Home » Conducting an Effective SEO Audit: Key Steps and Best Practices

Conducting an Effective SEO Audit: Key Steps and Best Practices

Digital marketing is an ever-evolving science. And the ongoing process of search engine optimization or SEO plays a pivotal role in driving organic traffic, building brand authority, increasing sales, and boosting online visibility in general. But it’s not just a handful of SEO actions that will propel your website to the #1 position on Google for a prime keyword or phrase.

Businesses must regularly assess and fine-tune their SEO strategies to achieve optimal results. This is why SEO is considered a perpetual activity and why companies end up buying monthly SEO packages for better results.

That being said, what if we told you that there is a way you can improve your website’s SEO reliably? Enter the art of search engine optimization audit. An SEO audit is exactly what it sounds like — a process to identify and rectify issues that might be hindering your website’s search engine rankings and overall performance.

In this article, we will explore the five key steps and best practices for conducting a successful SEO audit, empowering you to enhance your online presence and stay ahead in the competitive digital sphere.

SEO audit
Photo: Freepik

A quick note before we begin: For most of this work, you’re going to need the help of specialized tools and paid subscriptions. Smaller websites might be able to pull most of it off with the help of freely available tools, but the boost that paid tools can provide is simply remarkable. And if you hire a competent SEO agency, not only will you gain indirect access to these tools and their expertise, but also an option to get other issues fixed. An SEO agency can suggest you some of the secret SEO ideas that can help your website’s traffic go crazy!!

SEO Audit Best Practices

1. Technical SEO Analysis

A good SEO audit begins with a thorough technical analysis of the website. In this phase, we assess a variety of factors including the loading speed, mobile-friendliness, URL structure, content hierarchy, website layout, 404 Errors, Broken links, and site architecture.

The idea here is to identify and address any “technical” issues that could be impacting your website’s search engine rankings.

Converting images to WebP or AVIF, minifying the CSS and JavaScript code, cleaning up the databases and spam, etc. are all activities part of the technical SEO analysis. The exact steps will differ from website to website and it also depends heavily on the platform that the website is built on or the kind of framework and technologies it’s using. 

Technical SEO Analysis Checklist

Crawling and Indexing

  • Verify website indexing status on major search engines (Google, Bing, etc.).
  • Check robots.txt file for blocking critical pages or sections.
  • Review XML sitemap for accuracy and submit it to search engines.
  • Monitor crawl errors and fix issues using Google Search Console.


Website Speed and Performance

  • Test page load speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights. You can use Pingdom, and GTmetrix for this as well.
  • Check if the images uploaded on the website are well optimized for SEO, and compressed well as well.
  • Minify CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files to reduce load times. If you are on WordPress, WP Rocket Plugin does it the best.
  • Leverage browser caching and consider using CDN.


Mobile Friendliness

  • Evaluate mobile responsiveness using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • Ensure that content and functionality are usable across various devices.


Site Architecture

  • Examine URL structure for clarity and logic. URLs must be having some words rather some random numbers.
  • Implement breadcrumb navigation for user and search engine understanding.


URL Optimization

  • Use descriptive and concise URLs with relevant keywords.
  • Redirect outdated URLs to new relevant pages using 301 redirects.


Canonicalization and Duplicate Content

  • Set canonical tags to address duplicate content issues.
  • Detect and resolve duplicate content instances.


Schema Markup and Structured Data


Internal Linking

  • Establish a clear and organized internal linking structure.
  • Use descriptive anchor text for internal links.


404 Errors and Broken Links

  • Identify and fix broken links and 404 errors.
  • Customize a user-friendly 404 error page.



  • Confirm the use of HTTPS for secure connections.
  • Update website software and plugins to prevent vulnerabilities.

2. Keyword Analysis and Content Evaluation

Next up we have keyword analysis and a comprehensive evaluation of your website’s current content including all pages and blog posts. In this step, we analyze the website’s keyword usage using different tools or plugins to assess the overall content quality and possibly fix any divergence from the main topics.

