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198 Point SEO Audit Checklist & Spreadsheet

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Introduction

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 and it is something that I do on a daily basis, and have been doing for many years now.

If there are issues with your site, then a technical SEO Audit will always find the cause, but you need to know what to be checking for first. With so many on-page and off-page factors to take into consideration, it is no wonder why so many opt for companies offering SEO audit services.

If you’re an SEO or think you can use this, please do feel free to use and share around. Some elements of this are again split further into their own sub-checks, but it should serve as a great guide with 198 primary areas covered.

And if you want to know why an SEO audit takes 2-3 weeks (or sometimes longer), this is why!

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.

Why was this document created?

SEO Auditing is one of those areas that needs to be all or nothing, and by publishing the 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 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 SEO audit process I decided to share all of the points that are investigated when I’m auditing a website.

If you do have any questions about this process, please do leave a comment below.

SEO Audit Checklist Overview

The main audit checklist (below) is split up into the following primary areas.

Please remember that these are checks – results from these checks should form part of an ongoing strategy.

Tools used while Auditing

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.

CRAWLINGMISCELLANEOUSMOBILE
AhrefsBrowser SpyAMP Validator
Cognitive SEOBuiltWithWebpage Test.org
Deep CrawlDejan HREFLang ToolMobile Moxie
Netpeak SpiderWayback MachineLighthouse
Rank ActiveLRT Link Redirect TraceGTMetrix
Screaming FrogStructured Data Testing ToolGoogle & Bing Mobile Test
SEMRushCheckdog
SERPED.netRedirect Checker.orgSERP TRACKING
SistrixGoogle AnalyticsAccuranker
SiteBulbGoogle Search ConsoleSEMRush
Website AuditorGA CheckerAhrefs
Code Beautify.org
KEYWORD RESEARCHSitelinerBACKLINKS
SEMRushReverse IP LookupAhrefs
Keywordtool.iouClassifyLink Research Tools
SpyfuBrowseoMarie Haynes Blacklist
Page Optimizer ProSEMRush
AhrefsUX
Keyword RevealerHotJar
Keyword ShitterYandex Metrica

Accessing The 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.

