Seo

The 15 Step SEO Audit Checklist for 2023

SEO Audit Checklist

The SEO Audit Checklist, 15 Steps for

SEO Audit Checklist, Today, I’m going to explain precisely how you can perform an SEO audit in 2022.

This is the same procedure that helped me increase my traffic organically by 28.55 percent in the last year:

backlinko-organic-traffic-increase_resultat
backlinko-organic-traffic-increase_resultat

If you’re looking to improve your Google ranking, you’ll be delighted by the steps that can be taken in this article.

Let’s get started.

  • 1: Check to Find Out if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
  • 2. Make Sure Google Indexes One The Version Your Site is Using
  • 3 The Speed of Your Website
  • 4: Locate and remove “Zombie Pages.”
  • 5: Locate and fix Indexing Problems
  • 6: Verify the Organic Traffic of Your Website
  • 7: Enhance Your SEO on-page
  • 8: Setup Search Rank Tracking for Keywords
  • 9 Review Your Backlinks
  • 10: Fix Broken Links
  • 11 Competitor Analysis
  • 12 Improve Your Content 10x
  • 13: Optimized For UX Signals
  • 14: Flatten Your Website Architecture
  • 15: Start Skyscraper Post Skyscraper Post

Step 1: Check to Find Out if Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on mobile devices is now more essential than ever.

Why?

The first thing to note is that 60 percent of Google searches are made on mobile devices.

google-searches-60-percent-mobile-1
google-searches-60-percent-mobile-1

Then, Google started using its Mobile-First algorithm.

google-using-mobile-first-algorithm
google-using-mobile-first-algorithm

That means Google now utilizes your desktop version of the website for desktop and mobile searches.

google-always-uses-mobile-site-for-searches
google-always-uses-mobile-site-for-searches

The issue is:

How can you tell whether your website is mobile-friendly?

Make use of Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool.

mobile-friendly-test
mobile-friendly-test

Step 2: Make Sure Google Indexes Only One Version of your Website

Did you know that it’s possible to have various versions of your website indexed by Google?

It’s true.

For instance, Here are four variations of the site:

  • http://yoursite.com
  • https://yoursite.com
  • http://www.yoursite.com
  • https://www.yoursite.com

For you and me, these URLs are almost identical.

But it’s not the time to Google.

And if you do not redirect these versions correctly, Google will consider their separate websites.

(Not good.)

Luckily, this is a simple issue to find… as well as then fix.

Simply type any of the four variants into your web browser.

They’ll all end at the same address:

different-versions-of-the-same-site
different-versions-of-the-same-site

In my instance case, the “WWW” Version of my website redirects visitors to backlinko.com.

Everything is fine.

If a particular version of your website isn’t redirecting correctly, don’t worry.

Simply 301 change this to the software that you would like to utilize.

Next, you can move to step 3.

Step 3 Step #3: Speed Up Your Website

Some time ago, Google confirmed that your website’s loading speed is a factor that determines your site’s ranking.

sites-loading-speed-is-ranking-factor
sites-loading-speed-is-ranking-factor

They also have released an upgrade which makes speed more crucial.

google-update-makes-speed-more-important
google-update-makes-speed-more-important

Here’s how you can get your website to load exceptionally quickly:

Clean your site’s HTML code.

You can quickly find issues in your code using Pages Speed Insights.

pagespeed-insights-homepage
pagespeed-insights-homepage

Tips: Do not simply look at your homepage. Be sure to test other popular pages on your sites, such as Blog posts, pages for service, and categories pages.

Then, you can run the speed test.

This kind of test loads your site… it also lets you know of bottlenecks that make things slow.

webpagetest-results
webpagetest-results

I prefer WebPageTest.org. However, GTMetrix can be very excellent too.

Third, you need to crunch your images.

Large images can slow down your website’s speed to a slow halt.

It’s the reason I suggest compressing your images using an application such as Kraken.

kraken-homepage
kraken-homepage

Pro Tip: Upgrade your hosting. If you spend 10 dollars per month on hosting, don’t count on speedy loading times. Some time ago, I went from a low-cost host to a premium one that cost $200 per month. The speed increase was awe-inspiring.

Step 4: Locate and delete “Zombie Pages”

Enter site:yourwebsite.com in Google.

site-yourwebsite-into-google
site-yourwebsite-into-google

This will tell you the number of pages Google has included in its index:

google-pages-indexed-in-serps
google-pages-indexed-in-serps

If the number is higher than you expected, You’re not alone.

In actual…

Many websites have 50 to 75 percent more indexed pages than what they’d typically expect.

