16-Step SEO Audit Checklist

seo audit checklist


Welcome to the digital age where your website is often the first handshake with your audience. But a website that isn’t seen might as well not exist, right?  This is where mastering Search Engine Optimization (SEO) becomes not just a strategy, but a necessity. 


An SEO audit is the equivalent of a regular checkup for your site, ensuring it’s healthy, competitive, and up-to-date with the latest search engine algorithms. If you’re a local business you’ll want to make sure to perform a Google Business Page audit as well and follow these SEO practices.


Technical Analysis 

A robust SEO audit kicks off with a close look under the hood. In the technical analysis stage, we ensure that the search engine’s crawlers can explore and understand your site without any hitches. 


This lays the foundation for solid SEO performance.


1. Crawling and indexing assessment 


Crawling: The key to SEO visibility starts with ensuring search engines can crawl your site. Use tools like Google Search Console to check for crawl errors. Look out for server errors, redirect errors, and especially blocked URLs that could be inadvertently hiding your content from search engines.


Indexing: After crawling, comes indexing. You want your pages to be included in the search engine’s ‘index’ – essentially its massive database of the web. Again, Google Search Console can point out pages that aren’t indexed. This could be due to incorrect noindex tags or orphan pages without internal links.


2. Site speed and mobile-friendliness evaluation


Site Speed: In a fast-paced digital world, speed is currency. Use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to pinpoint what’s slowing down your site. Optimizations might include compressing images or leveraging browser caching.


Mobile-Friendliness: A significant chunk of web traffic comes from mobile devices, so your site must play nice with them. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can tell you if your site is optimized for mobile users. It examines elements like text size and touch element spacing.

3. HTTPS security checks 


Search engines prefer secure websites. Sites using HTTPS protect user data through encryption, which is favored by algorithms. Check that your site has a valid SSL certificate, and all pages are correctly using HTTPS to ensure user security and SEO health.

4. Sitemap and robots.txt review


Sitemap: Your sitemap is the roadmap you give search engines to follow. It lists out all the important pages you want indexed. Make sure it’s updated and free from errors, then submit it through Google Search Console.


Robots.txt: This file tells search engines what they should and shouldn’t look at on your site. Review your robots.txt file to confirm you’re not inadvertently blocking crucial pages from being crawled.


The technical aspects of SEO can be a bit daunting, but getting them right sets a fundamental basis for good search engine rankings. With our checklist in hand, you’ll be able to tackle these elements one by one, paving the way for the rest of your SEO audit endeavors.

On-Page SEO Audit 

On-page SEO is where you have the most direct control. It’s the practice of optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. Here we’ll dissect the core components you should optimize on every page.

5. Content quality and relevancy examination 


Content is king in the SEO realm. Delve into your site’s content and ask the tough questions. Is the content high-quality, informative, and does it provide value to your audience?  Ensure it’s relevant, fresh, and aligns with user intent. Tools such as Copyscape can help check for plagiarism, while readability scores ensure it’s approachable for your readers.


After addressing these technical and on-page aspects, you’ll witness the true role of artificial intelligence in SEO unfold, reshaping your online presence and search engine visibility.


6. Meta tags and structure optimization 


Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; they’re critical for SEO rankings but aren’t visible on the page itself.  Each page should have a unique title tag and meta description using target keywords while being enticing enough to prompt a click-through. 


Additionally, headings (from H1 to H6) should structure your content clearly, with H1 used for main titles and others for subheadings, incorporating relevant keywords where natural.


7. Image optimization and alt attribute analysis 


Images can be hefty, affecting load time, so they should be compressed without sacrificing clarity. Also, utilize alt attributes (alt tags) to describe images, which aids accessibility and provides a text alternative for search engines to understand the image content, helping to improve rankings.

8. Internal linking strategies and URL structure


Internal linking not only helps with website navigation but also with information hierarchy and spreading link equity (ranking power). 


Use descriptive, keyword-rich anchor text for links. As for URL structure, aim for short, readable URLs with your target keywords included. Ensure there are no broken links, use proper redirects for moved content, and minimize the number of redirects to expedite page loading.


The on-page SEO audit is your chance to ensure every element on your website is working hard to drive traffic and please both your visitors and search engines. When executed correctly, it can lead to significant improvements in search visibility and user engagement.

