SEO Website Audit: Step by Step Guide to Site Analysis

Spread the love
  •  
  • 11
  •  
  • 58
  • 6
  •  
  •  
    75
    Shares

SEO audit

SEO audit is not a buzzword that will whip you into a frenzy I know.

But it is a procedure that is vitally important to improving your SEO efforts.

And that is why I have put this comprehensive website audit guide together.

I will steer you through the technical process of an SEO audit, but without over complicating matters or boring you to tears.

In this technical website SEO audit guide you will learn how to:

  • Prepare the website audit
  • Perform SEO analysis
  • Check the accessibility of your website
  • Ensure your webpages are indexed
  • Optimize your on-page ranking factors
  • Improve off-page ranking factors
  • Conduct competitive analysis

So why should you read this detailed guide over other technical SEO audit tips on the web?

Well, if it is of any consequence, I have been performing website audits since 2010 and am one of the top go-to audit guys in Bulgaria – which is not bad for a freelancer like myself 🙂

Just thought I would throw that in so that you know you can trust me and let me guide you through this specific process.

Trust and reputation is one of the key elements to improving your SEO.

Shall we dive in?

Preparing the Technical SEO Audit

Before you jump straight into the website analysis, a thorough SEO technical audit requires some planning.

That involves crawling your site before anything else.

My most favorite crawling tools are Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider and DeepCrawl.

Here is a complete list of audit SEO tools and resources you need for your audit kit-box:

  • Screaming Frog SEO Spider
  • DeepCrawl
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • Google Page Speed Insights
  • Pingdom(Uptime and Website Speed)
  • GTMetrix(Speed Test)
  • HTML sitemap generator
  • XML sitemap generator
  • Google My Business
  • Opensite Explorer
  • SEO Majestic

5 Step Website Audit Analysis

SEO audits are best performed in five stages .

This website audit guide breaks each section down into logical step-by-step tasks that will make the entire process much easier for you.

  1. Findability
  2. Indexing
  3. On-Page ranking factors
  4. Off-page ranking factors and
  5. Analyzing competitors

SEO AUDIT STEP #1: THE FINDABILITY TEST

Your first job in an SEO audit is easy albeit vitally important.

Before doing anything you need to ensure that your site can be accessed by search engine crawlers. If not, there is no point having a website or performing an SEO audit in the first place.

The findability test will determine whether search engine crawlers can access your webpages properly.

Later we’ll check them against the number of pages that have been indexed.

If crawlers are crawling your website, but are not indexing some of your important pages alarm bells should start ringing immediately.

If some of your pages stay deindexed this could be due to some of these common problems:

  • Robots.txt file is blocking search engine crawlers
  • The .htaccess file is not configured correctly
  • Your metatags contain a <noindex> attribute
  • URL parameters are not configured correctly
  • Server is experiencing some DNS issues
  • Domain has previously been blacklisted
  • Sitemap is not up to date

We will deal with each of these in more detail as we work through the SEO audit procedure, but hopefully you will not have any issues with indexing.

Now you’ve done that, it’s time to run the Screaming Frog tool.

This crawler works pretty quickly and shows a chunk of important data we’re going to take a look at in this guide.

We’re also going to use the metrics in your Google Webmaster Console and and Bing Webmaster Tools so I hope you have already registered your site there.

If not make that your next job!

Useful videos:

How to add your website to Google Webmaster Tools

Submit your website to Bing Webmaster Tools

How to make your website accessible?

If search engine crawlers cannot access your website, it will not rank in search engines result pages (SERPs) for any keywords.

To avoid this disaster take the following steps:

Robots.txt

The robots.txt file allows or prevents crawlers from accessing your website. For the purpose of your site’s SEO audit, manually check the robots.txt file and make sure it is not restricting access to any of your vital pages.

To permit full access to your site robots.txt file should look like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow:

To deny access it should look like this:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Robots Meta Tags

Even when you allow all crawlers to index your site, you may want to prevent them from indexing certain pages. These might be pages that are not ready to go live or such that create duplicate content issues.

In order to do that you should set <noindex> meta tag.

Here’s how this HTML attribute looks like:

<head>
<title>…</title>
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
</head>

As part of your SEO audit, manually check that the “noindex, nofollow” attributes have been removed for the pages that should be live.

