15-Step SEO Audit Checklist That Every SEO Should Know

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is something we just can not avoid anymore. Whether you are a small business owner or an agency trying to optimize a website for a client, SEO is what makes or breaks a business in this digital age.

With new websites coming up every day, it is essential to stay relevant on the internet. SEO helps you do that. If done right, it will ensure that your website shows on the top of the search results if someone searches for related content.

To assess where your website might need some work to make improvements, you must conduct a search engine optimization audit. It will help you gain more insights into your website's performance and how you can improve it.

What is SEO Audit?

A search engine optimization (SEO) audit is the process of identifying and assessing the progress of your website and finding and fixing any problems that can prevent your website from ranking in the top spots of any search engine result.

The importance of an SEO audit can’t be understated. It helps you rise in the business world as it enables you to avoid losing out on organic traffic, sales opportunities, having your website indexed improperly, etc.

All this may seem a little overwhelming, but there is some good news if you are new to SEO. In this article, we will talk about the various SEO tools you can use to perform your audit, and we will provide you with a 15-step SEO audit checklist.

The Tools You Need To Perform An SEO Audit 

There are five popular and effective SEO tools:

  1. Google Analytics: This tool provides you with data and metrics about the performance of your website in Google’s search engine.
  2. Semrush Site Audit Tool: This tool gives you a comprehensive performance review of your website. 
  3. Google Search Console: This tool helps you to see whether your website is indexed correctly or not and how it appears in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). 
  4. Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool will measure the performance of every page of your website for various devices, such as mobile phones, desktops, etc. 
  5. Google Schema Markup Testing Tool: This tool ensures that you can test and verify that the schema you are building for your website is error-free. 

15-Step SEO Audit Checklist 

We have tried to make your SEO audit process a little less worrisome, as we have an SEO website audit checklist. So, follow this checklist to know how to do an SEO audit.

1. Your Website Should Be Mobile Friendly

You shouldn’t be surprised to know that since 2020, over 60% of Google searches have happened via phones. All of us have a smartphone at all times, and it has become very convenient to access the internet to gather any information within seconds. This rise in the number of phone searches led Google to start using Mobile-First indexing in 2019.

With more than half of the searches happening via mobiles, you must perform an SEO audit that will show how mobile-friendly your website is and, if not, then what can be improved to make your website mobile-friendly.

If someone visits your website from their mobile phone and has to wait a long time for it to load, or the user interface (UI) is not compatible with mobile phones, then there are chances that you might lose their business.

2. Competitor Analysis

Checking what your competitors are doing right, from time to time, and how they are implementing the strategies that are letting them be successful is crucial if you wish to surpass them.

An SEO audit checklist is incomplete if it doesn’t involve competitor analysis. Doing this will enable you to learn more about the organic keywords used by them, study their content strategy and their website user interface, and learn how they capture their audience and how you can implement the same in your website.

This will give you more insights into the gaps you need to fill to rise above the competition and rise in the search engine result page (SERP) rankings.

3. Scan And Fix The Errors On Your Website

You might have clicked on a link or an image online and found the words ‘page not found' written on it. That is a 404 error, and that occurs due to broken images and links in a website. It means that the particular link or image was deleted.

However, these errors are common and happen as the content cycles in and out, your website's structure also changes with time. This causes a fracture in your internal linking structure.

That being said, you would be pleased to know that they are easy to fix. Site audit tools identify all the 404 errors on your website. A Chrome extension called 'Broken Link Checker' will help you identify all the errors on a page-by-page basis.

4. Ensure Your Content Is Visible

Content is the most crucial element and factor in how your website performs. You will find tons of websites on the internet that are underperforming, mainly due to the lack of quality content.

Let’s dive deep into Bill Gates’ most famous quotes ‘Content is King’. You can have all the correct elements of a good website, but if you lack the content to back it up, all your efforts are bound to go to waste.

There are many ways in which you can improve your content, such as being as concise as possible, writing in small and clear paragraphs, telling the user exactly what they are looking for, using appropriate text and size, and most importantly, using the right sub-heading to let the reader know what they will learn even before they start reading the content. Eye-catching visuals can take your website to new highs.

5. Check Your Website Structure

The architecture of your website must be suitable for your users and the search engine bots. This will also ensure that your website is ranked well because:

  1. A simple and interactive user interface will ensure that users can easily access and navigate your content.
  2. Internal linking also helps increase your website’s ranking. 
  3. Menu, click depth, thumbnails, sitelinks, and how easily and effectively search engine bots can find and scan your web pages. 

6. Optimize Meta Title And Meta Description

Meta title and meta description are together called meta tags. They ensure that Google can find your page with its crawling, which is a critical element that Google considers when ranking your page.

They also help the users determine if they want to view your content by reading your meta tags and getting an overview of what your website would talk about. You must optimize your meta tags.

Google displays the first 50-60 characters of your meta title. So, your primary keyword must be used and displayed on your meta title, along with your brand name and any other information you want to mention and can fit in.

