How to perform a SEO audit of your site in 15 steps

To a SEO optimizer, SEO audit is quite an everyday phrase. To anyone else it sounds like something long, difficult and terribly expensive. If you’re creating sites for the purpose of monetizing search engine traffic, you will have to perform a technical audit of the website from time to time, in any case, and analyze pages for optimization. 

To avoid paying a specialist every time, in this article we will analyze in detail how to perform a site SEO audit, how to check SEO optimization, what’s included in this process, and what tools you’ll need. 

What is SEO audit and why do you need one?

An SEO site audit is a detailed analysis of the parameters of a web resource which affect its search results position. During the audit, the specialist looks for technical errors on the site and checks to see whether it meets the requirements of search engines based on all ranking factors: 

  • host;
  • text;
  • technical;
  • mobile;
  • commercial;
  • external;
  • behavioural. 

The purpose of SEO site analysis is to identify weaknesses and find growth points for an online platform, so that nothing gets in the way of rising up in the search results. 

We should bear in mind that SEO is not a one-time task, but an endless process. Search engine algorithms are constantly being updated and improved, your online business is developing, and competitors are not sleeping. In order to grow or at least maintain our positions, you need to monitor changes and quickly respond to them. SEO is a continuous and consistent process. Without it, you won’t leap out in the organic TOP search engine results on a competitive request. You need SEO audit, in order to assess the state of the site, develop an SEO strategy, analyze the effectiveness of the promotion strategy and then adjust it. 

A website SEO check is normally required when:

  • you are going to launch a site that hasn’t been promoted before;
  • the previous optimization strategy did not bring the desired results;
  • the site was in certain search engine positions previously, but then for no obvious reason it fell out of the TOP or suddenly lost traffic volumes.

In the first two cases, SEO analysis will be the starting point for optimization. In the latter, the site has clearly been pessimized by the search engine algorithms. However, to remove any filters, you will first need to conduct a search audit. If want to get into the TOP search results, then the SEO site analysis has to be performed regularly and systematically.

How to audit the site yourself in 15 steps — checklist

Depending on the type of parameters and metrics you want to analyze, everything included in the site audit can be divided into several large groups. Each one incorporates several mandatory stages. Let’s take a closer look at the whole process, so that you can understand how to audit the site yourself.

Checking the site for errors — technical SEO audit

Fixing technical problems on your site is not the most time-consuming or laborious job, but it is key to site promotion. If you don’t resolve the technical problems, any further optimization work will be ineffective. This stage in a site search audit consists of analyzing the following indicators.

Site loading speed

Site performance is the speed with which it loads all its elements: images, forms, buttons, banners. This is a critical ranking factor for search engines, so we start our SEO analysis here.

You can quickly and accurately check the download speed of the desktop and mobile version of the website free of charge using the PageSpeed Insights service. The report will provide an assessment of the resource according to a 100-point scale, plus a few more basic performance metrics and recommendations for eliminating them. We’ve already talked in detail about reasons for slow loading of sites and ways to eliminate them.

Main site mirror settings

If you have multiple versions of the site:

Only one of them (the main one) can issue code 200, and the other three must be redirected to it. Duplicates can occur for various reasons, but 301 redirects between versions with and without WWW, with HTTP and HTTPS are a global issue which fundamentally affects site functionality. Such errors can be detected using

Code Validity

Layout errors lead to the content of site pages being incorrectly displayed on different types of devices. Popular code errors are linked to incorrect attributes to images and scripts (or their absence), a lack of UTF-8 encoding, document type or other elements, as well as with missing, duplicate or extra characters. 

The same applies to CSS files. If there are errors, the styles of document elements will be displayed incorrectly. Code validity is not a direct ranking factor, but affects the user experience. You can detect HTML code errors using the W3C Markup Validation service. You can also check the CSS code using the CSS Validation Service tool.

Robots.txt file

The robots.txt text file is located in the site’s root folder. It contains directives that show search robots the rules for indexing documents on the site. They can be prescribed for an individual search robot or several at once.

 CMS-dependent files, GET parameters, access to technical bots and PPC parameters are normally closed to indexing. The robots.txt file also allows you to set the sitemap.xml location.

To check if this file is present during the technical SEO site audit, enter in the search bar. 


The file is located in the root directory of the site and is readable by all search bots. It shows which pages of the site need to be indexed, when they were created and updated, and how often the robot needs to check for page updates.

You can open sitemap.xml directly: or via the robots.txt file: You can get a report on the status of sitemap.xml in Google Search Console. If errors are detected or if the requisite parameters are missing, you can create a new file in any convenient sitemap.xml generator.

Broken links are those that lead to non-existent pages (deleted or with an incorrect URL). It’s that the 404 response code appears for all non-existent pages, rather than 200. Otherwise this will lead to the appearance of a lot of duplicates and negatively affect the user experience. 

Generally speaking, it’s normal for 404 pages to be present on the site. However, they need to be designed in the style of the site, and redirect the user to a page with similar content/product or offer, for example, to the main page. There are many online tools for detecting broken links – for example, Free Broken Link Checker. You can find 404 pages in the “Coverage” report of Google Search Console.

Search duplicate pages

Pages with duplicate content can be found in the “Coverage” section of Google Search Console in the lines with the status “Excluded”. The following types of page duplicates can occur on the site:

  • full – different URLs with identical content;
  • partial – only part of the content or fragment is duplicated on these pages, so they are more difficult to detect.

Human-readable URLs (HURL)

Site page addresses should be clear and easy for visual perception. They should not contain abbreviations, numeric identifiers in the form of Latin characters, and the length should be limited.

