SEO Introduction

Starting to analyze a project current SEO situation is not a simple task. It’s easy to forget steps or not to deepen enough in other steps. So if you are an SEO consultant in that scenario, at SEO Alive we want to help you with this comprehensive SEO Audit made up of 28 steps to follow plus a free template that includes everything you will need to do it.

And, as an additional benefit, it’s downloadable so you can use it every time you need it! It’s a good place to start working on a strategy that gets a good ranking in the eyes of Google and sweeps the SERPs, don’t you think so?

Let’s go!

What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is a process in which a list of tasks is established to analyze the SEO current health of a project. Particularly, this is very useful to understand a website situation, and what will be the main next steps to follow.

SEO Audit

SEO Audit Tools

In order to work on the main elements of a web analysis from an SEO perspective, we recommend you to use at least one of the following tools to start your analysis:

Sistrix Herramienta SEO Logo
Google Search Console
Screaming Frog
GTMetrix
Pingdoom Tools
Ahrefs Logo

But remember that this is just an example, and you can use all the tools you want— the key is to know how to read the data and have the ability to reap the benefits they offer.

SEO Audit Checklist + Example

Now you know the required steps to conduct an SEO audit. Let’s get down to work! To have a better overall organization, we have broken down the elements into 6 main categories:

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO manages every element that is on a website. Let’s say broadly speaking that On-Page is one of the cornerstones required to boost SEO, where we need to check how good or bad are all URLs elements on a website.

1) Google Search Console

El primer paso de cualquier auditoria SEO será tener acceso a Google Search Console, ya se realizando nosotros la implementación o consiguiendo acceso gracias a una invitación. Mediante esta herramienta, podremos ver de forma detallada todos los datos sobre el rendimiento de nuestras páginas en Google, el estado de la indexación, posible errores… ? Tutorial de Google Search Console

Google Search Console
STEP #1: Request the web admins access to Search Console or install it manually. From that point, dive into all the data it provides, and let the adventure begin!

2) Other SEO Tools for Webmasters

People usually pay attention to Google and think this is just what they need to do. However, although Google clearly dominates the main part of traffic on search engines, you shouldn’t forget that there are others search engines such as Bing, Yandex (Rusia) or Baidu (China) that can also generate a lot of traffic.

Bing Webmaster Tools SEO

Verifying your website with these tools will take just few minutes, and it can be very useful to detect errors or check performance statistics on your SEO audit or analysis.

STEP #2: Register your website on these 3 portals, verify the property, and make sure they are indexing properly on each of them.

3) Google Analytics

Similarly to Search Console, having access to Google Analytics will make available dozens of metrics critical to the website you want to analyze, such as the amount of daily visitors, what percentage of these visits came from organic traffic, and much more data.

With this tool, you can create mind-blowing projects and integrate this important data source with Google Data Studio, Sistrix, and other tools that will allow you to make an outstanding reporting.

Google Analytics
STEP #3: Request access to Google Analytics or implement it yourself. Verify then that all events are sending properly, and don’t forget to set your goals to measure the conversion adequately.

4) Keyword Research & Search Intent

The first steps of an SEO audit we described above were external to the website. Once you start with the site optimization, the first thing you should do is an extensive analysis of keywords (a keyword research). It allows you to truly understand the market you are entering, as well as how the website structure should look like.

Before diving deep into a project, you should perfectly understand the keywords significant to your business.

SEO Keywords

In order to do so, you need to carry out a comprehensive keyword research where both keywords that are positioning for your website and keywords that belong to the industry will be analyzed. Finally, these keywords will be classified based on their nature:

  • Informational (meaning or generic information search)
  • Transactional (wish to acquire a product or a service)
  • Navigational (brand name search)
STEP #4: Perform a comprehensive study of all keywords, classify them accordingly, and identify all the significant keywords worth fighting, both main keywords and long-tail keywords.

5) Website Map (Hierarchical Structure)

Most businesses’ websites are structured based on how they think it will be better for their business. The issue is that this kind of strategy is not often aligned with the SEO strategy though. It leads to pages not properly interconnected, and Google crawling as well as user navigation can be seriously affected.

With tools such as Screaming Frog, you can deeply document a website hierarchical structure in an SEO audit.

Then you need to make a deep analysis and a proposal with, par example, Draw.io. With this tool you can simply draw how you think the structure of the pages should be.

SEO Web Architecture
STEP #5: Completely crawl your web and document its current hierarchical structure to learn how the project is set up. Once you have completed that, look after potential improvements, and then make a proposal of a new better organized sitemap based on the keyword research.

