A complete SEO audit refers to a thorough analysis of a website’s search engine visibility and performance. It aims to identify areas that need improvement and optimization. If you’re stuck with auditing your site (or your client’s), we have a free step-by-step SEO checklist for you.
The audit entails reviewing and scrutinizing different aspects of a website, including technical structure, quality of content, backlinks, mobile usability, and user experience. Precisely, it analyses whether a website follows on-page, off-page, and technical SEO best practices.
This article addresses all factors you should consider while conducting an SEO audit. It also shows you some free tools that make your work easier, like Google’s Search Console and Analytics, and why auditing your website helps you accomplish your business goals.
Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links, we may earn a commission, but the price on your end remains the same.
Powerful Free & Paid Website SEO Tools
There are a variety of resourceful free and paid tools available that can help you with different aspects of your website SEO analysis. The most popular ones include:
- Search Console: A free SEO tool that tracks your website performance on the Google search engine, helps you submit your sitemap, and identify claw-lability errors. The tool allows you to check the number of indexed pages, the mobile-friendliness of your site, and CTR.
- Bing Webmaster: This free tool helps audit your website and optimize it for visibility on Bing and Yahoo search engines. Unlike Search Console, it has a keyword research tool.
- Google Analytics: It is also a free tool by Google that helps you track your website traffic. That way, you can understand what terms and pages drive more impressions and traffic. It helps you monitor the location, behaviors, and how users are interacting with your site.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This free tool helps you analyze how fast your website loads. According to Google Speed Update, site speed is a significant ranking factor. This tool helps you identify opportunities to boost your website loading speed, like minimizing image size.
- Mobile-Friendly Test: This free Google tool helps monitor the mobile-friendliness of your website, and suggests areas that need optimization. Over 83% of people in the US are mobile internet users, and therefore, making your site mobile friendly is very important.
- Semrush: It is a paid SEO tool that helps you track your website’s performance. It also has a free complete SEO audit, checklist, and best practices to help optimize your website for search. More so, the tool helps you conduct keyword research and competitor analysis.
- Other tools include Ahref, Ubersuggest, and Moz, which track your backlinks, top keywords, and pages, and analyze your competitor’s websites to find less competitive content ideas.
Free On-Page SEO Checklist
Commonly known as on-page optimization, on-page SEO are measures you can take directly within your website to improve its position and performance on search rankings. Here’s the complete free on-page website SEO optimization checklist that will boost your search traffic:
- Conduct keyword research using tools like Semrush and identify keywords for your website. You better choose long trial terms – they’re less competitive and have high conversions.
- Use the target keyword in your SEO title and header tags, preferably at the beginning.
- Optimize your website’s meta description and header tags for the target keyword.
- Write high-quality, informative, and regularly updated keyword-rich content.
- Organize your content using header tags (H1, H2, H3,…) in a hierarchical manner.
- Ensure your website URLs are short and contain the target keyword.
- Compress your images, and include the keyword in the alt text and file name.
- Use internal linking to help search engines understand your site’s structure.
- Ensure your site loads fast and is mobile-friendly to make it user-friendly.
- Using schema markup helps search engines understand your website content.
- Optimize your content for featured snippets by answering FAQs.
- Use external (outbound) links to increase the credibility of your content.
- Add visuals to your content to enhance user experience.
- Use Canonical tags to prevent duplicate content issues.
- Keep monitoring your website performance and make necessary adjustments.
Use this checklist as a generic guide, and the list is not exhaustible. Search engines keep updating their algorithms, and it is important to stay updated on the latest SEO best practices.
Complete Off-Page SEO Checklist
Unlike on-page SEO, off-page SEO refers to practices you do outside your website to help improve your SERP visibility and performance. It mainly includes link building, a practice of having other websites link back to your web pages. Here is a complete off-page SEO checklist:
- Build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites to your site.
- Promote your posts on social media platforms for no-follow backlinks.
- Identify and participate in online communities and forums in your industry to build relationships and generate backlinks for your website.
