Doing an SEO audit

Conducting an SEO Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide

Picture this: your website, lost in the vast wilderness of search engine results. It’s like being stranded on a deserted island without a map or compass. But fear not, brave adventurer! With an SEO audit as your trusty tool, you can navigate through the treacherous terrain of online visibility and claim your spot at the top.

In this article, we’ll delve into the depths of SEO audits, unraveling their mysteries and revealing strategies for success. So, why should you keep reading? The short answer: mastering SEO audits will catapult your digital presence to new heights. Let’s dive in!

Conducting an Effective SEO Audit

Step Description
1. Review your website’s on-page elements Examine page titles, meta descriptions, headings, content, media, site structure etc. for optimization opportunities.
2. Analyze your site’s technical SEO Check site speed, mobile-friendliness, indexing issues, structured data usage etc.
3. Assess your backlink profile Use tools to analyze your backlink quantity, quality, anchor text distribution etc.
4. Check your site’s visibility See how you rank for target keywords, identify ranking drops, assess competitors’ positions.
5. Review analytics and user behavior Check traffic trends, top pages and referrals, bounce rates, conversion funnel etc.
6. Set improvement priorities Based on audit findings, set clear priorities for changes – technical fixes, content improvements, link building etc.
7. Track progress regularly Conduct audits quarterly/biannually to measure SEO success over time and identify new areas to improve.

What is an SEO Audit and Why is it Important?

An SEO audit is a systematic process of evaluating and analyzing your website’s technical and content elements that impact search engine ranking and performance.

It involves:

  • Crawling your site to uncover technical SEO issues
  • Assessing on-page and off-page optimization
  • Comparing your SEO with competitors
  • Identifying gaps and new opportunities

Simply put, an SEO audit gives you an in-depth look at the “health” of your website. It highlights both the strengths and weaknesses of your current SEO strategy.

Conducting regular audits is crucial for several reasons:

  • Uncover issues hurting your rankings: An audit can reveal problems like crawl errors, thin content, poor page speed, etc. Fixing these will improve rankings.
  • Benchmark your performance: Audits allow you to gauge your current SEO against previous periods. You can measure improvements over time.
  • Identify new SEO opportunities: You may uncover new opportunities for growth like keyword gaps, link-building prospects, etc. during the audit.
  • Keep pace with algorithm updates: Google’s algorithms change constantly. Audits help ensure your site remains compliant.
  • Beat the competition: Use audits to analyze competitors’ SEO and content strategies. You can gain an edge.
  • Inform your SEO roadmap: The audit provides key data to shape your SEO priorities and activities for the upcoming period.

Overall, audits are vital for staying ahead of Google’s algorithm and ahead of the competition. They form the foundation for an effective, optimized SEO strategy.

the benefits of doing an SEO audit

How Often Should You Do an SEO Audit?

We recommend conducting SEO audits quarterly. Here are some key reasons:

  • Quarterly allows regular monitoring: Four audits per year let you closely track SEO changes and trends.
  • Aligns with business cycles: Quarterly audits fit nicely with typical financial quarters, planning cycles, and reporting needs.
  • Enables swift action on issues: More frequent audits mean you can quickly catch and fix problems before major damage.
  • Adapts to Google algorithm updates: On average, Google rolls out one or more algorithm updates per quarter. Frequent audits help you respond fast.
  • Beats the competition: Quarterly reviews let you keep up with the latest tactics and stay ahead of competitors’ efforts.

While quarterly is ideal, many companies find value in doing audits as often as monthly or weekly, especially for large or complex sites. The right cadence depends on your business goals, resources, and how rapidly your SEO landscape changes. But at minimum, aim to audit your website’s SEO twice a year.

Main Components of an SEO Audit

A comprehensive SEO audit examines both on-site and off-site elements that impact search visibility and performance.

Here are the key components:

Crawling and Indexation: Crawling your site helps uncover any technical issues preventing pages from being indexed by Google, such as crawl errors, blocked resources, and more.

Site Speed and Mobile Optimization: Analyzing your page load speeds and mobile-friendliness ensures your site meets Google’s requirements.

On-Page Optimization: Evaluating title tags, URLs, content, and HTML elements helps optimize pages for relevant search queries.

Link Profile Analysis: Checking inbound link quantity, quality, and anchor text helps improve your site’s authority and search rankings.

Ranking Analysis: Examining current keyword rankings helps you identify new SEO opportunities to target.

Competitive Analysis: Benchmarking your SEO against competitors provides key insights for improvement.

SEO Audit Tools

Conducting a manual audit of each component can be extremely time-consuming. That’s where SEO tools come in handy.

