What is an SEO Audit?
If you are unsure that everything is running correctly with your website, then you will likely want to figure out what the problems are. This is where you need to turn to an SEO Audit (why I created this SEO audit checklist in the first place) and it’s something that I do as a freelance SEO consultant on a daily basis, and have been doing for many years now.
However, what happens if budgets are tight but you want to try and correct issues yourself?
There are so many other documents out there on the web offering advice on what you need to do, that I decided to up the game and produce a complete SEO audit checklist that you can follow yourself, or understand what I do when I’m auditing a website. This checklist fills the gaps needed to be able to complete one of these on your own.
And if you want to know why my SEO audit services take 2-3 weeks (or sometimes longer), this is why!
Not all SEO audit checklists are the same.
Many of the documents in circulation cover the basics of a technical audit but don’t seem to have taken into account how Google has changed. It is entirely possible that a UX issue is holding your site back or simple on-page problems.
No amount of technical corrections will help if they are not finding the cause.
This SEO checklist covers all of the following SEO audit points and how they should be performed.
- Step 1: Google Checks. Everything Google-related.
- Step 2: Benchmarks. For setting all baselines. Understanding where you’re starting from.
- Step 3: Competition Analysis. Understanding who you are up against.
- Step 4: Site Architecture. Ensuring visitors and Googlebot have all they need to navigate and crawl.
- Step 5: Technical Inspection. To identify hidden issues that you might not even notice.
- Step 6: Images Analysis. Make sure your images are working for you, not against you.
- Step 7: Mobile Checks. With mobile as popular as it is, make sure there are no problems.
- Step 8: Page Level & Element Checks. Best practice for your site and visitors.
- Step 9: Keyword Analysis. Are you using the right keywords in the right places?
- Step 10: Content Analysis. Is your unique & amazing? You could be setting yourself up for issues.
- Step 11: User Experience (UX). A known ranking signal. Good UX will keep your visitors happy.
- Step 12: Backlink Audit. A top known ranking signal. Are you being held back by bad back links?
- Step 13: International Checks. Do you cater for an international audience? Are all elements in place?
- Step 14: Local SEO Inspection. Most websites rely on some local traffic. Are you missing out on this?
- Step 15: Negative Practices. It is still very easy to find yourself with negative practices on your site.
Please remember that these are checks – results from these checks should form part of an ongoing strategy.
Before Starting An SEO Audit…
In the world of website inspection, two important keys are preparation and knowing the right questions to ask. You would be surprised at how many times you can tie an issue down to a website event.
Before beginning, consider all of the following…
- What is the history of your website?
- Has work been completed previously?
- Have any new strategies been applied?
- Have a minimum of 30-50 keywords to track.
- Do you have the time to commit to an audit?
The last point here is especially pertinent because if you realise that you don’t have the time to perform this work, you will risk skipping possible issues and be back at square one.
I also recently appeared on Edge of the Web Radio where we specifically talked about the SEO audit process I follow and the tools also used. You can have a watch of the full video here.
Why was this SEO audit checklist created?
SEO Auditing is one of those areas that needs to be all or nothing, and by publishing the audit checkpoints that I cover, it means that everyone has access to a hugely comprehensive list that will miss nothing out.
I have spent many years creating an SEO audit that I can deliver to clients knowing that the results will find issues, no matter how small, that can all have an impact on search positions. While cleaning up my audit process I decided to share all of the points that are investigated when I’m auditing a website.
Tools used while auditing a website
There is no point trying to audit a website with just one tool – you are almost guaranteed to miss something, so I use many different tools to inspect various elements.
However, I am not saying that you need to use every one of those below. You might find that you can get away with only using some of them.
Each of the tools I use has been added to both the table below and the main Audit spreadsheet.
|Ahrefs||Browser Spy||AMP Validator|
|Cognitive SEO||BuiltWith||Webpage Test.org|
|Deep Crawl||Dejan HREFLang Tool||Mobile Moxie|
|Netpeak Spider||Wayback Machine||Lighthouse|
|Rank Active||LRT Link Redirect Trace||GTMetrix|
|Screaming Frog||Structured Data Testing Tool||Google & Bing Mobile Test|
|SERPED.net||Redirect Checker.org||SERP TRACKING|
|SiteBulb||Google Search Console||SEMRush|
|Website Auditor||GA Checker||Ahrefs|
|SEMRush||Reverse IP Lookup||Ahrefs|
|Keywordtool.io||uClassify||Link Research Tools|
|Spyfu||Browseo||Marie Haynes Blacklist|
|Page Optimizer Pro||SEMRush|
|Keyword Shitter||Yandex Metrica|
Accessing The SEO Audit Checklist Spreadsheet
I have decided to go a little further and have made public this part of the SEO Audit checks in Google Sheets.
It is open to the public for anyone who has the link, so please do feel free to share it.
The resources below all provide additional information when auditing your website and provide even more practical assistance.
- Learn How Matthew Woodward Increased Search Traffic By 45%
- James Hubbard SEO Audit Tools
- Search Engine Journal SEO Audit Checklist
- Ahrefs 16 step Audit
- Brian Dean’s SEO Audit Guide