How to Do an SEO Audit: A 10-Step Guide

An SEO audit is not just a routine checkup; it’s a relentless pursuit of digital perfection. In the ever-evolving landscape of search engine optimization, auditing your website is like peering into the soul of your online presence, laying bare every strength and weakness. Let’s cut to the chase: a basic SEO audit is not basic at all. Instead, it’s a complex, multi-layered process that can significantly boost your site’s performanceif done right.

What You’ll Learn About Doing a Basic SEO Audit

By reading this article, you will learn:
– The definition and importance of an SEO audit
– How to perform a basic SEO audit, including steps for site crawl, visibility check, indexation review, organic traffic analysis, backlink audit, technical SEO assessment, on-page and off-page SEO review, and local and international SEO considerations
– Post-audit actions to take for improving your site’s SEO

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is the MRI scan of the digital marketing world. It scrutinizes every inch of your site to identify issues affecting search engine visibility. I remember the first time I performed an audit; it was like opening Pandora’s box. Expect to unearth everything from technical glitches to subpar content, and know this: an SEO audit is not for the faint of heart.

Why do an SEO audit?

Why climb a mountain? For the view from the top. Similarly, an SEO audit gives you an unparalleled perspective on your sites standing. It’s about understanding how to please both search engines and users. With an audit, you can pinpoint exactly where you’re losing traffic, why you’re not ranking, and how to edge out competitors.

How to do an SEO audit

1. Crawl your site

Imagine sending a digital spider to weave its way through your website’s intricate web. That’s what crawling is. Use tools like Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to mimic how search engines crawl your site. This will reveal a multitude of sins: broken links, redirects, and oversized files. Once, I found a rogue noindex tag that had been hiding for months, slyly blocking search engines. Check every nook and cranny.

Insider Tip: Keep your crawl reports. They’re historical data goldmines for tracking your SEO progress.

2. Check your sites visibility

Visibility is the currency of the web. Use Google Search Console to check which queries show your site, your average position, and your click-through rate (CTR). I’ve seen sites with great content buried on page two because their meta titles were as dull as dishwater. Tweaking them can work wonders for your CTR.

3. Review your sites indexation

Indexation is your website’s roll call for Googles index. Too few pages? You might be underutilizing your content. Too many? You could be indexing pages that should be kept private. A simple search in Google can provide a quick overview, but for the love of SEO, dive deeper with Search Console for the full picture.

4. Check for manual actions

Manual actions are Google’s equivalent of being sent to the principal’s office. If you’ve been naughty (think black-hat SEO), you’ll know it here. Google Search Console will list any penalties, and you’ll need to clean up your act to get back in their good graces.

5. Review your organic traffic

Organic traffic is the lifeblood of any website, and analytics tools are your stethoscopes. Check for trends, peaks, and troughs. A sudden drop could indicate a penalty or a technical issue, while a steady decline may suggest content or user experience issues.

6. Do a backlink audit

Backlinks are the internet’s version of word-of-mouth. They signal credibility and authority. Tools like Majestic or Moz can show you who’s talking about your site. But beware: not all backlinks are good. Toxic links from spammy sites can do more harm than good, so don’t hesitate to disavow them.

7. Review your sites technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation your site is built on. Ignore it at your peril.

Site speed

A slow site is the kiss of death for user experience. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to ensure your site is as swift as a gazelle.


With Google’s mobile-first indexing, if you’re not mobile-friendly, you’re not competitive. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can reveal how your site stacks up.

Site architecture

Good architecture is invisible but essential. It ensures users and search engines can navigate your site with ease.

URL structure

A clean, descriptive URL structure is a small but mighty cog in the SEO machine.

Internal linking

Internal links are your site’s internal roadmap. Use them wisely to guide both users and search engines to your most important content.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content confuses search engines and dilutes your authority. Tools like Copyscape can help you spot and squash these doppelgangers.

