The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist in 2023 [11 Steps]
How can you tell if your site needs an SEO audit? It’s actually quite simple. An SEO audit checklist ensures that your website meets the requirements of search engines, and covers both on-page SEO factors (things like keywords, metadata, and schema) and off-page SEO factors (like links, mentions, and citations). The following checklist will help you decide what to look for in an SEO audit.
Early in your business’s development, it’s important to set up an SEO audit to ensure that you are set up to be as successful online as possible. This SEO audit checklist will help you make sure that your website can rank well and attract the right audience. Be sure to refer back to this list every few months, since it’s likely that your business will evolve over time.
It’s also good practice to share this checklist with your SEO consultant so he or she can refer back to it when implementing SEO changes on your website, too!
But, after reading this article, you don’t need to hire or consult with an SEO consultant because you’ll know how to do the SEO audit step-by-step guide process.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist.
Table of Contents
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is the process of checking problems or errors that can prevent your site from ranking on Google and other search engines. Multiple parts make up an SEO audit, including:
- Site should be mobile-friendly and load fast
- Site should be crawled, indexed, and rendered by Google
- Optimized On-page SEO
- Examining your Off-page SEO problems
- Keyword optimization for content
- Identify and fix broken links
- Track website performance
Why Are SEO Audits Important?
SEO audits are an essential way to check your website’s SEO health. They should be performed at least once a year. Although SEO is a bit of a moving target, there are some key points that any SEO audit should cover.
Here’s my ultimate checklist for performing your own SEO audit in 2022 .
- Site should be mobile-friendly
- Site page or post should be indexed
- Speed up website
- Fix indexing problems
- Improve On-page SEO
- Find and Delete “Zombie pages”
- Fix Broken links
- Make your content better than other
- Analyze Competitor Keywords
- Optimize for UX signals
- Optimize for Featured Snippets
- Use SEO tools for site optimization
The SEO audit you perform will depend on what industry you’re in and what kind of site you have.
For example, if you’re running a content site like we do here at HubSpot, then it’s important to make sure your content is keyword-rich and well-optimized for search engines.
If you’re selling products online, then it’s important to make sure those products are optimized for conversion — i.e., they convert as many people as possible into paying customers — and that they show up on Google when someone searches for them (i.e., they have good organic rankings).
You can learn more about these topics below:
Tools You Need for an SEO Audit
Be happy, because I’m using a few of these tools for site SEO audits. There are many tools that are also available on the internet (Free & Paid). But, I recommend it to you, if you’re a beginner and first time auditing your site then you can use these tools for SEO audit.
Throughout the whole audit process, we’ll be using six important best SEO audit tools:
Seoptimer Site Audit Tool – This is the best tool for checking site performance such as broken links, backlinks, competitors, and more. We’ll know in details, how you can use Seoptimer tool for site auditing in details next.
Google Analytics – It is free tools by Google which will help you to identify the metrics and data about your site performance in their search engine.
Google Search Console – This is also provided by Google which helps you to track whether a site is indexed correctly or not.
Google PageSpeed Insights – With the help of these tools we’ll check our site performance for both mobile and desktop.
Google Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool – This tool will help you to check whether Google is considering your site mobile-friendly or not.
Google Schema Markup Testing Tool – If you’re creating Schema markup for your site, then Google markup testing tool will help you to check whether the Schema code is created correctly or not. Basically, Google Schema markup testing tool allows you to test and verify that your schema is error-free.
How to Comply with an SEO Audit
So if you want to get higher ranking in Google or other search engines, you’ll love the actionable SEO Audit checklist in this section.
Let’s get started.
#1 Step - Site Should be Mobile-friendly
First step is to check whether your site is mobile-friendly or not because Mobile SEO is crucial for better ranking in Google search.
Over 60% of Google searches come from mobile devices.
According to a recent report from Hitwise argues that in the US mobile search is a higher percentage than desktop. It is roughly around 58%. In the given picture below, you can see an average of 11 key categories and associated queries analyzed by Hitwise in its “Mobile Device Search”.
Also, Google started rolling out mobile first indexing.
This means that Google highly prefers mobile devices and if your site is mobile friendly then it has a higher chance to rank in search engines. Also, it helps you to improve user experience.
Now, the question is, how to check whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to check mobile-friendly.
Enter your site URL in the search bar and hit TEST URL…
For example, urpn.org
You’ll see whether Google is considering your site is mobile friendly or not. Testing a live URL might take a minute or two.
And here is the result:
Now, if the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool shows, your page is mobile friendly then it means you’ve successfully passed the first SEO audit. Move to the next SEO audit point.
