How to Do an SEO Audit: The Ultimate Checklist

You know when you spend time and money working on your online trading and investing site to get it where you want it, but you’re still not seeing the traffic that you want?

Or when you’re always left wondering why other Forex & CFD brokers have higher rankings than you do even though they have lower authority and poor UX?

If you don’t build a solid foundation that Google loves, how can you expect search traffic to grow?  It’s critical that your site is fully compatible with Google’s crawlers and free of errors.  Otherwise, all of your SEO and link-building efforts will be seriously held back.

Technical SEO is the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improved organic rankings. Important elements of Technical SEO include crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture.

On-Page SEO is the foundation of growing your search traffic and once you build a site that Google loves, you will be rewarded. Unlike most things in SEO, you have full control of your on-page SEO which presents a rare & unique opportunity.

Off-Page SEO refers to all of the activities that you and others do away from your website to raise the ranking of a page with search engines.

seo audit

The answer to your troubles is an SEO website audit. SEO audits can boost your site’s search engine rankings to attract more revenue, leads, and visitors.

Not sure where to start? Check out this definitive guide to running an SEO website audit to find out.

But first, we need to go over what an SEO audit is, exactly.

What is an SEO Audit?

You can think of an SEO Audit as an evaluation of a website that grades the site for its ability to appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Audits are completed by checking each step on your audit list and finding any issues that need to be repaired or improved to boost your page’s search engine performance.

Think of it as a report card for your site’s “Googleability.” Your site might be wonderful, well-designed, and clean.

But if search engines can’t read your website, the pages you put hard work into may not ever see the light of day.

You can easily find your SEO score with an SEO checker.

But that’s not going to give you the insight that a full SEO audit can provide.

A full audit gives you an actionable plan that helps to:

  1. Compare yourself to competitors and use your findings to your advantage.
  2. Identify what changes need to be made (and how to change them).
  3. Get a general overview of the SEO efficiency of your site.
  4. Uncover your website’s weaknesses and fix them.
  5. Set some expectations for your website’s future.

You may not be able to improve every finding on your SEO audit all at once, but you can work on several factors over a period of time.

Here are the factors you should focus on during your SEO audit.

Factors to focus on in your audit

Before you can make any changes, you need a strategy that will work. There’s truly no limit to the things that you can improve with an SEO audit.

You can analyze keywords, improve the technical aspects of your site, and more.

However, when people decide to run an SEO audit, they usually only care about one thing: improving rankings.

Everybody wants to be number one.

But getting to number one means focusing on a combination of several complex factors that all contribute to SEO in some way.

Before we dive into the specifics, you’ll want to boost technical SEO first.

Technical SEO

Not everyone needs a technical SEO audit. But if you are suffering from any of the problems below, then you should take action…

There are tons of things that you can check in your SEO audit with little to no effort if you get your hands on the right tools.

Here is a complete check-list for technical SEO audit:

  • Site Speed Optimisation
    • How’s the site’s page speed? Red/Yellow/Green?
    • How do the competitors compare?
    • What do PageSpeed Insights say to improve?
    • Anything we can notice that slow down the site?
    • Images optimised?
    • Images in next-gen formats (where applicable)?
    • Any videos that can be lazy-loaded?
    • Any images that can be lazy loaded?
  • Index Management
    • Are all pages correctly redirected to https?
    • Is the site using HTTPS only?
    • Are there any pages indexed under a wrong protocol?
    • Are there any admin pages indexed?
    • Are there any subdomains indexed that shouldn’t be?
    • Any custom query strings indexed?
    • Any artificial or Soft 404 pages
    • Are there any duplicated categories and tags?
    • Are there any search results indexed?
    • Any other index bloat?
  • 3XX Redirects
    • Are there any 302 redirects?
    • Are there any unnecessary internal 301 redirects?
    • Are there any external 301 redirects affecting the site’s usability or user’s comfort?
    • Are all redirects that are needed in place where applicable? (e.g. http -> https or non-www -> www)
    • Any redirect chains?
    • Any redirect loops?
  • 4XX Errors
    • Are there any internal 40x errors?
    • Are there any 40x pages in the sitemap?
    • Any 40x pages occured during the crawl?
    • Any 40x errors reported in GSC?
    • Is the 404 page correctly optimised?
    • Are there any soft-404 errors or pages that can potentially be marked as soft 404s?
  • 5XX Errors
    • Are there any internal 50x errors?
    • Are there any 50x pages in the sitemap?
    • Any 50x pages occured during the crawl?
    • Any 50x errors reported in GSC?
  • Robots.txt
    • Is it available?
    • Are Google bots treated well 🙂 ?
    • Does it include all the required directives?
    • Does it not block resources that shouldn’t be blocked?
    • Does it reference the sitemap?
  • Sitemap
    • Does it reference URLs returning 200 http status code only?
    • Does it not include any blocked pages?
    • Does it not include any pages that do not need to be indexed?
    • Is it formated correctly?
    • Does it not include any unnecessary data or attributes?
    • Does it reference images?
    • Does it reference videos?
    • Is it sitemap index and is it correct?
    • Is it not too big?
    • Is it frequently updated?
    • Does it reveal any orphaned pages?
  • Internal linking & Website Structure
    • Is the site optimally using internal linking?
    • Are the core pages easily accessible for users and search engine bots?
    • What’s the site’s crawl depth? Is it OK?
    • Are internal anchor texts structured correctly?
    • Is internal link juice and Page Rank used well?
    • Are there any issues in Google Search Console?
    • Are there any orphaned pages?
  • Google Search Console (if access available and provided)
    • Any maual penalties?
    • Any coverage issues?
    • Any unusual crawling behaviour/patterns?
    • Any unusual indexing issues?
    • Any structured data issues?
    • Is page rendering OK?
    • Are important pages accessible?
    • Any search performance issues?
    • Any mobile usability issues?
    • Any link-related issues?
    • Any sitemap issues?
    • Is geo-targetting needed & configured?
    • Do any URL parameters need to be configured?
    • Is the site under mobile-first indexing?
  • Google Analytics (if access available and provided)
    • Any sudden drops in traffic?
    • Any unusual traffic trends?
    • Any long-term traffic downtrends?
    • Are goals needed & configured?
    • Is conversion tracking needed & configured?
    • Are bot hits being filtered?
  • Hreflang Tags (if applicable)
    • Are hreflang tags in place?
    • Are all hreflang tags reciprocal?
    • Are hreflang tags correctly configured?
    • Are all languages corresponding with the hreflang tags?
  • Source Code Optimisations (if applicable)
    • Are there any unnecessary tags used?
    • Is there excessive inline CSS or JS?
    • Is the site using correct encoding and language definition?
    • Are there any missing or excessive meta-tags?
    • Are there any excessive HTML comments?

