Optimising your site to achieve your search traffic goals is often perplexing. It’s challenging enough to figure out which areas need improvement to make your site perform better in search engines.
But now, you can leave the guesswork behind by running an SEO audit. The process is also made easier with the help of SEO audit templates; even beginners can easily do it after learning for a while.
Without further ado, we’ll delve deeper into this topic and the essential SEO audit checklist to pay attention to. Your FREE SEO audit template also awaits by the end of this guide.
Let’s get into it!
Getting Started: What Is An SEO Audit?
Image source: Freepik.com
Before jumping right into the SEO audit checklist, let’s first understand what an SEO audit is.
SEO audit is the process of examining how your site performs on search engines. It helps you identify existing errors throughout your site, which you can improve later to rank better in the search results.
Not only help you identify errors, but this process also provides you insights into the optimisation gaps, giving you opportunities to achieve higher organic search traffic. As a result, you can leave the guesswork behind and optimise your site more efficiently.
Types Of SEO Audit
SEO audit, which provides insights into how your site performs on search engines, is divided into several parts. When you wish to improve your site, there are several aspects that you have to inspect, including:
SEO Content Audit
SEO content audit is an examination of your site’s content. This process analyses your content’s quality, relevance, and alignment with SEO goals by assessing the keyword effectiveness, the content structure, and its overall impact on user engagement.
Should there be any issues with your content, such as duplicate content, missing links, H1 tag issues, or missing image alt text, an SEO content audit will seamlessly let you know. Ultimately, this gives you an easier time to optimise your content for users and search engines.
Search engines can better understand what your content is about and rank it in search results. Users searching through search engines may also be more interested in clicking on your content and gaining valuable insights from it.
On-Page SEO Audit
On-page SEO audit entails analysing your site’s pages and ensuring their optimisations for search engines. The process includes examining various elements, such as title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and keyword usage.
Furthermore, an on-page SEO audit complements an SEO content audit. This is because web content is one of the components of on-page optimisation. Optimising the two will eventually help your site to rank on search engines more effectively.
Overall, getting insights into your pages’ performances gives you chances to enhance their visibility in search results. This is especially true as on-page optimisation directly impacts search engine rankings.
Off-Page SEO Audit
Off-page SEO audit analyses the external factors that influence your site’s rankings on search engines. The process involves gathering information about the quality and quantity of earned backlinks, social signals, and overall online reputation.
By performing an off-page SEO audit, you can gauge how your site is perceived online, which is understandably through the links you earn from other sites. This way, you can identify opportunities to build a more substantial online presence.
In addition, it also aids in mitigating backlink issues. Earning low-quality or spammy backlinks may be inevitable. You need to immediately fix them before your site loses credibility in the eyes of search engines.
Technical SEO Audit
Technical SEO audit deals with the site’s backend elements to ensure they’re optimised for search engines. Numerous inspections are part of this process, including site loading speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, correct tags, and structured data implementations.
Should there be technical issues that may hinder search engines from crawling and indexing your site, this process will help you identify them. Later, you can implement technical optimisations strategies to improve your site’s overall health and rankings in search results.
Local SEO Audit
Local SEO audit is beneficial if you target a local audience using your business site. The process will provide insights into your business listings’ accuracy, local keyword optimisation, and overall presence in local search results.
With these insights, you can improve visibility in local search results more easily. These include ensuring your business information is consistent across all online platforms, optimising content with location-specific keywords, and actively managing customer reviews.
When To Conduct SEO Audit?
Conducting an SEO audit regularly is essential for the better of your site. But when exactly should you inspect your site’s performance in search engines?
As a digital marketing agency that frequently performs site audits, we recommend doing so at specific times. Here is a list of situations in which we recommend performing an SEO audit:
When You Notice A Drop In Your Search Traffic
Noticing a sudden drop in your search traffic indicates a problem with your website. However, it will be difficult to know for sure why. Guessing yourself will also really waste time.
This is where performing a site audit can save your efforts and push your site to rank where it belongs.
A site audit will help you understand why your organic search traffic is dropping, whether due to lost links, broken redirects, server issues, or other possible reasons causing a drop in your search traffic.
After Redesigning Your Site
Redesigning a site is an internal decision that comes from various reasons. Maybe your old design is outdated, or the user experience can be better by bringing freshness to your site.
Whatever your reason is, you need to do a site audit right after your new site is live. Site audit will guide you to identify if there are any changes in organic traffic and rankings when compared to the previous design.
This is especially true as search engines often misinterpret a site’s purpose with the new design. In many cases, this issue leads to a drop in search traffic and rankings, which can be frustrating.
If you experience this problem, a site audit will help you promptly diagnose the root causes. Could that be page load speed issues? Or is it because of the image size? Site audits will inspect them for you.
When There Is A Sudden Increase In Inbound Links
While other sites linking to yours is one of the good off-page SEO indicators, you should be wary when there’s a sudden inbound link increase. This could indicate that your site is
being targeted by a harmful SEO tactic known as “link spam” or “black-hat SEO.”