#2 Step - Check for Google Index Duplicate Version of Site
Indexing one version of your site in Google is the most basic check but it is essential to ensure that Google is indexing only one version of your website.
Are you a little bit confused?
Let me clear…
For example, here are 4 different versions of the same site:
Those URLs are pretty much similar to you and me.
But not to Google.
If Google will consider them completely separate websites then it’s not good for us.
Fortunately, this is easy to check and fix.
Just type site:yourdomain into your browser.
They should all end up on the same URL (https://yourdomain.com)
In my case, all versions of my site redirect to https://urpn.org.
And when someone visits the HTTP version of my site, they get redirected to the HTTPS version.
If a version of your site isn’t redirecting properly, then don’t worry.
You should use only 301 redirects to the version for your site.
If Google indexes ONE version of your website properly, you’ve successfully passed the second SEO audit, now move to the next SEO audit checklist.
#3 Step - Speed Up Your Site
According to Google webmaster central blog, Google confirmed that your site’s loading speed is a ranking factor.
And it is more important that your site loads faster. Because, if your site does not load fast, your bounce rate will increase and you will lose ranking as well as user engagement.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights tool to check site performance.
Go to the PageSpeed Insights, enter your site URL and hit the analyze button.
In my case, it takes less than 1 seconds to load the site which is a much better site speed and performance score is 96%, it’s amazing.
Google PageSpeed Insights also gives your recommendations on specific actions to take to see improvements.
Pro Tip: Don’t just analyze your homepage. Make sure to also test popular pages from your site, like blog posts, service pages, and category pages.
Now, the question is, if site takes more time to load then what we need to do:
Well, there are many factors for site loading time such as Web Hosting, WordPress theme, Plugin, Images, and more.
But, I’ve tried almost everything to get good site speed. I found that in most cases, web-hosting and WordPress themes affect the speed load time.
So, If your site has not good speed and takes more time to load then first you should change your web-hosting.
I’m using Hostinger Cloud web-hosting which is faster and more reliable.
I highly recommend using Hostinger Web-hosting.
Pro Tip: Upgrade your hosting. If you speed $1.99 per month on hosting, don’t expect fast loading times. A few years back I switched from a budget host to $69.99/month premium cloud enterprise hosting. And the speed difference was insane.
Secondly, if your site is hosted on WordPress, then use lightweight WordPress themes. I’m using the GeneratePress premium theme.
Pro Tip: Instead of using a free or complicated WordPress theme, use a premium WordPress theme. A few years back I switched from free WP theme to Premium GeneratePress theme to achieve best speed time.
Third, optimize your images.
Optimizing image means not only image quality, but you should optimize your image size as well.
Large image sizes can bring your site speed to a screeching halt.
That’s why I recommend compressing your images with a tool like squoosh.app.
Simply, drop or paste your images that you want to compress. You can optimize your image size without losing the image quality.
Pro Tip: Instead of using an Image compression plugin, use a different tool to compress the image before uploading it into your site. Because, plugins also affect the site load time.
Now, if you’ve successfully achieved good speed time for your site then move to the next SEO audit checklist.
#4 Step - Identify and Fix Indexing Problems
It’s time to find web pages that Google isn’t indexing.
To do that, you can use Google Search Console.
To identify the indexing problem, go to the search console dashboard, click coverage from the left menu bar then you’ll see this screen.
As you can see, URPN has no indexing problem.
All good, right?
But if you see any errors, it means that there are some problems preventing your site from being crawled and indexed correctly. You need to fix these issues for better results in search engines.
Here’s the common errors that you can see generally:
- Page that have a noindex attribute and are submitted in a sitemap.
- Pages blocked from being crawled in your robots.txt file but are included in a sitemap.
- 404 error pages that are submitted in a sitemap.
If you see these errors in your Google search console, then you need to clean these up.
And once you’ve identified the problem and fixed it then it’s time to move to the next SEO audit checklist.
#5 Step - Check Your Organic Traffic
Now it’s time to identify how much organic traffic you’re getting.
To do that, you can use any SEO tools.
Here’s We’ll see you organic traffic of site using Semrush Keyword Research Tool (Paid) or Google Analytics.
Checking Organic traffic using Semrush Tool.
To do that, Go to Semrush tools >> Domain Overview >> Enter your site URL and hit search.
For example, We’re checking the most popular Blogging site (Bloggingx.com).
Scroll down the page and Go to the Organic traffic section.
And you’ll see how many users visited your site from search engines last month as well as previous month.
You can see the dates 6-8 months of organic traffic and identify at which month your organic traffic has gradually increased.
Also, you can see the organic traffic by countries.
