The Why & the How of Performing an SEO Audit

By definition, an SEO audit is a thorough analysis of your website to check the overall health of your search engine optimization, encompassing both technical and creative elements. These optimizations improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in the search engines. Determining their performance can help you identify SEO problems and in turn, determine what is holding back the organic performance of your site.


So if you’re wondering if should you perform an SEO audit, the answer is yes. Not only should you perform an audit, you should perform a thorough one so that nothing slips through the cracks. An SEO audit can help you:

  1. Analyze and evaluate the quality of your inbound links. This can help you detect if you’re attracting poisonous links from low quality sources such as link farms.
  1. Analyze what your competitors are doing and get an inside look at their backlinks with tools like Open Site Explorer (OSE) & Mondovo.
  1. Check your content and make sure your homepage content and landing pages are optimized.
  1. Check your keyword targeting, keyword cannibalization, content formatting and headlines.
  1. Evaluate your on-page optimization including title tags, meta descriptions, URL structure and images’ file names as well as alt text.
  1. Analyze and evaluate your website’s accessibility and indexation so your content performs better in the search engine listings, including checking the robots.txt.
  1. Check your site’s architecture and internal linking.
  1. Review your website’s mobile experience.
  1. Review page load time for key pages.
  1. Avoid duplicate content by making sure there is one URL for each piece of content and the content does not show up elsewhere on the domain.

These are all small changes that can be made to parts of a website but when implemented combined with other optimizations, they can have a noticeable impact on your site’s performance up the SERPs.

How to Perform a Comprehensive SEO Audit

A comprehensive SEO audit can be broken down into 5 sections:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Indexability
  3. On-page optimization
  4. Off-page optimization
  5. And competitive analysis


Here is the deal: You may have the most beautifully crafted website with the most premium content that you paid the bucks for but if the search engines and users can’t access it, it might as well not exist. Under this section of your SEO audit, you investigate things such as:

  1. Your robots.txt file
  2. URLs that return errors
  3. Your site’s XML Sitemap
  4. Your site architecture
  5. Your site’s usage of Flash and JavaScript navigation
  6. Your website’s performance with tools such as Google Page Speed and YSlow to makes sure your site doesn’t take too long to load.


Now that you’ve determined which pages the search engines are allowed to access, you now need to analyze how many of those pages are actually being indexed. This section of your SEO audit will cover things such as:

  1. Making sure the search engines are indexing the most important pages on your site.
  1. If you don’t find a particular page, you need to double-check its accessibility.
  1. Once you are satisfied that the search engines have indexed your most important pages, next up is making sure your website is ranking well for your company name. This one is easy: Just search for your company name and if your website appears at the top of the results, you can move on. Everything is good.
  1. And finally, you need to check for any search engine penalties

On-page Ranking Factors

Next section! Some characteristics of your site’s pages influence its rankings up the SERPs. Therefore, the next step in performing a comprehensive SEO audit is investigating page level characteristics for your site’s individual pages. This will include elements such as:

  1. The structure of your URLs. Considering a URL is the entry point to a page’s content, that’s where you start your on-page analysis. Here’s a detailed post wherein you can check out the 8 best practices for naming your URLs. 
  1. URL-based duplicate content. Remember that if two distinct URLs point to a specific page, the search engines interpret this as the existence of two distinct pages with duplicate content.
  1. Content. It’s probably the most rehashed line of the digital marketing world that content is king. To analyze and evaluate the content on the individual pages of your website, there are various tools that you can use including Google’s cached copy of the page.
  1. The value of your site’s HTML.
  1. A page’s title, meta description and other <head> tags.
  1. Images. When it comes to analyzing an image, two attributes are particularly important: the image’s alt text and the image’s filename.
  1. Evaluating the links on a given page making sure your site links to other high quality sites.

Off-page Ranking Factors

The next section: Off-page ranking factors, which are generated by external sources. These include popularity, trustworthiness, authority, social engagement and your site’s backlink profile. In particular the quality of the sites linking to your site largely determines its quality, which makes analyzing your backlink profile and identifying opportunities for improvement an absolutely crucial component of a comprehensive SEO audit. Tools available for this purpose include your webmaster tools accounts, Mondovo, and Open Site Explorer among others.

Competitive Analysis

And finally, the last section if you’re performing an SEO audit is analyzing the performance of your site’s competitors. This makes it easier to identify and possibly exploit their weaknesses.

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