HTTP Status Codes

HTTP status codes return errors for any pages that have broken links – such as server errors and the common 404 error (page not found).

In such cases make sure your HTTP codes are using 301 redirects and not 302 redirects, meta-refresh or JavaScript.

It’s advisable not to 301 redirect all your 404 pages to your homepage but to the closest, most relevant category or page instead.

XML Sitemap

The next step in your website SEO audit is to check your Sitemap is generated properly otherwise crawlers cannot navigate through your entire site and index all of your pages.

Your sitemap should:

  • Follow the Sitemap protocol
  • Be submitted to Webmaster Console
  • Include all important pages from your website
  • Be up to date and exclude redundant or pages with 404 errors

Useful videos:

How to submit a Sitemap to Google [Video]

How to submit a Sitemap to Bing [Video]

Website Architecture

Site architecture is one of the most important aspects of your website in terms of usability.

Performing an SEO audit is a great opportunity to ensure it is working at an optimal level of performance.

This is something of a laborious task, but one of the most important to ensure continuous improvement of your SEO rankings.

If you do not have solid foundations in your site architecture you will lose a lot of traffic and clients.

Make a list of every page and count the number of clicks it takes to get to each page from the homepage. Then evaluate whether you can reduce the number of clicks and make navigation easier and faster.

Also evaluate whether you can improve links between important pages (internal links), or include more links from less important pages to pages you want to rank higher.

The most important pages of your website should have the highest number of internal links pointing to them.

JavaScript Navigation

JavaScript (JS) can hinder search engine crawlers from navigating your site.

To determine if JavaScript is creating problems, perform a site crawl with JS disabled and compare the results to these with JavaScript enabled to check if JS is preventing access to parts of your website.

Site Performance

Site performance is an important metric that has an impact on your search engine rankings and is the next step in your website audit analysis.

Crawlers are even busier than the rest of us and have an allocated amount of time to assess websites (a.k.a. Crawl budget). Sites that load faster can also be crawled quicker.

Always check the load times of your site’s pages during the SEO audit process.

There are plenty of free tools you can use to do this but I personally recommend these four:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights
  • Pingdom
  • GT Metrix
  • Webpagetest.org

Server Uptime

The stability of your website is a crucial ranking actor.

If your website suffers from a significant lack of uptime, search engine crawlers and users won’t be able to access your site. This ultimately leads to a decrease in rankings and traffic.

You can use the free version of Pingdom to assess the uptime of your host server.

However, if you are continually experiencing a significant downtime, you may want to consider upgrading your subscription so you can monitor your website in real time.

Useful information:

SEO AUDIT STEP #2: INDEXING

Now that you’ve established which pages of your website have been crawled by search engines, you need to determine which pages have actually been indexed.

Site: command

To do this just enter site:yoursite.com in Google’s search box (replace yoursite.com with your domain).

An example: to check my website I would type site:niksto.com into the query field and all the pages that particular search engine has indexed will appear in a list of search results.

The number of pages showing in site: command results are not always 100% accurate, but should be more or less the same number of pages live on your website.

To verify how many pages you have published on your site, you can either guesstimate or check how many posts have been published via your CMS admin panel.

If you have a new website or have added more pages recently and they are not showing in the SERPs, give it a few days for search engines to crawl them.

This process takes some time.

Duplicate and plagiarized content

Checking for duplicate content issues is an inseparable part of every website audit.

You can also run the site: yoursite.com

and to check if you have any duplicate content.

All you need to do is type the following url into your browser:

www.google.com/search?q=site:yoursite.com&start=990

If there is an issue with duplicate content, a warning message will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Search engines take duplicate content seriously and take measures against sites that violate Google Guidelines or use lots of copy-paste content.

There are 2 types of duplicate content: internal and external.

  • Internal duplicate content is when you have more than one URL address pointing to one and the same page. A great example for such duplicate content is e-commerce websites. Usually, online shops use multiple filters (for price, color, size, etc.) in order to help their users find the right products easily. The problem occurs when this internal duplicate content has not been taken care of properly (noindex tags, canonical tags and robots.txt rules). This can have a devastating effect on your SEO.
  • External duplicate content is when you copy-paste content from other websites. Usually without placing a link to the original source or using canonical attribute. Google dislikes such content for one simple reason. It doesn’t add any value to end users and the Internet in general. If you have to choose between copying articles from other sources or not having any at all, I’d suggest you choose the latter.

