How to Do an SEO Page Audit and Skyrocket Your Rankings

Written by Matthew Ludden / September 18, 2022 / 3 Minute Read
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SEO audits are essential for understanding your website’s health. They identify issues, suggest improvements, and pave the way for better rankings. By following a systematic approach, you can uncover hidden opportunities and make informed decisions. Learn the importance of SEO audits and the steps to conduct one effectively.

SEO Audit

Whether you’re a new website owner or an SEO specialist, conducting regular SEO page audits is crucial. The task allows you to pinpoint why you’re not ranking high enough, how to improve your SEO performance and technical or on-page issues.

An SEO page audit doesn’t follow a strict step-by-step process. Instead, you’ll use a checklist to check all the necessary audit components and fixes. These include your page speed, content quality, mobile-friendliness, and traffic management.

Besides these aspects, you’ll also want to check for technical errors. Stick around as we walk you through how to do an SEO page audit.

A person using a laptop on a blue background to conduct an SEO page audit.

What Is an SEO Page Audit?

An SEO page audit evaluates how well-performing your website’s search engine presence is. It identifies any potential roadblocks keeping your web pages from ranking high.

An SEO site audit analyzes your site’s performance, weaknesses, and opportunities to generate a higher rank.

The SEO page auditing process can take around two to six weeks. Your SEO Specialist should keep you updated on any opportunities, strengths, or improvement points your cross-functional team can work on.

Once the specialist conducts their analysis, they’ll present their findings to your team. They usually provide a comprehensive roadmap to follow prescribed to your site.

The presentation should also communicate indicators of your site’s overall health, like your search engine results rank or the number of site visitors. Alternatively, you can use SEO audit tools to streamline the process.

What Does an SEO Page Audit Analyze?

When you perform an SEO audit, there are several factors you need to oversee. In terms of on-page SEO auditing, they include:

  • Site Architecture
  • Keyword Research
  • User Experience
  • Internal Linking
  • HTML Sitemap
  • Meta Data Analysis: Meta Descriptions, Titles, and Headers

Meanwhile, if you’re performing a technical SEO audit, you’ll be searching for the technical parts of your web page, including:

  • Canonical Tags
  • Duplicate Content
  • Crawlability
  • Indexation Analysis
  • Legacy Domain Complications
  • Mobile SEO Analysis

SEO Audit Checklist

A successful SEO page audit involves a comprehensive analysis targeting as many SEO points as possible. From improving site architecture to running a site crawl, each aspect is crucial to refining your search traffic, site speed, and other indicators.

Besides that, you can organize your SEO audit into steps:

  1. Place your website URL through an SEO audit tool
  2. Spot SEO and technical errors or discrepancies
  3. Optimize the content and web design to create a refined user experience
  4. Formulate an audit report by gathering all the issues and improvements needed

That said, your audit report should comprise the following components below.

Content and On-Page

Start with analysis, research, and optimization of content throughout your website.

Assess Your Organic Traffic

You can gauge your organic traffic through Google Analytics. Navigate to Acquisitions, All Traffic, and Channels. Click on “Organic Search.” The analytics tool will show your site’s organic traffic or the number of site visitors for the past month.

Change the filter duration to six to eight months, and you’ll get an accurate reading of whether you’re on track. If you notice a gradual increase, that’s good news for your SEO optimization.

Don’t worry if you see a decline or flat graph. Your traffic should automatically improve after your SEO audit.

Update Content

Replenishing your web content is essential to maintain your rank. Your blog posts may be out of date. Competitors likely have developed more optimized and rich content, and you need to catch up. In turn, SEO optimization is a constant process.

The first pages you’ll want to work on are the ones that garner the most organic traffic to your site. You can update other pages later on.

Nonetheless, don’t neglect them. Some are opportunity pages that have a high-rank potential. A bit more SEO work on them can push them to the top along with your site’s SEO.

You can identify declining content by navigating your site’s search results report. Add a date filter and set it to compare mode.

It’ll show you the number of clicks your page received in the past six months and the six months before. Compare the numbers and make the necessary adjustments to your blog posts.

Content Gap

A sub-point in this checklist is the content gap. It refers to the content competitors have that you don’t. For example, you might be writing an article about caring for dogs.

While you’ve delved into multiple subtopics, some competitors will likely outrank you. They may have long-tailed keywords regarding the costs of caring for dogs or how to train your dog while you don’t.

