Your Guide to Doing an SEO Audit

An SEO audit is the detailed process of looking through and analyzing your web presence and how it is performing in search engine results.

Because they need to be comprehensive to be effective, there are so many people who assume that SEO audits have to be long, technical and complicated to work. While it is true that your SEO Audit will take some time, and that it should never be rushed, it doesn’t have to be as long or as daunting of a process as many people assume. 

The good news is, we have created the detailed overview you need to help you understand what an SEO audit is, how it works, and most importantly, how to perform an audit of your own.

When Is it Time for an SEO Audit? 

ou should, then going through and reorganizing and restructuring your content to improve readability shouldn’t be too difficult.

However, just make sure you aren’t overdoing it. There are some pieces of content that just aren’t worth updating.

Checking on the Competition

Another step you can take in order to make sure your keywords are on-task, has to do with checking in on the competition. 

You should already have a good idea of what your targeted keywords are, but this doesn’t mean that you necessarily have all of the keywords that you need. A great way to double check on this is to check on the competition. 

Start by identifying your biggest competitors, and then find your competitor’s best keywords. 

There are ways to do this, but one of the easiest ways is with a tool like SEMrush. This is another one of the important tools we talked about earlier and one that will provide you with a list of top organic keywords for this competition, which will include traffic and volume as well as the position ranking for these keywords.

It is all pretty simple: if your competitors rank for these keywords, you should rank for them too. Look at this list of high-ranking organic keywords and make sure that you utilize them as part of your own campaign. Write down these keywords and make sure that you are using them (if they apply) in your own content. 

Then, take a look at their content…

After you have a list of keywords that are working for the competition, look at pages that are ranking for those terms. You can do this in your SEMrush platform as well. Click on these pages and figure out what the top performing pages have in common.

This is a great way to figure out what type of content works best in your niche, so you can make sure that your content is in line with that type of content. This doesn’t mean you should copy the content, but instead make sure that it is in line with what your content looks like.

The final thing you should look for are the backlinks in this high-performing content. Take a look at the links that are pointing to that high-traffic page, as it will tell you who the most important influencers in your niche are. This way, you know who you should be targeting and building relationships within your industry.

Keyword Placement

Keywords are one of the first things that every marketer learns about SEO. Even if you feel as though you spend a lot of time creating defined keyword targets, during your audit, you need to go back through and look over your keywords again—particularly when it comes to keyword placement.

Almost all keyword placement research indicates that the earlier the keyword appears, the better the results will be. Your keyword should also appear earlier in the copy and higher on the page. 

As you go back through and look at your keyword placement, make sure that you review your original keyword research and the keyword research from your competition to make sure you are putting the right keywords in to your content. 

Remember not to overstuff when it comes to your keywords and to keep the focus on strategically and naturally including important keywords in your title, content and headings.

Improving On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is one of the foundational elements of a successful SEO campaign and is something that you need to spend a great deal of time on during your SEO audit. In a perfect world you would take the time to optimize every page on your site—however, chances are you don’t have that much time.

After all, this guide is supposed to help you to perform a quick and efficient audit that won’t take weeks to finish. 

The good news is, you don’t have to go through and optimize every site on your website. Instead, start by identifying the five most important pages that need to be worked on and instead focus on these.

There are a few different approaches to identifying these pages, it can be pages that target important keywords, one that already rank well or those that are getting less traffic than they used to. 

You can really take a deep dive and work on optimization, or your can focus on a few simple strategies to improve the on-page SEO on these pages which includes:

  • Make sure your keyword appears in all of your title tags
  • Utilize LSI keywords on these pages 
  • Add five or more external links 
  • Add five or more internal links 
  • Make sure you have your most important keyword in the first 100 words of content

If you do these five things on your five most important pages, you are going to start seeing better onsite optimization and better rankings on the pages on your site that matter most. 

Looking for Duplicate Content

It is fairly obvious that duplicate content is a big “no no” when it comes to SERPs. Having duplicate content on your website cannot only hurt your rankings, but it can get you in trouble as well.

There are a few ways that you can look for duplicate content on your site. The easiest is through that website crawl you’re already running.

Through your deep crawl, you can get a “duplicate pages” report to let you know what type of duplicate content has been found. Typically, these duplicate content errors include:

  • Duplicate meta titles
  • Duplicate meta descriptions
  • Duplicate domains (having two domains isn’t uncommon)
  • Similar content from your site on a different domain pages
  • Duplicate subdomains 

Obviously, if you find this content—you want to fix it quickly.

Duplicate Body Content 

Another very common source of duplicate content that can come up—is duplicate body content from your tag pages. This is where your Copyscape tool will come in. You can use this to determine if some of your content has been plagiarized (whether intentionally or unintentionally). 

