Conducting an SEO audit is the golden ticket to succeeding online. You get an in-depth understanding of what works on your site and what doesn’t, making site improvement and optimisation an entirely data-driven exercise.

As you may already know, SEO is the process of increasing the quality and quantity of your website traffic by increasing the visibility of your website and all of its web pages to users looking you up on a search engine.

SEO is not an old concept but as a digital marketer in 2020, you need to always be on top of your SEO game.

If your site is SEO-optimised, then you enjoy enhanced performance, are able to filter out irrelevant traffic, and receive suggestions on how to optimise your website for greater visibility and increased traffic. An SEO audit will let you in on the strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas of improvement for your website for long-term success. Who wouldn’t want that?

So, what are the areas on your website that you need to focus on? 

I have always had this discussion with industry professionals and believe it’s best to do a blog about all the components you need to optimise to help fix any issues you may be having and help you leverage opportunities that help you rank better among search engine results. 

This post is not a comprehensive technical guideline on how each item has to be carried out, but is a guideline, including a checklist of things you need to look out for when conducting an SEO audit.

Firstly, what exactly is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is a process whereby you discover whether your website is performing well and is search engine-friendly. By conducting an SEO audit, you can find the problem areas on your website that can be optimised to achieve higher rankings among search engine results.

An SEO audit will help you review your website and find problem areas and fix those issues or change whatever needs to be changed to improve its performance.

Of course, when you built your website from the ground up, you may have ensured that all that needs to be done to optimize your website to rank higher on search engines is taken care of. Then why is it necessary to carry out a separate audit for the same thing?

You see, search engines like Google, which is undoubtedly the most popular and most-used search engine, often changes its algorithm to keep up with new technology and new search patterns. Technology is always changing but not all these changes are good. So, Google, like an army commander changing their war strategy to battle new enemies, changes its algorithm to prioritize good content.

So, whether you’re a digital marketer with years of experience and presence in the field or a complete newbie, you must conduct an SEO audit more often. Preferably, 2 to 4 times a year if you’re a large business and at least once every six months if you’re a small one. 

There are various tools you can use to conduct this type of audit on your website. You can follow a guide like this one or hire a professional to do an SEO audit for you – especially if you’re just starting out. 

With an effective SEO audit, you can stay in sync with all those updates Google makes to their algorithm. It’s also how you finetune your traffic to ensure that it’s only users who will potentially generate sales that land on your site.

An SEO audit needs to be done in three parts

SEO optimisation doesn’t just come from the backend of your site. Three components contribute to the overall SEO optimisation of your website. So, when you conduct an SEO audit, you must focus on all three of these components to make sure you’ve done a thorough job. 

  • Technical SEO – this is the skeleton on which your website SEO is built. Just like a house without a good foundation is problematic, a website without a solid, SEO-optimised structure will not perform well. This should be the starting point of your audit as the technical components of SEO are what help search engines find and index your site.
  • On-page SEO – this refers to the content, keywords, and other on-page elements that help search engines and users better understand what’s on your site.
  • Off-page SEO – this refers to all the SEO that takes place externally but relating to your site, which help search engines determine the level of trust, value, and authority of your site.

Make an SEO audit checklist

When I do my own SEO audits, I like to maintain a checklist so I don’t miss out on anything important. When doing something as detailed, important, and sensitive as an SEO audit, it certainly helps to make a checklist. 

Like I mentioned earlier, this article is more of a guide on how to conduct an SEO audit. So, to achieve SEO optimisation for your website, follow this checklist of things to do.

  • Step 1: Check domain search appearance
  • Step 2: Perform an audit for technical SEO
  • Step 3: Perform an audit for on-page SEO
  • Step 4: Perform an audit for off-page SEO

Check domain search appearance

I include this step to get an understanding of the user’s perspective on how the website is viewed. Open a browser window and type the name of your business on the search bar in the search engine. Look at the results you get and check if the following is in place.

What are the things you need to look out for?

  • Does your homepage come up first in the search engine results?
  • Does the result show site links along with your listing?
  • Are the descriptions below your homepage and other pages accurate?
  • Is the name and other information on the listing correct?
  • Are the rest of the pages listed on the first page of Google results relevant to your brand?
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the results page and check the section ‘Searches related to’ and see if the queries listed there are relevant to your brand.

Below is a screenshot of what it looks like when I search for ‘Hype Insight’ on Google. 

Perform an audit for technical SEO

Don’t be overwhelmed. Just because this component of SEO is called technical, it doesn’t mean you have to be a developer or system administrator to do the audit. Google’s search console help centre is there to guide you through all the technical aspects of this part of the audit!

What are the things you need to look out for?

  • Is your website registered with Google search console?
  • Have you specified a preferred domain on Google search console?
  • Is your robots.txt file optimised?
  • Are your URLs SEO-friendly?
  • Is your ‘breadcrumb menu’ activated?
  • Is your XML sitemap optimised?
  • Is your website HTTPS?
  • Is your website loading speed fast enough?
  • Is your page mobile-friendly?

Perform an audit for on-page SEO

Once you’ve completed the technical SEO aspect, the next step is to deal with the content on your website by performing an audit for your on-page SEO. This is the most important part of the SEO audit and most people cover only this component.

What are the things you need to look out for?

  • Are the titles and descriptions of each page on your website optimised?
  • Are the headings and text on your pages formatted correctly?
  • Is all the content on your website SEO-optimised?
  • Check your internal link structure
  • Are the images on your site SEO optimised?
  • Are there any broken links on your site?
  • Is your website user-friendly?
  • Does your site have a clearly-defined main menu?
  • Does your website have a consistent interface across all pages?

Perform an audit for off-page SEO

The last step in the SEO audit is to refer the methods and techniques you can use to promote your website on the internet. Off-page SEO is usually about link building but you need to know what you’re doing, otherwise, you might eventually end up hurting your SEO.

What are the things you need to look out for?

Don’t delay – get started on your SEO audit for improved SERP rankings

My goal here was to give you a basic understanding of what a comprehensive SEO audit includes. Whether you perform this audit manually or get an expert to do it for you, you are aware of all the elements that you must pay attention to.

Make the checklist yourself and tick off every area that’s optimised and enjoy the benefits an SEO optimised website will bring you. Maybe you’ll come back here to thank me in the comments 🙂