(I am referring to these pages as “Zombie Pages.”)

In the end, the removal of Zombie Pages will get you a lot of organic visitors.

For instance, Sean from Proven has removed more than 9k Zombie pages from his website…

Which has helped increase his Google website’s traffic by 50 percent:

proven-google-traffic-boost
proven-google-traffic-boost

What is the reason this works so well?

The truth is Google has said that adding more content isn’t make your site better.

seroundtable-google-more-content-not-better
seroundtable-google-more-content-not-better

If you decide to delete Zombie Pages, it gives Google what it needs.

Pro Tip: Delete Zombie Pages makes the remaining aspects of this audit more simple. Fewer pages=fewer problems

Here are the most commonly used kinds of Zombie Pages:

That brings us to our next stage.

Step 5: Identify and fix Indexing Issues

The next step is to discover websites that Google doesn’t index.

To do this, fire up the incredible ol’ Google Search Console.

The “Index Coverage” report “Index Report on Coverage” report will provide you with a list of pages that cannot be indexed for a reason.

index-coverage-report
index-coverage-report

As you’ll see, the Backlinko website is 100% error-free.

Everything is fine, Right?

Maybe.

For a second time to ensure all is in order, I would recommend using a free SEO tool named Screaming Frog.

screaming-frog
screaming-frog

Screaming Frog crawls your site precisely the way Google does. It also informs you about sites it isn’t able to access.

screaming-frog-overview
screaming-frog-overview

(For example, you may be inadvertently blocking a webpage with the robots.txt document… and the site is marked with noindex tags.)

If you see the page being blocked, confirm that it’s intended for stopping.

We used, for instance, to paginate comments at Backlinko.

And I didn’t wish for Google to crawl every page of comments. Therefore, we put the noindex tag on those pages.

noindex-tag
noindex-tag

In this situation, the websites which are blocked are designed for securing.

Once you’ve verified that Google can access all the pages, you’d like to be able to access them, and It’s now the right time.

Step #6: Review Your Organic Traffic

It’s time to check the amount of organic traffic you’re generating.

To get started, go to Google Analytics.

After that, go to Acquisition >All Traffic Channels.

Click “Organic Find.”

google-analytics-sidebar
google-analytics-sidebar

How many people accessed your website from search engines over the past month will be clear.

hit-organic-search-in-google-analytics
hit-organic-search-in-google-analytics

Then, add dates for the last 6-8 months.

google-analytics-organic-visitors-to-post
google-analytics-organic-visitors-to-post

Then you can determine whether your traffic from organic sources is moving in the correct direction.

organic-traffic-sessions-trends-post
organic-traffic-sessions-trends-post

My organic traffic has steadily increased in the past few months.

Now:

When your website’s organic reach isn’t growing (or declining), There’s no reason to worry.

The aim of this stage is simply to establish the benchmarks.

Things should improve after you’ve completed this SEO review.

Talking about…

Step 7: Enhance Your SEO on your website.

It’s not a secret that SEO on-page is exceptionally crucial.

It is true:

There’s not enough time to optimize each page on your website.

Luckily, you don’t need to.

Here’s what you can do instead:

First, identify your five most important pages.

They could be pages that

  • Target is a keyword
  • Receive lower levels of traffic than they did back in the past
  • Already rank highly… However, they can make the top five.

For instance.

I have published an article on the best FREE SEO software.

backlinko-best-free-seo-tools
backlinko-best-free-seo-tools

Other than the basics (like adding my keyword to the title tag), I didn’t make much effort to optimize the page.

It’s also at the top of the page for my key phrase.

google-serp-best-seo-tools
google-serp-best-seo-tools

It is a decent chance of making it to the top five.

Optimize your website by following the tips that are discussed in the video.

Now:

If you’re strapped for time and don’t have enough time to follow the steps from the video, you should focus on these five strategies:

  • Include your keywords in your title tag
  • Incorporate your keyword in the first 100 words
  • Include 5+ links from external sources
  • Five or more external links
  • Make use of LSI keyword phrases

After these methods are established, we can jump right into step number 8:

Step #8: Configure Keyword Tracking Rank

It’s time to begin monitoring your ranking in the SERPs.

There are millions of rank-tracking tools available.

For me, the top option alternative is SEMrush.

Why?

SEMrush is an excellent tool because it doesn’t simply keep track of the keywords you provide.

(Although it can indeed do that too.)

semrush-keyword-tracking
semrush-keyword-tracking

The cool thing with SEMrush is that it auto-detects keywords for which you are ranked.

