Search engine optimization (SEO) is a moving target, and keeping up with the latest techniques and strategies can help your website reach your organic target audience. Conducting a comprehensive website audit is an essential step in identifying areas for improvement and implementing effective strategies to boost your search engine rankings.
In this 10-step website audit checklist, Valve+Meter’s experts will show you the most important elements to include in your website audit in order to improve its SEO performance.
By following these steps, you’ll receive insights into your website’s strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to optimize it for greater visibility, traffic, and conversions.
Whether you are a business owner, marketer, or SEO professional, follow these steps to thoroughly assess and enhance your website performance.
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What is a Website Audit?
A website audit is a systematic examination of your website’s various components to evaluate its performance in terms of organic rankings, visibility in search engines, technical aspects, and user experience.
The audit process involves thoroughly analyzing your website to find out what’s working and what’s not. You should assess all elements on your website that contribute to its organic rankings and search visibility.
This includes evaluating on-page SEO factors such as keywords, meta tags, and content quality, as well as technical aspects like page speed, mobile-friendliness, and crawlability.
At the end of the audit, you should understand what areas of the website aren’t contributing to strong organic traffic. This allows you to make the necessary edits and adjustments to reach a wider audience and improve your overall SEO efforts.
The insights gained from a website audit enable you to create a comprehensive strategy to improve your website’s search engine visibility and user engagement.
Why Should You Perform a Website Audit?
Website audits are a great way to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines and performing at its best. Your website audit will also consider the user experience across your site. Issues like broken links, poor heading structure, and slow site speed are detrimental to your visitors enjoyment.
Performing regular website audits offers several benefits, including:
Identify Technical Issues
Website audits help you identify any technical errors that could be hindering your website’s performance, such as slow page load times, broken links, and verify all pages indexed by Google Search Console.
By addressing these issues, you can improve user experience and make it easier for search engines to crawl and share your pages in search results.
Outperform Your Competitors
By analyzing your competition’s SEO strategies, you can identify opportunities to gain a competitive edge. One of the key aspects in your competitor audit identifies website content gaps in your strategy.
Understanding what they are doing well and where they are lacking allows you to refine your own SEO approach and potentially outrank them in search engine results.
Analyze Overall SEO Strategy
Website audits allow you to evaluate the keywords you’re targeting, on-page optimization, and backlink profile to ensure they align with current best practices. Updating your page title and optimizing low-quality content to current preferences of Google search.
By optimizing these aspects, you can increase your website’s visibility in search engine results and attract more organic traffic. Know how many pages need to be added, improved, and verifying your site structure ensure your overall search engine optimization is strong and relevant.
SEO Website Audit Checklist
There are core steps to executing a website audit. The depth of your website audit will be determined by your goals and the tools available to you. A comprehensive website audit checklist includes a number of free and paid tools. You can perform most steps using free tools including checking indexing and website performance like page speed.
Set a Realistic Strategy
One of the most common issues that website owners face is attempting to do too much. The best strategy is to keep it as simple as possible, especially during your first website audit.
Start by establishing the specific goals and objectives of the SEO audit. Once the site audit is complete, what do you hope to gain?
- Greater organic traffic?
- Heightened conversion rates?
- Higher SERP rankings for a group of keywords or phrases?
Setting realistic goals makes it easier to ultimately reach and attain them than aiming for vague or unclear outcomes. If you audit checklist is too extensive, then you may apply all your effort to the website audit and not have time to make improvements.
Determine what you want to achieve and focus your efforts accordingly. By clearly defining your goals, you can align your SEO audit efforts with specific outcomes, enabling you to prioritize tasks and measure success effectively.
Perform Thorough Keyword Research and Analysis
If you don’t currently have one, make a list of relevant keywords and key phrases that are essential for your website’s niche. Identify where you currently rank for them in Google’s search results and how your important pages perform in Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Within your website audit use some time to evaluate your current keyword targeting strategy for targeting those keywords. A site audit tool often helps your assess each keyword’s overall competitiveness to determine if they’re realistic for your website to target. Don’t target phrases that are too competitive for your website to rank.
Instead, find keywords you’re not currently targeting. If there are any content gaps on your website that aren’t targeting keywords relevant to your industry, you’re missing out on traffic you could otherwise capture.
After analyzing your current target keywords and researching additional keywords, you can begin to make necessary adjustments to improve your organic search rankings. Adding competitive keywords to your page title and thin content will help. You should consider writing blog posts on the most relevant terms.
Analyze On-Page Elements
Evaluate the on-page SEO elements during your website audit, including title tags, meta descriptions, headings, URL structure, and content quality. Ensure these elements are optimized for search engines and aligned with your targeted keywords.