If you see your organic traffic is increasing or decreasing, no worries.
You just focus on the content quality and SEO audit.
Things will start to improve once you finish this SEO audit checklist completely.
Now, checking organic traffic using Google search console.
You can also check your site’s organic traffic using the search console.
To do that, go to Google search console dashboard, select website property >> Performance.
You’ll see the site performance date wise whether website traffic is decreasing or increasing.
Pro Tip: Identify on which page or post you are getting more clicks from search engines. Then you need to update that post or page and optimize more to get more clicks. This technique will help you to get more traffic to your website and boost your AdSense earning as well as search engine ranking.
#6 Step - On-page SEO Audit for Your Site
When thinking about SEO audit points, you should make sure your website is optimized for search engines (known as on-page SEO).
This means having keywords and target phrases in titles, tags, heading tags, URLs and everywhere else that makes sense for your particular website. Use anchor text correctly; try to use it naturally but don’t overdo it. Avoid duplicate content. Don’t have broken links or missing images.
Multiple parts make up an On-page SEO audit, including:
- Add targeted keyword in the Title
- Use short & descriptive URLs
- Optimize your title tag & meta description
- Optimize your images
- Add internal and external links
- Creating optimized content
These all are important on-page SEO audits which will help you to skyrocket your site ranking in Google or other search engines.
6.1. Add Keyword in the Title (H1 Heading)
When users search anything in the search engine then they click on the page or post by viewing the title of the page.
Page titles usually get wrapped in an H1 tag.
Adding targeted keywords in the titles is good practice for SEO.
For example, if we search “On-page SEO” then the first result in the Google search engine is from Semrush.com.
On-page SEO was the keyword that we searched on Google. And, the keyword is in the title of the post.
Hence, always use keywords in your title or heading of the page.
Also, the ideal length for page titles should be between 50 and 60 characters (spaces included), with an absolute limit of 65 characters. It is also most important for SEO.
Apart from this, you absolutely must use natural language when you write your title tags.
But the question is how to write a user-friendly title (heading) for a post.
If you want to know more about how to write SEO friendly title tags, then watch this video. It will be very helpful for you.
6.2. Use short & SEO Friendly URLs
Web URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator” which is the web address that we enter into a browser to access a web page or people enter into any post by clicking the page URL.
Writing a short and SEO friendly URL is the best practice for search engine optimization. Specifically, SEO friendly URLs should meet the needs of users and searchers and optimized for SEO tend to be short and keyword-rich.
What Google says about SEO friendly URLs:
For example, if we search “what is on-page seo” in the search engine then the first result is from semrush.com and here you can see the URL structure.
The target keyword for that page is “on-page seo”. And, you can see, the URL has that keyword in it.
Do you recognize one thing, that URL is short and meets the needs of users and searchers queries.
While writing a SEO-friendly URL of blog posts or pages then you should remember few things such as:
- Your URL should be clear and to the point.
- Keep it brief
- Avoid using stop words
- Include keyword
- Try to write 4 words long URL (Best SEO practice)
6.3. Optimize Title Tag And Meta Description
Whenever people search anything in the search engines then the result shows including the title tag and meta description. And the title tag appears below the URL but above the meta description.
For example, When we search “How to write Meta Description” then you can see the result:
We’ve already discussed the title tag in the first section (6.1). Let’s talk about meta description.
To write a SEO friendly Meta Description, see the meta description checklist. Always remember these points while you write a meta description.
- Include keyword in the meta description
- A meta description should not be longer that 135-160 characters long
- Don’t do keyword stuffing in the meta description. It is treated as bad SEO.
- Meta description should be related to the topic
- Do not duplicate meta description, it should be different from every page
- Consider using rich snippets
6.4. Image Optimization
Image optimization is also important for SEO. But,
Most people ignore this point.
But do you know?
What will happen if you don’t do image optimization?
- Affect your ranking.
- Increase your site loading time.
- Affect your user engagement.
So, what you need to do is avoid these things.
If you want to rank your site in the Google search engines, then you should remember these image optimization checklists.
- Image should be related to the topic
- Make sure the image loads quickly. To do this, reduce the file size and implement lazy load.
- Image should be clear and visible to the users
- Use descriptive alt tags for images
6.5. Internal & External Linking
Internal and External linking of blog posts will help you to rank in the search engine and it will increase the user engagement also.
Not only user engagement, even your blog readers spend more time on your blog.
When you do interlink, try to use a keyword as the anchor text, but be very careful not to overdo it.
Always interlink to the relevant and original post. Linking relevant and original posts passes the good signal to search engines that you’re providing extra information which is related to the topic.