Here are some top tools to help automate and simplify your next audit:

  • Screaming Frog: Crawls your site to identify technical issues.
  • Google Search Console: Provides data on indexation, links, and performance.
  • Google Analytics: Tracks website traffic and engagement metrics.
  • PageSpeed Insights: Checks page speeds and mobile-friendliness.
  • Ahrefs: Examines backlinks and ranking keywords.
  • Moz: Analyzes on-page elements and site authority.
  • SEMrush: Compares your SEO with competitors.

These tools complement each other and provide the data you need for a comprehensive audit. Now let’s walk through the step-by-step process.

Keywords research is essential in SEO

Step-by-Step Guide to an SEO Audit

Follow this proven nine-step methodology to audit your website’s SEO from top to bottom:

Step 1: Crawl Your Website

Crawling means navigating a website to uncover technical issues that might be preventing search engines like Google from properly indexing and ranking pages.

Some common crawl errors include:

  • Pages blocked by robots.txt
  • Pages with 4xx and 5xx status codes
  • Broken internal links causing crawl budget issues
  • Resources like images, scripts, and CSS that won’t load

Catching and fixing these errors improves your site’s crawlability and indexation.

How to crawl your site:

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is ideal for crawling your website. Follow these steps:

  1. Enter your website’s URL into Screaming Frog.
  2. Select “Crawl Internal Links” under Configuration→Spider to index all pages.
  3. Kick off the crawl and let it run until completion.
  4. View the Crawl Statistics section for a high-level overview of crawl issues.
  5. Check the URL Errors and Blocked URLs tabs for a detailed list of any crawl errors and access issues.
  6. Export the failed URLs and determine fixes. Common solutions include:
    • Fixing broken links
    • Removing blocking robots.txt rules
    • Adding canonical tags to resolve duplicate content
    • Configuring server redirects for non-200 status pages

Repeat crawls after fixing issues to confirm they are resolved. This step lays the foundation for a healthy, crawlable website.

Step 2: Analyze Your Site’s Technical SEO

With a solid crawl in place, the next step is analyzing your site’s technical SEO to ensure it meets Google’s requirements.

Key elements to examine include:

  • Page speed: Use PageSpeed Insights to measure page load times on desktop and mobile. Pages should load in under 2-3 seconds.
  • Mobile optimization: Check whether your site is fully responsive or mobile-friendly. Google prefers mobile-first indexing.
  • SSL certificate: Verify all pages are served over HTTPS for security and SEO benefits.
  • XML sitemap: Check for a comprehensive sitemap file to help Google discover new pages.
  • robots.txt: Ensure your robots.txt file isn’t blocking Googlebot from critical pages.
  • Structured data: Check for proper JSON-LD data to power rich results.

Fixing technical issues like slow page speeds and mobile errors can provide an easy SEO boost. It ensures Google can easily access, crawl, and index your site content.

Step 3: Evaluate Your Site’s On-Page SEO

With a technically sound site, the next phase is strengthening your on-page SEO.

On-page optimization focuses on optimizing individual web pages to rank for specific keywords. Key on-page factors include:

  • Page titles: Your title tags should contain target keywords and compelling page-specific branding.
  • Meta descriptions: Well-written meta descriptions improve click-through rate from SERPs.
  • Headings and content: Headings and content should focus on your page’s intent using keywords naturally.
  • Internal linking: Link to related content and prominent pages to establish information architecture.
  • Images and multimedia: Use descriptive alt text and file names with images, videos and other media.
  • Structured data: Use markup to generate rich results for your content type.

Auditing these elements will reveal opportunities to better optimize pages for visibility and click-through rate.

On-page SEO establishes relevance and context to rank well for valuable searches. Paired with strong technical SEO, it sets the foundation for ranking success.

Step 4: Assess Your Site’s Off-Page SEO

Your website’s off-page SEO or link profile is just as crucial for rankings. This includes:

  • Backlink quality and quantity: More backlinks from authoritative sites demonstrate popularity and authority to Google.
  • Referring domains: Getting backlinks from a diverse set of domains shows wider trust.
  • Anchor text: Keyword-rich anchors are signals for Google to associate certain pages with those terms.
  • Link velocity: Google looks for a natural build-up of new links over time.
  • Low-quality links: A few bad links from spammy or sketchy sites won’t hurt, but large quantities will.

Check your site’s inbound link profile and identify opportunities to build high-quality backlinks, especially to your most important pages targeting key terms.

Ranking highly for competitive queries often requires a strong link-building strategy over time.

Step 5: Compare Your Site with Competitors

One of the most valuable activities is comparing your website’s SEO against competitors.

Examine their:

  • Ranking keywords and traffic sources
  • Link profile strengths and strategies
  • Technical optimization techniques
  • Content formats, topics, and SEO tactics

This competitive analysis reveals areas where competitors are outperforming you. It also highlights weaknesses to target and where you maintain an edge.