Off-Page SEO Audit 

While on-page seo efforts are visible on your website, off-page SEO involves enhancing your site’s reputation and authority from elsewhere on the internet. This audit will focus on factors outside of your website’s boundaries that influence your standing in search engines.


9. Backlink profile analysis


Backlinks, or inbound links to your site from other domains, are a cornerstone of off-page SEO. They signal trust and quality to search engines. Using tools like Ahrefs or Moz, analyze your current backlink profile. Look for the number of backlinks, their quality, and relevance. Identify potentially harmful links for disavowal and good links that could be further utilized, keeping an eye on anchor text distribution and domain authority of your backlinks.

10. Social media presence assessment 


Social signals don’t directly impact search engine rankings but indirectly affect your SEO. A strong social media presence can drive traffic and enhance brand recognition. 


Evaluate your activity on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. Are you engaging with your audience? Is your content shared and discussed? A well-managed presence helps support your brand’s online visibility.

11. Brand mentions and reputation evaluation


Your online reputation can influence your SEO. Brand mentions—whether linked or not—contribute to this. 


Use tools like Google Alerts or Mention to monitor where and how your brand is discussed online, and explore a variety of survey tools across different touchpoints. Positive mentions from authoritative sites can reinforce credibility, while a strategy should be in place to manage negative sentiment.

12. Competitor backlink strategies


Understanding your competitors’ backlink strategies can provide insights and opportunities. Assess the types of backlinks they’re acquiring, which high-authority domains are linking to them, and any opportunities they might be missing. Tools like SEMrush can let you peek into competitor backlink profiles to inform your link-building strategy.


Investing time in an off-page SEO audit can be incredibly revealing. It can highlight how your website is perceived by the wider internet community and pinpoint strategies to build that ever-important trust with both users and search engines.

Content and Keyword Assessment 

Your website might be a marvel to behold, but it’s the content that pulls in your audience through the power of search. The right keywords and content can drive traffic and engage visitors, culminating in successful conversions.


13. Keyword research and ranking performance 


Kick off by identifying the keywords your site currently ranks for using tools like Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs. 


Assess their search volumes, competition, and current ranking positions using a comprehensive rank-tracking tool. Determine if you’re targeting the most beneficial terms or if there are higher-value keywords you could be capitalizing on to improve visibility.

14. Content gap analysis 


Content gaps are opportunities missed—a chance to answer questions your competitors aren’t, or to delve into topics your audience is hungry for. Utilize tools to compare your content with your rivals to find these gaps. 


From here, craft a content strategy that fills these voids and meets the hitherto unaddressed needs of your visitors.

15. User intent alignment and content refreshment suggestions 


User intent—what users are really looking for when they type a query into a search engine—is the compass directing your content. Ensure that your content aligns seamlessly with user intent for your target keywords. 


Use audience insights and search query analysis to tweak existing content or inform new pieces. Also, revive old blog posts with updated information to stay current and relevant.

16. Duplicate content and cannibalization checks


Duplicate content can dilute your SEO efforts and confuse search engines. Use tools like Siteliner to find and resolve internal duplicate content. Keyword cannibalization occurs when multiple pages compete for the same keywords, potentially hurting your chances to rank effectively. 


Conduct an audit to spot these issues and plan corrective actions like merging pages, tweaking content, or adjusting your internal linking structure.


By giving your content and keywords the attention they deserve, you’re not just filling your website with material—you’re curating a library of purpose-driven resources that cater directly to your audience’s needs and search behaviors.

Wrapping Up

And there you have it—the pillars of an extensive SEO audit laid out in actionable steps. Taking the time to systematically work through this checklist can elevate your website’s ranking and online visibility. 


Remember, SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it task; it calls for continuous attention and adjustment as algorithms evolve and competition in the digital space grows fiercer.


Don’t be daunted by the breadth of the audit process. Each step enhances a different facet of your site’s potential to appeal to both search engines and users. Move methodically through this checklist, and you’ll uncover insights that can shape a more effective SEO strategy, tailor-made for your website’s unique landscape.


SEO is a journey, not a destination. Regular audits are mile markers on the path to online prominence.

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