Content SEO

Your content should be able to answer any questions that a searcher might ask Google.

Auditing your content can be tough because you will have to look at the quality of your work along with the best on-page factors.

Below you can find a complete Content SEO check-list:

    • Thin Content
      • Are there any pages with no or very thin content?
      • Any pages with broken html that cut off the content?
      • Any pages that should cover substantial topic, but only have a couple of hundred words?
      • Any informational pages with no or very short content?
      • Any product pages without product descriptions?
    • Page Title Optimisation
      • Do all pages have a page title?
      • Are there any duplicating page titles?
      • Are there any page titles that are too long?
      • Are there any page titles that are too short?
      • Are there any page titles not corresponding with the page contents?
      • Any “broken” page titles?
      • Any page titles that are spammy?
    • Meta Description Optimisation
      • Do all pages that should have meta descriptions have it?
      • Are there any duplicating meta descriptions?
      • Are there any meta descriptions that are too long?
      • Are there any meta descriptions that are too short?
      • Are there any meta descriptions not corresponding with the page contents?
      • Any “broken” meta descriptions?
      • Are all meta descriptions correctly worded and do they make sense?
      • Any meta descriptions that are spammy?
    • Heading Optimisation
      • Are there any missing Hx tags?
      • Are there any duplicated Hx tags?
      • Are there any multiple H1 tags?
      • Are all Hx tags correctly worded and do they make sense?
      • Are there any Hx tags misused?
      • Are all headings semantically leveled?
    • Image Alt Attributes
      • Any images without alt tags?
      • Any alt tags that are spammy?
      • Any alt tags misused?
      • Any incorrectly worded alt tags or some that do not make sense?
    • Internal Duplicate Content
      • Duplicate content in subdomains?
      • Any duplicate content detected through the site?
      • Are any pages creating duplication?
      • Any product pages with the same description?
    • External Duplicate Content
      • Is there another domain with the same content?
      • Does anyone duplicate the main page content across the internet?
      • Does Google correctly attribute the content ownership?
  • Rich snippets & structured data
    • Any issues reported in GSC?
    • Any issues with rich snippets in Google SERPs?
    • Any issues with the structured data in the code found during our crawls?
    • Any structured data missing?
    • Any rich snippet opportunities?
  • E-A-T (if applicable)
    • Is there a solid About Us page?
    • Does the site have contact information
    • Are authors properly showing their expertise
  • Above The Fold
    • Is the ATF area correctly used?
    • Does ATF area include the core content piece?
    • Does ATF area directly meet users’ intent?
    • Does ATF area include main navigation and heading?
  • Keyword Cannibalisation
  • Content Recommendations (if applicable)
  • Mobile Friendliness
    • Is the site mobile-friendly?
    • Does the site use RWD, AMP or PWA?

Off-Site SEO

Off-page search engine optimization is not just about links.

It goes deeper than that. For example, brand mentions (your site URL or brand name mentioned on another site without a hyperlink) are an integral aspect of off-page search signals.

Off-page SEO includes any signals that tell Google and other search engines that your site is valuable to your audience.

Here is a complete checklist for your Off-Site SEO Audit.

  • Backlinks & Referring Domains
      • What’s the RD to Links ratio?
      • What’s the RD vs oRD ratio?
      • Is RD vs DR healthy?
      • Does the number of RD look good?
      • Should you work on increasing the number of your referring domains?
      • Are there any potentially harmful domains in the link profile (revealed in the quick review)?
  • Topical Relevance
      • Are links coming from relevant sites?
      • Is there enough relevancy signals in the link profile?
      • Are anchor texts relevant to the site?
  • Anchor Text
      • Is the anchor text distributed correctly?
      • Does the anchor text look healthy?
      • Is the brand vs targeted vs misc anchors ratio OK?
      • How does it compare with the main competitors?
  • Metrics
    • What’s the site’s DR?
    • What’s the homepage’s UR?
    • What do the metrics say about the sites’ link profile health?

And much much much more! There’s literally too much to list. Contact us if you have any specific questions or special requirements.

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