To improve on-page SEO, ensure that all pages across your site have optimized page titles and meta descriptions. Not only can these improve search rankings but also user experience, as they help the reader understand what your page will be about before clicking on the page.
Verify your website URL structure is optimized to make it easier for readers and search engine crawlers to navigate your website. URLs should be concise, use relevant keywords, and reflect the hierarchy of your website.
Important pages indexed incorrectly will hinder how much organic traffic you earn. Consider creating parent pages that act as top-level categories, and organizing related subpages under them. a series of blog pages that link to the most relevant pages for your users to help increase SEO performance.
Finally, make sure that the content on your site uses relevant headings and incorporates keywords throughout the copy. All of your content should be helpful, informative, and relevant to what the searcher is looking for.
Additionally, make sure to look for internal broken links. Your internal links should improve user navigation and make it easier for crawlers to navigate around your site. Broken links can hinder that progress and make it difficult to go from one page to another on your website.
Technical SEO Audit
Performing a technical SEO audit involves assessing the technical aspects of your website, such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, indexability, URL structure, XML sitemaps, and robots.txt files.
This phase of a website auditing can be complex for beginners. If you are not familiar with technical SEO then you may want to move onto the next steps in your website audit checklist.
Page speed helps users, especially mobile users, navigate your site. Exceptional large files and web hosting can affect page speed. A quick way to estimate overall user experience is by checking bounce rates. Your target audience will click off your site and go to a competitor’s if your website takes too long to load.
Technical SEO audit tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights analyze various metrics, including page load times, file sizes, and resource optimization, helping you identify areas for improvement.
Additionally, because the majority of internet searches are now made on mobile devices, your website must be optimized for mobile-friendliness. Doing so can decrease the bounce rate and help your readers stay on your web pages for longer periods of time.
Identify and fix any technical issues that may hinder search engine crawling and indexing. Find any non-indexed pages to ensure they can be appropriately indexed and therefore begin to rank and support your site in search engines.
Analyze Backlink Profile
External backlinks are a signal to Google that your website is trusted by other websites. This can increase your domain authority, making it easier for your site to rank for its target keywords.
However, too many spammy links can actually have the opposite effect and hurt your search engine rankings.
Analyze the quality and relevance of your inbound links. This audit helps you find potentially harmful links and opportunities for acquiring high-quality backlinks.
Compare the number of inbound links to that of your competitors. What websites are linking to them, but not to you?
With this information, you can devise a strategy to improve your inbound links.
Audit Existing Content
Essential to any website audit checklist is reviewing the existing content on your website. Information changes so you don’t want old content to become irrelevant or lack target keywords. You shouldn’t have shallow, empty content on your website just to check a box.
Instead, your content should be informative, engaging, and tailored to meet the needs of your target audience.
Additionally, identify any content gaps and opportunities to create new, engaging content. A complete and comprehensive content strategy involves creating content for all keywords relevant to your industry.
For example, you can create a blog post, article, guide, case study, infographic, video, or relevant content in any other format that aligns with your audience’s preferences and the nature of your industry.
Auditing your existing content for relevance, keyword usage and optimization, quality, and readability can help you identify areas for improvement and ensure that your site’s content aligns with your SEO goals.
Evaluate the User Experience
It’s easy to forget about improving your website’s user experience as you begin to incorporate SEO elements across your website, but ultimately, it is crucial to prioritize user experience alongside SEO efforts.
When performing a full website audit, take the time to analyze how visitors interact with your site and identify areas for improvement. Take a look at click-through-rates, bounce rates, and other metrics that reflect how your audience navigates around your site.
Start your user experience website audit by evaluating the overall navigation and structure of your website. Ensure that it is intuitive and easy for users to find the information they need. Consider implementing clear and concise menus, breadcrumbs, and a search function to enhance navigation.
Additionally, as we’ve touched on, mobile-friendliness and website speed should both be optimized in order to keep your audience on your website.
Make the necessary adjustments and record your progress to find what areas were improved, and find other areas that could use additional edits.
Perform a Competitor Analysis
Your competitors are likely incorporating many similar SEO strategies to improve their online visibility and attract more organic traffic. To stay competitive, make sure to perform a competitor analysis.
When you have competitors, you’re constantly battling each other for a proverbial piece of the pie. Performing a competitor analysis allows you to recapture some of the organic traffic they’re taking from you.
Begin by analyzing the SEO strategies and performance of your main competitors. Identify their strengths and weaknesses, take a look at their keyword targeting strategies, and monitor backlink profiles.
Find the keywords they’re using and the websites that are linking to their sites. Then, create content that targets those keywords and is relevant to the pages they’re gaining backlinks to.
This will help you increase your visibility for those keywords and attract backlinks from similar authoritative sources.
