The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist to Improve Website Ranking

Author: Saurabh Bajpai | Categories: SEO, Websites, Analytics

SEO (search engine optimization) audit isn’t a one-time process – rather, it should be done regularly to ensure that a website is optimized at all times. An audit helps recognize the weak points on a website and allows webmasters to adopt appropriate solutions. A good SEO strategy preceded by an SEO audit can work wonders. Not only does it help update your website, but it also keeps you ahead of your peers.

So, here is the 8-step SEO audit process to help you boost your website’s performance in the search engines and make your online presence better.

Step 1: Website objectives

The first point in an SEO audit is to identify the objective of the website. Why was it created in the first place and what does it help establish for the webmaster or website owner?

Web sites may be built to create brand awareness, generate demand for your products and services, and market them. Here’re a few popular website objectives:

  • To generate traffic: SEO generates organic/direct traffic to your website when it is optimized with relevant keywords. You get quality traffic through search engines – it is, therefore, important that your website performs well on these engines.

  • To create brand awareness: A website that ranks high on search engines, and consistently maintains that position generates better traffic, popularity, and profit. In creating brand awareness, social media too plays an important role.

  • To market your product: Brands use SEO to market their products and services. Be it an e-commerce website or one that displays your services – SEO can help build customers for your website, increase sales, and generate revenue for your business.

Step 2: Keyword analysis

Keyword research is the most important parts of SEO. Without understanding keywords, you’d not be able to do proper SEO on your website; to start off, begin analyzing keywords.

  • Look for keywords that are unique

  • Target keywords that are relevant to the content on your website

  • Follow and understand keyword trends

  • Do this activity regularly

It is also important to verify whether:

  • You are targeting the right keywords

  • The quality of your keywords is up to the mark

  • The page you are mapping with the particular keywords are appropriate

To help you in this, you have the Google Keyword Planner tool.

Keyword Research
The above image illustrates the Google Keyword Planner tool.

While it is important to know your strengths and weaknesses, it is equally essential to be aware of your competitors. Also, regularly evaluating their strategies can help you determine their strengths and weaknesses as compared to your own. Compare your keywords and link opportunities. Understand your rivals or competitors and study their offerings. Typically, this is done for a variety of reasons:

  • To check if the keyword is competitive

  • To check the content types that best worked for them

  • To scrape the competitor's link for possible linking

One handy tool that you can use here is the SEM Rush tool.

SEO Analysis
The above image illustrates the SEM Rush tool.

Step 4: Technical on-page analysis

The fourth point in your SEO audit checklist is to identify the on-page technical issues that are hurting the website experience and search engine performance. Below are a few pointers you could consider:

  1. How fast does your website load?
  2. SEO Website Page Load
  3. Is the website mobile friendly?
  4. SEO Mobile Friendly
  5. What are keyword proximity and density?

  6. Are there any issues in the Redirects?

    • 302/301 redirects

    • Redirect chains
  7. Is the site being indexed well?

    • Is Robots.txt present on the website?

    • Is the Sitemap available? In what format (HTML or XML)?

    • Use the "site:www.edynamic.net" operator to find indexed pages of the website in Search.
  8. Is the content original? Are there traces of duplicate content?

    • What about the Metadata? Is it original or duplicate?

    • Is there duplicate content at the page-level?
  9. Are there 404 errors (with link equity)?

  10. Is your site architecture efficient for SEO?

    • Is the navigation clean or cluttered?

    • Are there Breadcrumbs used on the website?

    • Do the internal links have proper anchor text?
  11. Is the URL structure SEO optimized?

  12. Are the internal links injected the right way?

Verify every point and apply fixes, so these are taken care of.

Two handy tools to get you going include Pingdom Tools and Google Search.

Step 5: Page level analysis

The next in the checklist is page level analysis. Find if each keyword, targeting specific landing pages, is optimized effectively. Some of the handy pointers in this would be to verify:

  • If the primary keyword is included in the title

  • If the keyword is included in the Meta description and heading tags

  • If the main keyword is optimized within the first few sentences on the page

  • If there are appropriate internal links (and that the links are working)

  • If the URL is SEO-optimized

  • If the first image of the page contain the ALT tag of the target keyword

Copyscape is a handy tool that helps in the page-level analysis.

Step 6: Content analysis

Content is the ‘king’ and therefore a crucial point on your audit checklist. Analyzing the content will help you optimize it for the web. It is important to align the content with your current content strategy to derive the best results. So, focus on finding out whether:

  1. Your content is unique and original

  2. The content is informative and useful for the reader

  3. Your content is better than your competitors

  4. The information is accurate and engaging

  5. The content is free of grammar and/or spelling errors

  6. The broken links present in the content are timely fixed

Step 7: Analysis of user experience

The next in the line is analyzing the user experience. It’s important to find out if or not your website visitors are interacting with your website the way you wanted. This bit of analysis can easily help you identify your website’s shortcomings – user friendliness of the website, the design, the content – pretty much everything that you want to know. Some areas that you can focus on include:

  1. The bounce rate

  2. Average time spent on site

  3. Goal completions

  4. Exit pages

  5. Return visitors

  6. Branded searches

Step 8: Link analysis

One of the best ways to boost the performance of your website is to analyze the links present. This helps in determining the strengths and weaknesses of the internal and external links along with verifying the anchor text from a web page. Once you have recognized the problem areas, you can work on finding the fixes. Check for the:

  1. Relevancy of the links

  2. Link targeting

  3. Anchor text

  4. Total referring domains

  5. Link authority

Majestic and Ahrefs are two handy tools to help you in this.

Now that you have the audit checklist in place, how about evaluating your website right away? Keep a tab on the health of your website and optimize it for best results – definitely, this checklist can prove handy in taking you forward to make your website interactive, user-friendly, and well performing.