Contact information

200 W. Side Square #725 Huntsville, AL 35801
Follow us

SEO audits are the single best method to recognize why your SEO project isn’t working.

It is the very first activity my agency participates in when bringing on a new customer.

In this article, I’m going to show you how you can carry out a total SEO audit in 2016.

SEO Audit

Remember two things prior to you begin:

1. The time financial investment for any audit depends on the size of your website.

2. An excellent SEO audit is all about asking the ideal concerns.

What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit reveals methods for you to improve your SEO campaign. The goal is to recognize powerlessness in your project that are injuring your performance. This procedure will provide you a list of action items that you need to repair. If you act on this list, you should see enhancements in your SEO efficiency.
When Should You Do An Audit?

As I discussed, we constantly perform an audit when we induce a brand-new client. But, we will likewise audit a current project every quarter. This is to guarantee that we didn’t miss anything and to determine any brand-new problems. An audit is constantly a great way to examine our performance.

There are 2 times we perform audits:

1. at the beginning of every new project
2. once a quarter

Now that you comprehend the basics, let’s jump into the initial step of the SEO audit.

The Total 9 Step SEO Audit

Follow these 9 tasks and you will leave no stone left unturned. Remember, an effective SEO campaign is the product of hundreds of favorable ranking elements. That is why it is critical that you analyze every detail of your campaign. You don’t need to be 100 % ideal, however that ought to be the goal.

Let’s start:
Action 1: What Are Your Strategic Objectives?

Strategic Objectives

Goal: to identify what your long-lasting goals are for your SEO campaign and company.

I have stated this before and I will state this again:

SEO is a method to an end.

It is absolutely nothing more than a marketing channel to grow your business.

That’s why your Strategic Objectives need to be exactly what your company is trying to attain through SEO.

Clear Strategic Objectives keep your project focused and assist you attain your objectives.

If you currently have a Tactical Objective, then this is the time to examine it.

Are your goals Particular, Measurable, Achievable, Pertinent, and Timely (S.M.A.R.T.)?

You need to improve them if they are not.

If you do not have Tactical Objectives for your SEO project, then now is time to produce them.

Here are some examples of Strategic Goals for an SEO project using the S.M.A.R.T. concept:

“Blue Widget Inc. will quickly enhance its natural search exposure by 50 % within the next 6 months.”.
“Blue Widget Inc. will easily grow from 20 connecting root domains to over 100 link root domains within the next 6 months.”.
“Blue Widget Inc. will easily grow its lead volume from natural search by 20 % within the next 12 months.”.

Your Tactical Objective should be a mix of SEO KPIs and business KPIs.

Now let’s go into keyword analysis.
Task 2: Keyword Analysis.

Keyword Analysis.

Goal: to figure out whether the existing keyword targeting technique deserves it. And, to discover untapped keywords that might result in “simple” wins.

You have to reexamine your current set of keywords before jumping head initially into your audit.

The first thing you want to ask is:.

Are you targeting the ideal keywords?

Oftentimes, the keywords that some businesses are going after are way out of their league.

They believe they can win on “homerun” keywords … But they will more than likely end up failing.

A great audit will help you identify the quality of your keywords.

Typically, I will have the customer target less competitive long tail keywords.

My group and I refer to these keywords as “simple wins”.

It is a thorough practice to examine your current set of keywords.

You ought to do this on a quarterly basis.

It’s constantly much better to focus your resources on keywords that are carrying out well.

Do not spread your resources across numerous keywords.

Separate your winners and go after those.

However, now you are most likely questioning:.

How do I understand if I’m targeting the “best” keywords?

Think of your keywords as goals.

Every keyword that you choose to target is an objective you want to achieve for your SEO campaign.

That indicates you have to make use of the S.M.A.R.T. principle.


You need to select a specific set of keywords to target.

A list of a thousand keyword is not specific.

Choose 10, 20, or 100 keywords depending your budget plan and resources.


You should measure the performance of your keywords.

There are some SEOs that say you shouldn’t track keywords anymore.

I concur that tracking keywords without tracking other important KPIs isn’t really efficient.

