What Is SEO Audit & How To Do It?

12min.

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What Is SEO Audit & How To Do It?d-tags
08 February 2023
A well-performed SEO audit is the cornerstone of all activities that aim at improving website visibility in the search results. Thanks to it, you can easily define areas for improvement and prepare an effective strategy that will help you reach your SEO and business goals. What is an SEO audit, why is it so crucial for your website’s results and how to do it? Dive in!

12min.

Comments:2

What Is SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is essentially a health check which allows domain owners (you) to analyze their website’s ability to rank in the SERPs (search engine results pages).

So, what is an SEO audit report in a nutshell? It’s the process of validating and optimizing a website for search engine requirements. It can be either general or focused on specific elements. Consequently, we can differentiate various types of SEO audits such as:

  • technical SEO audits – checking your website speed, loading time, architecture, security, indexing, website rendering (meaning if e.g., the content generated by JS is seen correctly by Google),
  • on-site SEO audits – checking elements like SEO-friendliness of titles, headers, internal linking, alt descriptions, and more.
  • off-site SEO auditsverifying the number of backlinks, their quality, and anchor texts (meaning the keywords used to link to your website).
  • content SEO audits check if the content published on the website is attractive to users, properly optimized, and tailored to the search intent. It’s an indispensable element of every content marketing strategy. It also helps to determine what content pieces need to be added, expanded, or (sometimes) deleted.

As you can guess, depending on the website type, it may also be crucial to pay particular attention to extra elements such as:

  • structured data and the buyer’s journey if you run an ecommerce,
  • language versions, content translations, hreflangs, or geolocation (you shouldn’t have the last one) if you run an international business,
  • content quality and expertise in the case of Your Money Your Life (YMYL) websites and industries.

Since you focus on specific keywords when performing SEO activities, your audit should be based on a detailed list of these phrases. So, if you haven’t performed keyword research and analysis before, it also has to be done when auditing your website.

Why is it so crucial? Without it, you won’t be able to evaluate your website optimization, SEO-friendliness, backlinks, or architecture. Why? Because you won’t be even able to tell which pages are the most important and relevant.

So, what does the finished product look like? It can be a report describing the above-mentioned elements and their correctness. It should also include recommendations of steps that ought to be taken to improve the website’s performance.

The audit report can be in the form of a docs file, PDF, or even a multimedia slideshow. It’s frequently accompanied by a spreadsheet with the collected data (e.g., from the site crawl or reports from external tools like SEMrush, Moz, Woorank, etc.).

example of seo audit table of content

To stay on the cutting edge and keep your finger on the pulse, it’s advisable to perform an SEO audit on a regular basis, preferably every 6 months. If it’s not feasible, then analyze your website performance at least every few years.

Start auditing your website with our free SEO audit checklist!

Check our SEO audit checklist!

How to Do an SEO Audit Step by Step

Now that you know the basics and theory, let’s move on to the subject matter of this article. How to perform an SEO audit? To evaluate your website’s performance and find areas for improvement, follow the steps described below:

Check Your Website Visibility and Determine the Most Important Keywords and Pages

effective link building process cbd industry

This can be done using Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and other external keyword visibility tools described above. Thanks to it, you’ll:

  • obtain basic data about your website’s performance, and its potential,
  • find out which keywords your website is currently visible for,
  • uncover opportunities to optimize the existing content,
  • identify which pages are ranking and why,
  • uncover any potential visibility issues with the content,
  • discover any potential keyword gaps between you and your market rivals,
  • track your website’s performance in the organic search.

Check Website Indexing and Crawling Data from Google Search Console

To check if your website is being indexed by search engines, use Google Search Console. Thanks to it, you’ll be able to determine which pages are indexed, as well as verify the speed of indexing, and uncover any potential indexing issues. If your page is big, it’ll be easier to analyze the scanning using server logs, however, it’s a very complex topic for a separate article, so we won’t dwell on that today.

Check Your SSL Certificate

ssl certification for international seo

It’s important to make sure your website is secured with an SSL certificate, meaning it’s available over HTTPS, not HTTP. Having an SSL certificate is essential since it encrypts the connection between your website and the user’s browser, making it harder for third parties to get access to user data.

How to check if your page has the SSL? Simply enter the website and see if it starts with https:// and if there’s a padlock symbol before the URL.

Check Redirects Between Individual Page Versions

technical seo proper redirects example

It’s essential to check the existing redirects between individual page versions (www.example.com, http://example.com, http://www.example.com, and https://example.com). All of them should be redirected to the version you’ve chosen to use.

How to do it? You can perform the check either manually or benefit from crawlers like Screaming Frog.