For example, In my GeneratePress review post, I use an internal link to Elementor pro so the user can also know about the Elementor.
A good combination of anchor text + internal link, will help in passing juice from one page to another.
Apart from interlinking, it is a good practice to link out to external websites as well which is known as external linking.
Again, keep in mind, only add an external website which is relevant to the information in your post.
While linking out to the external websites, you should link to trusted websites only. And if you’ve doubts about the authority of a website, you can use a no-follow tag to avoid passing your link juice to unknown authority sites.
You can only use do-follow links for trusted websites such as Wikipedia, Semrush, Ahrefs, etc.
Using internal and external links to your site appear more credible and best for SEO.
6.6. Write SEO Friendly Content
Content is the King and it is very crucial for on-page SEO. If you want to rank your site in the search engine then you need to write quality and unique content.
Your content should meet the searcher requirement. Your blog post content should be clear and understandable so that the user can get the information that he/she searched on the web.
If you write crystal clear high-quality content then you can gain the user engagement, also they will share your post on social media. Apart from that, your bounce rate will improve.
But, the question is how to write SEO friendly content.
You should remember a few points while you write your content. Here’s the following most important points:
- Use main keyword in the first paragraph
- Use H1 and H2 tags for title and subtitles
- Create easy to read content
- Your content should be unique
- Use images on (if required)
- Add internal and external link
- Use Table of content (If content is long)
It is the basic key points for content optimization that you need to remember for every post. However, Google will consider your post as good and quality content if you follow these all on-page SEO strategies.
6.7. Keyword Placement
Including the focus keyword in the first 100 words on every page on your site is a good signal for search engines.
For example, in this post GeneratePress review, it’s included twice in the first 100 words.
This helps Google understand what the post is about.
Don’t do keyword stuffing.
Keyword stuffing is treated as bad SEO and Google will penalize you for that.
You should be careful about keyword placement.
You can include them, when possible:
- Alt tags
- Subheading (H2, H3, H4 etc.)
- Meta Description
However, these all on-page SEO factors are important for technical SEO strategy. There are also other SEO audit checks to consider. Now move to the next SEO audit checklist.
#7 Step - Fix Broken Links
Now, it’s time to find the broken internal links and fix it.
Broken link building is the good practice of building backlinks by replacing links to 404 error pages with a working link to an authority website. It is also known as dead link building.
Dead internal links create a poor user experience and not a good signal for SEO.
Sometimes, when a user clicks a link (Internal & External links) on your site, they land on the 404 error page which he did not expect. The 404 error page means, now this page is not existing or deleted from the web.
It sends negative quality signals to the search engines.
So, now what is the solution for broken links?
Well, first you need to find the broken link in your site and replace it with the good site links (that works).
You can use Check my links (a free chrome extension) to find broken links.
To use Check my links, just install it in your chrome browser.
And you’ll see a little icon in the top right hand corner of chrome.
First, open the page for which you want to check the broken links.
For example, if I opened one post on my site. And click on the check my links icon. It will automatically check all of the links on that page.
And it’ll show you the report which links are broken (404 error pages) or have other issues.
You can see the link result at the top right hand corner of your screen. In my case, total valid links are 44, valid redirecting links are 3 and no warnings and invalid links.
It means everything is good and there are no broken links.
Secondly, you can use Google Search Console’s to find broken pages on your site that Google can’t index.
Go to Search Console dashboard >> Select Property >> Click Coverage (from left navigation menu).
I’m clear and there is no error.
Here’s what you’ll see if your pages are giving 404 errors.
Sometimes, it happens because you deleted the pages and are not available on the web.
So, you need to fix these links ASAP.
Next, you can also use a free tool like broken link check to find broken internal and external links.
Note: If you see any warning and invalid links then click on it and it’ll report you which links on your site are not working properly. You need to replace it with working links.
Now, if you fixed your broken links then move to the next SEO audit checklist.
#8 Step - Make Your Content Better than Others
Now, it’s time to make the content better than others.
To rank in search engines, your content should be unique from others.
With that, here’s how to make your content 10x better:
Here’s the few key points that will make your content better that others, if you follow these points.
- Instead of writing long intros, keep your intros short and easy to understand that describe your topic.
- Readers don’t like to read long paragraphs, try to write small and easy to read paragraphs which makes your content clear.
- Use subleaders while you write compelling blog posts because it helps break up your content into digestible chunks.
- Include images and video into your content which makes your content MUCH more valuable and easy to understand. Also, good for SEO.
- Use a table of content (TOC), if you are writing long content. It will help readers to jump in any section.