- Write informative and keyword-reach blogs to increase exposure and backlinks.
- Create infographics, videos, and other multimedia content that can be shared.
- Claim your business on online directories like Google My Business and Yelp.
- Use local SEO techniques to increase your site’s visibility in local search results.
- Create local citations (NAP – name, address, phone).
- Use guest posting to increase backlinks for your website.
- Work on getting brand mentions to increase visibility and traffic.
Please note that link building is an ongoing process, and where possible, it is necessary to be selective about the backlinks you acquire for your website. Avoid buying backlinks, because such a practice is against Google’s policy and can harm your site’s search engine visibility.
Instead, using different techniques, like publishing quality and data-based content, or creating an online tool, to attract high-quality backlinks. Note that SEO keeps evolving, and you better be updated on the latest recommendations and best practices and adjust your strategies.
Complete Technical SEO Checklist
As the name suggests, technical SEO entails optimiZing websites and servers to help search engine bots crawl and index your site more effectively. It’s all about improving the technical aspects of a site to increase rankings on search engines. Here’s a free technical SEO checklist.
- Ensure your site is well structured and use schema markup for search engines to understand your content.
- Use a sitemap to help search engines discover and index all your website pages.
- Robots.txt files prevent search engines from crawling pages that you don’t want them to index.
- Submit & verify your site in Search Console and Bing Webmaster to get crawl error alerts.
- Monitor and optimize the mobile-friendliness and loading speed of your website.
- Use a content delivery network to improve your site’s loading speed for users in different locations.
- Use structured data to help search engines understand the content of your website.
- Monitor crawl errors and broken links, and fix them as soon as possible.
- Redirect traffic from old pages to new ones using 301 redirects.
- Encrypt communication between your website and users using a secure connection (HTTPS), and improve your website’s security.
These recommendations are not exhaustible and keep changing over time. Thus, keep monitoring and testing to enhance your website performance and adhere to the best practices.
5 Reasons Why Website Audit is Important
Conducting an in-depth SEO analysis for your website (or that of your competitors or clients) is very important for several reasons. Here’re the 6 main ones:
- Identify technical issues: An SEO audit he’s you identify an solve technical errors like spoor loading speed and broken links. Such issues can prevent search engines from crawling and indexing your pages, harming your appearance and performance on search results.
- Content Optimization: The audit helps identify opportunities to optimize your content for search engines, and improve your organic rankings and traffic. More so, it increases the user experience on your site, especially if you focus on creating high-quality content.
- High User Experience: You can identify opportunities to improve user experience on your website, and increase session durations and conversions. For instance, you can increase the page loading speed, and make your site more mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Audit Backlinks: A comprehensive SEO audit also helps you detect unwanted backlinks. As a result, you can request search engines to ignore them, and avoid hurting your search engine visibility. It is important to ensure your website gets backlinks from high-quality sites.
- Competitor Analysis: It helps you understand the competitiveness of your rivals, and identify content ideas to drive more traffic to your website. Learn what your competitors are doing, find opportunities for improvements, and make changes to gain an advantage.
Conclusion: So What?
This article insists on the need to conduct a comprehensive SEO audit for your website, to increase search engine visibility and performance. In addition to showing you some tools you can use to audit your website, it presents a free on-page, off-page, and technical SEO checklist.
The most popular SEO tools include Google’s Search Console and Analytics, Bing Webmaster, Mobile Friendly, and Page Speed Test, Semrush, Ahref, Moz, and Ubersuggest. These free and paid tools help identify and solve issues that could harm your search engine performance.
Some of the on-page optimization practices include finding long-tail low competitive target keywords for your content. And then use it in the SEO title and heading tags, meta description, within the body of the text, and in the alt text and file names of your images.
Off-page SEO entails building backlink for your site, while technical SEO make sure your site loads fast enough, is user and mobile-friendly and is easy to navigate. Remember to keep updating your old content, and site to improve your site rankings and credibility.