6) SEO Plugins

En el caso de que desarrollemos con tecnologías que no sean CMS (Gestores de Contenido), lo tendremos un poco más difícil, ya que la mayor parte del trabajo será mucho más manual y dependeremos en mayor medida de un equipo de desarrollo. Sin embargo, si la web se ha hecho con WordPress, Prestashop o similares, tendremos a nuestro alcance un gran abanico de posibilidades. Ahora bien, ten en cuenta que cada plugin es un añadido que hará que tu web se vea afectada en cuanto a velocidad de carga se refiere, así que piensa bien cuáles y cuántos vas a utilizar para que el rendimiento web no se vea perjudicado ?.

SEO Plugins Wordpress

Specifically in the case of WordPress, there are 4 big solutions which will allow you to complete a big part of the task on your own with ease.

From our experience, Rank Math is the winner of this competition not only because is free and comes with handy functionalities, but also due to comfortable settings and utilization it provides. Plus the fact that is customizable. In fact, this is the plugin we are using for SEO Alive.

STEP #6: In case you use WordPress, you need to install an SEO plugin to be able to correctly implement all optimizations. Make sure it supports your web theme and allows to change everything you want.

7) Titles & Metadescriptions

As you go further in your SEO audit you will get the full list of web URLs. Then you need to check each title and metadescription to guarantee they are optimized. Having extracted all the important information on the keyword analysis, you now want to match the keywords extracted with your webpages, trying to always deliver users the best search result possible. This is useful for improving Google understanding of URLs subjects— although it’s true that metadescriptions are not a positioning factor, they are opportunities to engage users to click your URL and not your competitors.

Fandango SEO

To accomplish that, you just need to extract every URL with Screaming Frog and give meta-data appropriate to each page. Moreover, if you make use of SEO tools, these will give you knowledge about your titles or metadescriptions being too short, duplicated or missing.

PASO #7: Create a document with each URL, as well as a title and metadescription proposal based on the keyword research. You also need to bear in mind the CTR factor— the information should be useful and engaging for the user.

8)SEO Friendly URLs

When analyzing a web On-Page SEO, one of your main goals is making sure URLs are optimized and well classified. Creating routes similar to www.mydomain.com/shop/computers is better than not having style patterns (mydomain.com/shop/category-sub566-var-4334). This needs to be done to all the different web paths or subfolders.

PASO #8: On any SEO audit you need to check the URLs structure and make propositions to optimize it, making it as friendly as possible for both users and search engines.

9) Canonicals & Alternates

Every page on your website needs to be unique and of high quality. This is not always possible thought. Due to technical issues, people frequently have websites with duplicate content, weather it be on categories, products, filters.. That’s why canonical tag plays a key role on indicating Google which is the original page among the multiple versions it may have.

Checking the right implementation of meta-tags is fundamental to guarantee a good indexation process.

STEP #9:  When conducting an SEO audit, it’s important to carry out an extensive crawling of all project URLs via an automatized tool, such as Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, Fandango SEO, or any other tool to analyze all canonicals of webpages. Be aware particularly of duplicated or missing URLs, without forgetting those belonging to the critical pages of the business.

10) Meta-robots

To guide search engines bots, there are some guidelines that stop them from accessing to certain webpages like the administration panel. You don’t want bots trying to access these pages and wasting valuable resources. You have robots.txt file and noindex, nofollow guidelines at URL level to avoid search engines following certain links or indexing some pages.

Screaming Frog SEO

With an SEO Audit, you will be able to detect if this kind of implementations have been performed on the wrong pages. Otherwise, you may remove successful pages that were providing a lot of users and billing.

STEP #10: Check always every implementation you do. A good idea is to set ContentKing, FandangoSEO or any other automatic change tracking tool that integrates with Slack or sends you email warnings so you can act immediately upon any change.

11) Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs allow users to get their bearings easily on different categories, and also allow search engines to crawl a website a lot better.

STEP #11: Make sure every page where breadcrumbs can be implemented (articles, product sheets…) has them, both at the visible level and the data tagging (JSON-LD).

12) Heading Structure

Page headings not only help users to read easily and in a more organized way but also they help search engine to better understand the main topic of the article and to rank pages much better. On an SEO audit, you need to check that each page has just one H1, and multiple H2 or H3 netted based on their hierarchical importance (H1 is the most important heading). It’s not recommended to go further than 3 levels. There is no evidence about it being useful so you can stop there.

Note: It’s different for HTML5, but generally speaking it’s better to have just one H1 for each URL.

STEP #12: Ensure the correct implementation of headings on all pages, and make sure the main keywords for your business are being used on these headings.