A meta description is different as the length of those keeps changing. However, as of today, the length of a good meta description is 150-160 characters. These should include your primary keyword, one of the secondary keywords, and a call to action. One thing to note is that all requirements should feel natural to the reader rather than forced.

7. Optimize Your Keywords

Searching for the right keywords and placing them in the right place with the right keyword density is one of the most important aspects of getting the SEO of your website right. It is important to note that optimizing all your pages with the keywords you want can be a tedious task because keywords have a lot of competition. It can be next to impossible to rank your website using a particular set of keywords. 

If you are looking for a keyword like ‘best SEO practice’ and you find that the competition for that keyword is very high and the chances of being ranked with it are low. You should look for the next best alternative, such as ‘best SEO practices for websites, which would have relatively less competition.

Several SEO tools can be used for keyword research, such as wordstream, ubersuggest, etc.

8. Identify And Eliminate The Duplicate Content 

Duplicate content is not only harmful from the SEO perspective but also the user’s perspective, as no one likes to read repetitive and duplicate content. There are many reasons why duplicate content is present on your website in the first place. It could be done unintentionally or intentionally to increase the count of the keywords.

However, Google is smart in determining whether the content is duplicated intentionally. So, what this does is that it makes Google’s crawlers work extra hard to be able to scan and present your website in search results, and whatever makes the crawlers work hard will hinder your SEO.

9. Identifying Page Update Opportunities 

Even the most minor updates you make to any page sends a signal to Google that it should crawl your page if and when the relevant searches are done. You must regularly update your pages, as this helps them remain relevant and fresh from the search engine’s point of view.

Here are the types of content that you should update regularly:

  • Opportunity pages: Opportunity pages are the pages that, if moved up in the search engine result pages (SERP), would attract more traffic. SEO tools and products are equipped with rank trackers to allow you to see where your pages are ranking with the keywords you have used.
  • Top pages: Top pages are the pages that attract the most traffic to your business. These pages should be updated regularly to continue growing and attract more traffic to your business. 
  • Pages outside the top 10: The pages that rank outside the top 10 in the SERP should be updated regularly as this would give them a fighting chance to up the rankings and become more visible. It would be best if you aimed to put this in the top 3 of the SERP as those spots drive the most traffic. 

Here is a short checklist of what you should regularly update on your pages:

  • Add new research and information
  • Add and update keywords 
  • Compress images 
  • Fix or eliminate broken links 
  • Pruning content 

10. Optimize Your Page Speed And Load Times

One of the most crucial steps in your SEO audit checklist should be to optimize your website's page speed and load times. Recently, Google has been taking page speed into account when ranking websites. You can check the loading speed of your website using Google PageSpeed Insights.

If you want to increase your website's loading speed, you should install a cache plugin, compress video and image files, remove broken links, etc. There are many ways in which you can achieve a faster loading speed. Analyze your website and work on what you feel needs fixing.

11. Optimize Voice Search

Voice search or simply ‘Okay Google’ is growing rapidly as users find it convenient and faster to conduct searches this way. You need to ensure that your website is voice search friendly.

The first thing you have is to ensure that your website's content is easily readable and clear. The information you are providing should be concise and not repetitive. While you are reviewing your content, you should put yourself in the shoes of your reader and decide whether they would understand it or not.

Providing the information your readers want to read is the best way to show up in their search results, whether text searches or voice searches.

12. Domain Security 

One of the most important answers to ‘how to conduct a technical SEO site audit?’ is ‘providing security to your users’. It is vital to know that people don’t enter websites where their information could be at risk, and Google also doesn’t rank the unsafe websites well.

When performing an SEO site audit, you must ensure that your website is encrypted with HTTPS. Your website should have the HTTPS designation, and as long as it has that, it will be secure and ranked by Google.

13. Check Your Organic Traffic

Organic traffic refers to the visitors that land on your website through unpaid sources or your SEO activities. You should track and evaluate them regularly using Google Analytics. You would be able to see how many people visited your website from search engines in the period you have entered in your search.

It is essential to track your organic traffic as it indicates whether your SEO activities are working in your favor.

14. Analyze Backlinks

Also known as inbound links, backlinks are the links that are created when one website links to another. Backlinks are a very important part in the structure of your website. There have been various studies which showed that backlinks hold the most weightage in the ranking process.

There are many backlink analysis tools available, such as Semrush. You need to enter your homepage URl into the tool and you will receive a comprehensive report on your links. Now the decision is yours as to how and where would be like to make changes and fix the backlinks if required.

15. Perform SEO Site Audit Regularly

The internet is a very dynamic environment, and many things can affect the rankings of your website, for better or worse. Hence, it is advisable to perform regular SEO site audits of your website. SEO audit should be an essential part of your SEO strategy.

Many tools available online and for free can help you perform regular SEO audits, driving the best results from your website.

Now you have a complete 15-step SEO checklist with you to follow when you are performing an SEO audit. Follow this checklist and perform all the steps with your website regularly and allow SEO to do its magic on your website and show on top of every SERP.