Nice.

semrush-tracking-ranked-for-keywords-at-backlinko
semrush-tracking-ranked-for-keywords-at-backlinko

Step 9: Analyze Your Backlinks

There’s no question about it:

Backlinks remain extremely important.

Indeed, our 11.8 million search results study revealed that backlinks correlate more strongly with rankings than any other aspect.

the-number-one-result-in-google-has-almost-4x-more-backlinks_resultat
the-number-one-result-in-google-has-almost-4x-more-backlinks_resultat

It’s now time to look over the backlinks profile of your website.

Here’s how:

To begin, you must enter your website into a tool for analyzing backlinks.

(I’m currently using Semrush to accomplish this process. You can also make use of another SEO tool that is available.)

You’ll also receive an analysis of your hyperlinks:

semrush-backlinko-backlinks
semrush-backlinko-backlinks

After that, look up the domains that refer to you and Domain Authority.

Referring domains are the number of websites that have links to you.

semrush-backlinko-referring-domains
semrush-backlinko-referring-domains

Don’t stress about the exact amount overly. You’re simply comparing the level you’re in.

Also, you should take an examination of Your Domain Authority.

semrush-backlinko-authority-score
semrush-backlinko-authority-score

Each device has its unique name to refer to as “Domain Authority.”

(For instance, Semrush calls it “Authority Score.”)

The idea will be the same.

Domain Authority tells you how your website’s authority is determined by an amalgamation of the number and quality of backlinks.

Then, check for toxic hyperlinks.

To find out, take a look at the most commonly used anchor text that you can find in your profile link:

If you notice an abundance of anchors with branded words (like “Backlinko” or “Backlinko.com”) If you do, then you’re outstanding.

I’m glad to say that’s the case for my link profile:

ahrefs-most-common-anchor-text
ahrefs-most-common-anchor-text

If you see a lot of anchor texts that are keyword rich (like “SEO blog” and “SEO training company”), This is a sign of a shady link profile.

branded-anchor-text
branded-anchor-text

Below is an instance of an anchor profile using the anchor text of a spammy anchor:

spammy-anchor-text-link-profile
spammy-anchor-text-link-profile

If you’d like to know more, check out your backlinks.

ahrefs-check-backlinks
ahrefs-check-backlinks

The majority of your backlinks should be from legitimate websites.

For example, you’ll see that most of my links are from news sites and blogs that write about SEO and digital marketing.

ahrefs-backlinko-good-backlinks
ahrefs-backlinko-good-backlinks

(Which is excellent.)

If you find that many of your links originate from scam sites, It is possible to remove these websites.

Tips: Spam links are a common element on any page profile. Don’t be concerned when you find the odd black-hat link.

Step #10: Fix Broken Links

A few years ago, Google declared that they do not “lose their sleep” due to broken links.

google-dont-lose-sleep-over-broken-links
google-dont-lose-sleep-over-broken-links

It is true:

Broken links can be detrimental to users’ experiences and harm your SEO.

(More on this to come later.)

In that regard, here’s how to repair the broken link on your website:

The first step is to find your website’s broken web pages that Google cannot index.

You can find this information within Google Search Console’s ” Index Report.” Google Search Console’s ” Index Report.”

google-seach-console-index-coverage
google-seach-console-index-coverage

I’m always on top of broken links, and I’m safe.

What will you see If your website is giving Google errors with 404:

gsc-index-errors
gsc-index-errors

Sometimes, you delete pages due to reasons (for instance, you removed many Zombie pages).

If not, there’s no have to take any action. Google is likely to stop identifying these damaged pages as having problems.

However, if Google cannot access a website you’d like to rank for, you’ll need to keep that page up and running as soon as possible.

Use the help of a tool to locate broken external and internal links.

You can make use of Semrush or a tool that is free such as Broken Link Check.

online-broken-link-checker
online-broken-link-checker

Both of them work.

Step #11: Analysis of Competitors

It’s time to keep an eye on your rivals.

Here’s how:

First, find your competitor’s best keywords.

It is easy to find the information you need with the help of Semrush.

backlinko-semrush-best-organic-kws
backlinko-semrush-best-organic-kws

Naturally, it is:

If your competitors are ranked for these terms, and you rank for them, you also stand a good chance of being organized.

They are GREAT words to focus on.

Then, look at the websites that rank for these terms.

Next, determine what they share in common. This way, you will decide which content will work best for your niche.

You’ll find that my content

  • Is long-form (3k+ words)
  • Includes custom illustrations and graphics
  • Cites research, studies, and statements from Google
  • Isn’t it super technical

Then, look at who is linking to these pages. Finally, look at who is linking to those.