If something does show up in Copyscape, you need to change it. Even if you link to your sources, in terms of SEO you need to make sure that remove duplicate content so it doesn’t impact your search engine rankings.

When you go through to make these changes, you should also add canonical tag on your pages to let Google know exactly what you want your URL to be and disallow incorrect URLs in the robots.txt. 

This is also a great time to fix any 301 redirect issues.

Getting Technical 

As your SEO audit starts to come to a close, there are a few more technical steps that you can take in order to make sure you have covered all of your bases.

Tracking Keyword Rankings

At this point in your SEO audit, you will want to start tracking your rankings in the search engine results pages through keyword ranking tracking. While there are many different tracking programs out there—SEMrush is a great beginner program as it is easy-to-use.

You can give this tool your keywords and It will track them based on visibility and estimated traffic—but that isn’t all that this program does.

SEMrush can also find new keywords that you are ranking for as well and let you know what type of traffic it is bringing in. If you want to know which keywords have the most bang for their buck, taking the extra step to track keyword rankings is more than work the extra time. 

This will help let you know if you are on-track with the keywords you already use, or if you need to introduce new keywords into the mix.

Analyzing Backlinks 

Backlinks are still very important. Plain and simple.

A lot of things have changed since SEO first came to fruition—backlinks are not one of those things. There has been some back and forth about whether or not backlinks are still as important as they once were—and they absolutely are.

In fact, backlinks still directly correlate with rankings more than any other factor in SEO. In order to make sure that your backlinks are working for you, you will need to get a report on your links.

You can use Ahrefs to do this, but other tools such as Moz can help you as well.

When you run this report, you will be looking for two numbers: Referring Domains and Domain Rating. 

These numbers are important, but don’t sweat them too much, they are just a benchmark for you to reference once your audit is complete, so you can see in a few months what changes have been made.

Referring Domains is the number of websites out there that link to you. 

Domain Rating is how much authority your site has, based on the quality and quantity of your backlinks. This rating is on a scale from 0-100. 

These numbers are your benchmarks, and you will use them later.

Then you will look for toxic links.

The links you want to your sire should come from blogs, news sites and other reputable sources. You do not want links from shady websites. When you see them, you will know, and trust us when we say you don’t want links from SPAM sites coming to your site.

Fixing Broken Links 

This is a relatively small step in the SEO auditing process, yet it is one that can make a big difference in your search engine rankings. 

Fire up your trusted Google Search Console and run the “Index Report.”  

Then you will look for “crawl errors.”

Here you will see all of the 404 errors, or errors “not found” on your site. These are all of the links that you either need to delete (if they are not relevant) or replace if you want to keep them. 

Even if your report comes back with hundreds of links, you need to make sure that you are getting in there and fixing them, otherwise it cannot only lead to a poor user experience but tank your page ranking.

Meta Tags

Meta tags are extremely important to your overall SEO strategy, and while most website owners are savvy enough to make sure they include Meta tags when they create their website, there is more follow-up required with these tags.

Title tags and meta descriptions are an easy way to improve your search engine rankings. In fact, Google once called them “easy wins” when it comes to search engine rankings.

If you have duplicate titles and descriptions, it can seriously hurt your rankings and it starts with firing up your Google Search Console tool.

Under “Search Appearance” you can click on “HTML Improvements.”

When you do this, you will get a list of duplicate meta descriptions. If pages on your site have duplicate meta tags, make sure that you rewrite them as soon as possible. 

Launching the Skyscraper Post 

The final step in the SEO auditing process is to public content using a technique known as The Skyscraper Technique. Doing this will help Google find and index all of the changes that you just manually made through this SEO audit.

Whenever you publish something new after you go through your audit, it should show a spike in your “pages crawled per day,” a bike spike that looks like a skyscraper.

Along with making these changes and publishing what’s new, you should also promote any new post you make. When Google starts seeing more people, and more links to your site, they are going to take notice—and send GoogleBots your way. 


If you are set on doing an SEO audit on your own, instead of hiring a professional to do it for you—these steps are going to help guide you through the process. Remember, it will take some time to complete an SEO audit, and the bigger your website is, the longer the audit is going to take.

This process should have helped you uncover a lot of issues (both big and small) on your website and as part of your SEO campaign. The good news is, by taking the time to go through the entire auditing process, you can uncover changes that need to be made and make the positive changes that will only help your website thrive.

Of course, if you still feel like you want to put more work into making improvements—you can always head back to your crawl report and dig deeper into what comes up. 

However, for most website owners, this process will be more than enough to see some real, positive changes in their site’s performance… at least until it is time to do the next SEO audit in a few months.

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