You see, every page of the web has to be original and unique.

Google launched a special algorithm update named Panda in February 2011 which is a part of their core algorithm since January 2016.

How to identify duplicate or thin content?

Finding issues with your pages’ content is a vital part of your SEO audit.

You can identify duplicate content on external pages using free duplicate content detection software such as Copyscape. 3 other plagiarism checker tools which are pretty solid are: PlagtrackerQuetext and Duplichecker.

To identify duplicate content on internal pages you can use Screaming Frog, Siteliner or Google Webmaster Tools.

Remember, duplicate content is a very serious issue and has to be tackled as soon as possible or it will eventually suffocate your website and worsen its rankings.

Plagiarism tools typically compare words that appear on a page against words that appear on another page rather than exact match phrases.

As a result you will find some pages have a high percentage of “duplicated content” which is not 100% duplicate.

Google issues penalties for plagiarized content that is deemed to breach “Fair Use” of copyright laws and pages webmasters have copied on there own site to save time and money writing original copy.

However, it also devalues the so-called “thin” content which is a piece of content with high percentage of similarity to another one.

Make sure your site is free of such and absolutely unique!

Index Sanity Checks

Sanity checks are really ‘peace of mind’ checks to make sure the high level information you recovered from the site:command is true and rational.

You should only perform the sanity check for priority pages.

Do this by entering the pages you want to check in your search engine browser as usual.

Once you are satisfied your most important pages are all indexed and showing in the SERPs, check whether your website is ranking properly for your domain name.

Ideally it should be number one, or at least appearing on page one if there are other sites with the similar domain name.

Otherwise this raises some immediate red flags.

Google Penguin Penalties

After Google penguin was initially launched in 2012, checking for link penalties has become a mandatory part of website audit process.

If a search engine issues a manual penalty against your website, you will be notified in Webmaster Tools.

You should update the setting to receive email from Webmaster Tools so you are on red alert.

Remember that there are also the so-called algorithmic penalties which you won’t be notified for.

The only way to spot such algorithmic actions is to keep a close eye on your organic traffic and make sure it looks normal.

Any significant drops or steadily decreasing rankings over a period of time can be a sign of an algorithmic penalty on your domain.

If your website is not ranking as well as you think it should be, make sure the domain doesn’t have previous penalties issued against it.

This is especially true if you’ve purchased an expired domain.

A good way to verify that a site is penalized however is when no pages are returned after running the site: command check.

If you do establish the domain has been penalized in a past life, you can always submit a request consideration to Google and a getting out the penalty box to Bing.

Identifying Algorithm Changes

Search results can drop due to algorithm changes.

This takes more investigative work and you have to hit news channels and reputable digital marketing commentary sites to see what algorithm changes have recently been released.

Then try and work out what SEO strategies you have been using that do not conform with the latest algorithm updates.

A drop in rankings usually means a webmaster has been using SEO techniques search engines deem as an attempt to manipulate search results.

SEO AUDIT STEP #3: ON-PAGE RANKING FACTORS

The third step in your website audit should focus on the on-page ranking factors. They involve investigating individual pages for optimization opportunities.

Together with domain level corrections that can improve the search engine optimization of the entire site.

Page URLs

URLs are as good a place as any to start the on-page optimization process.

URL should:

  • Be less than 115 characters
  • Include a your main keyword(s)
  • Ideally be a static URL. If you can’t, register the parameter in Webmaster Tools
  • Contain hyphens. Avoid using underscores and commas in your URL address.

One quick piece of advice. Try to use directories instead of sub domains whenever you can.

For example:

niksto.com/blog/

is much better than:

blog.niksto.com

This way you’ll be able to use your domain authority to its full potential and not to start from zero each time.

Subdomains are treated as separate websites in SEO.

Optimizing Content

To assess the content of a page you can use a website audit tool such Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl that gives you information about page titles, meta descriptions and meta tags etc.

However, to really assess the quality of your content the best practice is to do it manually and ensure it meets Google’s quality content guidelines.