13) Optimizing Images

Images bring websites to life. They attract users and make reading a more comfortable and seamless experience, so bear them in mind when developing your SEO audit. But if you don’t follow good practices and implement them correctly, you may suffer from serious issues on crawling and speed among other things.

SEO for Images

We provide you a complete guide about SEO for images so you can have all the info about it. Click here to check it out.

PASO #13: Revisa que las imágenes tengan los formatos correctos, tengan los pesos adecuados, estén comprimidas, se carguen de forma diferida (lazy load) y cumplan con los estándares. ¿Tienes dudas? No te pierdas nuestra guía en detalle de cómo optimizar imágenes para SEO -> ? Guía SEO para imágenes

14) Schema Markups

Do you post recipes, job offers, articles or video? Schema Markups can make the difference from having a 0.5% to 5% CTR.  If you tell Google the kind of content you are creating, in turn Google will highlight your content on search results.

STEP #14:  Look through every type of schema markup available on your SEO audit, and check if your web has any of them to do the implementation.

15) Content strategy

Blogs and articles are one of the most important traffic sources for webs. If you manage to create evergreen content (recurring searches and always valid content), your business will get a steady traffic flow of customers. Moreover, the first step people usually take before purchasing anything is gathering information. In this respect, articles play a pivotal role.

STEP #15: Create your content planning for the next 3-6 months and make sure it’s aligned with the most important keywords for your business. You should too analyze always legacy content already published to check whether it can be updated or optimized in order to boost traffic.

Index

Once the on-Page Optimization is complete, we will continue explaining an SEO Audit from the perspective of the project index status. Let’s go!

16) Crawling Errors

Our pages are indexed in Google throgh different phases. First, Google visits your page and then analyzes/crawls it. And finally, Google indexes your page. These 3 steps are different and it’s very important that you pay attention to each one to avoid issues.

In that area, Google Search Console will be of great help because it will tell you the index status of your project, errors detected by Google and the error typology (404: page not found, 301: permanent redirection detected…)

SEO Search Console Errors

For this, one of the top useful features of Search Console is «Fetch as Google». It allows you to discover how Google sees your web using GoogleBot, and if it detects any problem. Moreover, whether you are conducting an SEO audit or you want to monitor it in the long run, tools like Broken Link Checker or Screaming Frog are available and help detecting broken links, redirections and other crawling issues.

STEP #16: Look though the index section of Google Search Console and analyze deeply all errors in order to troubleshoot them.

17) Mobile-Friendly Test

Google announced few weeks ago that the vast majority of webs globally were being crawled by GoogleBot Mobile, Google’s crawling bot for mobile devices. This means that the importance of speed and usability is highlighted.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

STEP #17:  Stay Zen about usability when conducting an SEO audit— you have some work ahead:

  • Make sure your web is responsive and displayed smooth from any device (tablet, smartphone or PC)
  • Analyze your web with Google Mobile-Friendly Test and make sure it passes all tests
  • Carry out usability analytics with Google Lightouse tool to guarantee your web is 100 % user-friendly

18) Sitemap.xml

Using Sitemaps.XML. is one of the most efficient ways of sending URLs to Google. These files are uploaded to your server and used as a guideline by Google crawling bots. And there are different types of files (static pages, images, video, news…) so they are very versatile.

STEP #18: To implement sitemaps correctly you need to remember to make a deeply review of Google documentation and show it on your SEO audit. Later, try to create all sitemaps you can and in every language your web is available. If you use WordPress, most plugins will generate these files automatically.

19) Security Certificate (https)

Until few months ago, a website security certificate was considered an additional complement that didn’t play an important role, unless the web typology was an ecommerce where users made payments on the website. However, certificates and security protocols (https) have acquired a fundamental role recently as Google will start showing a very visible warning to users visiting unsafe sites.

STEP #19: Be sure the security certificate is completely installed and correctly set, and that all unsafe URLs (http) redirect to their safe counterpart (https).

Web Performance Optimization (WPO)

20) Previous Analysis of Web Speed

The first step to work with WPO or web optimization is making a previous SEO analysis evaluating the current situation to check each page health, resources being used, and how we can improve them.

SEO Web Speed

Nowadays there are many free tools available to help analyzing web performance and make improvements. Discover some of these amazing tools below:

STEP #20: Analyze web performance using different tools:

  • Pingdoom Tools
  • GTMetrix
  • Google Lightouse

These tools give you guide values, and show you recommendations and potential improvements you can make.

21) Server Compressing (GZIP)

GZIP compressing improves server performance, ensuring faster server response times.

STEP #21: Enter your web URL on this GZIP validator to confirm everything is running smoothly once the deployment is complete.

