How to do a SEO audit
Anyone can carry out their own SEO audit. On this page I'll give you the full audit template and you won't need any technical skills to compelte it.
I strongly recommend that you do a Search Engine Optimization audit for two reasons:
- If you are going to do your own SEO it will help you see the changes you need to make for each page and the website as a whole before you start work.
- If you are going to hire SEO help you will be able to compare what you have found versus what agencies and contractors propose and so eliminate cowboys and amateurs.
Quality SEO audits cannot be automated. The instant automatic audits that you can find online will only give you part of the picture and this can be misleading.
SEO audit template
The following template does contain some technical jargon but it is all explained in the How to SEO your website guide.
- Keywords Analysis
- Check if the keywords you are ranking for and/or are hoping to rank for are ones that Internet users actually search
- Check if the keywords you want to rank for are realistic - who ranks for them at the moment? Do you have the time/budget to compete with these websites?
- For keywords that you can't compete with is there an opportunity to get a link on those pages that do rank such as creating an entry in a directory or posting a helpful blog comment? (this is known as Barnacle SEO)
- Check what other keywords you could rank for by using tools which give you ideas.
- Consider testing if the keywords you have chosen are likely to deliver the right visitors to your website by running short and focused Google Ads campaigns. This is a small investment compared to SEO costs for ranking a page for a keyword that brings in visitors who do not convert.
- On-page SEO auditing
- Is your domain name right and are you hosting your website in the right place?
- Is your code good quality and free from errors
- Is there anything in your code that could lead search engines to believe you are trying to scam them?
- Does your code allow your pages to load fast, even on mobile devices with slow connections?
- Does your code contain your content without requiring Second Wave Indexing?
- Is it clear to search engines how your website is structured? (a process known as Silo Structuring)
- Is the way you present your content clear, especially for mobile users? (e.g. is your text size large enough and is its color a sufficient contract with its background.
- Are your urls helpful to search engines
- Is your title tag descriptive of the page's content and does each page have a unique title tag?
- Is the main visible title of each page within <h1> tags
- Are your url, title tag and <h1> tags the same (or at least very similar) to each other?
- Do you have a meta description on each page which is a clear and attractive summary of the page?
- Do all of your images have accurate ALT tags and can any of have their file sizes reduced to improve page loading times?
- Do all your pages contain a clear Call to Action (CTA) to maximize the number of visitors who convert?
- Does Latent Semantic Analysis confirm that the text of your page is clearly about a specific topic?
- Are your internal links using text (rather than images) and is that text a clear and accurate description of where the user will be taken?
- Do you link out to any websites that search engines might see as poor quality and do you link to any good quality websites?
- Are you using structured data correctly and to its maximum?
- What is your Click Through Rate and Bounce Rate? Are these high or low compared to your competitors?
- Which pages engage visitors and inspire them to visit more of your website or convert and which pages fail? What can you learn from the successful pages?
- Off-page SEO auditing
- What other Online Marketing activities could boost your SEO work?
- Which other websites would link to your content if they knew it existed?
- Where could you get legitimate links that will bring visitors even if they don't pass on link juice (e.g. blog comments on blogs people actually read, forums, Q&A platforms, etc.