Here’s a general checklist I’m using:

  • Does the content on the page have more than 500 words? Any pages with less than 500 words can be considered “thin” content and can be down-ranked. Ideally you should add plenty of long-form content of 1000 words or more.
  • Does the content offer value? Does it answer users questions? Consider whether the information contained within the content is specific enough to answer the page title. Is it reasonable to consider that an end-user will be satisfied with the content? Is it informative and/or entertaining?
  • Does the content contain the targeted keywords in the title? What about in the first 100-words of the article, and in least one sub-heading?
  • Are the main keywords included in the URL? Keywords in the URL strengthen the page against relevant search terms.
  • Does the content sound natural to a human reader? Or is it stuffed with keywords making it hard to read? Too many keywords can appear spammy and be deemed as keyword stuffing.
  • Does the content include other searchable phrases? Long-tail keywords are compared against relevant search terms and now that more voice searches are being conducted with the help of voice-activated assistants on mobile phones, key phrases have an even greater role to play.
  • Is the content well written and free of spelling and grammar errors?
  • Does the page have external links to authoritative sources and internal links to relevant pages?

When assessing your content for optimal optimization across your entire website, break the analysis down to these three areas:

  1. Information Architecture

The information architecture is the direction visitors follow to navigate through your website.

Proceeding pages should be logically laid out and signposted within the content.

Thus your visitors will be able to reach the next step of their journey without having to look for where to go.

  1. Keyword Cannibalism

Checking for keyword cannibalism issues should be an important part of each website SEO audit.

This is where you check for content which target the same or very similar keywords for multiple pages on your site.

Search engines want to rank pages that match specific search queries and targeting the same keywords on numerous pages can confuse them.

Since Google introduced Hummingbird and RankBrain algorithms a lot has changed.

Hummingbird uses semantic coding to understand the concept of the content on a page while RankBrain uses machine learning technology to make sure end users get the best results possible.

That being said, you shouldn’t target separate keywords with your content anymore.

The SEO game has become much more complex.

Today, you should wrap your articles around topics or clusters of semantically related keywords and phrases.

But that’s not all!

Your content should always be created with your readers in mind.

In a nutshell, you need to write articles that answer people’s most common questions and help them solve their biggest problems.

For example, if you own a branding agency, you should not limit your primary keyword to branding as it is too broad and generalized.

You need to stretch how you use keywords to define page content such as, brand personality, brand identity, brand culture, etc.

The easiest way to identify keyword cannibalism is to install the free Yoast plugin. This flags up when you have used primary keywords previously and how many times you have used them.

Also, pay close attention to your Google Webmaster Console data. It gives you invaluable insight on your pages and how they perform in terms of SEO.

Page Titles

Page titles are very important for a couple of reasons.

They are typically used to identify the page URL and are the strongest indication to readers of what they can expect to find on the page.

When evaluating your page titles consider the following things:

  • Title should ideally have 55 characters or less. Longer titles than this get truncated and do not appear in full in search engine results. This can have negative impact on your organic click-through-rate and overall traffic.
  • Does the title clearly explain what the page content is about? Titles should be compelling enough to stimulate readers to click on them, but should not be misleading in any way.
  • They should ideally contain your most important keyword. Usually, the closer it is to the beginning of the title the better rankings boost it will have.

When analyzing your titles across your entire website,make sure that each one is unique. This is also another opportunity to check if certain targeted keywords are being overused.

Useful content:

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are not used as a ranking metric, but they can have an impact on click-through rate (CTR).

It is therefore worthwhile updating meta descriptions to ensure they provide readers with an accurate overview of what the page content is about.

Meta descriptions are limited to 155 characters.

Any more is a waste unless the cut off leaves a cliff hanger and compels readers to click-through.

Yoast plugin extracts the opening sentence of an article which replaces the need for a meta description but I always recommend to write META descriptions manually for best results.

Whether you are using Yoast or manually inputting meta descriptions, they should be unique and engaging.

Duplicate, short or missing meta descriptions are reported in your Webmaster Tools under Optimsation>HTML Improvements. Same goes with titles.

Metadata in Images

Search engine crawlers cannot read what is in a JPEG or PNG image, but you can inform them by updating the image’s file name and the alt text tags when you upload images.

Remember that images appear in search engine results (Google Images) and typically attract clicks.

Therefore, labeling your images with a targeted keyword helps search engines match images with relevant search terms and drive traffic to your site.