22) Asynchronous Load & Lazy Load

Most often due to business needs, people implement codes like Google Analytics, support chats, and other similar codes slowing down web load drastically. Same goes for images, video and other large format files. If instead of loading these files directly when a user visits a page, the load takes place when they scroll through the page, the experience created is much more lasting and reliable.

STEP #22: If you include recommendations on your SEO audit, remember to note that script asynchronous load and image and video lazy load should be implemented. And it’s necessary to check whether these are loading exclusively when user scrolls using browser console cascade or GTMetrix tool.

Remember also to check that the settings of expire headers are fine, and ensure your web is using http/2 instead of http/1 protocol, allowing the load of multiple elements simultaneously instead of sequentiality.

23) CDN

CDN –or Content Distribution Networks– are tools that have the option to cache pages, delivering them considerably faster from different world servers so you can be much closer to the user.

STEP #23: Check if your web has a CDN implemented, and if not, evaluate the possibility of doing it. There are different options to choose from, par example Cloudflare.

24) AMP & PWA

Few years ago, AMP & PWA concepts were not so popular inside or outside the SEO community. But today they have turned into essential components of any web. AMP technology allows us to create pages –frequently content pages– really faster and with fewer resources, making them ideal for articles and news. it’s true that these pages may have high reboot levels if the implementation is not done right though. But if you follow good practices like implementing an AMP menu, the situation is expected to be better.

AMP para SEO

Regarding PWA, this is a technology that allows you to turn a web into an app on small steps, improving its speed due to the caching of a lot of information. Another benefit is that it allows you to visualize the pages without connectivity.

STEP #24: If you are carrying out an SEO audit on a project created on WordPress, and you need to make the pertinent implementations, WordPress makes your life a lot simpler. It has excellent plugins to deploy AMP and PWA. If on the opposite, you are making the implementation on a different platform, or even on your own code, you should do it manually following the recommended practices explained on their webs.

If you are looking for a web using both technologies… you are in the right place! You can see them implemented at SEO Alive.

International SEO

25) Alternates

On the article section of On-Page SEO we discovered why it’s important to add canonicals correctly. Now something that also plays a vital role on the analysis of international SEO is the implementation of alternates. These are meta-tags used for indicating Google the different versions of your site/page based on different languages.

STEP #25: Remember that each page needs to have an alternate for itself indicating the language, and another alternate to its versions on other languages. If the web has many languages, adding meta-tag x-default is recommended because it indicates Google which is the main version of the web in case of doubt between languages.

26) Domains & Translations

At the beginning, most companies consider entering just one market. But as they gow, they frequently opt for more ambitious new goals  such considering to enter on international markets. Bear in mind that an SEO strategy should always go hand in hand, so you should ask in advance and show it on your SEO audit.

STEP #26: Ensure the web you are analyzing owns all international domains to avoid brokers or domain agents acquire them before and then try to resell them. Even though you can follow a structure like domain.com/LANGUAGE, it can be a good idea to own domains such as domain.es (Spain), domain.fr (France) and so on.

Link Building

27) Link Profile Analysis

First thing you need to analyze about a web link building strategy is its current situation. That includes concepts like:

  • Total inbound links
  • Unique domains with inbound links
  • Authority of each URL
  • Authority of domain
La Vanguardia Link Profile

Once all this info is analyzed with tools like Ahrefs.com, you can think about the next steps which we will examine bellow.

STEP #27: Now you know the current situation due to the SEO audit so you can act accordingly. Here are some of the best practices to create natural links and avoid the complex word of link buying:

  • Analyze your competition links and try to replicate them
  • Monitor your brand mentions, and contact the media citing you to ask for a link
  • Manually and occasionally send your content to some industry media or specialized professionals
  • Write posts as guest on other webs with more relevance and authority

28) Local SEO + Reviews

Local SEO is commonly forgotten on a business SEO strategy. Being close to consumers or users is as important as having a good link profile or a nice on-page optimization.

STEP #28: Create or profoundly optimize your Google My Business profile, boosting the number of reviews in a natural and organic way. This improves the customer perception of the brand while sharing the latest news with the company followers.

SEO Audit Template (Online & Free)

Are you wondering why we share all this? We know this Checklist will be used for professionals around the globe, including our competitors (other SEO agencies). However, we believe that our mission is not just helping companies globally but also doing our bit on the SEO world. That’s why we’ve done it and sicerely hope you enjoy it. You just need to click on the link, copy it, and get down to work!

And if you feel like it, you may also leave us a comment so we all can improve it. Thanks for your collaboration!

GET THE SEO AUDIT TEMPLATE ⭐⭐ CLICK HERE 

SEO Audit

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