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How to perform SEO audit [Guide, Checklist]

Discussion in 'Search Engine Optimization' started by sigen, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. #1
    Hey guys!

    I've been doing SEO audits for a while and decided to share some of my knowledge with you.
    Basically using this checklist you can easily offer $50 SEO audits on fiverr, upwork etc.

    Why do you need to conduct an SEO audit?
    • It allows finding and sorting issues according to their severity (identify easy to solve ones)
    • Planning your further working process
    • Find opportunities to increase your main KPIs
    • or just earn some cash providing your service

    General SEO audit includes:
    • Backlinks quantity and quality analysis (referring domains, referring pages, anchors)
    • The whole number of pages and number of indexed pages (in different search engines)
    • Keyword analysis (number of keywords, lost keywords, competitors’ keywords)
    • Meta tags analysis (Description, Title)
    • Connection to Google Analytics
    • Indexing instructions (robots.txt, Meta Robots, X-Robots-Tag)
    • Traffic source analysis (organic, referral, direct, local etc.)
    • Content analysis (top-performing content, content length, duplicate content etc.)
    • Source code validation (according to W3C standards)
    • Security check (https, SSL certificate)
    • Site speed analysis (server response time, content download time)
    • Website structure analysis (internal linking, usability)
    • URL structure (SEO- and user-friendly URLs)
    • Mobile friendliness (responsive design, mobile speed)
    • Redirects (redirect chains, needless redirects)
    • Structured data (Schema, Open-Graph)
    There are many more in-depth factors, but these are the main ones.

    If you are not an SEO guru, it may seem like a long and wild journey. It’s true, SEO audit might be quite difficult to complete if you don’t have right tools and knowledge. Fortunately, there are several SEO tools that will help you to audit your website much easier and faster.

    I use only a couple of paid tools and several free ones: Netpeak Spider (SEO crawler), Serpstat (for keywords and backlinks), free tools from Google, Copyscape (for content check) etc.

    First of all, you need to crawl your website with Netpeak Spider.

    Crawling settings are fully customizable, but for an SEO audit, you can use a default template.

    The tool finds more than 60 key-issues of internal optimization, checking 50+ SEO parameters.

    You can select only those parameters you want to check. Once again, for SEO audit you may choose a default template.

    Enter your domain in the address bar and start crawling. When it’s complete, it’s time to examine the results.

    You will see a list of issues categorized by their severity (errors, warnings, and notices) and pages that contain those issues.

    Let’s analyze the most important ones.

    [​IMG]

    Status code analysis

    Check what status codes pages on your website return.

    Status codes can show you lots of useful insights like what pages are redirected, canonicalized, or return 404 status code. It’s easy to find issues to work on by simply checking status codes.

    Check indexing instructions

    Have a look at indexing instructions set with robots.txt, Meta Robots, and X-Robots-Tag. Make sure general pages on your website are allowed for indexing and all admin/service pages are disallowed.

    Check page depth

    As you may know, both search engines and users don’t like deep pages. Make sure it takes less than 5 clicks to reach the deepest page on your site.

    Broken links

    Check the website for broken links and pages returning 404 status code. They are hampering crawling of your site and harm user experience. Spider shows all broken links within and 404 pages.

    Duplicate content

    Check your site for duplicate content. There are several types of duplicates: duplicate pages, duplicate meta tags, duplicate text. Netpeak Spider will show all pages containing any duplicate content.

    Also, always use Copyscape to check the content for plagiarism.

    Redirect issues

    You can’t really call redirects an issue, but they may harm your optimization if used incorrectly. The tool checks your site for redirect chains, broken redirects, blocked redirects, and max number of redirects (you can set it yourself).

    Essential meta tags

    Check whether all pages on your site have meta Description and Title tag tags because correctly optimized meta tags play a major role in your optimization. Make sure they match limits search engines have.

    Spider shows pages with duplicate meta tags and pages that don't have meta tags at all.

    Image optimization

    Check whether all images have ALT attributes and appropriate size.

    Spider finds all images without ALT attributes and those images that need to be compressed.

    Check connection with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

    To check each GA and GTM codes on all your pages, start Netpeak Spider, go to the ‘Settings’ and select the ‘Scraping’ tab. Then tick ‘Use HTML scraping’ and add these values alternately:

    (GTM-\w+) – to track the availability of GTM code.

    (US-\w+) – to track the availability of GA code.

    [​IMG]

    Internal linking

    This tool has a unique feature called Internal PageRank calculation. It allows checking how link weight is distributed across your website via internal links. Check which pages have the biggest number of incoming links and which lack them. Find orphan and dead-end pages.

    Validate your Sitemap

    Check your Sitemap.xml file for issues. Spider has built-in Sitemap Validator which detects all issues according to the official Standart Sitemap Protocol documentation. By the way, you can also generate a sitemap if you don’t have one.

    Analyze website structure and URL structure

    Have a look at the internal structure. Make sure it’s logical and easy to understand. The URL structure is also important. Check if your site has SEO-friendly URLs.

    Website speed
    SEMrush
    Check server response time, content download speed and various issues slowing down your site.
    Spider shows Server response time and content download time for each page.

    You may also use Google PageSpeed Insight and GTmetrix for detailed analysis.

    [​IMG]

    Traffic analysis
    Check what are the main traffic sources, geo, traffic from social media, your main audience. Google Analytics has the most in-depth data you can get. In case you don't have access to GA, you can use Similar Web.

    Mobile friendliness


    Being mobile friendly is an absolute must in 2019. That’s why check whether your site complies with the standards.

    Use Mobile-Friendly Test from Google.