Inbound and Outbound Links

Links are a vitally important signal for search engines and carry a lot of weight as a ranking factor.

This is why you must pay attention to them while performing your website audit.

Endorsing third party sites informs search engines that you are a trustworthy and reliable source and thus aids your own search ranking.

Don’t hesitate to link out to a web page which supports your idea or adds more depth to your own article.

Natural links pointing towards a URL is a strong indication that the website is publishing high-quality content.

That’s precisely why building white hat backlinks is one of the most important SEO activities.

When performing a link audit of your link profile you should answer these questions:

  • Are the sites linking to you trustworthy? It is not always necessary for linked sites to have a high authority as they may be quite new, but it is good practice to check if they are publishing high-quality content and have a professional look. If a site looks spammy, it is spammy and you don’t want anything to do with it.
  • Are the links pointing to relevant pages?
  • Do your anchor texts look natural? They should be relevant to the content of the page they link to.
  • Are the inbound links broken? You can identify broken links in the site crawls you performed above in Screaming Frog or SEMRush or Ahrefs. Alternatively use Brokenlinkcheck.com.
  • Have your internal links been redirected? If you have redirected urls the link juice embedded in content is diluted to an extend. Update the link so that it points directly to the page you want to link to.

Landing Pages

If landing pages are not compelling visitors to take action you need to fix your written copy.

Make sure your landing pages have all the key components to persuade customers to take the next step.

Check the exit rates in Google Analytics to determine whether a high number of visitors are leaving after a short period of time.

Also, focus on the pages that have the highest exit rate and try to change them so that visitors don’t leave your site through them so often.

Poorly constructed landing pages have a negative impact on conversions.

Local SEO

Search engines give local businesses priority when end-users type in local search terms.

It is therefore vitally important that local SEO indicators are present and correct.

Your first job while doing the website audit is to check that your business is registered with Google My Business Page and ensure it is properly verified.

The second job is to check there are no penalties on your local listings.

Unlike organic penalties, Google does not notify businesses of local penalties.

Building NAP citations is also vital to your local SEO.

Check your NAP

Search engines are suspicious of online businesses that have conflicting information and penalize firms that do not have consistent NAP’s – Name, Address Phone number – on citation sites, and review sites if your company is in the service industry.

The official contact details of your business that search engines use is the one you have registered in Google My Business.

So check your primary address, usually the head office, is named here.

Then make sure this address is used on all other third party citation sites you are listed under.

Also check that the primary email address is consistent together with your main URL, especially if your company has various satellite offices.

Set your business categories

Google ask online companies to verify their industry by selecting a list of categories from the Google My Business dashboard.

The categories you choose can have a bearing on your rank so it is important that the most appropriate categories are selected.

Google guidelines state: “Add categories that describe what your business is, rather than what it does.”

Your primary category should therefore be your industry. Sub-categories should reflect your main services.

In addition, Google recommends adding “a brief description of your business” in the introduction field to inform end-users about the services you provide.

Make sure this section includes over 250 words.

Maps and opening hours

Adding maps and search photographs to your Google My Business page also helps to give potential customers an insight into your business establishment.

Images capture the attention and increase click-through rates.

Other information customers find useful is your business opening hours.

Footer Analysis

Footers are often overlooked as an SEO ranking factor, but they present an opportunity to pass site juice to the most important pages of your website.

How you utilize the footer space depends on the industry you are in and the goals you want to achieve.

Some footers for example are simply used to list the address of your business and place contact details as a call to action.

However, larger websites can best utilized as a part of your site architecture.

This is an opportunity for businesses to make a list of all their principle services and sub-categories of services.

This can subsequently encourage visitors to explore other areas of your site which would normally be difficult to find.

Furthermore, search engines look at the depth and quality of your website to determine if you are a legitimate business.

It is therefore important that all your service pages are crawled and footers are the best place to showcase your full range of service to search engine crawlers and customers.

Useful content:

I mentioned internal links in the section above, but just to recap, the most important pages on your website should have the most internal links pointing to them.

Same is valid for your inbound links.

This way search engines know they are the best pages to rank for targeted keywords.

Other on-page factors

Although other SEO factors do not carry much weight as ranking factors, they should still be considered as part of your SEO audit.

H1 and H2 tags: Should include targeted keywords and are useful for both search engines and readers.  Always use only one H1 tag.