To do that, simply type an URL inside Semrush.

semrush-backlinko-link-building
semrush-backlinko-link-building

Take a look at the links that point to this page.

link-building-post-backlinks
link-building-post-backlinks

This can help you determine who the influential people within your field are. This way, you can begin to establish connections with them.

(This can be very useful as you begin link development.)

Step 12: Improve Your Content 10x better

As you go through step 7, You have SEO-optimized your main pages.

It’s now time to revamp the information on these pages ten times better.

Why?

It’s simple:

Your site must be kicking to be ranked at the top of 2022’s list.

Here’s how you can improve the quality of your pages by 10x:

1. VERY short intros.

Nobody wants to read introductions like this:

long-intro
long-intro

Keep your intros brief and straightforward:

2. Short paragraphs.

People don’t like reading online. They scroll.

Small paragraphs can help readers make it easier to consume your content.

use-small-paragraphs
use-small-paragraphs

3. Many subheaders.

Subheaders help break up your content into digestible chunks.

use-subheaders
use-subheaders

Make sure to use them frequently and early.

4. Make use of images, visuals, and videos

Multimedia makes your content MUCH more compelling.

(Plus, visuals aid people to be able to comprehend and learn.)

For instance, in this SEO checklist blog, I’ve used lots of pictures:

seo-checklist-post-images
seo-checklist-post-images

Visuals:

use-visuals
use-visuals

My content is simple to comprehend and read my content is easy to read, and understand; average users spend 5:08 per visit:

seo-checklist-average-time-on-page
seo-checklist-average-time-on-page

Step 13: Optimize for UX Signals

“RankBrain” is the Google’s AI algorithm.

In contrast to the older Google, RankBrain measures how users interact with your website.

rankbrain-uses-ux-signals
rankbrain-uses-ux-signals

That’s what it refers to:

To rank on Google in the present, you must optimize your site for UX Signals.

In other words, your website must make users feel happy.

If you do this, Google’s algorithm will boost your ranking.

For instance…

Recently, I discovered that this article on my blog was not ranking well.

backlinko-seo-campaign-old-post
backlinko-seo-campaign-old-post

(It was in between the 10th and fifteenth positions for my keyword of choice: “SEO Campaign.”)

seo-campaign-historic-ranking
seo-campaign-historic-ranking

As I reread my blog posts, I understood why.

My article didn’t provide people looking on the internet for an “SEO campaign” with the information they were looking for.

Instead of steps, they received an analysis of ONE particular strategy:

seo-campaign-only-one-case-study
seo-campaign-only-one-case-study

My post also contained a lot of old screenshots:

outdated-screenshots
outdated-screenshots

In simple terms:

Since my content was not designed for UX signals, Google put it in a secluded area.

Then I decided that I would revamp the entire blog post.

Specifically, I:

  • Replaced the case study with an easy-to-follow guide
  • More actionable SEO tips are included for intermediate and beginner SEOs.
  • Included examples from a variety of industries
  • Many more

I got an up-to-date piece of content that was the perfect fit for someone searching on the internet for an “SEO campaign.”

Since my content was designed to make Google users happy, my site quickly went from #15 to the 4th spot on Google.

It eventually was ranked #1:

how-to-launch-an-seo-campaign-post-in-serps
how-to-launch-an-seo-campaign-post-in-serps

Cool.

Step #14: Flatten Your Website Architecture

The architecture of your site is straightforward:

It’s the way that the pages on your website are laid out.

In the end, your web design is vitally important to SEO.

Why?

Two reasons:

The first is that site architecture assists search engines in locating and indexing your entire site.

If your website’s design is a huge mess, Google will struggle to locate the pages you have:

complicated-site-architecture
complicated-site-architecture

If your site’s structure integrates your pages, Google can easily find and index the entire area.

good-site-architecture
good-site-architecture

The second is that architecture informs Google that the pages on your website are the most crucial.

Generally, the closer a page is to your home page, the more significant it is.

closer-to-homepage-more-important
closer-to-homepage-more-important

The issue is:

What is the best way to make your website’s architecture be designed?

I mentioned earlier that the SEO audit would not be a technical exercise.

So, I’m going to keep this super simple.

You’ll want to keep your site’s architecture as flat as possible.

And in other words, and not the same as:

You want it to appear like this:

deep-site-architecture
deep-site-architecture

(Super flat.)

