Website Audit Checklist: 14 Steps to Rank on Google’s First Page

When starting work to improve web positioning on an old site, one of the essential tasks is to carry out an SEO audit by following a detailed website audit checklist. In this way, it is possible to analyze the project’s current state, detect the errors it presents, and the list of tasks to correct them. Findings from a web credibility search by Stanford University show that 75% of online users judge a specific company’s credibility based on website quality.
Follow each step on this website audit checklist:

Why Do an SEO Audit?

 

A house needs a solid foundation to last over time, do you agree? Otherwise, it risks sagging over time and possibly collapsing. It’s the same for a site. If the foundations of a site are sloppy, we can say that it is a poor quality site. At first glance, not really for us. 

 

For search engines, a site with many technical, structural, and semantic weaknesses that do not meet the criteria imposed by their algorithms will be considered a poor quality site. Not correcting all your site’s weaknesses is equivalent to making a false start in your SEO campaign. Why not show Google and the others that your site is already well optimized and has a solid foundation? Too many people focus only on: 

  • Writing blog posts galore
  • The creation of backlinks
 

Why? Because it is easier than conducting an SEO audit. Their sites do not even meet the basic search engine requirements as they have never done an SEO audit. Don’t make the same mistake. If you want to get off to a good start, do a full SEO audit of your site.

 

The Goal of an SEO Audit

 

It is to improve each page’s positioning on various keywords to generate more qualified traffic.

  • More Qualified Traffic = More Leads.
  • More Leads = More Customers.
 

 

When Should You Do An SEO Audit?

 

Everything is going very quickly in the field of natural referencing. What works well today may not be effective at all in 6 months. Google updates its algorithms a hundred times a year. It would help if you stayed up to date with Google’s algorithms. 

 

You will understand that it is necessary to carry out SEO audits regularly. This will allow you to make sure that your site is always on top (or as good as possible). You should perform an SEO audit at least twice a year and, if possible, every quarter. Why? To verify that no problem has been forgotten and identify possible new weaknesses.

 

At Rank North Inc., we offer different SEO services to improve the performance of your website. This includes conducting a thorough audit to ensure everything is working correctly. Our website audit services are result-oriented. 

 

You can use this website audit checklist to do a professional site audit for your websites or clients. Our website audit template download is available below this guide to offer a detailed audit report. 

Get in touch with us for premium website audit services at the most affordable rates!

 

A Detailed Website Audit Checklist to Follow

We have created a website audit checklist for you to follow and achieve the desired results for your help. Below is the website audit checklist you may need to consider for improving your website’s performance.

 

Step 1: Check Google Analytics Setup

You should ensure Google Analytics is set up correctly before doing any monitoring or looking for results. To do this, you should ensure the Google Analytics tracking code is embedded in your website correctly. You can use various plugins to ensure everything is correct. This is the #1 thing to consider while following a comprehensive website audit checklist.

 

Google Tag Manager is one of the best tools to use in this case. It is a free tool where you can add tags needed for tracking purposes. You should ensure events and goals are correctly set up if you want to get the best insights. The goals you set should be based on events, on-site behavior (page views and time), and URL rules.

 

Step 2: Check Google Analytics Traffic Trends

For each site URL, you have to retrieve the interesting metrics in Google Analytics and Google Search Console. You will have at least these:

  • Number of visits generated via natural referencing
  • Number of views (consultations) all traffic sources combined

If possible, metrics related to e-commerce, conversion, or user experience.

 

Be careful to go through the official Google APIs and avoid sampling (otherwise, you will make decisions based on false data). You should tell all your traffic sources and which ones offer the best or worst conversion. This will also help you understand the behavior of different web visitors.

 

Step 3: Check Mobile Compatibility

 

Another factor to consider in your website audit checklist is to check for mobile compatibility. There are different types of pages adapted for mobile devices that you should consider if you do your SEO audit. These are:

  • Those are known as responsive design.
  • Those with different URLs. For the mobile version, they start with m.; This is m.
  • Those of dynamic publications identify the browser through which the user navigates and determines if it is in desktop or mobile mode.
 

The most SEO-friendly are those with responsive design. Many web page templates are designed and developed with this functionality. You can identify these types of pages when the design is adapted to the size of the browser.

Is your page optimized for mobile?

Another essential thing to follow in your website audit checklist is to check the page optimization for mobile. To check if your site is mobile friendly, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. It is a tool provided by Google to validate the optimization of the pages for mobile versions. That your website is optimized for mobile devices is a very relevant factor for organic positioning. Therefore, it is a step that has to be analyzed in an SEO audit.

 

Step 4: Assess On-Page SEO

 

Next on the agenda is on-page optimization, one of the most critical factors in your SEO strategy before launching a website. It would help if you made sure that each page is optimized as efficiently as possible, so there are some fundamental rules to keep in mind. 

