to analyse your website and do keyword research. What I got was much more than I expected. I only started using SEMRush and I am delighted with almost endless possibilities that I can use to improve my website ranking.
By doing my website audit with SEMRush I improved my Site Health from 82 to 97 which is great. Now I can focus on different parts of SEMRush.
This article covered only the first part of the SEMRush Site Audit. In part 2, I am going to take a look at other options like Link Building, Social Media Poster, Position Tracker, and many others.