However, tracking your core keywords is an outstanding way to see how Google is valuing your website.

It’s likewise a way to measure the effect of your link acquisition.

To measure the performance of your keywords, I utilize Pro Rank Tracker.


Are you targeting keywords that are beyond exactly what your website is capable of?

The truth is:.

New sites battle to rank for competitive keywords.

That’s since:.

The sites that rank for competitive keywords are aged and trusted.
These same websites will be more authoritative than yours since they have actually been getting backlinks for years.
Considering that they are ranking for competitive keywords, that indicates they will likewise have a much larger budget than you. This will enable them to purchase authoritative link positionings to maintain their position.

You need to be realistic.

If your site is new, then you ought to target long-tail keywords.

Don’t let your ego identify exactly what keywords you wish to go after.

I’m not stating you are egotistical.

I’m saying that because I have let my ego identify my keyword selection procedure in the past.

It went something like this:.

“Guy, I’m so proficient at SEO and I can literally rank for anything.”.


That’s how I used to be.
Moral of the story: do not let your ego determine your project.

Be realistic and use the information to identify your path.


This must be obvious, however your keyword needs to pertain to exactly what your business does.


How long do you believe it will take you to rank for your existing set of keywords?

You have to put a due date.

Remember, improving your site’s performance for a keyword is goal. You need to aim to achieve that goal as fast as possible.

The S.M.A.R.T. concept is just the primary step to confirming your current keyword set.

You now have to assess the competition for those keywords.
Action 3: Competitor Analysis.

Rival Analysis.

Goal: to validate your keywords and find missed link opportunities.

A great audit will assess the competition for a few factors:.

Initially, to see whether a keyword is too competitive.
Second, to see what kinds of material is carrying out well for the rivals.
Third, to scrape the rival’s link profile for possible link chances.

Keep in mind:.

You have to examine your rivals to verify your keyword choices.

You need to be asking yourself:.

“Are my keyword choices too ambitious?”.
Or, “are my keyword selections too conservative?”.

We split our rival analysis into 2 sections.

The very first is just a fast analysis of PA and DA in the SERPS.

You will need the Moz toolbar for this.

Let’s state we wished to rank for the keyword “marketing automation”.

Enter “marketing automation” into Google and scan the outcomes.

PA – DA Analysis-min.

We search for sites that have a DA less than 50. In this case, there is one site ranking for the keyword “marketing automation” with a DA less than 50.

DA is a decent gauge for figuring out whether a keyword is worth going after or not.

At scale, this procedure is the quickest way to eliminate keywords from your list.

Bear in mind:.

Competitors is all relative.

For instance, it would be foolish to target “marketing automation” if your website is brand-new. However, if you have a well established website with authority, then it might be something to consider.

The 2nd analysis is more in-depth since we are trying to find link chances.

I will not go unfathomable into this, however make use of Ahrefs or Majestic to examine the link profiles of your rivals.

Read this overview of find out how to examine competitors.

Are There Any Low Hanging Fruits/ “Easy” Wins?

Now let me show you how you can find low hanging fruits.

We will utilize SEM Rush and Google Browse Console for this.

Enter into Google Search Console and click on “Search Traffic” and “Browse Analytics”.
Select “Impressions” and “Position”.
Then arrange the outcomes by “Position” will the lowest ranking position at the top.

Like this:.


These are low hanging fruits that you can target.

If you website isn’t ranking for any keywords, then you will have to utilize SEM Rush to find low hanging fruits.

Go to SEM Rush.
Get in a competitor URL.
Go to “Organic Research study” and “Positions”.
Sort the keyword list to reveal least expensive search volume keywords.

I prefer to start with the lower volume keywords due to the fact that they are the simplest to rank for. Here are some low hanging fruits I discovered digging through’s traffic information:.

SEM Rush-min.

Now let me show you how to perform a technical analysis.
Step 4: Technical Analysis.

Technical Analysis.

Objective: to identify technical problems that are harming user experience and hurting your internet search engine efficiency.

Technical issues can pester your website’s SEO efficiency.