 

Your headlines should include targeted keywords in both H1 and H2 whenever possible.

 

Your images must have a filled ALT attribute describing the image itself. It is helpful to contain targeted keywords, but you do not need to get too carried away with optimization (avoid unnecessary words). Use open graph markup for easy and convenient sharing on social networks.

 

Step 5: Check for Indexing Issues

 

It would be best if you start by analyzing the level of indexing of the website’s URLs. To do this, go to Search Console to check how many pages Google has included in its index. You can find data in the “Coverage” tab in the “Index” section in the side menu. And comparing this figure with the number of URLs open to indexing – those that you have not marked as noindex – you will obtain the index of indexing or coverage.

 

Indexing Index = (Indexed URLs/Indexable URLs) x 100

 

A reasonably effective way to check is to compare the indexed URLs with the number of URLs you send through the sitemap. In case these two data are close, you can be satisfied with this point. You need to ensure there are no tags in the HTML code preventing your site from being indexed. Tools like Screaming Frog can help you carry out such an analysis. To do this, go to the “Internal” tab → You filter by “HTML” → You sort by the “Indexability” field. This way, you will know all the indexable URLs. Also, make sure your site has a robots.txt file.

 

Step 6: Run Page Speed Tests

 

One of the most important factors that Google rates for positioning is how long it takes to load the website, so it should be considered in your SEO audit. Here are some tools that will allow you to do this analysis for free.

  1. Google PageSpeed Insights: it is the tool that Google provides to analyze the performance of the. The way to use it is simple, you have to write the URL of the page in the box “Write a web page URL” and click on the “Analyze” button.
  2. Pingdom Website Speed Tool: provides you with information on loading speed metrics, performance suggestions, performance by content type, file analysis, and technical errors via HTML return codes.
  3. GTMetrix Site’s Speed: with this tool, you will obtain information, in addition to the loading speed, recommendations for Google and Yahoo!, as well as an analysis of the files throughout the loading time.
 

Step 7: Perform a Content Review

 

What is relevant is the content to analyze the positioning of a website during your SEO audit? For SEO optimization of the content of a web page and keywords, it is relevant to use the tags in each of its sections: Home, About, Contact. In this part of our SEO audit, we will focus on the blog posts’ content, but verifications on the rest of the web page are just as necessary.

You should look for the right keywords and use them in the correct numbers. Avoid keyword stuffing. Make use of Google Analytics to get vital information to understand why your content is not performing. You can also interact with your target audience for qualitative feedback on your content. Plugins like Yoast can help you optimize your content in the following ways:

  • Use of keywords throughout the content.
  • Verification of the use of H Tags *
  • Image verification.
  • Recommended minimum text content.
  • Use of meta description.
  • URL verification for SEO.
 

Step 8: Assess User Experience

 

Now that you’ve put quite a lot of money, time, and resources into your new website, you need to make sure it’s all worth it. First of all, ensure the safety of your visitors (HTTPS). However, two more issues also play a huge role in UX.

  • Is your site mobile-friendly?
  • What is the loading time for your site?
 

View your Core Web Vitals

Big changes are coming…

Each site should be easily accessible for mobile devices because most of the online traffic comes from mobile devices. For obvious reasons, slow loading can seriously affect your UX. We live in an era of speed and accessibility, and people don’t have the patience to wait for your site to load when there are thousands of alternative resources. Design your website correctly to improve navigation ease. That’s why assessing user experience is the most crucial factor to consider in your website audit checklist. 

 

Google’s recent Web Core Vitals metrics update:

 

Luckily, Google has your back with giving exact the details you need to make sure your site is performing by using  Web.dev you will get easy access to see if your page matches Googles performance and accessibility standards. 

Web Core Vitals example

Step 9: Do a Competitor Analysis

 

Analyzing the competition is essential at starting a natural referencing campaign (and very useful regularly). Too many people ignore this step. They directly prefer to research keywords, create and optimize their content and create backlinks. But this step allows you to understand exactly:

  • Who are your competitors
  • What is their keyword strategy
  • What is their Netlinking strategy
  • And what content allows them to generate qualified traffic.
 

Various tools like SEMRush can help you monitor competitor websites and get proper information. You can also get a few ideas by spying on your competitor’s content. Make sure everything is unique on your side.

 

Step 10: Identify Any Broken Links

 

Another relevant factor in a website audit checklist in terms of a website’s health and analysis is taking care of broken links. This usually happens when you link to an external page URL, and later that domain does not exist. It was located at another address. It also happens in the comments section. On the website line, some users enter an invalid URL. In the case of links to external content, it happens when the URL is renamed.

With a Broken Link Checker Tool, you will identify problems with links in the content, which is greatly helpful when conducting an SEO audit. Also, this tool is free. When talking about broken links, you must know the return codes or HTTP status since they acquire a lot of relevance for a web page’s organic positioning. 