Some key SEO metrics to compare include:

  • Number of ranking keywords
  • Organic search traffic
  • Referring domains
  • Backlink quality scores
  • Site speed metrics
  • Social engagement

SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Selynx help automate competitor audits.

Researching competitors’ strategies pushes you to continually improve and outrank them.

Step 6: Prioritize Your SEO Actions

The audit will shine a light on dozens of improvement opportunities. With limited time and resources, you won’t be able to tackle everything at once.

That’s why prioritization is critical for working through your audit findings.

Start by filtering issues into categories:

  • Critical: Fixing will provide a significant or immediate SEO boost
  • High impact: Still important but can be addressed over 1-3 months
  • Quick win: Easy fixes with smaller but still meaningful impact
  • Low priority: Issues providing only marginal SEO value

Next, consider:

  • Expected SEO value: Which actions will boost traffic and revenue most?
  • Resource intensity: How much time, budget and effort is required?
  • Dependencies: Does one task block or enable another?

With factors weighted, tally up scores to create a prioritized SEO roadmap.

This ensures you tackle the most critical projects first while still making progress on smaller quick wins.

Step 7: Implement Your SEO Recommendations

With priorities set, it’s time to start rolling up your sleeves.

Create a realistic timeline for working through your roadmap. Set key milestones and assign owners across your team.

Some common SEO projects include:

  • Fixing technical errors uncovered during the audit
  • Creating fresh content optimized for high-value keywords
  • Improving page speed by optimizing images, enabling caching, etc.
  • Building high-quality backlinks from relevant websites
  • Revamping outdated content and pillars
  • Optimizing site architecture through IA improvements

Track progress to ensure you complete projects on schedule. Measure impact and results.

Consistent execution of the right SEO activities compounds over time to improve organic growth.

Step 8: Monitor Your SEO Results

Now that you’re executing your strategy, the final piece is monitoring your audit’s impact.

Key metrics to track include:

  • Ranking changes: Both increases and decreases for target keywords.
  • Organic traffic: Changes in monthly users and sessions from search engines.
  • Conversions: Goal completions from organic traffic like form fills, purchases, etc.
  • Crawl stats: Improvements in indexed pages, crawl errors, speed, etc.
  • Link profile: Increases in referring domains and backlinks.

Compare your metrics before and after the audit. This demonstrates SEO success over time.

Ongoing monitoring also helps quickly catch any algorithm updates that negatively impact performance. You can then investigate and address them.

Step 9: Repeat the SEO Audit

SEO is an evergreen, ongoing process. Regular audits help you continually improve.

Re-run a full audit quarterly. Compare new findings versus previous results to spot trends and patterns.

Has competition increased for key terms? Have new SEO best practices emerged? Did recent algorithm updates bring new issues?

Each audit provides fresh insights that should inform your next quarter’s SEO game plan.

Rinse and repeat to create an engine for driving continuous search optimization and greater organic growth.

Content analysis is important when doing an SEO audit

content Analysis of your web pages

Content analysis is one of the most popular SEO areas and is taken into account when doing an SEO audit. Since it is directly related to the user’s search intention when responding through a valuable text.

  • Tags within the content such as H1, H2, H3, etc.
  • The meta description must be a maximum of 300 words.
  • SEO titles, which are different in some cases from H1.
  • Semantic keywords so that you allow diversity.
  • 404 errors, redirecting your readers to valuable content if you cannot offer them what they are looking for.
  • Keyword density, so that the number of keywords is balanced with the length of the post.
  • Images and their weight, dimensions, correspondence with the content theme, alt, and file name.
  • Pagination for a better and quality user experience.
  • Addition of the Hreflang tag to avoid errors in translation of the page or related to the page’s language.
  • Canonical URLs so that the search engine knows which is the main page among several with similar content.
  • Duplicate content to avoid intentional or unintentional plagiarism.
  • Use of bold in content to highlight important phrases.
  • Internal linking to improve authority between web pages.
  • Spelling to catch your readers’ attention by writing well.
  • Calls to action or CTAs.
  • Open Graph metadata that you use on social media.

WPO and mobile analysis

Web Performance Optimization Process

The WPO or Web Performance Optimization is about improving your site’s loading speed on the Internet to display the total content in the shortest possible time. Indeed, this is a fundamental factor that affects online positioning because it is directly related to user experience.

Because of the above, you must use tools such as: 

  • Pagespeed Tool, 
  • Screaming Frog, 
  • Pingdom, 
  • GTMetrix, among others. 

The important thing is to quantify the value and analyze if it is in the range of 3 seconds or less. In case your parameter is higher than the one mentioned, you should pay attention to these aspects:

  • Type of server you hire.
  • Resource Optimization.
  • Evaluation of used plugins.
  • Code optimization.
  • Content compression.