Fortunately is that you have tools like Shouting Frog SEO Spider at your side.

These tools will assist you determine a number of the prevalent problems.

Let’s begin:.
How Fast Does Your Site Load?

How fast your site loads effects user experience in either a favorable or negative method.

That’s why it is at the top of the Technical Analysis list.

Usage Pingdom and Google’s site speed tool to obtain your benchmarks.

Any website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load has room for enhancement. It is ideal if you can your site load under 1 second, but this is tough.

Here are some resources that will accelerate your site:.

Ways to Improve Your Page Load Speed by 70.39 % in 45 Minutes.
10 Ways to Accelerate Your Site– and Improve Conversion by 7 %.
11 Low-Hanging Fruits for Enhancing Website Speed (and Conversions).

Is the Website Mobile Friendly?

This is a no brainer, however you need to check whether your website is mobile friendly or not.

Google considers this to be a strong ranking factor, so do not take it lightly.

Use Google’s mobile friendly check for the analysis.

The option is very simple here:.

If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then make it mobile friendly.




You website should have a sitemap because it helps with indexation.

If you are on WordPress, Yoast will automatically create one for you.

If you aren’t using Yoast then install the XML Sitemap plugin.

For those on custom-builds or non-Wordpress websites, you will have to take the traditional route.

“site:” Search

Go into Google search “”.

Site Colon Search-min

This will show you how well your site is indexed.

If you site isn’t showing as the first result, then you likely have a penalty.

Or, you are blocking the search engine from crawling your website.
Is There Duplicate Content?

Duplicate content can plague your website and could land your website a Panda penalty.

Ecommerce stores are most susceptible to duplicate content issues because they will copy manufacturer product descriptions.

To top it off, they will also use cookie-cutter META information for those pages.

This creates a duplicate content tsunami.

Let me show you the issues with duplicate META data first:

Duplicate META Data

Duplicate META data is most prevalent on Ecommerce websites.

This is because many Ecommerce websites have many pages with similar products.

As a result, they will get lazy and paste similar META descriptions on pages.

This isn’t a good practice.

If your Ecommerce has many similar pages, then you should consider consolidating them. There is no reason to have several pages for different colors or sizes of the same product.

Once you have taken care of this issue, then you need to write unique descriptions for every single page.

Yes, that’s right. Every single page.

You should strive to have unique META data and unique content on every single page on your website.

This will take a ton of effort and resources, but it’s worth it in the end.

Remember: you don’t have to complete it in one day.

If you improve only 10 pages a day, you will have 3,650 optimized pages within a year.

To find duplicate META data you can use Screaming Frog SEO Spider and Google Search Console.

Let’s start with Screaming Frog:

Enter your URL and start the scan

Go to “Meta Description”, on “Filter” dropdown select “Duplicate”, and “Export”.

Duplicat META Descriptions-min

The next place to look for duplicate META descriptions is in Google Search Console.

Go into Google Search Console and go to “Search Appearance” and “HTML Improvements”:

Meta Descriptions – GSC-min

In this section you will find duplicate META descriptions and title tags.

Page-Level Duplicate Content

Now that you have identified all duplicate META data, you now need to find page-level duplicate content.

To perform this task you will need to use Siteliner.

This tool will show you what pages share the same or very similar content.

Go to and enter your target website. Click on “Duplicate Content” and see what pages are suffering from it.


Keep in mind that this tool isn’t always accurate. For example, it may not know that you have “noindexed” your category pages. So, it will likely classify those pages as duplicate content. Use your best judgement.
Are There 404 Errors (With Link Equity)?

Not all 404 errors are equal.

First, let me dispel a common myth that “all 404 errors are bad for SEO”.

This isn’t true.

404s are an effective tool for telling search engine that the page no longer exists.

When a search engine like Google finds a 404, it will remove that page from the index.

For intentional 404 errors, this is exactly what you want.

Think about it: would you want someone to find this dead 404 page through a Google search?

Of course not.

That’s why Google removes them because it isn’t helpful for the user.