Access the SEO Audit spreadsheet

CHECKSTOOLS USED
GOOGLE - 13 Checks
These points are intended to check how the site is seen by Google.
Is Google Analytics Installed?gachecker.com
GA duplication checkGA Debug Plugin
Is Search Console setup?SC
Are there any Search Console errors?SC
Google cache analysis'cache:' in Chrome
Is there a sitemap.xml file?Sitemap Check
Is there a discrepancy between indexed pages in Google and Sitemap?Check Sitemap in GSC and site: in Google
Are any invalid pages in the sitemap?Screaming Frog
Are there any negative search results for the brand?Google / Visual
Are there any negative Google Autosuggest?Google / Visual
Is there a Google News sitemap.xml file?SC
Any manual actions?SC
Are there any crawl errors?SC
BENCHMARKS - 6 Checks
Setup your benchmarks before beginning. This way you know where growth/changes have occured.
Total Pages Indexed in GoogleGoogle
Total Number of BacklinksAhrefs
Total Number of Linking Root DomainsAhrefs
Total Number of Organic KeywordsSC / Ahrefs / SEMRush
20-50 top keyword positionsSC / SERP Tracking App
Domain Agewebconfs.com/web-tools/domain-age-tool/
COMPETITOR ANALYSIS - 5 Checks
Understanding what your competitors are doing can be a great way to emulate and improve on a campaign.
Top 3-5 competitors identified?Client / SEMRush / Ahrefs
Has the competition been benchmarked?Visual / Export
Competitor top 10 keywordsVisual / Export
Competitor average search positionsVisual / Export
Top ranking keywordsVisual / Export
SITE ARCHITECTURE - 23 Checks
If there are issues here, it can mess up a whole site and any future campaigns. Architecture plays a big part in SEO.
Site protocol checksMost Crawling Tools
Pagination checksScreaming Frog
Canonical checksScreaming Frog
Print version noindexed?Visual
Internal Linking checksScreaming Frog / SEMRush
Site Visualisation ChecksScreaming Frog / Sitebulb
Internal redirectsScreaming Frog
Redirect chains & Redirect loopsScreaming Frog
Robots.txt present?Visual
Robots.txt reviewVisual / SC
Are pages being correctly blocked by Robots.txt?Visual
Are pages being correctly blocked by Meta Robots?Screaming Frog
Site Structure & Silo UseScreaming Frog / Sitebulb
Category Use (ecomm)Visual
URL naming convention - is this well optimised?Most Crawling Tools
Error PagesScreaming Frog
Is an HTML Sitemap in use?Visual / Screaming Frog
Are Tag Pages being used?Most Crawling Tools
Is the site using a crumb trail?Visual
Is primary navigation easy to use?Visual / UX
Footer navigation checks?Visual
Is all good content under 4 clicks from home?Most Crawling Tools
Menu setup and useVisual
TECHNICAL SEO - 32 Checks
Many techncial issues can go completely undiagnosed because you don’t see them.
Primary Protocol Use (HTTP / HTTPS)?Most Crawling Tools
Does the site have a valid SSL certificate?Chrome / sslchecker.com
Do all pages redirect from HTTP to HTTPS correctly?Most Crawling Tools
Is an HSTS policy in place?securityheaders.com
Does the site use Subdomains?Most Crawling Tools
Does the site carry a Favicon?Visual
Site Uptimeuptimerobot.com
Broken / Redirected Internal LinksMost Crawling Tools
Broken / Redirected External LinksMost Crawling Tools
Javascript UseScreaming Frog / Visual
Is the .htaccess file configured correctly?Visual
Are Dynamic Pages being served correctly?Most Crawling Tools
Does the site have open dynamic pages that can be blocked?From Crawl Data
Malware & Security Checkssitecheck.sucuri.net
Blacklist checkmxtoolbox.com & ultratools.com/tools/spamDBLookup
Site Speed Checkswebpagetest.org / GTMetrix
Are any pages being duplicated due to poor architecture?Most Crawling Tools
Structured Data & Schema UseGoogle Testing Tool / SC
Are there any Chrome Console Errors?Chrome Inspect
Is CSS being minified?seositecheckup.com/tools/css-minification-test
Is Inline CSS being used?Visual
Is every site page secure and without errors?Screaming Frog
Are there any canonical errors?Most Crawling Tools
Are all ads and affiliate links nofollowed?Most Crawling Tools
Can the site be crawled and used without Javascript on?Chrome Web Developer Exension
Server location by IPiplocation.net
Check all sites on webserverviewdns.info/reverseip/
Do any pages have more than 100 external links?Most Crawling Tools
What platform is the site built on?builtwith.com
Does the platform come with known restrictions?Research
Is a CDN in use?builtwith.com
Check domain historySEMRush / Wayback Machine
WEBSITE IMAGES -7 Checks
Images can bring a site to life, but can also slow it down. Use them, but do check as well.
How many images are used sitewide?Most Crawling Tools
Are images being optimised?Most Crawling Tools
Are ALT tags being regularly used?Most Crawling Tools
Are images named sympathetically?Most Crawling Tools
Are there any dead images?Most Crawling Tools
Are too many stock images used?Visual
Are there any images in excess of 100Kb?Most Crawling Tools
MOBILE AUDIT - 15 Checks
Mobile checks are hugely important as more than 50% of searchers now use mobile devices.
Responsive checkGoogle / responsinator.com
Popups/InterstitialsVisual
Mobile Page Sizewebpagetest.org
Image useVisual / webpagetest.org
Image optimisationwebpagetest.org
Image resizingwebpagetest.org
Search console errorsSC
AMP CheckScreaming Frog / SC / validator.ampproject.org
Mobile UX issues (see UX)Visual / Hotjar / Yandex Metrica
Mobile NavigationVisual
Use of video on mobileVisual
Are buttons and links easy to click?Visual / SC
Is the Favicon being displayed in mobile SERPs?Visual
Parity checks - Content, Meta & Directives the same as desktop?SF - 2 Crawls + Export
Mobile TestingMobile Moxie
PAGE LEVEL & ELEMENT ANALYSIS - 27 Checks
Sometimes known as Best Practice, these elements are mostly on-page or easy changes.
Are Deprecated HTML tags being used?seositecheckup.com/tools/deprecated-html-tags-test
HTML Validationvalidator.w3.org
Accessibility Checkshttps://www.webaccessibility.com/
CSS ChecksFrom Data
Page Titles
-- Are all page titles under 65 characters? (appx. 570 pixels)Most Crawling Tools
-- Are any Page Titles under 30 characters?Most Crawling Tools
-- Duplication without canonical/pagination?Most Crawling Tools
