Home » SEO Audit Checklist: Assessing the Health of Your Website

SEO Audit Checklist: Assessing the Health of Your Website

by Nairobi

Many people may have the wrong notion of identifying SEO audit and SEO check as 2 separate processes. This is incorrect. SEO audit is the full analysis of the website and the main topics that concentrate are technical analysis, on-page focusing for a keyword, off-page analysis for a keyword, and a final comparison with competitor analysis. For a thorough SEO audit to be performed properly and give good results, it is necessary that the SEO tool used as checkers in the market might not provide the right analysis.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) audit is very essential to a business or individual, especially if they own a website. Through the SEO audit process, a website is checked completely for its vulnerability and its performance. Proper analysis of the website helps in using the full potential of the website. It also helps in identifying the area where the website may still be lacking. SEO audit is a repetitive process and thus to always have the right checks and the proper analysis, a proper checklist should be free. When these checks and measures are done and analyzed using the checklist, this would help in bringing the website on track and meet its goals.

Importance of SEO Audit

The importance of an SEO audit rests in the fact that every website is developed with a specific audience in mind. If it is not properly optimized, i.e. searchable, it is as good as not having a website. There are millions of websites on the internet. It is very difficult to get noticed and attract visitors to your site. It is also necessary to understand that search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN are the primary source of traffic for most websites. Optimization of a site is critical to getting traffic and is often the first step when trying to attract visitors. This means that if a website is not properly visible in search engines, it will have a negative impact on the success of the site. This, in turn, means that it will be very difficult to achieve the goals for which the website is developed. An SEO audit will identify the visibility of the website in searchable terms. The site might be targeting a specific set of keywords, but it could be visible to a larger set of related keywords. This means that the website is losing potential traffic and customers. There could be a number of reasons for this. For example, one of the probable causes could be that the primary keywords have high competition and the probability of the site being visible for those keywords is low. Another cause could be that the search engines might not be refreshed with the new content that is added to the site. Yet another cause could be that the page is not properly linked or there is no sitemap to let search engines know about the presence of the new pages. An SEO audit will identify all these issues and provide recommendations for the same, so that the website is easily visible to its targeted set of keywords and this will eventually increase the traffic to the site.

Benefits of Conducting an SEO Audit

By now, you should have a good understanding of what an SEO audit is and how it can influence your website. The benefits of identifying your website’s SEO problems and constructing a solution are the simplest to describe. Without an efficient usage of your time, you can quickly discover how even the most minimal changes to your website can result in drastic alterations in search engine ranking. SEO audits pinpoint how dramatic these changes can be; often they are changes that you would never see coming. If you have a small team working on a website or are the sole proprietor, an SEO audit can really be the most efficient and effective path to take. You want to use your time effectively, and an SEO audit is the best way to spend your time identifying and solving SEO issues. This is the most cost-efficient way to reallocate money by knowing where to reallocate resources and the impact of each one. An important benefit to consider is how future-proof your website can become based on changes made from an SEO audit. Knowing what went wrong in the past can prevent a negative recurrence. Of course, preventing an issue is always more effective than solving it. An SEO audit can also ensure that your web development team is following SEO best practices and not cutting corners that may result in a penalty. Finally, with all the time and money you can save, an SEO audit provides you with peace of mind, knowing that your website is in its best possible shape.

About Sotavento Medios

Sotavento Medios is a SEO service provider based in Singapore. We assist businesses from start-ups and SMEs to large enterprises who want to increase their presence on the internet. Our wide range of experience in different industries makes it possible to adapt to the needs of each customer. We have a multilingual team, which allows us to work with a global audience. Our team is experienced in SEO, framework web development, online marketing in general, and social media sites. In addition to these basic services, our company has some unique and excellent tools for analyzing and improving our customers’ web performance. With one of these tools, we are able to conduct a thorough analysis of web search terms. This analysis provides detailed information regarding the search terms under which the customers’ web performs well, and under which search terms web performance is lacking. This tool has been proven very effective in improving web traffic for customers. Another tool quickly and effectively detects weak points in the structure of a web which can interfere with web performance in search engines.