With that myth dispelled, there ARE 404 errors can actually hurt your site’s performance:

404 pages that have backlinks.

These types of 404s are leaking authority on your site.

What you want to do is reclaim these backlinks by 301 redirecting the 404 page to a relevant page on your site.

If there isn’t a relevant page, then redirect it to the homepage.

To find 404 errors, I recommend you use Google Search Console:

Go to “Crawl” and “Crawl Errors”. Click on the “Not Found” tab to see your site’s 404 errors:

404 errors-min
Is Your Site Architecture Efficient for SEO?

Many audits skip right past site architecture, but this is a big mistake.

Most websites are not designed with SEO in mind.

Weirdly, this isn’t always a bad thing. That’s because many businesses create their website based on what they believe the user wants.

You should always be user-centric with your SEO strategy.

But, you still need to guide and please the search engine at the same time.

A strong site architecture makes both the users and the search engines happy.

When examining site architecture ask the following questions:

Is the navigation clean or is it cluttered?
Are the internal links using effective anchor text?
Can you improve the navigation to make it easier for users and the search engines?

Are the URL Structures SEO Optimized?

We always analyze the URL structure during the audit to make sure they are SEO friendly.

But, we are also careful at this stage as well.

You do not want to change URL structures if the client’s site is performing well.

The reason is because you have to 301 redirect the old URL to the new URL.

301 redirects are spotty and won’t always send the trust and authority from the old URL.

This means you could end up losing rankings for an extended period of time.

Changing your URL to a more optimized and clean version will likely help your site in the long run.

You just have to be willing to lose some organic traffic upfront. Or, you can just avoid changing the URL at all.

Now, if the client isn’t ranking for anything, we will always suggest to change the URL structure (if it’s bad).

You have to use your discretion and remember that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.


Inspect these guides for additional support:

10 Ways making Your Website More Mobile Friendly
Google’s Mobile Friendly Guide

Exists Keyword Cannibalization?

Among the most essential elements to look for in an audit is keyword cannibalization.

“Keyword cannibalization” is when two pages are competing for the exact same keyword.

This can puzzle Google and compel it to make a choice on what page is “finest” for the search question.

It’s constantly better to direct Google instead of letting it make decisions.

You should do away with keyword cannibalization to attain this objective.

There is one form of keyword cannibalization that is most common:

When you optimize the homepage and a subpage for the exact same keyword.

This is most common on the local level.


Let’s state it’s a regional accident legal representative from Chicago.

The homepage title would resemble this:

“Chicago Personal Injury Attorney|Awesome Law Firm”.

At the same time the customer will likewise have a subpage optimized like:.

“Finest Chicago Injury Lawyer|Awesome Law Firm”.

These needs to be prevented.

Select one page to enhance for “Chicago Personal Injury Legal representative” and unoptimize the contending page.

There is another cannibalization problem you have to search for and it includes your blog.

There is nothing incorrect with writing about the same subjects more than once.

But in excess, it can cause some confusion.

Google will have a hard time to identify exactly what page is most authoritative for that keyword.

More notably, Google wants you to compose comprehensive, original, and well-thought-out content.

Not short, thin short articles that do not fully discuss a topic.

There are exceptions to the rule, but thin material ought to be prevented for a lot of companies.

Remember that effective and well-developed content carries out much better in the internet search engine and will produce better user engagement.

On the contrary, releasing thin, underdeveloped content will likely cause keyword cannibalization and Google might interpret your activity as long-tail keyword manipulation.

If that occurs, the Panda algorithm will kick your website to the curb.

With that said, let me reveal you how you can rapidly identify keyword cannibalization issues:.

Open Yelling Frog SEO Spider.

Enter your site and start the scan:.


Go to “Page Titles”:.


Get in one of your primary keywords into the search bar (this will reveal you all pages contending for that keyword).

Look through your page titles and recognize pages that might be competing for the exact same keywords.
Exist Redirect Issues?

There are four types of redirects that can injure a website’s SEO efficiency:.

302 redirects.
reroute chains.
non-preferred version of domain not 301ing to chosen.
non-secured variation of domain not 301ing to secured version.