Frames and iframes: search engines do not associate content with you page when you use frames to embed content so try not to use them.

External ads: Although display ads are still prevalent on the web they are a dying breed. Adsense revenues are hardly worth the effort and compromise user-experience, whilst banner ads are a nuisance. The future of onsite ads are native ads which you can naturally integrate into your site fabric.

Schema Markup and CSS Markup

HTML markup, also known as schema markup, helps to explain to search engine what end-users can expect to find on the page.

It is therefore vitally important to the performance of your website in SERPS.

The first job is to check your HTML codes do not violate any compliance issues. A useful tool to use is the W3C validator. Then do the same for CSS validation.

SEO AUDIT STEP #4: OFF-PAGE RANKING FACTORS

The next step in your website audit is to pay attention to everything that’s happening outside your site.

The purpose of assessing off-page ranking factors is to determine the authority and popularity of your website.

The more authority your website has, the higher you rank in search engines.

And that means more sales revenue.

You can determine how much traffic your site is attracting by using analytics software like Google Analytics.

Understanding how to assess analytics data is critical to improving your content marketing campaigns and overall SEO performance.

The best free tool for checking traffic-based data is Google Analytics, arguably the best free tool ever to be invented!

In Google analytics go to user-behaviour. There you can see vital stats like:

  • Number of visitors you receive
  • Bounce rate percentage
  • Average time they spend on your page (dwell time)
  • Average number of pages they visit
  • Which pages they exit from and much more.

For each of the metrics above, make sure to pay extra attention to the bounce rate and dwell time.

If your bounce rate is high and at the same time your dwell time is low – you have a problem!

Your visitors are not hanging around enough to engage with your content.

But to fix the problem may only mean improving the content on a couple of landing pages.

Let’s take a look at the key elements you need to consider in your evaluation of off-page ranking factors in your technical SEO audit.

How trustworthy is your site?

Trust and authority metrics are a big issue for search engines.

If end-users do not trust your content and don’t engage with your website, you will not rank highly in SERPs.

You can determine how trustworthy visitors perceive your site by addressing some of the metrics mentioned above in Google Analytics.

As I said, if bounce rate is high and the average amount of time spent on your site is low, improve your content across the board.

However, bounce rate only records the number of visitors that leave after viewing one page.

Use the page exit metric which you will find under Site> Site Content > Exit Pages to see which pages visitors are leaving from.

If they are leaving from landing pages, product pages or at any stage of the payment process make it a priority to improve these pages.

They are responsible for your cash flow.

It is worth mentioning at this point that if you website has a poor design and looks unprofessional, or is riddled with pop-up ads and looks spammy in general, your trust levels will be automatically take a nose dive with end users.

In terms of building trust with search engines make sure you are not using any archaic SEO techniques that have since been outlawed such as:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Hidden text
  • Cloaking
  • Web 2.0 links
  • Private Blog Network (PBN) links, etc.

Useful information:

Backlink Profile

We touched on inbound links in the previous chapter, but we should go into it in more detail as low quality backlinks can have a negative effect on your rankings.

Backlinks, or inbound links, you receive from third party websites are used by search engines to determine trust and authority of a website.

This is based on the assumption that website is producing high-quality content and is supposedly offering top quality products and excellent customer service.

The more backlinks you acquire, the search engines will love you.

However, the inbound links you do receive should be organic (white hat) and coming from sites that are not deemed to be low-quality or irrelevant.

A few years ago – and actually some black-hat marketers are still using this technique – it was customary for firms to pay webmasters a sum of money to host a piece of content on their site with a backlink embedded in the body of the article.

This strategy worked for some time, but search engine crawlers are so sophisticated these days, they can determine when backlinks do not appear organic.

This is based on the regularity of backlinks over a period of time and the quality score of the domain hosting the backlink.

Link Profile Good Practices

What makes a good link? I’ll try to answer this question.

It is good practice to check how many domains are pointing to your site and determine how natural their links look. Any links you are unsure about should be removed.

The most useful website audit tools to carry out this job are Ahrefs , Link Research Tools or Majestic.

The last two will even tell you what trust and authority scores sites have (LRT Trust and Majestic TrustFlow).