Although these spammy inbound links seem beneficial at first, they can harm your site. Search engines will penalise anyone suspected of using unnatural backlink strategies, resulting in a significant drop in rankings and even complete removal from search results.
Conducting backlink analysis, disavowing harmful links, and strengthening your security are the strategies you can do, and they all start with a site audit. However, you may submit a reconsideration request to protect your site better and prevent future occurrences.
After Restructuring Your Internal Links
Restructuring internal links might lead to issues like broken links, redirects, or missing pages. Additionally, this process may unintentionally result in orphaned pages or pages without internal links pointing to them.
By conducting a site audit, you can diagnose and fix those potential issues immediately. As a result, you can maintain your internal links structure and improve your overall on-page performance.
Moving On: What Is An SEO Audit Checklist?
Since we’ve discussed SEO audit comprehensively, let’s move on to understand what an SEO audit checklist is.
By definition, the SEO audit checklist is a step-by-step guide to what you should consider when performing a site audit. The audit checklist helps you to audit your content, on-page, off-page, and technical SEO and improve them more seamlessly.
10 Audit Checklist To Assist You In Seamless Site Audit
Check out the following 10 audit checklist that guides you to perform site audits more seamlessly:
1. Crawl Your Site
Crawling your site gives you insights into your site’s current performance in search engines. This process collects data from your site, such as page titles, meta descriptions, keywords, headers, content, images, canonicals, and paginations.
From the collected data, you can diagnose whether there are issues within them. Site audit tools usually categorise the issue from high, medium, to low, so you can prioritise which issues are more urgent to fix.
2. Evaluate Your Organic Traffic
Evaluating organic traffic is a part of a site audit process. By analysing your organic traffic, you can determine how effective your site’s visibility in search results is. You’ll see which pages have the most visitors and examine the factors contributing to their popularity.
As a result, you can apply similar strategies to pages that attract fewer visitors. Adding internal links, optimising loading speed, or changing page titles are among the strategies you can implement to increase your organic traffic.
- Monitor Your Rankings
Monitoring your rankings is necessary to understand the effectiveness of your optimisation efforts, as evidenced by optimal rankings in search engine results. To do this, look at what keywords your page rank is in and the fluctuations that occur from time to time.
By looking at keyword rank and the fluctuations that occur, you can get ideas for improvements. For instance, you may create similar content from which your keywords are trending the most and add internal linkings to spread equal rankings throughout your pages.
- Check For Any Content Duplicates
Content duplicates refer to identical content appearing in multiple locations within your site. The duplication mostly happens due to URL variations; for example, there are different pages for “domain.com” and “www.domain.com” when both contain the same content.
Having content duplicates on your site will cause crawling and indexing issues as search engines consider them as separate content. This will further negatively impact your site’s ranking.
As a result, you should ensure there are none of them. In any case your site has content duplicates, you can use redirects to the main version to improve user experience and adhere to search engine guidelines.
- Identify Indexing Issues
Search engines will only rank the pages they’ve indexed. That’s why you must ensure that the pages you want to rank in the search results are indexable and free of any indexing issues.
To start, you can identify indexing issues using your site audit tools. The tools will usually list indexability issues, such as noindex, not found, redirect errors, and other common indexing issues existing within your pages.
- Check Site’s Mobile-Friendliness
Browsing the internet using mobile devices has become the norm. That’s why ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly is crucial. It’s easy to perform this as most site audit tools provide the supporting feature.
In addition, ensuring your site is mobile-friendly is related to the mobile-first indexing approach enforced by search engines. By optimising your site for mobile devices, search engines can better understand the content and rank it optimally in the search results.
- Evaluate Your Content
Content is an element that can help you rank in search results. Your web content captures the keywords that you want to rank for. That’s why the content becomes essential in a site audit, ensuring its value and relevance for users.
When you evaluate your content, check for factors like keyword usage, readability, and engagement metrics. If you find that your content is lacking in any of these aspects, it’s crucial to strategise improvements.
- Diagnose Broken Links
Broken links can negatively affect user experience and SEO. Users clicking on the link hoping to find valuable information are frustrated as they’re faced with broken pages. On the other hand, search engines won’t be able to identify what the pages are about.
Fortunately, you can diagnose broken links right away with site audit tools. The tools will give you insights into the broken pages as well as the status codes, such as 3XX, 4XX, and 5XX.
- Ensure On-Page Elements Are Optimised
Optimising on-page elements is essential, as they directly impact your rankings. Search engines use these elements to understand what your site and its pages are about, considering the relevance for further ranking where they belong in search results.
When you run an on-page audit, look for the title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and image alt-text attributes. Ensure they’re compelling for users and contain the targeted keywords to rank in search engine results.
- Optimise Site Architecture and Internal Links
A well-structured site and internal links are crucial for users and search engines. That’s why when you run a site audit, you need to ensure that your site structure is intuitive to ease users and search engines to navigate through your content.