Check if Your Website is Responsive and Mobile Friendly

Mobile friendly test

In the era of omnipresent mobile devices, reaching top positions in Google necessitates ensuring your page has a responsive design and is mobile-friendly. This means your website should be easy to use and navigate on any device, not only on desktops.

How to check your responsiveness and mobile-friendliness?

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, Google Search Console, or… do it manually. How? Just change the browser window size a few times and check if your page displays correctly and if the content adjusts to the new screen size.

Check if Your Website Doesn’t Generate 4xx or 5xx Errors

4xx and 5xx errors are HTTP status codes that indicate errors such as a bad request or unauthorized access. They can have a detrimental impact on website performance, traffic, and bounce rate, so it’s crucial to deal with them as soon as possible. To check the existing errors, use the tools mentioned above like Google Search Console or crawlers.

Thanks to it, you’ll be able to detect any 3xx, 4xx, or 5xx errors, uncover potential issues with the server, and find broken links.

Check the Robots.txt File

robots txt example

The robots.txt file contains instructions for bots, telling them which sections of the website they can access and navigate. When performing an SEO audit, you need to manually check the file and make sure that you block the robots from accessing all unnecessary pages, such as filter results.

Why? Because you don’t waste your crawl budget on elements that shouldn’t be indexed.

Check Meta Tags and Canonical Links

Meta tags include descriptions and titles which are displayed in search engine results, while canonical links inform the search engine which version of the page should be indexed. It’s essential to make sure all of them are properly set up and optimized. One of the tools you can use to check meta tags is the Screaming Frog.

It allows you to see existing meta titles and descriptions, as well as check if you’ve forgotten to set any canonical links.

Check if the Sitemap Is Implemented Correctly

update xml sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the web pages on your website. It helps search engine spiders understand the structure of your website and crawl it more efficiently. To check if your sitemap is implemented correctly, you should manually check the file and verify if it’s updated regularly, contains only the most important pages, and is free of errors.

To streamline the process, you can also benefit from Google Search Console.

Check Website Speed and Core Web Vitals Metrics

How to do an SEO audit?

The next step is to analyze your Core Web Vitals metrics and focus on user experience. In May 2021, Google announced that the Core Web Vitals metrics, such as Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shift, became important ranking factors affecting website positions in the SERPs.

To make sure your website meets the requirements, you should evaluate the page load speed and Core Web Vitals using tools like Google Page Speed Insights, Google Search Console, or GTmetrix.

Check the URL Structure

URLs are one of the most commonly overlooked elements when performing an SEO audit. To make sure your URLs are SEO-friendly, you should:

  • make sure they’re concise and to the point,
  • include only the most important keywords,
  • avoid using underscores and use hyphens instead,
  • avoid using too many parameters,

To quickly gather data about all the URLs, use crawlers like Screaming Frog.

Check Website Architecture

How many internal links lead to the most important pages and how many pages have been crawled?

Analyzing your website architecture manually or using crawlers will allow you to find areas for improvement. Generally, it’s advisable to organize the content into categories and subcategories and make sure the most important pages are as close as possible to the homepage.

You should also add internal links to navigate users to related pages, and create descriptive URLs.

Check SEO-Friendliness of Meta Data

To check if your metadata is SEO-friendly, you should analyze the titles and descriptions of all the individual pages. Make sure they’re concise, start with the most important keywords, are easy to understand, and don’t exceed the recommended length. For meta descriptions, it’s between 140 and 160 characters (960 px).

On the other hand, titles should have approximately 600 px. You can use crawlers like Screaming Frog to quickly scrutinize the metadata of all the pages.

Check Header Structures

correct headers structure

Headers are important for SEO since they inform the search engine and users about the content of the individual sections on the page. To make sure your headers are optimized, you should:

  • add keywords naturally in the H1 header and at least 1 H2 header
  • make sure all the headers are properly structured and used in descending order,
  • avoid keyword stuffing.

To check if your headers are SEO-friendly, you can use the Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Check if Your Schema Markup Is Correct

Schema markup is a type of structured data which provides search engines with additional information about the content on your website. It’s especially important for local businesses, news sites, and ecommerce stores. How to verify if your Schema markup is correct? For this purpose, you can use tools like Screaming Frog or Google Schema Markup Testing Tool.

Check Alternative Descriptions of Graphics and Images

Alternative descriptions of graphics and images are essential for SEO, both from the user experience and website accessibility point of view. To check if all of them are properly set up, you should manually go through the existing graphics and images to verify if they have alternative descriptions.

If your page is sizable, you can also benefit from crawler tools to do it much quicker.

