How to Do a Perfect SEO Audit

Doing an SEO Audit of your website is important for many reasons.

A good SEO Audit will keep your website updated with the latest changes happening in search marketing and also on the top of the competition.

In this article, you’ll learn:

What is an SEO Audit?

Complete SEO Audit Checklist

Difference between Manual and Automated SEO Audit

Before performing an SEO Audit let’s first understand what it is.

What is a SEO Audit?

seo audit

A SEO Audit is a process where we evaluate whether the website is search engine friendly or not by considering various factors. The main purpose of a SEO Audit is to assist you with optimizing a site so it can accomplish higher rankings in the search engine result pages (SERP).

There are various tools by which you can perform a SEO Audit, the best way is to follow a guide (like the one you are reading now) or hire a SEO Expert who can do it for you.

Why SEO Audit is Important?

Things change rapidly in the SEO industry and what is working today for you may not work tomorrow. Every now and then Google changes its ranking algorithm, this is where SEO Audit is important to stay in sync.

It is important that you perform SEO Audit on a regular basis (at least twice a year) so that your website is updated with the latest developments.

Complete SEO Audit Checklist

Now that you agree why SEO Audit is important for every website. Let’s see how you can do a perfect SEO Audit for your website.

This SEO Audit Checklist includes everything that you need to do a perfect SEO Audit.

Step 1: Do a Technical SEO Audit

Step 2: Do an On-Page SEO Audit

Step 3: Do an Off-Page SEO Audit

Step 4: Do a Social Media Audit

Learn more about what is seo and how it works

Let’s start with the first step.

Step 1: Do a Technical SEO Audit

The first step is to do a thorough review of your website starting with technical SEO.

Technical SEO comes first because of the fact that you have to ensure that crawlers can access and index your pages with no issues on search engines.

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

Check whether your website is registered with Google search console and Bing webmaster tools or not.

If not, then registered it on priority.

Google search console is a free tool by Google which tells you about the health of your website.

Below are some of the information that Google knows about your website with the help of this tool.

It includes:

What number of pages are submitted to Google and what number of pages are actually indexed.

For which keywords your website is ranking and their position.

Which keyword is generating Google traffic.

Indexing and security issues that are related to your website

Any many more issues.

Some of the reports of Google search console I will cover below which will help you understand better.

Specify your preferred domain in Google Search Console

Google considers domain with www as different domain than a domain without www for example and with no www before the URL

Both the above URL are considered as different URLs by Google

To stay away from duplicate content issues, you should specify your preferred domain to Google by setting up your canonical URLs properly.

Is your robots.txt file setup properly?

All sites have a robots.txt and it is used to stop the crawlers from entering that specific page which has robots.txt file.

An error in robots.txt can cause you serious indexing issues, so robots.txt optimization should be done properly.

SEO Friendly URLs

Nowadays SEO friendly URLs is considered as one of the important factors while planning a SEO strategy.

You should check that each URLs of your website are unique and properly structured for example:

This is a non-optimised URL:

This is a optimised URL:

Good URLs include keywords, include hyphens (-) to separate the keywords, and are unique for each page.

Breadcrumb menu activated

The breadcrumb menu generally appears at the top of a page which helps users to navigate back to the homepage by following the menu links with ease

Google recommends having a breadcrumb menu because it makes navigation easier for users

Check and ensure that your breadcrumb menu is properly set.

Enable structured data

Structured data is a very trending topic nowadays and will continue to be in the days to come.

Adding structured data markup to a page, help Google to understand the context and importance of your content which gives you extra benefit in ranking.

Google uses structured data to improve the presentation of a website in search results and voice searches.

Your structured data should be enabled for:

Your Homepage

Your breadcrumb menus

Your Blog Page

Your Product Page

Is it important to set canonical URLs for all your pages?

what is canonical URL

Canonical URL helps Google to recognize the most significant pages of a website and help webmasters to deal with duplicate content issues.

It is recommended to have a canonical URL on each and every page of your website for better SEO practice.

Have you optimized your 404 Pages?

A 404 page is the page that appeared to users when they arrive at a page that isn’t found on your site.

A proper optimized 404 page is useful for smooth customer experience and it’s exceptionally simple to optimize.

Is your XML Sitemap Optimized?

An XML sitemap is a list of pages that Google needs to know about.

The XML sitemap is created by your CMS and it is submitted to Google by means of Google Search Console.

The XML sitemap should not contain all your site pages yet just the ones that are significant for your site.

Is it important for your website to be HTTPS?

Yes, it’s important to have an HTTPS website. This indicates a search engine that your website is secure and you have an extra advantage over the website that doesn’t have https.

When you make your website https, ensure that you do it effectively so that your rankings are not affected.

Is your website speed fast?

Taking care of website page speed is one of the most important tasks for non-technical users.

Unfortunately, it is one of the most important SEO factors and has to be taken care of.

Your website should load fast especially faster than your competitors.

Your website should be Mobile friendly

With the increasing demand for mobile phones and it’s uses you would probably think that all the websites may be mobile friendly but that isn’t the case.

There are websites that are yet not optimized for mobile which results in loss of traffic.

With the introduction of the Google Mobile-First Index, websites that are not mobile-friendly are excluded from mobile searches.

Your first step is to check your website with a mobile-friendly test tool and follow their suggestions.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new way of creating pages that are mobile-friendly. It’s a format that is supported by Google and other search engines.

AMP pages load quicker than typical HTML pages, however, there are limitations with regards to the functionality you can use.

There is a long discussion in the SEO industry with respect to whether you should adopt AMP on your website.

If you are “News” publisher than its recommended to have AMP. But if you are a corporate website, blog, or eCommerce store at that point going the AMP way will increase your expenses without giving any extra advantages.