Let’s start with 302 redirects.

302 Redirects.

302 redirects are “short-term” redirects and do not pass authority. 302s need to be altered to 301 redirects to pass link authority.

To see if you have any 302s, open Shouting Frog SEO Spider.

Enter your target URL and begin the scan.
Go to the “Response Codes” tab.
Click the “Filter” dropdown and choose “Redirection 3xx”.
Click “Export” to export all 302 redirects.


Redirect Chains.

Redirect chains are when there are a string of redirects connected together.

Like so:.

Reroute Chains.

Breaking the chain will send out all authority to the final destination page (instead of partial authority).

Here’s how you find redirect chains with Shrieking Frog SEO Spider:.

Go to “Configuration” and click on “Spider”.
Click the “Advanced”, choose “Always Follow Redirects”, and click “Ok”.
Enter your target URL and start the scan.
After the scan is total go to “Reports” and click “Redirect Chains”.

Reroute Chains-min.

Is the non-preferred version of the domain 301 redirecting to the liking variation?

Every website owners have to decide what version of their website they want to show to their users.

Some individuals prefer the “www” while others prefer non-www. domains. Understand that whichever one you choose will not have an impact on your SEO efficiency.

Google treats them the same way, so it is a matter of choice.

Problems occur if you do not reroute the non-preferred domain to the chosen.

For instance, let’s say you choose to go with “”.

By doing so, www. becomes your preferred domain.

And now, the non-www. becomes your non-preferred domain and vice versa.

You must 301 reroute your non-preferred domain to the chosen. Otherwise, you will end up with two duplicate sites AND you will leak authority.

I have actually discovered that websites built on customized platforms will suffer from this problem.

The designers underestimate the consequences of keeping 2 variations of the site live.

They typically will not 301 reroute the non-preferred version of a domain to the chosen.

In essence, if you do not redirect, you have 2 duplicate websites.

I utilize this tool to see if the appropriate redirection has been done.

301 Redirects-min.

Is the non-secure variation of the site 301 rerouting to the secure variation?

Let’s just state that the shift to SSL hasn’t been quite.

Lots of websites have made an excellent choice to protect their sites with a certificate.

However, many are having problem with the application the certification.

Many customers forget to 301 reroute the non-secure (http) site to the safe (https). This has a comparable impact of not redirecting a non-preferred domain to the preferred.

Determining this concern is basic:.

Go to your target URL:
On the address bar in your internet browser, eliminate the “s” from http and hit get in.

It must redirect back to the protected variation.

If it does not, then you have to get it repaired!

You can also utilize the tool above to inspect as well.
Is the Site Being Indexed Well?

Your site can just get traffic if your pages are indexed in Google. That’s why it’s constantly a smart idea making sure your ENTIRE website is being indexed well.

A good place to start is with your robots.txt file.


Often by mishap, website owners will obstruct the online search engine from crawling their site.

That’s why you have to audit your robots.txt file to make sure that your website is being crawled well.

The command you need to look for in your robots.txt file is “disallow”.


If you utilize this improperly, you might stop search engines from crawling your website.

The specific command you wish to look for is “Disallow:/”– this instructs online search engine spiders not to crawl your site.


Over-Optimized URLs

In attempt to game the search engine, some clients will keyword things their URLs. Keyword stuffing anything on your site is never ever a great practice. In fact, it will likely injure your efficiency more than assist it.

Here is an example of a keyword stuffed URL that we encounter a lot:

You will observe that “cool widgets” remains in the URL three times. Whether deliberate or not, it will harm a page’s efficiency.

I recommend eliminating the subfolder “cool-widgets” so the URL appear like this:
Are Internal Hyperlinks Injected the Right Way?

Ineffective/non-strategic internal linking can confuse the online search engine. Internal links are expect to be clear and are usage specific match anchor text.

If you have a page about “blue widgets”, then “blue widgets” need to be your internal anchor text.

In my eyes, this appears like a very basic concept.

Unfortunately, I see this problem repeated over-and-over once more when we examine sites.