Technical SEO Analysis

Technical SEO analysis involves checking the technical infrastructure of a website. Doing a technical SEO analysis should be a part of your ongoing routine if you’re an SEO. Not doing so means you might struggle to rank where you’d like, or worse, you might not rank at all. Technical SEO factors are the foundational ranking factors and they are the prerequisites for your website to rank. If your website does not have these in place, it will not be able to compete effectively. Remember, there are only 10 organic listings on the 1st page of search results, if you’re not doing technical SEO, you might be missing the most crucial step to getting your site to page 1.

Website Speed and Performance

Improving website performance and speed is crucial, especially for mobile users. Over 40% of users leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Search engines also take performance into consideration when ranking, particularly for mobile search results. Use Google’s Mobile Site Speed tool to get a gauge on mobile speed and receive a list of specific fixes. Generally, the fixes involve minimizing CSS and JavaScript, optimizing images, and reducing server response time. Google’s Page Speed Insights tool is also extremely useful. After analyzing a page, this tool provides an optimization score, a list of high and low priority optimizations, and accurately estimates the increase in page load time after implementing the optimizations. Lastly, studies have shown that using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) has contributed to an increase in mobile search results. AMP creates a stripped-down version of a webpage using a specific set of guidelines; this version will load nearly instantly when first visiting a page.


Given the increased and still-growing usage of mobile devices for web browsing and search, it is absolutely critical to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. This is not only important for user experience and SEO, but is now more important than ever due to Google’s recent update that made mobile-friendliness a significant ranking factor. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to determine if Google considers your web pages mobile-friendly, and if not, it will provide a list of usability issues across your site. Before Google’s mobile update, you could check your site’s mobile-friendliness in the WMT’s “Search Traffic” -> “Mobile Usability” section, although this report has since been removed. When implementing changes to make your site more mobile-friendly, it is important to properly set up your mobile site or responsive design. If you have a separate mobile site on a separate URL (m.yoursite.com), you should implement rel=canonical tags on the mobile pages that are copies of the respective desktop pages. This will help to consolidate indexing properties, as Google will understand that the mobile and desktop pages are both the same content. If you are creating mobile-friendly redirects where all mobile users are directed to the corresponding mobile-friendly page on your site, make sure that the mobile page relays the same canonical URL as its desktop version. If your mobile site consists of a responsive design that serves the same HTML for all devices on the same URL, no changes to the canonical setup are necessary. With Google’s algorithms primarily using the mobile version of content for ranking and indexing, this is a topic of high importance and is often implemented incorrectly. Finally, be sure to verify your mobile site in your Google Search Console, and check for any mobile-specific errors with the Mobile Usability report.

URL Structure and Redirects

The easiest way to fix URL structure is to ensure that every page on your website has a descriptive file name added to it. This makes the URL more readable as well as adding keyword prominence. If there are any subpages, ensure that they are included in the URL of the parent page. This can help prevent orphaned pages, which are pages that exist with no links to them and can be omitted from the search engine index. Finally, having relevant keywords in the URL can help boost a page’s positioning in the search engine results.

A URL structure is how your web address is formatted. This format has a great impact on search engine rankings. Using dynamic URLs can cause search engine crawlers to avoid the website because the URL changes, thus causing indexing issues. Websites with many pages utilizing dynamic URLs should use URL rewriting to create static URLs. Compare the two and think about which URL structure would be given a higher priority.

XML Sitemap and Robots.txt

An XML sitemap can serve as a roadmap for search engine spiders to ensure they can find all of your website’s pages. This is useful because it is possible for your website to contain a page that is not accessible by clicking links on other pages. For example, perhaps you have a product that is only available through a search function. If search engine spiders are not able to crawl this page, it will never be indexed and will not be visible in search engine results. The creation of an XML sitemap can ensure that the page will be indexed and can be found by search engines. An XML sitemap can also provide metadata about each of your pages, such as when it was last updated and how important it is. This can be useful in prioritizing your changes to certain pages. A simple one-page website will probably not need a sitemap to aid the users in navigating, but a site with thousands of pages can benefit greatly from a sitemap, both from an SEO perspective and from a user perspective. It is recommended that larger websites also create an HTML sitemap, which provides links to all of your pages arranged in a user-friendly format. Because this type of sitemap is designed for users, it can help to plug any holes in your site’s navigation that were preventing users and search engines from reaching certain pages.

