How to Perform an SEO Audit: 8-Point Checklist to Improve Rankings

Updated: Jun 15

You’re running your website and it’s looking good, but it’s not engaging visitors and your traffic is low. It’s a wise time to start optimizing your website. But how?

It’s obvious that conducting a website SEO audit in the first place is important to know how your website is performing, what elements need to be optimized, and what opportunities you can capitalize on. The audit process can be a headache and time-consuming. However, in this guide, we’ve nailed down 8 core elements to a successful SEO audit.


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What Is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is a process of reviewing your site and identity errors that can prevent your site from ranking on Google or other search engines. An SEO audit makes up of multiple parts, including:

  • Make sure your site is being crawled, indexed, and rendered by Google

  • Examining your on-page and off-page SEO issues and fixing them

  • Verifying that your site has a good user experience

  • Make sure your site offers high-quality and valuable content that also matches search intents

  • Keyword-optimizing your content

  • Setting up and maintaining comprehensive reporting to track your website’s performance

The thing is, the audit process can be overwhelming, especially if you have a large website. It’s difficult to know where to begin, how in-depth your analysis should go, and which SEO tools will help you glean the most useful information. Therefore, we’ve simplified the website SEO audit with 8 core steps in this guide. In this way, you can break down the complex process into 8 easy steps to carry them out and know how to fix the issue you find.

>> More: Basic Guide: How to Do SEO for Beginners


How to Perform an SEO Audit

Step 1: Confirm That Your Site Uses HTPPS

HTPPs is faster, more secure, and is a ranking signal factor. This “S” is an encrypted version of the HTTP protocol that adds a layer of cyber security for anyone visiting your website. If your site isn’t set up using HTTPS, you have to canonicalize the HTPPS versions.

To check whether your site is running on HTTPS, you simply enter the various non-HTTPS iterations of your site domain - www.site.com; site.com; and http://www.site.com - and make sure they’ve all been 301 redirected to the HTTPS iteration.

Step 2: Analyze Your Site’s Speed

Low website speed is one of the most frustrating things that will turn people off on your pages and you won’t get a second chance when it comes to user experience. Page speed is also an important Google ranking factor. The slower a page loads, the chance of a user bouncing significantly increases.

Then you need to determine your current loading time, define what slows your site down, and optimize to speed up your site. PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that will give you a granular look at your page speeds and offers suggestions for improvement on both mobile and desktop versions. The improvement of website speed optimization could be:

  • Move your website to a faster host

  • Reduce the size of images on your website using tools like ImageOptim, JPEGmini

  • Reduce the number of plugins, delete unnecessary ones

  • Minimize the number of Javascript and CSS files

  • Use website catching

  • Reduce redirects

  • Reduce the use of web fonts

  • And more

Step 3: Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues

We live in a mobile-first website, it’s becoming essential that your website is designed to fit on different types of mobile screens. Responsive websites not only improve user experience but also get a higher ranking on search engines.

A handy Google tool called the Mobile-Friendly Test will quickly and effectively analyze your site’s URL to determine if it has a mobile-friendly design. This tool enables you to know how Google search sees your site and if it is mobile-friendly. If not, then you can take the necessary steps to improve it.

Step 4: Analyze and Resolve Further Indexation Issues

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool to help you to identify and fix any errors that prevent your site from appearing in Google’s search results as expected. Stay in GSC and head to the Coverage page in the Index tab. Here, you can see the reports including coverage errors, excluded pages, and see pages that are valid or have warnings. In most cases, it also suggests how to fix it.

Common errors include:

  • Pages that have a no-index attribute and are submitted in a sitemap

  • Pages blocked from being crawled in your robots.txt file but are included in a sitemap

  • 404 pages that are submitted in a sitemap but Googlebot cannot find a page

  • Server error (5XX) that Googlebot couldn’t access your URL, the request timed out, or your site was busy

Step 5: Scan for Keyword Optimization

There are certain pages on your site that are not fully optimized for target keywords. Whenever possible, you should make sure all your pages are as optimized as possible for keywords that help them show up in organic research. There are several strategic areas target keywords should be in:

  • URL

  • Title

  • H1 (if applicable)

  • H2 (subheadings in your posts - at least one)

  • Meta description

  • Body copy (put keywords naturally)

Step 6: Find and Fix Duplicate Content

Duplicate content means that you have multiple pages on your site that return identical or nearly identical content. Because more than one URL shows the same content, search engines don’t know which URL to rank in the search engine page results pages (SERPs). Therefore, they may rank both lower and give preference to other websites.

Duplication can happen for many different reasons and will hurt your site’s ranking. It will take time and effort to locate, and fix the duplicated content. Siteliner is a free tool that will crawl through your website and help up locate duplicate content. An alternative way to check for duplicate content is to reply on the page title dimension in Google Analytics, then you can sort by the “Page Title” column to see if any pages contain the same title.

Step 7: Identify Thin Content Pages

Thin content is content that offers little or no value to users and search engines. Thin content rarely qualifies as the best result since search engines always try to provide the results that match the search intent of the users.

Google considers low-quality affiliate pages, doorway pages, simple pages, and duplicate content as thin content pages. On top of that, Google doesn’t like pages that are stuffed with keywords. After identifying thin pages, you have two solid options to resolve these issues:

  • Improve these pages by creating high-quality, helpful, and unique content.

  • Add a no-index attribute to prevent the pages from being indexed

Step 8: Run a Backlinks Audit

Backlinks remain the most important ranking factor. Running a backlinks audit is necessary to evaluate all links pointing to your website. Aside from the high-quality links, you need to check for potentially toxic links and fix the problems.

Toxic links include:

  • Backlinks stemming from non-indexed sites

  • Backlinks from sites with lots of mirror pages

  • Backlinks coming from link directories

Identifying these toxic links and cleaning them up to prevent a negative impact on your site’s performance.

A backlink audit is more than just identifying and removing toxic links. It can help you spot new opportunities to get high-quality links and help build an overall link-building strategy to improve your ranking.

>> More: Off-page SEO Checklist: FREE Guide to Boost Your Google Rankings


SEO Audit Checklist to Get More Traffic and Rank Higher

It’s important that you are running SEO audits regularly to put together and adjust your solid content and SEO strategies. An SEO audit will give you an insight into your site’s overall health. From that, you can find issues as quickly as possible, you can fix problems before they become matter. Successfully running through the 8 steps in this guide will set your website on the path to organic supremacy.

  • Step 1: Confirm That Your Site Uses HTTPS

  • Step 2: Analyze Your Site’s Speed

  • Step 3: Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues

  • Step 4: Analyze and Resolve Further Indexation Issues

  • Step 5: Scan for Keyword Optimization

  • Step 6: Find and Fix Duplicate Content

  • Step 7: Identify Thin Content Pages

  • Step 8: Run a Backlinks Audit


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