Check Anchor Texts on Internal Links

Anchor link vs naked link

What phrases do you use to link individual pages of your website internally? Anchor texts should be concise and include the most important keywords. To make sure all the texts are SEO-friendly, you can use crawlers like Screaming Frog.

Check Internal Content Duplication

Duplicate content, meaning a situation when the same content can be found on various pages within your website or on a few different websites, can have a detrimental impact on website performance and visibility. That’s why it’s essential to check if it exists and address any potential issues. To do it quickly and efficiently, use crawlers like Screaming Frog or Siteliner.

You can also do it manually by typing a few content fragments in quotes into Google, and checking what appears in the search results.

Find out how we improved visibility by 40% through solving the duplicate content problem!

Check Your Website for Thin Content

What is thin content? It’s content that doesn’t bring any value to the reader and doesn’t meet the search engine’s requirements. To check if your website has any thin content, you should manually analyze the content of all the pages, use Google Search Console to get general data or benefit from crawlers like Screaming Frog.

Analyzing your backlinks and linking domains is also crucial to uncover any potential issues with the website’s visibility. To do it quickly, use backlink analysis tools like Ahrefs or Majestic. Determine what websites link to you the most and find potential opportunities for improving your link profile.

Don’t forget to check anchor texts used to link to your page and make sure your backlinks are diversified.

Benchmark Your Website Parameters Against Your Market Rivals

When performing basic competitor analysis, there’s no need (or possibility) to be as thorough as when conducting an SEO audit. A profound benchmark analysis is intended to help you prioritize efforts. If your competitors have little content and a lot of backlinks, and their websites are more visible than yours, it may suggest that backlinks are more important for this particular industry or your page.

Taking a closer look at your competitors should allow you to determine if you’re going in the right direction.

cro seo audit

Gather All the Data on Detected Errors and Issues in One Place

When you’re done with the analysis of all the elements, it’s time to gather all the data on the detected issues and errors in one place. It’s best to use a spreadsheet as it allows you to quickly analyze the most and least important elements, prioritize the areas of your website that require the most attention, and track the progress of your website optimization.

What should you do?

  • turn each error or issue into a task for implementation
  • analyze each task and think what impact it may have on the website and how difficult it can be to implement it – this will help you determine the priorities,
  • start with modifications that are easy to implement and at the same time have high influence on the page,
  • then, focus on tasks that are difficult but have a high impact, finally, it’s time to solve issues that are easy, but have a low impact,
  • what about difficult tasks with a low impact? Don’t bother yourself with them, it’s a waste of time and effort.

Don’t forget to designate a person or department that will be responsible for the implementation of each task.

Prepare an Audit Report (if Needed)

If you’re conducting the audit for a customer or a boss, you should also prepare an audit report.

It should include:

  • the list of elements that have been analyzed,
  • the tools used for the process,
  • the issues and errors discovered,
  • the list of recommendations for implementation,
  • a strategy or a game plan on how to fix the issues.

Now that you know how to make an SEO audit report, it’s time to learn how long the entire process typically takes.

How Long Does an SEO Audit Take

So, how long does an SEO audit take? We won’t surprise you if we tell you that IT DEPENDS (after all, it’s the favorite saying of all SEO specialists ;)). The entire process is dependent on numerous factors such as:

  • the size of the website (the bigger the site, the longer it takes to collect the data),
  • the number of detected errors and issues,
  • the scope of the audit (if you start implementing modifications on the go, it may significantly prolong the process).

However, according to our survey, most SEO experts generally agree that performing an SEO audit takes from 1 to 3 days. This time can vary depending on the type of selected audit, the website’s condition, size, or scale of potential problems.

Why SEO Audit Is Important

Are you wondering why you need an SEO audit? It allows you to see areas that need improvement and detect practices that are detrimental to your website’s ranking. Aside from that, conducting an SEO audit also benefits you in the following points below.

Helps to Detect, Prioritize and Fix Website Errors

An SEO audit helps you identify mistakes that are preventing your website from getting the traffic it deserves and from ranking high in the SERPs. It also verifies if any of your strategies are causing you to lose web traffic instead of attracting it.

Problems that an audit can detect include but are not limited to the following:

  • External links going to your site that’s harming your ranking.
  • Duplicate content that is confusing Google and other search engines.
  • Missing meta tags
  • Slow load time of web pages
  • Error messages
  • Many more

As you can see, an SEO audit will help you find and fix website errors that may impact your search results ranking, web traffic, and conversions or sales.

seo audit list of tasks

Helps to Evaluate How Specific SEO Activities Affect Your Website Condition and Allows You to Devise a Tailor-Made Game Plan

An SEO audit provides valuable insights into how your website is performing in the SERPs. It also helps you analyze the effects of specific SEO activities. Thanks to it, you can see if performed actions are likely to help you achieve your business goals and if you’re going in the right direction.