On-Page SEO Evaluation

It involves anything you can do within your own website to improve your ranking. This includes things like keyword optimization, meta tags, adding an “alt” tag to images, and internal linking. Below, I have left some examples, explanation, and tools for on-page SEO. By far the most important item in this category is to have one well thought out keyword per page. It is a good idea to use a tool to get the relative search volume of the keyword as well as the competition for that keyword. This will allow you to choose a keyword that is both relevant to your page, and still has room for you to rank well using it. Once you have chosen a keyword, you should place it in the following places: page title, URL, 2-3 times within the body, once in bold, once in italics, and lastly as part of an anchor text link. An important thing to remember is to not over-optimize the use of a keyword. Included in placing a keyword throughout your page is the usage of it within H tags. An H1 tag should be used once only to include the keyword. This is generally the title of the page. Following that you can use multiple H2 or H3 tags as subheadings for sections of your content. Again it is important not to overuse or spam the keyword in this process. The next three items are meta keywords, meta description, and adding an alt tag to images. All of these are rather specific to how they are implemented, but can all be done in one shot by using the “all in one SEO” plugin when using WordPress. A meta keywords tag is not really used much today, however it is still best to use it just in case. The meta description is what will show as the search snippet for your page and it is important in that it will often determine whether or not someone will click-through to it. Alt tags for images are simple and should just describe the image with the keyword.

Keyword Research and Optimization

Keyword research involves selecting the right keywords to optimize for on the site. It is one of the more critical pieces to the SEO puzzle, because if you optimize for the wrong keywords, and many people do, it can be a lot of effort for little return. It is also one of the few areas of SEO where you can compete directly with the competition. At this stage we are looking to: Determine which keywords to target with on-site optimization. Understand the search volume and competitiveness of the selected keywords. The first thing to do is a brain dump of all the keywords you think are relevant to your business. You can then get a rough idea of the search volume for these keywords using the Google keyword tool. Before we can determine the competitiveness of a keyword, we must first calculate the KEI, or Keyword Efficiency Index. This is a formula used to determine the value of targeting a certain keyword. The formula is calculated as the search volume of the keyword squared, divided by the results pages in Google for that keyword. A higher KEI means a keyword is more effective to target, with the maximum KEI at 100. This gives us a relative scale by which to judge the value of targeting certain keywords. The formula also allows us to compare any two keywords with a single value, which can be useful in making decisions between which keyword to target.

Meta Tags and Descriptions

Meta tags and descriptions have always been a central facet of search engine optimization (SEO). Meta tags are a powerful way for the website owner to provide data for search engines (and tell them what has to be specific about the website), while the descriptions are a concise explanation of the webpage content. Although not always displayed in search engine results, the meta description tag tells a search engine what the page is about. Meta tags that are well written and relevant to the content at hand can help all search engines index and understand a page’s content. This is unsurprisingly a good thing. Lines of successful and relevant meta descriptions and tags can help to raise relevancy as well as increasing click through rates (CTR), which has a proven correlation with SEO. High CTR can often improve rankings as it shows that people are finding your content useful – the ultimate aim of any search engine. Having a good strategy with meta tags and description is pretty easy stuff; it just requires a little more thought and effort than often goes into it. The first consideration is making sure every page on a website has a unique title and description. This is important because quite simply having duplicate meta tags would mean search engines wouldn’t know which page is which, causing a loss in efficacy. Trying to keep to a specific subject matter for each page is another important tactic; if you are offering different products or services on a site these should all have their own specific meta tags and descriptions to increase relevance. This is something often ignored, but it’s an easy win for all-important page ranks. Last but not least is research into the most effective keyword to use for each tag. Keyword-to-tag relevancy is the backbone of meta tag optimization. Using successful keywords from your page content is a must and the best keywords to use can often be found with a little research into the most searched terms using a tool like the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. This tool is also good for ideas on different tags and descriptions to use; remember it is always a work in progress so it’s best to keep experimenting to find the most effective tags.