When evaluating your site for backlinks consider the following:

  • How trustworthy is the root domain itself (Ahrefs Domain Rating, LRT Power and Trust, Majestic TF and CF)?
  • Is the anchor text distribution natural? Attributions should be organic otherwise they wave a red flag at search engines. Links should ideally not have an anchor text that directly matches the main keyword or phrase.
  • Are links relevant to the source domain or anchor text? If not remove them.
  • How many backlinks are nofollow. Although nofollow links do nothing for your SEO rankings, a website that has does not have any nofollow links look is highly suspicious
  • Does the links coming to the domain are in the same language like your site?

Useful information:

Social media

Social media platforms have the potential to add spice and vitality to your SEO efforts.

They are unquestionably a must-have tool for businesses of all sizes – although they do need to be handled with care, maintained regularly and used with a strong marketing strategy.

When utilized effectively, social media networks are a great platform for driving traffic.

The key to a successful social media campaign is attracting the right audience – people who take an active interest in your brand, and publishing content they want to engage with.

When analyzing social engagement, determine how many shares, likes and comments you are receiving.

Social signals give you an insight into the type of content your followers most engage with.

However, up to now there’s no direct proof that social signals have direct positive impact on your organic rankings.

You can also use social media to gather data about your audience which can be used to improve marketing campaigns.

Especially if you intend to offer personalized services and improve your customer retention/loyalty programs.

Analyze the people who are sharing and engaging with your content and conversations the most.

Social networks are the new word of mouth advertising so citations from customers and influencers give you more credibility.

Useful information:

SEO AUDIT STEP #5: ANALYZING YOUR COMPETITION

Competitive analysis is necessary evil in every website SEO audit.

If you don’t know what is driving your rivals success and failures, you don’t have the insight to beat them or the information to avoid falling into the same trap.

Analyzing your competition identifies their strengths and weaknesses so that you can improve yours.

And with this knowledge to hand you can confidently expect to rank higher, accrue more of the market share and increase conversions.

But now the bad news.

You have to go through the entire SEO audit process you have just performed on your site for each of your closest rivals.

I know that sounds like a royal pain the crown jewels, but it will be worth the effort.

Of course, you can skip some of the not so important parts but analyzing the on-page and off-page status of your competition is a must.

Final SEO Website Audit Reports

If you take the time and effort to conduct a thorough SEO audit, you want to have something to show for it .

Positive SEO results are the best reward of course.

But you also need an actionable SEO audit report otherwise all the improvements you diligently identified to put in place will be left and forgotten about.

And that will ultimately prove to be a waste of your time!

Did I miss anything in this detailed website audit guide? Have you ever ordered an SEO audit service? Let me know in the comments.

Leave a Reply

20 Comments on "SEO Website Audit: Step by Step Guide to Site Analysis"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Philip Polaski
Guest

Nice article Nikolay, you covered a lot of ground. I’m wondering if you have a spreadsheet or checklist that you’d maybe share with us. Thanks for the great information!

John
Guest

Another great article , one thing that came to mind is website ranking tools , before I start work on a new or even existing clients site doing an SEO review and improvements , I’ll run a website ranking report , that way after I’ve made improvements from the report I can ( hopefully ) show clients the benefits of the work

Aashirvad Kumar
Guest

Amazing guide. Currently i am thinking about robot.txt because it looks different in my webmaster tool. /wp-admin/ something like this. Is it good or bad?

Chris Thompson
Guest

Awesome article Nikolay. Have been wanting to add SEO audiences as part of my companies services and this post has helped me clarify what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.

Hazel Jarrett
Guest

Great article Nikolay – just shared it. A handy checklist to download would be extra awesome!

saif uzzal
Guest

Hey man, you’ve done an excellent job. Really this article helps me a lot. I’m just going to publish my new site within a few days. But after reading your article, I think I should make an audit on my site. Thanks for the post and keep posting great post. 🙂

Alex Brooks
Guest

Hi!
Could you please tell if it’s possible to analyze only XML Sitemap with tools you’ve mentioned? I’ve done it with netpeak spider and though I’m pretty satisfied with this seo crawler I’m interested if it’s possible to do it with other tools

John
Guest

Perfectly done… I just ran the audit with mentioned steps for my blog and all the results are great. Thank you for the share.

Gaurav Saini
Guest

Thanks Nikolay for the article.I was considering audit for my site and this post helped me a lot

wpDiscuz