Or, to put it another way:

It should not require more than three clicks to navigate between your home page and any other web-based website.

any-page-should-be-less-than-three-clicks-from-home
any-page-should-be-less-than-three-clicks-from-home

In certain situations, you’ll require a designer to completely revamp the navigation on your website.

However, you could also create internal links on different websites.

link-building-the-definitive-guide
link-building-the-definitive-guide

As long as your users can access your website in less than three clicks, If they can do that, you’re in good shape.

Step 15: Start the Skyscraper Post. Skyscraper Post

The final step in this SEO review is to release the content employing the Skyscraper Technique.

Why?

It can help Google quickly index and find the changes that you’ve made.

For instance, take a look at the increase in “Pages crawled every day” when I release something new:

backlinko-pages-crawled-per-day
backlinko-pages-crawled-per-day

In this video, we will demonstrate exactly how to implement the Skyscraper Technique: Skyscraper Technique process:

For a quick overview, this is how it is done.

Then, look through your top results on keywords you’d like to be ranked.

For instance, a while back, I wrote an article titled: ” 27 Ways to Increase Traffic on Websites“.

Before I composed one word, I examined the first page for key phrases like “how to increase traffic”:

serps-for-how-to-get-more-traffic
serps-for-how-to-get-more-traffic

The information I came across was reasonably good. But it wasn’t anything extraordinary.

Then, you can publish five times better content than the content you’ve found.

I am a bit more flamboyant by writing my blog.

How?

I have included a lot of specific steps:

increase-website-traffic-detailed-steps
increase-website-traffic-detailed-steps

Screenshots:

increase-website-traffic-screenshots
increase-website-traffic-screenshots

Techniques that are working right now:

increase-website-traffic-techniques-working-right-now
increase-website-traffic-techniques-working-right-now

Then, it’s time to make your post more visible.

This is the most important thing.

If Google notices a flurry of visitors (and hyperlinks) visiting your website, They tell you: “This site is blowing up at the moment. We must get Googlebot there now.”

(As I have mentioned previously (As I mentioned earlier, this can help Google quickly process all the changes you have made to your website.)

In my instance, I sent out a mailing for my subscribers to email:

increase-website-traffic-newsletter
increase-website-traffic-newsletter

It was also promoted via Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter:

facebook-linkedin-and-twitter-promotion
facebook-linkedin-and-twitter-promotion

Bonus Step 1: Benefit More From Your Internal Links

Internal linking is among the least appreciated SEO methods on the planet.

The problem is:

How do you create an internal link correctly?

It’s simple:

It is essential to ensure that you connect to high-priority pages as often as possible.

link-to-high-priority-pages-often
link-to-high-priority-pages-often

Tips: I could see a few irrelevant pages within this report. For instance, you may have many links pointing to your privacy policies or your contact page. This is usually because you link to these pages via your website’s navigational or footer. Don’t worry about it.

Options Step 2: Utilize the Site Audit Tool

I attempted to make this SEO audit as simple as possible.

If you want to get deeper into your technical SEO, I strongly advise using the SEO review tool.

What tools can I recommend?

I have and suggest two.

The first of these is Seobility.

seobility-site-audit-tool
seobility-site-audit-tool

In contrast to most audit software, Seobility is VERY easy to use. Additionally, the reports are easy to comprehend and make decisions on.

seobility-report
seobility-report

Although SEMrush is regarded chiefly as a Keyword research device, SEMrush also has comprehensive website audit features.

semrush-audit
semrush-audit

Bonus Step 3: Optimize for the Featured Snippets

Featured snippets can dramatically increase the organic traffic you receive.

featured-snippets-can-increase-organic-traffic
featured-snippets-can-increase-organic-traffic

For instance, a few years ago, I was able to get this site to appear in the Featured Snippets section.

google-serp-channel-description-featured-snippet
google-serp-channel-description-featured-snippet

The organic traffic on the page exploded like a rocketship.

channel-description-organic-traffic-increase-from-featured-snippet
channel-description-organic-traffic-increase-from-featured-snippet

How can you get your content featured in the Featured Snippets spot?

To be featured in The Featured Snippet, You must.

  • Make sure your content is optimized to be mobile-friendly
  • Do you have HTTPS installed?
  • Use a variety of headers (H2 and H3 tags)
  • Answer questions in a short, concise manner (42 words)
  • Link to resources from authorities

This is all it takes.

Now it’s your Turn

This concludes this SEO audit procedure.

Now I’d like to get in touch with you:

Do you have any concerns regarding this procedure?

Maybe you have an excellent idea that I did not include in this article.

If you do, please let me know by posting a comment on this page right now.

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