Heading Tags and Content Structure

Heading tags are the lifeblood of your content structure. They provide scannability and give a bulleted outline of the content. H1 tags are the article title. This is usually the post or page title and it is the highest level tag other than the title tag in SEO. There should only be one set of H1 tags on any given page. The H2 tag is for major sections of the article. These are the most used tags within a post, and for good reason. H2 tags split sections of your articles into digestible portions. They also act as mini titles for the sections of your article and most times the content under them will directly reflect the H2 text. H3 tags are basically subtitles under H2 tags serving the same function as H2 tags but within the context of the section split by the H2 tag they are under, and it will do the same down the line up to H5 tags which are less commonly used. Subsequent section titles would be defined in H3 or H4 tags and the cycle continues down the line. Remember not to go overboard with heading tags. This is a common mistake within the drag and drop themes. Oftentimes users will see that they can change the text size and color of the premade title and think it’s beneficial to use it when the theme title already acts as perfect H1 and H2 tags. This is unnecessary and can actually detract from your content’s scannability. Stick to content that you’ve defined on your own.

Internal Linking and Anchor Text

The effective use of anchor text and relevant descriptions can guide users and search engines to a specific page. When a hyperlink uses descriptive anchor text, this can provide users with more information about the page that will be linked. This can help encourage users to click on the link and visit the linked page. Meanwhile, this also helps search engines better understand what the page being linked is about. With a better understanding of all pages, a search engine can increase the relevancy of its index and results for all pages.

Starting off, internal linking is extremely important. The easier it is for search engine spiders to traverse and access information on your site, the better. They will be able to index a greater portion of your site, and it will give you more opportunities to have all of your pages appear in search results. Internal linking helps in distributing page rank around the site. Page rank is a vote that one page gives to another page and is the foundation of Google’s search engine. It is Google’s way of deciding which page is most important within a site. The more votes a page has, the higher it will appear in a search engine’s results. By having pages with high page rank linking to pages other than itself, it will give the destination page a higher page rank.

An internal link is a type of hyperlink on a webpage to another page or resource, such as an image or document, on the same website or domain. It is different from inbound and outbound links because they are under the control of the website owner. Moreover, utilizing anchor text to hyperlink to another page will help determine the page’s keywords both in the eyes of human visitors and search engine spiders. Connecting one page to another page using a keyword-rich anchor text tells the search engine that the page being linked to is relevant to the page it is being linked from, and the page being linked from hopes to increase its ranking for the keyword used in the anchor text.

Off-Page SEO Assessment

The first step to checking your backlink portfolio is to gather a list of all the backlinks. The easiest way to do this is to visit Yahoo and enter “link:yoursite.com”. This will return a list of all web pages linking to your site. This information is actually limited as Yahoo only shows a sample of backlinks. For a more comprehensive and accurate backlink analysis, there are many paid backlink checking tools such as Ahrefs, MajesticSEO, and OpenSiteExplorer.

A backlink is a link from a different site that when clicked on, will take you to the site in question. Backlinks are the biggest indicator of whether a site is popular and for search engines, it’s an easy way to gauge the site’s reputation and its relevance. In accordance with this, search engine algorithms have put a great deal of emphasis on getting quality backlinks. A higher volume of low-quality links will actually harm your search engine ranking as it can be seen as a spammy attempt to gain popularity. So you must evaluate your backlink portfolio to make sure that you are using an appropriate mix of backlinks coming from quality sites. With the main goal of business to increase revenue, the purpose of a site’s SEO campaign is to increase targeted traffic. This can be done through increasing rank in an organic search on the desired search engine or increasing the rank of the site for a particular search term. To increase targeted traffic from search engines, all backlinks should be focused on increasing rank for a specific search term. The backlink should use anchor text that is a relevant keyword for the target page.