Subsequently, keep your content knowledgeable and rich with information. You can target your content gap by visiting Site Explorer.

Paste your site’s URL there and check the Content Gap report. Then, paste competitor URLs with higher SEO performance. Click on “Show Keywords.”

It’ll show you a list of keywords that they’ve ranked for. What might be challenging about this is that you could have the same information on your website. It doesn’t rank as high because you didn’t include the right target keywords.

Avoid Thin Content

Thin content comprises posts with little value, quality, or structure. They can come in the form of short 300-word posts. Users visiting the site come out without gaining the deep search insight they intended for.

Subsequently, your site should have multiple value-added posts ranging between 800 to 2,000 words, depending on the topic and priority.

Additionally, the more content you build on your website, the more opportunities you’ll gain for internal links and traffic.

If you want to create quality content, put yourselves in the user’s shoes. Did the content presented answer all the questions? Was it relevant to the search intent? Does it offer reliable sources and information? Are the next steps emphasized?

In the latter question’s case, you can implement call-to-actions to lead your customer or user to another page on your web page.

Upgrade Your On-Page SEO

Improving your on-page SEO tackles several aspects. You don’t have to focus on all your pages in this step. Instead, the pages that matter are the ones

  • With your site’s target keywords: Add a target keyword in your page titles or the first 100 words of a blog post.
  • Have rank potential: Details like brackets or parenthesis can push your mid-ranking post to newer potential.
  • Used to rank well but declined steadily: Search engine rankings continuously evolve. You either update your work by adding internal and external links and using other techniques or get left behind.

Updating Page

You can implement boosting updates with high-rank potential sites or ones that declined gradually. The first thing you can do is incorporate new information and update old data.

For instance, you wrote a post about U.S. mortgage rates. Typically, these rates change daily. You can update your key findings every other day or weekly.

Aside from information, keyword trends also change. Conduct a traffic review of relevant keywords and add high-ranking ones to your text.

Another step you can take is eliminating low-ranking pages. Although your website will benefit from more content, removing unpopular posts can increase your overall ranking. If you can’t remove them, move them to the non-indexed pile.

Ensure Lack of Duplication

If search engine crawlers must differentiate between duplicate content, it’ll likely reflect negatively on the search engine results pages (SERP). They’re unaware of which version to add or exclude from their indices.

The issue can originate from URL variations. Session IDs can also be a cause for concern. It happens when every user entering the site gets a new ID stored in the URL.

Another culprit of duplicated content comes from printer-friendly formats. The printing URL counts as a duplicate version of the original site.

You should also note the HTTP vs. HTTPS and www vs. non-www dilemma. For instance, if you’ve created and run domains with both HTTP and HTTPS, search engines will flag one of them as a duplicate.

Check for On-Page Errors

Ensure that every indexed page on your site contains a:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • H1 tag

These elements are essential for Google and other search engines to acknowledge your page.

Your title tag is one of the most critical components since it’s the first thing Google analyzes to decide where you rank.

When it comes to your meta description, it all comes down to writing a winning call-to-action, a target keyword, and snippets of valuable information.

If your page is missing an H1 tag, that’s likely a technical coding error. Subsequently, you can use an auditing tool like Site Audit to fix the issue.

Technical and Off-Page

Next review all of the technical and off-page SEO improvements to benefit your site.

Identify Technical Issues

Rectifying technical SEO issues makes a vast difference in your search engine ranking. These problems can relate to your performance, security, or spam. Your technical SEO specialist’s role is to eliminate them through a web crawl.

Several auditing tools work by mimicking Search engine crawlers. It allows you to predict your site’s performance and recognize technical errors such as:

  • 5xx code issues originating from the server
  • Looped redirects
  • No page title tag
  • Broken links
  • Low-speed issues
  • HTTPS pages linked to HTTP ones

Fortunately, some tools detail the problems and offer how-to solutions. Besides that, we suggest running a crawl regularly to ensure optimum optimization opportunities.

Optimizing your Crawl

You can control how search engines crawl your website using robots.txt.file. Search engine crawlers check for this file before doing their job. The file will include directives on where crawlers should or shouldn’t go.

Another exceptional crawling tool you can use is XML sitemaps. They work similarly to robots.txt.file by pointing to which pages you want to be indexed or crawled.