 

The most common status codes include:

200 Correct operation
301 The page URL has permanently changed
302 Error, the page does not exist
404 Error, the page does not exist
410 Indicates that the web page no longer exists
500 Server problems
 

Step 11: Check Keyword Rankings

 

Did you know that the positioning of a keyword varies according to:

  • The type of device you are using (computer or mobile)
  • Where you are when you search.

Check if the keywords you selected during your initial keyword research turn out to be ideal or if, on the contrary, strategic changes would be preferable. Use the right keyword tools to check the ranking, performance, and search volume of the keywords you intend to use for your campaign. It would help if you also tracked keyword positioning with tools like SEMrush.

 

Step 12: Check for Social Pixels and Tags

 

Facebook Pixel is quite essential because of its role in helping you to remarket on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Audience Networks. You should make sure that it is correctly installed and working as required. This should be done on the specific website using the Facebook Pixel Helper extension on Chrome, free. Make sure Open Graph Tags are working correctly on the website for LinkedIn and Facebook. For Twitter users, the Card Validator Tool can help you assess the site for legit Twitter Card tags.

 

Step 13: Audit All 3rd Party Technologies

 

Other factors that can slow your website speed include third-party tools and plugins. Slow speeds will also affect your rankings in various search engines. Make sure all the plugins and third-party tools on your website are necessary. Get rid of redundant or unused plugins through your website’s source code. This will boost loading speeds.

 

Step 14: Audit URLs and Site Structure

 

Always analyze the structure of URLs during SEO audits to make sure they are SEO-friendly. You should not change the URL structure when the site is already performing well because it forces you to do a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL. 301 redirects do not always give the same results. Some will not send you authority and trust from the old URL. This can end in a loss of positioning for a while.

Changing your URL to a more optimized and clean version will likely help your site in the long run. You have to be willing to lose some organic upline traffic or do not change your URLs. If the site does not rank for any keyword, you should improve the URLs’ structure (if necessary). In an attempt to pigeonhole search engines, some will stuff their URLs with keywords. This is an awful practice. It may even penalize the performance of your site in terms of SEO.

 

Is an SEO Audit Enough?

 

Even with a very detailed, well-written audit report with all the necessary annexes, human expertise is essential. The person in charge of SEO (whether internal or service provider) knows better than any tool to judge priorities, adapting to each situation.

On the other hand, an SEO audit tool’s goal is to save as much time as possible (so humans can devote themselves to tasks with higher added value). This is why the audit must include, as much as possible, quantified indicators allowing actions to be prioritized.

A good audit tool also knows how to spot problems or optimization ideas that would go unnoticed if only a manual analysis were done. This is the whole point of data SEO, especially with algorithms designed by recognized SEO experts.

What Is the Price of a Website Audit?

 

While performing an online website audit with open access tools is free, doing a full audit requires a budget. There is no easy answer here, and the budget will depend on your scope requirement and depth of analysis.

What Type of Sites Should Perform an Audit by following Website Audit Checklist 

In general, it is vital to do an audit, regardless of the type of site you manage. A website is a working tool, just like the vehicles of your salespeople. In this sense, it should be seen as a priority sales channel. There are still some nuances depending on the type of website studied:

  • In the case of an e-commerce site, a regular audit is more than recommended because it makes it possible to maintain the site’s good functioning and optimize the number of online sales.
  • For “showcase websites,” the audit may be less regular. Still, it remains mandatory because it also allows you to maintain health and optimize leads’ generation.
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In both cases, and as soon as you have a commercial vocation, carrying out a regular website audit, therefore, remains imperative.

When it comes to web audit tools, there is no need to hide from you that there are many solutions on the market. By typing “website audit tool” in Google, you will find many results, particularly open access audit tools and more complete solutions.

Website Audit Pricing

Every project is unique and here we include a first audit as well as the standard ongoing monthly retainer. If needed, our team can also refresh your logo and branding for an additional $500.

All Audits will take 3-4 business days to complete.

What if I cancel the monthly retainer?

Your website and any projects is yours to keep. You’ll miss out on our ongoing SEO, Google review generation, website maintenance and monthly support.

First Audit

$800

1 time payment

Everything included:

Monthly Retainer

$500 /month

Billed monthly, cancel anytime

Conclusion

 

An SEO website audit checklist allows you to evaluate the optimization of a web page for organic positioning. There are two aspects of SEO to verify: what refers to the website’s interior known as SEO On-Page and what refers to inbound links or SEO Off-Page.

The result of an SEO website audit checklist is a list of actions to be more relevant to Google. Thus, it is essential to know which tools help in each step and the result they provide. Remember, an optimized website translates into better web positioning, more visits, and growth for your blog or business.

It’s time to get in touch with the website audit pro! We are ready to serve you with the best website audit pro services anytime.