-- Any signs of keyword cannibalisation?Most Crawling Tools
-- Is the primary keyword/phrase close to the start?
-- Are all page titles descriptive of page content?Crawling Tool / Visual
-- Are any page titles missing?Most Crawling Tools
Meta Description
-- Are all Meta Descriptions unique and descriptive?Most Crawling Tools
-- Are any Meta Descriptions missing?Most Crawling Tools
-- Any duplication without canonical/pagination?Most Crawling Tools
-- Are any below 70 characters?Most Crawling Tools
Are Meta Keywords in use?Most Crawling Tools
Are there any redirects other than 301?Most Crawling Tools
Are there any 5xx errors?Most Crawling Tools
Are images ALT tags in use?Most Crawling Tools
Are there too many ads on any pages?Visual
Does the site bombard you with popups?Visual
Does the site carry clear Call to Actions?Visual
Does each page have a clear H1 tag?Most Crawling Tools
Are H2's being used across the site?Most Crawling Tools
Is the site W3C Compliant?validator.w3.org
Does site:brand show expected sitelinks?Google / Visual
Is the site using a Cookie acceptance notice?Visual
KEYWORD ANALYSIS - 10 Checks
Google expects certain keywords when on a page. Make sure you are delivering these.
Site keyword research for BenchmarksMost Keyword Tools
Brand search - Does homepage come up #1 when searched?Google /Visual
Primary homepage termSite
Is a keyword strategy in place?Client / Research
Is there evidence of keyword duplication or overuse?Most Crawling Tools
Are keywords in Page Titles?Most Crawling Tools
Are keywords in H1?Most Crawling Tools
Are keywords in H2?Most Crawling Tools
Are keywords in Meta Description?Most Crawling Tools
Are keywords in the main page document?Most Crawling Tools
CONTENT AUDIT - 16 Checks
By understanding more about your content, you can enhance pages that might previously have been letting you down.
Are all fonts large enough to read clearly?Visual
Are hyperlinks clear?Visual
Could font colour be considered too light?Visual
Are there clear primary and supplementary content types?Visual
Is content Evergreen or Fresh?Visual
Are there any thin pages? <200 words of content?Most Crawling Tools
Does the site carry an up to date Privacy Policy?Most Crawling Tools
Does the site carry up to date TOS's?Most Crawling Tools
Is there any duplicate content internally?Most Crawling Tools
Is there any duplicate content externally?Siteliner
Is any content scraped from external sources?Siteliner
Is the contact page easy to find and use?Visual
Content Gap AnalysisAhrefs
Copy and classification checksuclassify.com/browse
Has page grammar been checked?Grammarly
Has page spellings been checked?Checkdog / Grammarly
USER EXPERIENCE (UX) - 8 Checks
User Experience is a Googel ranking signal. You would be wise to make sure you get this right.
Site video useVisual
Homepage checkVisual
Internal page checksVisual
Contact page checkVisual
404 page checkVisual
Category Pages (ecomm)Visual
Mobile UX PrioritiesVisual
Review live site usageHotjar / Yandex Metrica
BACKLINK ANALYSIS - 8 Checks
Google relies so heavily on backlinks, that you want to make sure you are on top of this.
Backlink health & scoreAhrefs
Spammy domainsAhrefs
Has disavow file been created?GSC
Has disavow file been checked?Ahrefs / Visual
Anchor Text UseAhrefs
Backlinks lostAhrefs
Backlinks GainedAhrefs
Broken BacklinksAhrefs
INTERNATIONALISATION - 9 Checks
Often confusing, international SEO has the ability to drop a site from the SERPs. By checking these elements you can ensure site health.
Does the site have an international audience?Client / Research
Is the site using rel="alternate" hreflang="x" ?Most Crawling Tools
Is the site being translated without errors?Visual
Is the site using an international URL structure?Most Crawling Tools
Are the correct localised web pages being used?flang.dejanseo.com.au / Research / Client
Does the site have backlinks from target countries?Ahrefs
Is the site Multilingual, Multiregional or both?Client / Research
Does the site location need to be setup in Search Console?SC
Checks from international locationsBrowseo & International IP's
LOCAL SEO AUDIT - 9 Checks
So many sites require a local presence that no business should really be without this. Set it up and continue to improve.
Does the site need and gain traffic from local audiences?Client / Research
Are local titles tags being used?Most Crawling Tools
Is there a consistent NAP across the site and external sitesVisual / Ahrefs
Is local structured data being used?Visual
Is there a Google MyBusiness listing?Google My Business
Is the site listed in reputable business directories?Research / Ahrefs
Does the site have local citations?Ahrefs / Research
Does the site carry good local content?Visual
Does the site have too many thin content local pages?Most Crawling Tools
NEGATIVE PRACTICE - 8 Checks
These do still crop up from time to time, often without site owners realising, so worth checking.
Hidden textCrawling Tools & Research
Cloakingduplichecker.com/cloaking-checker.php
Doorway pagesMost Crawling Tools
Meta RefreshScreaming Frog
Javascript redirectionScreaming Frog
Link ExchangesAhrefs / Research
Is Flash being used?Screaming Frog
Are iFrames in use?Screaming Frog

Further Reading

The resources below all provide additional information when auditing your website and provide even more practical assistance.

 

About

My name is Andy Drinkwater and I am a seasoned SEO professional now into my 19th year. I specialise in technical SEO, reversing Google penalties and have a particular love for internal linking and website architecture.

5 Comments

  1. This is a great SEO audit checklist, Thank you Andy. Have always been a fan of your internal linking / silo structure results and you have given us a sneak peak of how your Audit is done. Planing on explaining about using some of those tools in a later series? Thanks a lot 🙂

    1. I will indeed be doing this and plan on updating the information to make it a little easier to read and which tools I use for each one.

      And thank you for the kind words, Aravind 🙂

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