It’s very important to ensure that your target keywords align with your business objectives and resonate with your target audience. To ensure this, you will need to evaluate the depth of your content and consider updating or expanding pages to provide more value to users.

Websites in a niche that sees many developments regularly need to do this more often.

Let’s assume you’re running a website for a law firm. Constantly auditing the content and keywords will give you new insights into what you can cover through your web pages and blog posts. This will start ranking and ultimately help you attract more qualified leads that are looking for legal services in the area of your expertise.

3. Backlink Profile Assessment

Backlinks are one of the most important factors in SEO. Good ones can propel your website to the first page from obscurity within months if not weeks. And bad ones, on the other hand, can silently kill your website’s authority without any warning.

Search engines use backlinks as a signal to measure a domain’s authority and credibility for a subject matter or a group of topics. Evaluating your backlink profile for quality and relevance is therefore very important. Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, and SEMRush can help you assist you better in auditing backlinks of your website.

Disavow any harmful and spammy backlinks like those from PBNs and focus on building high-quality, natural links that improve your website’s authority. If the site has more bad links, disavowing them is recommended, and further building safe backlinks is required.

4. On-Page SEO Review

Your on-page SEO is a pressing matter and should be reviewed while doing an SEO audit. This includes title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, image alt tags, and other kinds of optimizations. 

Optimize these elements for your target keywords and ensure they accurately represent the content on each page. I wrote a detailed article on On Page SEO on this blog, you must check that out for better insights on this.

5. Local SEO and Google My Business Audit

Last, but not the least, it’s also important to pay attention to your website’s local SEO if you’re serving limited regions. Businesses with a physical presence, for example, should ideally conduct a local SEO audit. Also, it doesn’t hurt to verify that your Google My Business listing is accurate and reflects positive reviews proudly.

Additional Resource

For a Full SEO Audit, you must keep this table handy to go through these pointers, and also, you can additionally check out things as per the website’s SEO goals.

Aspect On-Page SEO Checklist Off-Page SEO Checklist
Quality ✔ Relevant, valuable content ✔ High-quality, shareable content
Keywords ✔ Targeted keywords ✔ Natural backlink anchor text
Headings ✔ Proper use of headings
Meta Tags ✔ Title, description tags
URL Structure ✔ Short, descriptive URLs
Images ✔ Optimized alt tags
Internal Links ✔ Relevant internal linking
Site Speed ✔ Fast loading times
Mobile-Friendly ✔ Responsive design
Schema Markup ✔ Structured data markup
XML Sitemap ✔ Submit XML sitemap
Robots.txt ✔ Optimize robots.txt
Canonical Tags ✔ Use canonical tags
HTTPS ✔ Secure connection
User Experience
Readability ✔ Easy-to-read content
Engagement ✔ Low bounce rate
Navigation ✔ User-friendly menus
Social Signals
Social Sharing ✔ Social media engagement
Guest Posting ✔ Guest posts on reputable sites
Outreach ✔ Reach out for backlinks
Local SEO
NAP Consistency ✔ Name, address, phone consistency
Google My Business ✔ Optimize GMB profile
Analytics ✔ Set up tracking
Search Console ✔ Use Google Search Console


At this point, it should be noted that the SEO audits provided by free tools and small agencies or freelancers might not always be sufficient — especially if your website is in a competitive niche or if it’s a large one. Audits that can make a dent in search rankings for such websites often span hundreds of pages and painfully detailed processes that can take a lot of time to finish.

You might require the help of professionals to conduct a detailed SEO audit in these cases. We highly recommend hiring a competent SEO agency that has a proven track record of helping people in your niche. By doing this, you will be able to boost your website’s online presence quickly.

About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you with unique, well-researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging. He has in-depth knowledge of computers and tech as he pursued computer science.

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