Is your site accessible in more than one language?

Website that operates in different languages should have the necessary settings enabled in the HTML code otherwise Google may consider translated pages as duplicate content.

Step 2: Do an On-Page SEO Audit

When you are finished with the Technical SEO Audit and fixed all issues, the next step that comes is On Page SEO Audit.

On-Page SEO is a very important part of the SEO Audit. In fact, many audits include only this part but we are here to cover all the parts.

The principle objective of on-site SEO is to help search engines understand the content of your website.

On-Page SEO Audit Checklist

As the owner of your website, your responsibility is to provide search engine crawlers with the correct signals using keywords and other on-page SEO components.

Optimizing Titles and Descriptions

Are your titles and descriptions unique for all pages and are of appropriate size or not?

Could the user tell from the title what the page is about and does your description says what your page is offering?

Check Heading Tags

Ensure that you don’t simply have plain content in your pages.

Your main title should be in H1 and main headings in H2, make use of bold and italics for the important parts.

Properly Check your Content SEO

The content of your website should be unique. You can use Copyscape to check the uniqueness of your pages and if you find duplicate content remove those pages from your website.

Make use of Google Analytics to find the most popular pages of your website and ensure that these pages have great content. Avoid making spelling errors, grammar errors, weird fonts, etc.

You additionally need to check the content length and freshness.

You don’t need to post daily but you should have a proper schedule for your posts.

Check your Internal Linking

Linking your pages together is valuable to both search engines and visitors.

These are the main 4 factors that you should consider while linking with relevant pages:

Make sure that you are not only using keyword anchor text for internal links but you should use both title anchor text and non-keywords anchor text.

The pages you need to rank better in search have a more prominent number of internal linking.

The pages you need to rank better in search are linked from your home page.

You should have at least 2 – 10 internal links per page.

Check Your Image SEO

Image make easy for search engine to read what your image and web page is about and helps in improving the ranking in search engine result pages (SERP). But sometimes it can go against your SEO efforts if it increases the loading time of the page.

You need to take care of 3 things when it comes to image SEO:

Image filenames tell us what the image is about. You should use keywords in the filename but should not overdo it.

All the images should have a defined SEO optimized Alt text.

All the images should be compressed to minimize their size. If you use lots of images on your pages then you should consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Check Broken Links

Broken links lead to bad user experience and are not good from SEO point of view.

There are 2 different ways to check for broken links:

Use a tool like Xenu to find all your external links. The tool is free and can give you a report of every single broken link. You would then be able to fix them by either removing them totally from your website or you can redirect them to a valid URL.

You can also find broken links by using the “Crawl Error” report in the Google search console. 

Step 3: Do an Off-Page SEO Audit

Off-Page SEO is the technique and method that you use to promote your website on the internet. It is also known as link building.

The websites with more backlinks indicate Google that the website is more trustworthy than the websites with fewer backlinks. Usually, websites with quality backlinks tend to rank higher in search engine.

Off-site SEO is an important part of SEO Audit. But if you are not cautious about what you are doing and what not than it can be harmful to your website.

Low-quality links are harmful to your website and it is also a good reason for Google to penalize your website.

Off-Page SEO Checklist

You need to be careful before doing an Off-site SEO Audit.

Identify Incoming Links and Toxic Links to Your Website

You can find incoming links to your website by using ‘Links to your site’ report Google search console or you can use tools like Semrush which does your work quite easy.

Answer the below question while reviewing your incoming links report:

How many unique domains are linking to your website?

Which of these domains can be considered as a trusted domain?

How many links are linking to your Homepage and internal pages?

Which of your pages is receiving more links?

What percentage of links are keywords based?

What is the ‘toxic score’ of each and every incoming link?

Depending upon your answers, you may need to take some actions so ensure that you include all this in your action plan.

Suppose, if few domains are linking to your website, you have to get links from relevant websites so you have to make a list of websites that you can use for guest blogging and blogger outreach campaigns.

If you don’t have enough links from trusted domains than you will need to get in touch with the leaders in your niche and inform them that you exist.

If all the links are pointing to your homepage than you need to ensure that you build links to internal pages of your website.

If all the incoming links are coming from keyword-based anchor text then you have to change them quickly by making it look more natural by using your full post title and things like click here, learn more, etc.

Unlike on page SEO, off-page SEO is not a straightforward process it takes lots of effort to build links so you should be aware of what you are doing.

Links are important for ranking your website but you don’t need to go and build links like anything.

Instead, you should focus on building less but quality links that will really help you in improving your ranking.

Step 4: Do a Social Media Audit

If you don’t have a social media presence than it’s difficult to survive in online marketing.

You can just ignore social media and depend completely on search marketing. It’s like putting all your eggs in one single basket.

You may be thinking how social media is related to SEO Audit?

So, let’s answer your question.

Social media helps you both directly and indirectly. It increases the visibility of your website and gives exposure which may help to create more natural links and direct visitors to your website.

Basically, you have to check that you have a good social media presence on all the social media platform (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) so that people can find you and follow you.

Difference Between Manual VS Automated SEO Audits

What should you expect from a manual SEO Audit?

From what you just read above its easy to understand what is the value of manual audit vs automated audit which is performed by a tool.

A tool runs an audit based on predefined parameters but it does provide the value that a SEO expert can provide.

The cost of a manual audit is affordable and you get a proper recommendation of your website which you will not get from a tool.

Final Thoughts

For all the individuals who have made it to this point, congrats! If you follow all the above recommendations, you will definitely improve your rankings and organic traffic.

I would be really happy if you share your recommendations below in the comments and if you are not clear about something you can also ask about that. I would be really happy to reply you all.