How your website ranks in major search engines plays a significant role in gaining potential clients for your business. It is then essential to conduct a complete audit and identify the obstacles that keep your site from reaching the top results or the opportunities to improve performance. An SEO audit checklist can definitely help.
Here are 20 tasks that are also best practices to ensure that you’re meeting the top SEO requirements. You will dominate the SERP (search engine results pages) in no time for sure if you follow them.
Why is an SEO audit important for your website?
Since an audit is a comprehensive analysis of the website, it is vital to determine its health and performance SEO-wise. The audit looks into both the on-page and off-page strategies implemented and identifies if there are any areas to fix and improve.
Put simply. The SEO audit is crucial as it reveals the strengths and weaknesses as well as the potentials of the website. Every area of improvement discovered is an opportunity to clinch to a higher position on SERP.
What should be included in an SEO audit checklist?
An SEO audit should include the assessment of both on-page and off-page elements as well as the technical elements (some of which are also part of on-page SEO).
Among others, these are the status codes, indexation, redirects, speed, structure, duplication, crawlability, mobile-friendliness, responsiveness, keyword, user experience (UX), images, metadata, internal and external links, anchors, content, duplicate, URLs, robots.txt and sitemap.xml files, and social integration.
On-page optimization checklist
1. Check your metadata.
Remember that a page should be keyword-rich, not keyword-stuffed. Check the following elements.
Title tags. Create headlines with both search engines and visitors in mind. For search engines, consider appending the brand name — limit title to 65 characters. For visitors, make it pleasing to the reader’s eyes.
Run a quick test for duplicate tags through Google Search Console.
Meta description. Limit description to 160 characters. Opt for catchy, relevant, and well-written words so it could influence click-through rates.
Headings and subheadings. Add subheadings with H1 and H2 tags. Emphasize key terms—bold-faced, italicized, and underlined.
2. Optimize the site’s content.
When you write the content, take into account these factors.
Unique, high-quality, and relevant. Ensure that it has substance and is valuable to the reader.
Fresh and current. Add a weblog and update it regularly.
Keyword-optimized. Important keywords should be placed in the first, middle, and last paragraphs.
Error-free. Applicable to both spelling and grammar.
At least 300 words. That’s the minimum before Google flags your page as thin content.
Maximized readability. Position the text blocks logically, i.e., column width and line-height.
Live, working links. Internal links must correctly point to the destination page.
Branded and generic anchors. Anchor text should be distributed evenly.
100% original. Check for any duplicate content via Siteliner.
3. Optimize the images.
Put alt tags to all relevant images. Google cannot crawl images, but it can crawl the accompanying texts SEOs call alt texts.
Place the image near the keyword in the paragraph. Google is big on relevance, and this is one good measure of such.
Double-check the codes. Include image width and height.
Go for optimum size. Save images in the lowest KB.
Keyword-rich filenames. For instance, if a photo was taken during an SEO training held in Manila, assign SEO-training-philippines.jpg as a filename.
4. Optimize URL.
Aim for short and user-friendly ones. The shorter, the better because it is more memorable this way.
Reduce characters to 115. Google also truncates the URL when it exceeds the allowable length or character count.
Include relevant keywords. Put the keyword in the URL as much as possible.
Employ subfolders instead of subdomains. Subfolder contains higher link juice compared to a subdomain as the latter is treated as a unique domain.
Apply hyphens for multiple worded URLs. Search engines understand them as separate words.
5. Design a good navigation structure.
Design navigation menu both on the header and footer sections of your website.
Add breadcrumbs for better usability and to make it search-friendly.
If you have sub-menus or categories, make sure that they land on the right pages.
Try keywords or brand names as page names. Instead of a simple About Page, rename it to About Optimind Technology Solutions.
6. Submit an XML sitemap to Google.
Follow the recommended Sitemap Protocol so that your website will be indexed properly.
7. Remember robots.txt.
Review thoroughly the entries that are accessible to web crawlers. Also, make sure that you declare the sitemap on your robots.txt file.
8. Perform a site crawl test using Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider tool.
Search engine spiders or robots look at your pages differently in comparison with an ordinary reader. Know their do’s and don’ts. See your site from the eyes of a web crawler.
They may be great in terms of design and usability but they are definitely not SEO favorites.
10. Find crawling issues to assess visitor experience.
Explore Google Search Console to determine any issues.
11. Check HTTP status codes.
An SEO audit checklist is never complete without looking into how the pages render.
Broken links. Redirect to correct URLs. Create a 404-not-found landing page with useful links. Run a broken link checker.
Redirection. Use 301 HTTP redirects instead of 302 for greater link juice.
12. Check the canonical tags.
This pertains to www versus the non-www versions of your website as well as links that have possible duplicate issues. This is especially helpful for e-commerce sites.
13. Validate your website’s HTML and CSS codes for standard compliance.
14. Do a platform checkup.
Make sure it’s properly set up, configured with correct settings and associated plugins. Optimize the templates.
15. Improve page load speed.
16. Perform a regular website checkup,
For malware and spam, that is and be proactive about it. This should be integral to your SEO audit checklist.
Regular security check. Cyberattacks and hacking are rampant nowadays, so proof your website against these culprits.
17. Install social sharing buttons.
Do this on every relevant page on the site for easy sharing of content.
Off-page optimization checklist
18. Analyze your backlink profile.
Assess the diversity of the links. It a blog post link, article/press release link, directory link, comment/forum link, or a social media link?
Determine the authority of the site. Is it reputable? What does Google think about the backlink site? What’s the site’s standing—Google Page Rank, Alexa, Domain Age? What content relevance? Is it within the niche?
Analyze your competitors. Which is your biggest competition? Where do they get their links?
Track your keyword standing. Which keyword leads to the website the most?
19. Improve local search visibility.
Utilize business NAP. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number (contact details). And be consistent about its use throughout the web.
20. Be socially active.
Connect your social page or profile to your website’s blog to widen the reach and improve referral traffic.
Optimind is a pioneer in the SEO Philippines industry. To know more about our SEO services, click here.