#9 Steps - Analyze Your Competitor Keywords
For example, when we search “how to do keyword research”.
You can see in 0.84 seconds, Google found about 38,60,00,000 results related to the search. It means this keyword has too much competition.
Let’s find the same keyword in Semrush keyword research tools and see volume search, keyword difficulty.
Keyword difficulty for “how to do keyword research” is 90% and it has 1.3k volume search.
If your blog is new then it is very difficult to rank with the same keyword.
But, nothing is possible.
You can also rank for the same keyword, but you need to find your competitors why his site is ranking in the search engines.
Let’s first see the competitors who is ranking in top 10:
You can see the top 10 sites that are ranking on the same keyword. Also, you can see a number of ref domains and backlinks.
Now, you need to analyze what your competitor’s sites are ranking for.
Generally, you need to explore your competitor’s backlinks, keywords and see how they compare to your own.
To do this: Use Ubersuggest Keyword Tool
Step 1: Enter your competitor’s URL and click “Search”. For example – https://kinsta.com/
Step 2: Click “Keyword by traffic” from left navigation menu
Step 3: Review the result
You can review your competitor’s for what site is ranking for. You can review following terms:
Volume: It shows average number of monthly searches for the keyword
Position: It shows you the position of URL in Google search
Estimated Visits: Monthly traffic the webpage get for the keyword
Search Difficulty (SD): How difficult is to rank in organic search, the higher the number, more difficult to rank as vice versa.
Once you analyze the competitor’s keyword, make a list of all high volume search keywords with low SD and start writing content. Now move to the next SEO audit checklist point.
Pro Tip: Find high volume keywords with low keyword difficulty of your competitor’s and write quality content. These strategies will help you to rank in search engines.
#10 Steps - Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the best to increase your organic traffic.
Featured snippets are short and quick answers of searcher’s query that appear at the top of Google’s search.
For example, when I searched “how to take a screenshot in Windows” then I got this page to show our query answer in the top Google search result.
It is known as the featured snippet.
And people will click on the first page result.
But, the question is how do you optimize your content for featured snippet spots?
Well, to show up your page content in the top of first result, you need to keep remember a few point:
- Make your content mobile-friendly.
- Use HTTPS
- Use lots of sub-heading like H2 and H3.
- Give short answer to questions (42 words)
- Internal link to authority resources.
- Include list type content (e.g. step 1, step 2, step 3, and so on)
So, if you implement these points in your content then it has a chance to rank your content as a featured snippet. Now let’s see the last SEO audit checklist .
#11 Step - Use SEO Tools for Site Audit
We explained all SEO audit points in brief so that newbies can understand as simply as possible.
But if you want to audit your site as simple and quickly then I highly recommend using a SEO audit tool.
There are tons of audit tools available on the internet but I recommend only two tools.
Actually, I use and recommend two:
This first tool is seoptimer.
SEOptimer is a free tool for auditing your sites. It is also available in the premium version but if you’re new techy then the free version is best for you.
Go to seoptimer and enter your site URL and hit ‘audit’.
Once you hit the audit, it will give you website analysis audit results.
It shows you result in the form of ‘grade’ for on-page seo, links, usability, performance, and social.
Grading scores lets you know where you need to improve.
This tool also gives you ‘recommendations’ where the error is and you need to fix it.
However, if you find any problem in your site then fix it ASAP. And if you did find any error then good to go.
Now, the second tool is ‘semrush keyword research’. This is a paid tool. If you’re able to buy then you must use these tools. It will help you a lot to take your blogging to the next level.
That’s all about Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist🙂.
Final Conclusion About SEO Audit Checklist
These all SEO audit checklists can help you put together a solid strategy to start or launch a new site and are essential points for ranking your site.
We’ve explained each point in brief to find the issues and how to fix it. If you want to audit your site then I recommend using an SEO audit tool to check first where the problem is.
Once you find the problem in your site, come to our blog and check the steps to fix the problems that prevent your site from achieving its full potential.
Let me summarize what you have to perform in an SEO audit. We’ve divided the SEO audit checklist in three sections and each section contains important points that you’ve to audit for your site.
Technical SEO Audit
- Mobile friendly test
- Duplicate version of site test
- Speed up website
- Find and fix Indexing problem
- Analyze your competitor
- Check organic traffic
- Broken link fix
- Make content better than other
- Featured snippets
- SEO audit tools
On-Page SEO Audit
- Add keyword in Title (H1) Tag
- SEO Friendly URLs
- Optimize title tag and meta description
- Image optimization
- Internal and External Linking
- Quality and SEO friendly Content
- Keyword Placement
These SEO audit points are important to check during the auditing process.