Competitor analyses can help you refine your own SEO strategy and gain a competitive advantage over those within your industry.
Analyze Local SEO Efforts
If your company offers services in a specific area, analyzing your local SEO strategies is crucial in capturing relevant local traffic.
Google Analytics is a great SEO tool that can help you narrow traffic down to a specific location, helping you see how much local organic traffic you’re capturing.
To improve your local SEO efforts, be sure to optimize your Google My Business listing, add your website to local citations, and respond to reviews. Ensure consistent NAP (Name, Address, Phone) information across directories.
By analyzing and optimizing your local SEO strategies, you can increase your visibility in local search results, attract more relevant traffic, and ultimately drive more customers to your business.
Record and Report Findings
Once you have completed the SEO website audit, record and report your findings. Compile all the findings and recommendations from the audit into a comprehensive report.
Prioritize the identified issues and outline a plan of action to address them. Provide clear and actionable recommendations for improving your website’s SEO performance.
After you’ve acted on your recommendations, be sure to give your website some time to reflect your edits. You won’t see progress overnight, so don’t be concerned if you don’t see immediate progress.
Instead, check back in about a month. You should begin to see progress from your website audit around that time.
Continue to monitor your progress over time. This will allow you to make informed decisions and additional adjustments as needed.
The Best SEO Website Audit Tools
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool provided by Google. It allows website owners to monitor their website’s performance in Google search results.
With Search Console, you can track the indexing status of individual pages on your website, identify crawl errors, view website impressions and clicks, and submit sitemaps.
It provides valuable insights into how your website is performing in organic search and allows you to find areas where you can improve.
Google Analytics is a web analytics tool widely used by SEO professionals and newcomers alike. The tool provides users with valuable data on website traffic and user behavior. Google Analytics provides helpful insights for evaluating the effectiveness of your SEO efforts.
With Google Analytics, you can track organic search traffic, measure conversion rates, analyze user engagement, and identify your site’s top-performing pages.
This data helps you understand how users interact with your website and make data-driven decisions to optimize your SEO strategy, including finding content gaps and existing pages that need to be optimized.
Semrush is a comprehensive SEO audit tool that provides users with a wide range of features for website analysis and optimization.
It provides an in-depth look at keyword rankings, backlink analysis, competitor research, and site audit reports. The platform helps you identify technical SEO issues, conduct in-depth keyword research, track your website’s performance, and monitor backlinks.
Its comprehensive suite of tools makes it a popular choice for conducting detailed SEO audits.
Moz offers a suite of SEO tools that can be used to conduct a thorough website audit. The platform’s capabilities include site crawling and technical SEO analysis, keyword research, backlink analysis, and rank tracking.
With Moz, you can provide a list of relevant keywords you’d like the site to track. It will show weekly progress for each keyword, as well as show you where your website is currently ranking for each keyword.
Moz provides valuable insights into on-page optimization, site structure, and content quality. It also offers a domain authority metric that helps you understand the authority and credibility of your website in relation to others.
Among the most comprehensive SEO audit platforms, Ahres provides a variety of features for website analysis and optimization.
It offers detailed backlink analysis, keyword research, competitor analysis, and rank tracking capabilities.
Ahrefs’ Site Audit feature can help you find technical issues, monitor website health, and improve your site’s crawlability. Its extensive database of backlinks and keywords can help you monitor your website’s link profile and find areas to improve your organic search visibility.
Screaming Frog is a website crawling tool that helps identify technical SEO issues. It crawls every page on your website to provide an overview of issues like broken links, duplicate content, missing meta tags, and redirect chains.
Screaming Frog allows you to analyze website structure, uncover crawlability issues, and generate XML sitemaps.
The platform’s high-quality reports provide actionable recommendations for optimizing your website’s technical SEO.
Surfer SEO is an excellent tool to help you improve your on-page optimization efforts. This site audit tool analyzes the top-ranking pages for any keyword or phrase you request and provides recommendations to improve your content.
It offers insights into keyword usage, content length, headings, images, and other on-page elements. This helps you align your website content with the top pages for any search query and optimize it for better visibility.
Its data-driven approach to on-page optimization makes it a valuable tool for conducting SEO audits and improving your content strategy.
Contact Valve+Meter Performance Marketing for an SEO Website Audit
At Valve+Meter Performance Marketing, we understand that adhering to a website audit checklist is a time-consuming process, not to mention the time it takes to implement any necessary changes. That’s why we offer comprehensive SEO services.
Our knowledgeable and experienced team of SEO professionals can help you navigate the complexities of conducting an SEO audit and implement the recommended changes.
Get in touch with Valve+Meter Performance Marketing today to request a free analysis and learn more about how we can help you achieve repeatable, scalable, and profitable results.