On the other hand, when it comes to the mobile version, you must take care that your content is displayed correctly on all external devices. Since these machines’ rise, you get many readers who use their smartphones or tablets to search for information online. Therefore, you should use tools such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

You must carefully monitor your inbound links’ status because your content positioning may be affected if they are not qualified.

With the analysis of the link profile, you should pay attention to these parameters:

  • Most linked pages.
  • Anchor text is used to link the pages.
  • Link address of the pages.

A large number of inbound links is essential to analyze, especially when you consider these aspects:

  • Variety of anchor texts.
  • Growth of links to your website.
  • Place of origin of the backlinks.
  • To perform the link profile analysis, you can use the Ahrefs Backlinks Checker, Google Webmaster Tools, Open Site Explorer, or Majestic SEO. With these resources, you evaluate anchor texts, the number of links, and valuable additional information.

Code analysis

You must check your online site’s programming code so that it shows all the structure correctly. In this step, you must consider the following aspects:

  • Accessibility to your web pages.
  • Validated HTML code.
  • Validated CSS code.

To find errors in your online site’s programming, you need to know the code or hire a programmer. You must do so because the tasks to be performed affect the user experience and access to Google bots and your web positioning.

Analysis of pages without traffic

Analysis of pages without traffic is critical

Analyzing the pages without traffic is essential to discover why they do not attract readers. In this case, you should use tools such as SimilarWeb to find out the estimated number of visits and the average duration of each one, or if, on the contrary, there are no such.

Consider that when a page does not have traffic, it is because the content is boring, not valuable, or even obsolete. In this case, I recommend you make a list of them and make the decision to eliminate or update them to attract your target audience.

Doing an SEO audit is an important decision to improve the positioning of your site on the Internet. To do this, you must follow the steps described in this post using the recommended tools or whatever your favorite is. The important thing is that you note the values ​​studied in each section and compare them with Google standards. By doing the latter, you increase your search engine position and attract more traffic to your site.

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What are the benefits of an SEO audit?

Benefits include identifying issues hurting your rankings, keeping pace with Google updates, gaining insights about competitors, and informing your SEO strategy and priorities.

What tools do you need to perform an SEO audit?

Top tools include Screaming Frog, Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. They provide data on technical factors, content, links, and metrics for analysis.

How often should you perform an SEO audit?

We recommend doing an SEO audit quarterly. This allows regular monitoring of trends, ability to quickly catch issues, and adapt to Google’s evolving algorithms.

What are some common SEO issues uncovered in audits?

Common issues include technical problems like crawl errors, thin content, low-quality links, slow page speed, keyword gaps, and not following best practices.

How can you prioritize SEO audit findings?

Prioritize issues based on expected SEO value, resources required, dependencies, and whether fixes provide critical, high, or low impact. This allows you to focus on most important items first.


Doing regular SEO audits provides immense value for improving your website’s search visibility and traffic.

By following the step-by-step methodology outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to thoroughly audit technical and content factors that impact your search rankings.

The audit will uncover current issues to address as well new opportunities to capitalize on. It also enables you to measure your search optimization progress over time.

Be sure to conduct SEO audits quarterly in order to keep pace with Google’s algorithm changes, outperform competitors, and build an effective SEO strategy fueled by data.


1. How to Perform a Complete SEO Audit (in 14 Steps) – Semrush

Here’s how to perform an SEO audit in 14 steps: 1. Check for Indexing Issues. … 2. Check for Duplicate Versions of Your Site. … 3. Run a Site Crawl. … 4. Check for Manual Actions. … 5. Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues. … 6. Analyze Your Site’s Speed. … 7. Analyze Your Core Web Vitals. … 8. Analyze Your Internal Links.

2. The Easy 10-Step SEO Audit & Checklist – WordStream

An SEO audit is the process of reviewing your online assets to make sure your site is performing the best it possibly can in search results

3. How to Do an SEO Audit: The Ultimate Checklist – Search Engine Journal

The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist is a comprehensive list of all the important items that should be included in your in-depth SEO audit

4. A Simple (But Effective) 14-Step SEO Audit & Checklist – Ahrefs

Follow this 14-step SEO audit process to find common SEO issues on your site and boost your Google rankings.

5. The 15-Step SEO Audit Checklist for 2023 – Backlinko

Get higher Google rankings with this SEO audit checklist designed for 2023. Learn how to quickly find and fix SEO problems.

6. Conducting an SEO Audit: A Step-by-Step Guide | HawkSEM

An SEO audit can help you rank high on search engine results pages, which could mean increased traffic, brand awareness, conversions & more.

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