Last updated on October 18th, 2023.
SEO Audits may vary from agency to agency. Today, I’m sharing what I pack into my SEO audits and what I need from you, dear client, to conduct the audit.
The categories I cover in my SEO Audit
- Crawling & Indexing
- Core Web Vitals
- Content-Audit on a sample blog post including images, internal linking
1. Crawling & Indexing
Here’s what I check in the first part of the audit:
- Do you have a robots.txt?
- Does robots.txt block content you actually want to be indexed?
- Do you have a sitemap? Is the sitemap submitted to search engines via robots.txt or via Search Console / Bing Webmaster Tools?
- Is there only one version of your site online? In rare cases, an HTTP: and an HTTPS: version are published. Or you might have two versions of your website per geographic region published. In this case, you need to set the corresponding hreflang tag in order not to be indexed twice.
- Have you set canonical tags for duplicate content?
- Are some odd sites indexed on Google? It may happen that a newsletter confirmation page or an internal CMS notification is indexed. If that happens we can exclude it on robots.txt.
- Does the sitemaps reflect the valid URLs from your site?
- Does your site generate crawl errors?
- Do you have an easy-to-understand URL structure?
- Do you have any broken links?
- Is important content not more than 3 clicks away from the homepage?
- Do intrusive interstitials prevent the bots from crawling your site?
It’s a quick one. I will check if your content is transmitted in an encrypted way. The key questions are:
- Do you have the SSL/TLS certificate installed?
- Is there a malware on your page?
3. Core Web Vitals
In the third part, I focus on how your website will cope with the recent core web vital update. I focus on
- What’s the overall Google Lighthouse Score, measured on a random landing page?
- How long does it take the browser to render the first piece of DOM content after a user navigates to your page? (First Contentful Paint). Images, non-white canvas elements, and SVGs on your page are considered DOM content.
- How fast can a user interact with your website on on a important landing page? (First Input Delay)
- How fast does your mobile website load on a important landing page? (Largest Contentful Paint)
- How fast is your website stable on a important landing page? (Cumulative Layout Shift)
I will outline tactics you can apply to increase your Core Web Vital score.
4. Content Audit
The Content Audit is a vital part of the audit as it plays into the user experience. I will audit one blog post or article on your website. If you wish that I look at a specific one, please let me know in advance. Else, I will look at the most frequented one. Here’s what’s essential in a Content Audit for me:
- Does the article meet the search intent? (Transactional, Informational, Navigational or Commercial)
- Is it easy to find information on your article? E.g., Is the content easy scannable? Do you structure the content in headings? Do you provide a table of content?
- Is the article easy to read from a design-perspective? E.g. Do you use whitespace? Is the font-size big enough? Is the colour reader-friendly? Do you provide lists, when it makes sense?
- Do you prove that you are an expert in your field? You could for instance provide an author box with bio. You can contribute to an expert community off-page. Or, above all, provide unique content which can’t be easily copied.
- Intrusive Interstitials: Do popups or standalone interstitials block website visitors from viewing the website content they want to see?
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Are the headings optimised for voice search?
- In case your page is multilingual: Is there a Hreflang tag attributed?
- Do you provide structured data for Google? Structured data helps Google understand the content on your site which can be used to display rich snippets in search results.
- What do the analytics numbers say? How is your time on the page for the article? What about the bounce-rate? They are indications of how valuable your content for the user is.
- Is there only one H1?
- Is the H1 unique across pages?
- Have you set an unique title tag?
- Are the images in an SEO-friendly way? For instance, do they weight less than 100 KB? Is an alt tag attributed?
- Does the blog post have an adequate title tag and meta description? Remember, every page on your website should have a unique meta description and title.
- Is the content is available at a single, canonicalized URL?
- Internal linking: Is the blog post discoverable via internal links or the navigation (3-click-rule)? And if it makes thematically sense, does the blog past link towards other content of your website?
- Does your website have backlinks?
- Are the backlinks pointing to valid URLs?
- What Authority do those backlinks have?
- Does your website receive toxic backlinks?
Also, I will share tactics to acquire backlinks. It won’t be quick and easy; acquiring backlinks requires hard work and is time-intensive.
What do I need from my client to conduct an SEO audit?
My SEO audit is more insightful if I have access to the following tools of yours:
- Your analytics software. I am most proficient with Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Access to your CMS. Having access to your CMS will make it easier for me to explain you where to make adjustments to you.
Before you grant me access to your data, I will sign a non-disclosure agreement. And if you haven’t set up an analytics software or Search Console, I’ll gladly assist in setting it up.
The above is all summed up in my free Excel template for SEO Audits.