Check Your Core Web Vitals

The Core Web Vitals are Google’s three metrics that measure your SEO efforts regarding user experience and page speed. They include:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Your page’s LCP measures the duration it takes to load the heaviest content on your web page. It can be the largest image or block of text.

You can measure your LCP score through Field Tools and Lab Tools. The prior distinguishes your page’s measurements.

Meanwhile, the latter offers a simulated search engine crawl. It uses algorithms to detect an average user’s internet speed when using mobile devices.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

At some point, you’ve likely visited a website and were in the middle of reading something, but suddenly the page shifted. A banner may have appeared, or the page may have moved back up.

These unexplained movements tally up in your CLS score. It measures the frequency of them. Solving the issue can involve setting your images’ width and height to make room for them rather than appearing abruptly and shifting your text.

Overall, optimizing your CLS falls into the hands of your front-end developer. They need to adjust the site’s measurements to gain a better rank.

First Input Delay (FID)

As its name suggests, FID estimates the delay between a user’s first action and the site’s response. It’s measured in milliseconds.

Think of this Core Web Vital as the user’s first impression of your website. The more responsive, the more likely they’ll stay and increase site visitor retention.

Ensure Indexing is Accurate

Non-indexed pages are invisible to search engines. They won’t reflect in your SEO performance rate. Subsequently, confirm that all your pages are indexed during your SEO audit through the Google Search Console.

In the “Pages” section, there’s a graph highlighting the indexed and non-indexed pages. The good news is that the page explains why your page isn’t indexed.

Nonetheless, some pages don’t have to be indexed, such as feed pages or ones with redirects. If there’s a web page that you need to index, follow Google’s instructions and “Validate Fix.”

Optimize for Mobile-Friendliness

Mobile devices accumulate over 58.3% of global web traffic. The hard-hitting statistic highlights the necessity of optimizing your site to be mobile-friendly.

In response, Google introduced a mobile-first indexing pattern. Consequently, the search engine will use your page’s mobile version for indexing and ranking.

Lucky for SEO specialists, Google has a tool to check for mobile user experience called “Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool.” Paste your site link and enter. It’ll tell you if your site is mobile-friendly.

Alternatively, you can use Google Search Console’s Mobile Usability Feature to detect any URL errors that’ll inhibit your mobile-friendliness.

Enhance Site Architecture

A well-structured site architecture will more likely appeal to search engines. The construction helps the latter by searching for and indexing your site’s pages.

It also informs Google which pages on your site are more critical than others. The search engine will likely prioritize pages closer to your home page.

An auditing session may advise you to restructure your site’s internal linking to optimize user-friendliness. In this case, you can collaborate with UX and web developers to balance your site architecture’s page authority and user experience.

As a rule of thumb, a page within your site shouldn’t take more than three clicks to access. For this reason, keep your site architecture flat rather than deep.

Speed Up Your Site

Search engines prioritize a speedy site. You can run a Page Speed Analytics to gauge your site’s speed and find methods to increase it.

A website takes around 15 seconds to load on a mobile phone. Nevertheless, a top-ranking site on Google opens after 1.65 seconds. In turn, users value speed.

Boost your speed by clearing up large image files or CSS and HTML. You can compress images and find a more reliable host. Another wise solution is lazy loading. It renders your initial page before loading all your other slow-loading website content.

Resolve Manual Actions

Manual actions are given by Google when a user reports your site for violating the search engine’s webmaster quality guidelines. In most cases, they’re given to those manipulating Google’s search indexes.

Depending on the issue’s scope, you may receive this notice for a single page or your whole site. It can come from various actions, such as keyword stuffing, unnatural links, and thin content.

Manual actions appear in Google Search Console. Click on “Security & Manual Actions” then “Manual Actions.” If you see a green tick, you can breathe again.

On the other hand, if you face a manual action, you can either issue a reconsideration request or fix the problem.

Keep Track of Your Rank

After going through all the checklist’s components, your next step is to monitor your progress.

See how your changes reflect over the coming weeks and whether they were for the better or worse. Analyzing these changes will help you curate your next SEO auditing sessions.

Final Thoughts

Going through an SEO audit will enhance your site’s presence, quality, and content. Although every checklist point will make you one step closer to a higher rank, that’s not always the case.

Google and other search engines don’t work based on a set of rules. They operate through non-directed algorithms that change constantly. Optimizing your content regularly will keep you updated and ahead of your competitors.