4.1 Backlink Profile Analysis

Step one is to compile a list of the backlinks that are directed to your site. Depending on the size of your website, the amount of backlinks may be anywhere from a couple of hundred to several hundred thousand. A ‘backlink checker’ tool can be used to obtain the backlink data. Yahoo Site Explorer is a commonly used tool that provides a very detailed backlink analysis. Upon completion of the backlink list for your site, it’s also beneficial to obtain backlink data for your competitors. An effective way to do this is to simply perform a Google search using the search term ‘link: www.competitorsite.com’. Yahoo Site Explorer can also be used to obtain competitor backlink data. A comparison between your backlink profile and your competitors can highlight strengths and weaknesses. This information can be used to set goals and guidelines for future link building activity. A company that has little to no off-page SEO may seek to replicate the activities of a competitor with a strong backlink profile. This process would involve finding out where the competitor obtained their links and then attempting to get similar links from the same source. A company with average off-page SEO may decide that it’s not necessary to invest many hours and resources into link building, as it’s clear that links have little impact on the current search standings. High competition markets may find that link building is the key to SEO success.

The purpose of researching a site’s backlink profile is to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the site’s linking habits. In SEO terms, a ‘backlink’ is an inbound link to your website. There are many reasons as to why examining your own backlinking profile as well as the backlinking of your competitors is beneficial. By conducting this analysis, you can gain a clear insight into the importance of on-page and off-page SEO within your chosen vertical. Comparing your backlink profile to your competitors can also highlight the areas in which an SEO campaign has been either successful or a failure.

Social Media Presence

  1. Find out which social networks the client is involved with. 2. Look for social sharing integration on the website. 3. Weigh the amount of interaction from fans and followers. 4. Assess the quality of content shared to social networks (this and the preceding task may require you to follow or like the client). 5. Determine if the client’s brand is enforced by assessing the completeness of social profiles (i.e. fully filling out an “about” section). 6. Gauge the size of the client’s audience (shares, retweets, likes, etc.). 7. Finally, create a plan for continued social media promotion in order to increase interaction and audience size. This step may be presented to the client if involvement in social media promotions is within scope.

Purpose: A social media presence is a necessity for any website. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, a presence that allows for interaction from both current and potential customers is a great sign of brand awareness. Also, more content being created that involves or mentions your site will result in more branded searches on search engines. Social media presence shows anyone that you are a real company in touch with the modern world and more importantly, it’s a great means to an end of getting more backlinks.

Online Reputation Management

An effective method for reputation management is the use of press releases to inform the public of a brand’s recent activity. This can be anything from community service, an event sponsorship, or a change in company executive. This keeps new content on the first page of search engines and provides something for third-party information providers to index and store about the brand. This, in turn, makes it easier to control what information is available when someone searches for the brand.

Your brand’s online reputation is calculated at a rapid rate and can have a positive or negative impact on your off-page SEO. Reputation management is crucial to an SEO campaign, as it provides a platform for the promotion of positive brand content. Online reputation management is effective for increasing positive brand content when search results for a brand return negative data. The reason is that if a brand already has a positive image, it can suffer greatly if the first search results are a list of bad reviews. In the instance where the brand has not achieved a well-established identity, the results can be devastating as there is nothing to counter the negative publicity. This can result in being the death of a brand. When a brand is in the development phase, there are often many learning experiences which can be damaging if the public is made aware of the true details. With the use of reputation management, a brand can protect newly established positive content.

How can SEO services provider help in the SEO audit

SEO services provider can offer several advantages when it comes to conducting an SEO audit for your website:

Expertise and experience:  They have a deep understanding of SEO best practices and the latest algorithms search engines use.  This allows them to identify a wider range of issues and opportunities that you might miss on your own.

Advanced tools and technology: SEO firms  have access to sophisticated SEO tools  like Semrush, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog  that can crawl your website extensively, analyze vast amounts of data, and provide detailed reports.

Actionable insights and recommendations: They don’t just identify problems; they also provide clear recommendations on how to fix them and prioritize tasks based on potential impact. This gives you a roadmap for improving your website’s SEO.

Competitor benchmarking: An SEO audit by a service provider will  compare your website to your competitors’ in terms of SEO performance. This helps you understand where you stand and identify areas where you can gain an edge.

Time-saving: Conducting a thorough SEO audit can be a time-consuming process. By outsourcing it to a professional, you can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.

Ongoing support: Many SEO service providers offer ongoing SEO support, which means they can help you implement the recommendations from the audit and track your progress over time.

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