HTTP status codes

These are the smoke signals from your server to the user’s browser. Ensure that 200s dominate and that 404s are as rare as unicorns.

XML sitemap

This is your site’s treasure map for search engines. Keep it updated, and ensure it’s submitted via Google Search Console.

Robots.txt file

The robots.txt file is the bouncer at the door of your website, telling search engines which pages to crawl and which to ignore.

Site security

HTTPS isn’t just for show. It’s a trust signal for both users and search engines, so secure that site with SSL encryption.

8. Review your on-page SEO

On-page SEO is your content’s handshake with search engines. It’s all about relevance and user experience.

Title tags and meta descriptions

These are your adverts in the SERPs. Make them compelling, and keep them within the recommended character limits.

Headings and subheadings

Headings structure your content not just for readability but also for SEO. Use them to signal the hierarchy of your information.

Image alt text

Images are blind spots for search engines unless you describe them with alt text.

Keyword cannibalization

If your pages are eating each other’s lunch by targeting the same keywords, it’s time for an intervention.

Thin content

Content should be a banquet, not a snack. Beef up those pages with valuable, in-depth information.

9. Review your off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is the reputation your site has in the wider web community.


We’ve touched on backlinks already, but it’s worth repeating: quality over quantity.

Anchor text

The anchor text of your backlinks should be varied but relevant. Too many keyword-rich anchors can smell fishy to search engines.

10. Review your local SEO (if applicable)

If you’re a local business, local SEO is your bread and butter.

Google My Business profile

Claim, verify, and optimize your Google My Business listing. It’s your digital storefront.

Local citations and NAP consistency

Your name, address, and phone number (NAP) should be consistent across the web.

11. Review your international SEO (if applicable)

If you’re playing in the global sandbox, international SEO is a must.

Hreflang tags

Hreflang tags are your site’s Rosetta Stone, telling search engines which language you’re using for different pages.

Insider Tip: Use a tool like Flang to ensure your hreflang tags are implemented correctly.

What to do after an SEO audit

After your audit, it’s time for triage. Prioritize issues based on their impact and complexity. Develop an action plan, and tackle the most critical issues first. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep iterating, keep improving.

Insider Tip: Document every change you make post-audit. It’s essential for tracking what works and what doesn’t.

In conclusion, an SEO audit is a rite of passage for any website serious about its online presence. It’s meticulous, it’s comprehensive, and it’s absolutely essential. So roll up your sleeves, dive in, and prepare to give your site the best chance to shine in the SERPs.

Common Questions

Who should perform a basic SEO audit?

Anyone looking to improve their website’s visibility online.

What is included in a basic SEO audit?

It involves assessing on-page and off-page elements like content, meta tags, backlinks, and site speed.

How can I do a basic SEO audit?

Use tools like Google Search Console, SEMrush, or Moz to analyze your website’s performance.

What if I don’t have technical knowledge?

Many online resources and tutorials can guide you through the process without needing advanced technical skills.

What are the benefits of a basic SEO audit?

It helps identify areas for improvement and enhances your website’s overall search engine ranking potential.

How often should I conduct a basic SEO audit?

It’s recommended to perform an audit at least once a quarter to stay ahead of any potential issues.

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Xavier Berkness

Xavier Berkness is the President of PERC, a renowned Digital Marketing Company. With an impressive career spanning over two decades since 1996, Xavier has earned a reputation as a leader in the field of digital marketing. He has leveraged his deep understanding and expertise in building websites to author a highly-regarded book, 'Mastering On-Page Optimization - The Secret Sauce of an SEO System.' Xavier's impactful contributions to the industry have been recognized in a Star Tribune feature, where he was hailed as a 'Mover and Shaker.' Outside the professional realm, Xavier is a nature lover who cherishes time spent near the ocean. He continues to fuel his passion for digital marketing, relentlessly seeking new knowledge and strategies every day. His combination of professional prowess and personal charm make Xavier a trusted authority in the digital marketing industry.