With this information, you can then devise a tailored game plan to maximize your website’s potential and focus on elements that are worth improving first.

Helps to Stay up to Date with Ever-Changing Google Algorithms

Google is regularly rolling out updates to its ranking algorithms, which means that what worked for you last year may not work this year. An SEO audit will allow you to stay on top of all changes and ensure that your website passes the criteria of the latest modifications.

It’s a great and simple way to see how your website is performing and if anything needs to be adjusted or tweaked.

cro seo audit

Helps to Obtain Valuable Data About Your Website

Why is an SEO audit important? It’s a valuable source of information about your website performance and results.

Moreover, as you continue fixing all the issues on your page, you also need to measure all the site’s improvements continuously to verify if you’re going in the right direction. Thanks to it, you’ll be using the available budget to the fullest. An SEO audit report allows you to keep track of what the situation was like before you made all the changes. This way, you can monitor your performance accurately and stay ahead of your market rivals.

Note that every excellent SEO strategy starts with an SEO audit of a website. If you want to be data-driven and have a solid base to compare your future results, you’ll need a comprehensive audit of your website.

Helps to Find Inspiration for Further Growth and Development

What is an SEO audit? Apart from the above-mentioned definition, it’s also an ideal way to find ideas for further growth and development of your website. It reveals all the weak points of your online presence that need to be addressed and also gives you inspiration on how to use specific SEO techniques to your advantage.

For example, if it turns out that your website has too few backlinks and you don’t know how to get more, an SEO audit can reveal some great link building strategies that you can use.

All in all, an SEO audit is a great way to uncover hidden opportunities that can help you increase your web traffic and grow your business.

Helps to Benchmark Your Operations Against Your Competitors’ Strategies

With SEO auditing tools, you can also conduct a comprehensive analysis of your competitors’ websites. And through that, you can learn their keyword rankings, backlinks, SEO tactics, and even their weaknesses and strengths. You can see which of their content is getting a lot of backlinks and evaluate if their strategy is effective. Then, you can find inspiration on what should be incorporated into your strategy to boost your SEO success.

Also, by monitoring how competitors get their backlinks, you can discover many outreach opportunities. This way, you can obtain backlinks from quality domains and further leverage your parameters

What Is SEO Audit & How To Do IT? Key Takeaways

Learning how to do SEO audits to satisfy your clients or target audience can be a complex and time-consuming process. It requires not only the right skills and knowledge but also access to professional tools that are often expensive.

Gathering all the data about your website’s performance and identifying potential issues is the first step to improving your positions in the search results. Then you should evaluate the effectiveness of conducted activities and start devising a strategy tailored to your website, business, goals, and market rivals.

Hopefully, now you know what an SEO audit is and why it’s important to perform it on a regular basis.

As you can guess, preparing such a detailed report analyzing your website can be a tough nut to crack, as it involves numerous complex activities and requires using professional tools. If you want to conduct an SEO audit of your website but aren’t sure where to start, contact us. Our experts will be happy to analyze your page and help you improve your performance.

Author
Wojciech Urban SEO R&D Specialist
Author
Wojciech Urban

SEO R&D Specialist

R&D specialist in SEO and web analytics. He feels most comfortable in the area of technical SEO, and his main task is to ensure that websites are optimized for search engines and achieve high rankings in search results.

Author
Wojciech Urban SEO R&D Specialist
Author
Wojciech Urban

SEO R&D Specialist

R&D specialist in SEO and web analytics. He feels most comfortable in the area of technical SEO, and his main task is to ensure that websites are optimized for search engines and achieve high rankings in search results.

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  1. The work you are doing is really amazing and inspiring. Looking forward to more knowledgeable content.

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FAQ

What is an SEO audit report?

An SEO audit report is a process of evaluating and optimizing a website for search engine requirements. It is a health check that allows domain owners to analyze their website’s ability to rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Why is an SEO audit important?

An SEO audit is important because it allows you to detect and prioritize website errors and evaluate the effects of specific SEO activities. It helps you see areas that need improvement and determine if you are going in the right direction to achieve your business goals.

What does the finished product of an SEO audit look like?

The finished product of an SEO audit is usually a report that describes the elements and their correctness, including recommendations for improvement. It can be in the form of a document file, PDF, or multimedia slideshow and is frequently accompanied by a spreadsheet with the collected data.

How often should you perform an SEO audit?

It is advisable to perform an SEO audit on a regular basis, preferably every 6 months. If it is not feasible, then analyze your website performance at least every few years.

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