    Keyword analysis

    I use Serpstat to check keywords and backlinks (you may use Ahrefs, SEMrush or any other tools).

    Check what organic keywords you are ranking for
    Sometimes you may realize pages on your site rank for pretty strange keywords like 'best porn site', or 'where to buy a dildo'.

    Check what keywords your competitors are ranking for and you don't

    Finding missing keywords allows to expand your coverage and drive more traffic from keywords your competitors use.

    [​IMG]


    Check top performing pages
    These are pages that have the highest visibility. Check why they perform well (find a couple of key-points).

    Then find pages that rank on 10-15 positions. These are easy targets, they need a small push to enter the first page.

    Backlink analysis

    Backlink analysis is an important part of the SEO audit. Check main factors such as a number of referring domains/number of referring pages ratio, follow/nofollow ratio, types of links.
    [​IMG]

    Link acquisition velocity

    Check how fast backlinks were built. A perfect backlink velocity graph should show steady growth. If there are spikes you have to dig deeper and check when and how those links were built.

    Link anchors

    Examine anchors of your backlinks. Remember that natural backlink profile mostly consists of naked, generic, and branded anchors, if the website has a huge number of exact match anchors it looks pretty unnatural and search engines know it.

    That's it. Make a custom report in a spreadsheet and use it everytime you need to audit a site.

    Feel free to add other things you check as I feel like I probably missed something.
     
    sigen, Jan 23, 2019 IP
    kjh-08 and ATMD like this.
    SEMrush
  2. ATMD

    ATMD Member

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    #2
    Thank you for writing this, this is a valuable resource!
     
    ATMD, Jan 27, 2019 IP
  3. sigen

    sigen Greenhorn

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    #3
    You are welcome! Haven't seen any useful info here in a while...
     
    sigen, Jan 28, 2019 IP
  4. ATMD

    ATMD Member

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    #4
    LOL

    Well, it's always best to be the change you wish to see in this forum :)
     
    ATMD, Jan 28, 2019 IP
  5. MindyS

    MindyS Peon

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    #5
    I would like to share the main parameters that you should pay attention to and which will help you set up site monitoring correctly.

    • Checking the availability of the resource will help to identify hidden site errors and hosting problems.

    • Constant monitoring will allow timely detection of virus infection of a resource, and this is important for your safety and your users. In addition, search engines, in particular Google, with long-term infection can lower the sites in the issue and do not guarantee the restoration of positions even after the removal of the warning about the danger of malicious code. However, short-term infection does not affect its ranking, so you should always be alert.

    If the site did not work at some point, and the search engine robot “crawler” came to it, then its content will not contain new content. If you ran into problem like this, you can analyze your site with help of service
    And if the fall occurs at the time of the update, then there is a possibility of deterioration of the site ranking.

    In addition, it is useful to check not only their sites, but also the resources of their competitors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
    MindyS, Jan 30, 2019 IP
  6. Usama Azam

    Usama Azam Greenhorn

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    #6
    Can we use SEMRUSH or AHREFS to do an audit?
     
    Usama Azam, Jan 31, 2019 IP
  7. sigen

    sigen Greenhorn

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    #7
    These are great tools for keyword and backlink research, but not as good at website audits as SEO crawlers. There's no all-in-one solution.
     
    sigen, Jan 31, 2019 IP
  8. MindyS

    MindyS Peon

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    #8
    Actually you can use these tools, these one are the most popular but when I needed to search seo website analyzer https://sitechecker.pro/website-crawler/ and audit my website, I noticed that it can report different parameters.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2019
    MindyS, Feb 1, 2019 IP
  9. sigen

    sigen Greenhorn

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    #9
    What different parameters are you talking about?
     
    sigen, Feb 1, 2019 IP
  10. MindyS

    MindyS Peon

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    #10
    I am talking about these parameters:

    • Checking the availability of the resource will help to identify hidden site errors and hosting problems.

    • Constant monitoring will allow timely detection of virus infection of a resource, and this is important for your safety and your users. In addition, search engines, in particular Google, with long-term infection can lower the sites in the issue and do not guarantee the restoration of positions even after the removal of the warning about the danger of malicious code. However, short-term infection does not affect its ranking, so you should always be alert.
     
    MindyS, Feb 6, 2019 IP
  11. Anna Gray

    Anna Gray Peon

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    #11
    Thank for sharing this, it's really useful stuff.
     
    Anna Gray, Feb 6, 2019 IP
  12. ibmciscoblogger

    ibmciscoblogger Active Member

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    #12
    Useful information..Is there any tool available to audit the inner pages of the site?
     
    ibmciscoblogger, Feb 7, 2019 IP
  13. Shivani Shrivastav

    Shivani Shrivastav Active Member

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    #13
    Yes, You can definitely use these tools.
    Ahrefs is a great tool to find competitor backlinks but recently they have a added a new function of "Site Audit" so you can opt for this tool.

    Also, I would like to add one more tool, SEOProfiler - this is the best tools for website analysis.
     
    Shivani Shrivastav, Feb 7, 2019 IP
  14. sigen

    sigen Greenhorn

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    #14
    As you can see from the post above, I use Netpeak Spider. There are lots of tools, everything depends on your needs.
     
    sigen, Feb 11, 2019 IP
  15. simplepickle

    simplepickle Greenhorn

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    #15
    i usually go with Semrush
     
    simplepickle, Apr 9, 2019 IP
  16. ibmciscoblogger

    ibmciscoblogger Active Member

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    #16
    Thanks for the information...What about IBP tool?
     
    ibmciscoblogger, Apr 10, 2019 IP