HURL pages are easy for  search engines to index, and, they can additionally use key queries in English or a transliterated form. Popular CMS allow for the possibility of generating HURL, but in designer platforms, this function unfortunately is not always found.

Search audit of the site — analysis of site pages for optimization

SEO site audit doesn’t only check the site for errors, but also text content. Checking the content during SEO optimization includes analysis of:

  1. Title –  the page title that the user sees in the browser tab. It should contain keywords, the query token should be as close to the beginning as possible. It should fit into 60-70 characters.
  2. Description briefly displays the content of the page, again with the use of keywords. This meta tag will make your site appear more attractive, add emojis to the text, if appropriate. The length should be limited to 160 characters.
  3. Headings h1-h4 – they are also visible in the search results and should make the user want to click. You don’t have to create a set of keywords, just think of a concise title containing main query in a maximum of 60 characters. Note that any surplus characters will be truncated. From a visual point of view, this will slightly spoil the snippet.
  4. Alt tags for images are an alternative description for images. Remember that images account for 23% of the total number of search queries. Therefore, it is important to add text describing the content of the image, in the event it doesn’t open. Here, too, you can and should use keywords.
  5. Content quality – Google evaluates it using EEAT factors (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). Perform a visual analysis of the main page of the site. Check for the presence of mandatory sections describing the business and contacts, reviews, partners, and certificates.
  6. Analyze the text content of pages for uniqueness, literacy and style using online services such as Copywritely, Advego etc. You can also perform SEO analysis of the text on the landing page.

A site’s link profile is a collection of backlinks that lead to your site from other resources. It’s best to assess this parameter not quantitatively, but qualitatively.

The site can be linked from the same domain multiple times. The links might be closed to indexing, the domains might have been selected incorrectly, etc. The links don’t bring any benefit, and you need to get rid of them.

The quality of backlinks is assessed by different parameters:

  • the countries from where the links were purchased.
  • whether they are open to indexing;
  • number of linking domains and unique IP addresses
  • the ratio of commercial and anchor links (should be approximately 20% to 80%, respectively);
  • frequency of publication;
  • credibility and age of donors, etc.

We’ve already talked here in detail about building the site’s link profile and growing the link mass. A complete picture of the site’s external promotion can be obtained using the paid services Semrush and Ahrefs. You can use Megaindex free of charge.

What is included in an SEO audit with a specialist

We showed you how to test a website on SEO without having special knowledge and skills. Now we suggest you evaluate an online resource based on such basic criteria. However, you probably understand that an SEO site audit performed by a search engine optimization specialist would look a little different. For the sake of interest, we will show you a checklist from a SEO specialist:

Total server response time
Site coding
Site loading speed
PageSpeed Insight
Site functionality acceleration
Mobile Friendly
Design adaptability
HTTPS protocol
Description of artefacts (Google PR, DR, etc.)
Pages indexed in Google
Checking for indexation of third-level domains
Sanctions officially confirmed by Google (Spam, outbound links, inbound links)
Link volume
Dynamics of change in the link mass
Google My Business 
Average daily views from Google
Dynamics of views from Google over the past year
Share of traffic from search engines
Positions in Google in the event of suspicious event
List of pages, URL, availability of counter
Pages with code 4xx
Pages with code 5xx
Pages without content
Long Response Pages
Pages closed to indexing in meta tags
Full Duplicates
Typos and Mistakes
More than one title
Long titles
Short titles
Empty titles
Missing titles
Duplicate titles
Title spellings
More than one description
Long descriptions
Short descriptions
Empty descriptions
Missing descriptions
Duplicate descriptions
Description spellings
More than one h1 header
Empty h1 headings
Missing h1 headings
Duplicate h1 headings
Meta tags keywords
Use of H2-H6 tags in website design
Internal image list
External image list
Broken images
File names
Title and alt attributes
Optimize image size
List of outbound links (URLs, external, internal)
PageRank (URL, PR, inbound, redirects, nesting)
Internal broken links
External broken links
404 Page
Cyclic redirects
Multiple redirects
302 redirect
Mod-rewrite errors
Redirect from secondary mirror to primary mirror
Presence of robots.txt file
Dependent files closed to CMS indexing 
Access closed to technical bots
Closed to indexation of GET PARAMETERS
Closed to indexation of PPC parameters
Using HURL
Bread crumbs
Brand micro marking
Organization of micro-marking
Micro marking articles
Micro marking video
Micro marking reviews
Micro marking contacts
Micro marking product card
Micro marking FAQ
Open Graph Mark
Social media buttons for content projects
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Instant articles 
Commercial factors
Home Page
Listing page
Product/service card
Contact Page
THD templates (title, H1, description) for generated pages
Canonical of main pagination
SEO text

Useful services for website SEO analysis

We’ve already mentioned services which will help you perform a particular task within the framework of SEO-checking of the site. There are comprehensive software products for SEO analytics of the site, which will collect a huge amount of information in one scan. Ahrefs and Screaming Frog SEO Spider are the main resources for any SEO specialist and an indispensable tool for a full-fledged SEO audit.

It is not always advisable to buy a subscription in order to periodically perform an SEO audit of one or two sites. However, there is good news – many services (in particular, the “frog”) scan small sites for free.

P.S. We have tried to present the most accessible information that will be useful and understandable even for those who have only recent become a webmaster.

If after reading this article you still think that SEO audit is too difficult, contact a specialist on any popular exchange for such a service. It’s better to spend your personal time studying ways of monetizing your resource 😉

Start making profit
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