SEO auditing will give your site a full optimization cleanse, from updating your content pages and optimizing your mobile-friendliness to incorporating target keywords and fixing technical errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

An SEO Page Audit is a detailed analysis of a single webpage on your website. It assesses how well the page is optimized for search engines, identifying any areas of improvement and providing actionable recommendations to enhance its visibility in search engine results.

Key Points:

  • An SEO Page Audit is a detailed analysis of a single webpage.
  • It assesses how well the page is optimized for search engines.
  • The audit identifies areas of improvement and provides actionable recommendations.

Performing an SEO Page Audit is crucial in identifying any issues impacting your page’s search engine visibility. It can uncover problems such as poor keyword usage, broken links, and slow load times. By resolving these issues, you can improve the page’s ranking in search engine results and increase organic traffic.

Key Points:

  • An SEO Page Audit identifies issues impacting your page’s search engine visibility.
  • It can uncover problems like poor keyword usage, broken links, and slow load times.
  • You can improve the page’s ranking and increase organic traffic by resolving these issues.

Anyone with a solid understanding of SEO principles can perform an SEO Page Audit, but SEO professionals or digital marketers usually do it. These individuals have the expertise and tools to conduct a thorough and effective audit.

Key Points:

  • Anyone with a good understanding of SEO can perform an SEO Page Audit.
  • Typically, SEO professionals or digital marketers conduct these audits.
  • They have the expertise and tools to conduct a thorough and effective audit.

It’s generally a good idea to conduct an SEO Page Audit when you notice a drop in traffic or rankings, after significant website updates, or when planning a major website overhaul. However, as SEO is an ongoing process, regular audits, at least once a year, can help ensure your pages are always optimized.

Key Points:

  • Conduct an SEO Page Audit when you notice a drop in traffic or rankings or after significant site updates.
  • Regular audits, at least annually, can ensure your pages remain optimized.
  • SEO is an ongoing process, and regular audits help maintain optimization.

There are several tools available to assist in performing an SEO Page Audit. Some popular ones include Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Moz, SEMRush, and Screaming Frog. These tools can help analyze various aspects of a webpage, including its traffic, backlinks, keywords, and technical SEO factors.

Key Points:

  • Tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Moz, SEMRush, and Screaming Frog can be used for an SEO Page Audit.
  • These tools can help analyze various aspects of a webpage, including traffic, backlinks, keywords, and technical SEO factors.

While specialized tools can make an SEO Page Audit easier and more detailed, it is possible to perform a basic audit without them. You can manually check title tags, meta descriptions, headers, URL structure, and keyword usage. However, specialized tools would be more efficient for more technical aspects like page load speed or detecting broken links.

Key Points:

  • An SEO Page Audit can be done manually, but it might not be as detailed or efficient.
  • Manual checks can include title tags, meta descriptions, headers, URL structure, and keyword usage.
  • For more technical aspects like page load speed or detecting broken links, specialized tools are recommended.

Common problems identified during an SEO Page Audit include poor or missing title tags and meta descriptions, broken links or images, slow page load times, ineffective keyword usage, poor content quality, and lack of mobile optimization. All of these factors can negatively impact a page’s search engine ranking.

Key Points:

  • Common issues identified during an SEO Page Audit include poor or missing title tags and meta descriptions, broken links, slow load times, and ineffective keyword usage.
  • Poor content quality and lack of mobile optimization can also be identified.
  • These factors can negatively impact a page’s search engine ranking.

The findings of an SEO Page Audit can significantly improve a page’s performance by highlighting areas of weakness that can be optimized. Implementing the recommendations made during the audit – such as fixing broken links, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, improving load speed, and enhancing content quality – can lead to better search engine rankings and increased traffic.

Key Points:

  • An SEO Page Audit identifies weaknesses that can be optimized to improve page performance.
  • Implementing audit recommendations can lead to better search engine rankings and increased traffic.
  • Recommendations may include fixing broken links, optimizing title tags and meta descriptions, improving load speed, and enhancing content quality.

The time it takes to see improvements after implementing changes based on an SEO Page Audit can vary. It often depends on the nature of the changes and how search engines crawl and index them. However, noticeable rankings and traffic improvements can generally be seen within a few weeks to a few months.

Key Points:

  • The time to see improvements depends on the nature of the changes and how search engines crawl and index these changes.
  • Generally, noticeable improvements can be seen within a few weeks to a few months.
  • SEO is a long-term strategy; patience is often required to achieve significant results.