On the other hand, your internal links should be adequate and point to important pages, particularly those that drive your sales. This will enhance the overall user experience and improve search engine rankings.
5 Useful Tools To Run Site Audit
You can easily conduct the SEO audit checklist previously mentioned using site audit tools. There are several tools that you can use, as listed below:
- Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is an advanced site crawler that analyses your site’s performance by providing in-depth information, including the on-page, technical, and off-page SEO elements. You can also identify the issues within your site by using this tool.
Auditing your site with Screaming Frog begins with a crawling process in which you must type your domain. Later, you’ll see all of the performance of your pages, including the existing issues.
The free version allows you to crawl a maximum of 500 pages. This makes a great option if you’re running a smaller site. However, if you’re auditing a larger site, you may need a paid version for more insights into your site’s performance.
- SE Ranking
SE Ranking has a Website Audit feature that you can utilise to evaluate how your site performs in search engines. This feature lets you see your site’s health score, errors, warnings, notices, and pages crawled and indexed.
Using SE Ranking’s Website Audit has advantages, especially because the tool can provide comprehensive SEO analyses. So apart from running a site audit, you can also do competitor research there, helping you to develop strategies to outrank your competitors.
However, you must subscribe first to use the Website Audit feature in SE Ranking. The plan costs from $44/month to $191/month, each with different capabilities you can choose from depending on your company’s needs.
MySiteAuditor is another advanced site audit tool. Running an audit using this tool will give you insights into your SEO score, existing issues, and overall page grades. That way, you can understand how your site performs and competes in the search engine results.
Apart from that, MySiteAuditor also has a conversion tracking feature. This feature is handy if you use your site to drive leads because it allows you to assess which areas need improvement to optimise conversions.
To use MySiteAuditor, you can start with a 10-day free trial. After that, you can choose between the Basic plan which costs $39/month, or the Pro plan which costs $79/month.
- Google Analytics
Google Analytics (GA) is initially made for search engine marketing optimisation. But you can use this tool to get insights into your organic traffic, including the fluctuating rankings of your pages.
However, GA only provides limited data. People typically link their GA accounts to third-party site audit tools like Screaming Frog, SE Ranking, or MySiteAuditor. By linking to their GA accounts, the insights gleaned from those site audit tools become more comprehensive.
- Google Search Central
Google Search Central is the most affordable option for conducting site audits. Google directly makes this tool, and any site owner can use it for free.
Despite being a free site audit tool, Google Search Central has capabilities that are no less than third-party site audit tools. You can inspect your on-page, off-page, and technical optimisations using this tool.
For example, you can detect indexing issues, analyse backlinks to improve your domain authority, investigate technical issues, identify pages with low impressions, and more.
Most importantly, connecting your site to Google Search Console will help Google understand and crawl your site more easily. As a result, you have a better chance to be ranked in the search results.
Simplify Site Audit With SEO Audit Template
Running a site audit will be easier with an audit checklist. However, documenting the optimisation steps you have taken based on the checklist will be much more streamlined with an SEO audit template.
Learn more about SEO audit templates in the following:
What Is An SEO Audit Template?
SEO audit template refers to a document containing bite-sized site optimisation questions. It helps you to ensure proper site optimisation based on the insights you get from running a site audit.
Although you can still optimise your site without an SEO audit template, it helps to document your strategies. This will save you time and avoid redundancy, allowing you to focus on the next unresolved issues.
Get your FREE SEO Audit Template
Words can only convey so much; you need to see the SEO audit template yourself to understand how it works.
Get your FREE SEO audit template now.
Performing site optimisation is almost impossible without running a site audit beforehand. You’ll have a hard time figuring out what went wrong on your site and which parts you should address to make it perform better in search engine results.
Running a site audit is also made simple nowadays, thanks to site audit tools and the SEO audit template you can easily access. The challenging part is, however, fixing the issues you find after running a site audit.
This is where our SEO services and Web Maintenance services can be a helping hand. No more dealing with unnecessary frustrations; we’ll be there to do the job for you. Now, you can focus on what matters most in your business.
Contact us today.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is the process of performing an in-depth evaluation of your brand’s website. This measures your site’s ability to compete in search engine results pages or SERPs.
Numerous factors are taken into consideration when running an SEO audit for your website – on- and off-page SEO, as well as technical SEO performance.
What is an SEO Audit Checklist?
A checklist is a guide or step-by-step thorough notes of what you should consider when performing an SEO audit.
In this document, you will see as well the issues and challenges that your site is currently experiencing.
How do I Write an Audit Report for SEO?
Some elements need to be present in your SEO Audit report to ensure its relevancy, validity, and technicality.
Here are essential elements that your SEO audit report should carry.
– SEO Performance
– Crawling and Indexing Status
– Meta Description &Title Status
– Structured Data / Schema
– Links & Navigation
– Site Speed
– Mobile Usability