Finding inadequate internal links isn’t really easy …

You have to go page-by-page to determine them and repair them.

This is one of the most time taking in on-site SEO modifications you will experience.

To avoid this happening, just ensure you always use good practices.

The majority of your internal link anchor text need to make use of specific or partial match anchor text.
Step 5: Page Level Analysis

Page Level Analysis

Objective: to guarantee that each keyword-targeted landing page is enhanced successfully.

Every audit has to examine the quality of material and the optimization of each page.

Strong material without reliable optimization won’t carry out. Weak content with strong optimization also will not carry out.

You require both strong content and reliable optimization to drive online search engine traffic.

The first thing I instantly do is take the target page and run it through Copyscape.

Copyscape Check

I do not run the target page through Copyscape due to the fact that I believe my customer is liar.

It’s due to the fact that there are some residues on the Internet that will steal material.

All you have to do is submit a DMCA report to Google and they will remove the material from the index.

After we run each target page through Copyscape, we then analyze the basics.

Is the keyword in the title?

Your target keyword for the page needs to be in the title. And, the keyword only has to appear when.

That’s all!

Is the keyword in the META description?

Ensure the target keyword is in the META description. Do not pack it in there more than once.

Is the target keyword within the very first few sentences?

Your main keyword needs to appear once at the beginning of the content. This is to reinforce the relevancy of the page.

Is the URL SEO-optimized and clean?

The landing page ought to include the target keyword in the URL and the URL should be short and clean.

Does the ALT tag on the first image of the page consist of the target keyword?

All your ALT tags need to be filled out, however your main keyword for the page ought to appear in the very first image ALT tag.

Does the last sentence of the material include the target keyword?

The last sentence or conclusion is your opportunity to solidify the significance of the page. Make sure you include your keyword.

Exist internal links? If so, are they placed the right way?

As I mentioned in the past, if you have internal links, ensure they are using specific match anchor text.

This is all you have to examine for page-level optimization. Now let me reveal you how you need to analyze your material.
Step 6: Content Analysis

Content Analysis

Goal: to figure out whether the current material technique is working. And, exactly what needs to be improved to get more out of the content.

Your content analysis must check out both your keyword-targeted landing pages and any blog content that’s been released.

Analyzing material is the most time-consuming part of an SEO audit.

That’s because it is the most fundamental part of the whole audit.

You can get all the other parts of an SEO project right, however if your material is slacking, your results will not last.

You Required an Outdoors Perspective

It is vital that you generate a 3rd party to analyze your content technique.


Since you need an outdoors perspective. It’s difficult to self-examine and review your very own content because you will be biased.

You need an outside party to tell you the truth.

Most businesses do not have reliable material methods.

In fact, a lot of don’t have a “technique” at all.

Here are the questions you need to ask during your material analysis:

Is Your Material Distinct and Initial?

This ought to be a no-brainer, but the material on your website has to be distinct and initial.

That indicates using your innovative mind to come with outstanding concepts!

No thrown up garbage. Taking the additional effort to develop something original deserves it.

Is Your Material Useful and Informative?

In addition to your content being original, you likewise have to ensure it’s useful and informative.

That implies, it should notify, instruct, or resolve an issue that your ideal customer has.

You have to constantly consider your perfect consumer when developing content.

The content on your website isn’t really there to impress your co-workers.

Your material exists to serve and assist your prospective clients.

Is Your Material Better Than Your Competitors?

There is no point in developing content unless you believe it will be better than exactly what’s currently ranking in the online search engine.

Each and every single piece of content should have the intention to beat your rivals.

Otherwise, you are wasting your time.

Is Your Material Engaging?

Your users have to feel like you are speaking straight to them. “You” and “your” have to become your favorite words.

Is Your Info Accurate?

Do not make up facts or stats or falsify info.

Is Your Material Long Enough?

Longer content performs better in Google and this has been shown here.

You can likewise do your own research and see this shown in the SERPS.

Exist Grammar and/or Spelling Errors?

I’ve stated this sometimes however dnt rite lik dis. Utilize the Hemingway Editor if your writing is less than stellar.

Exist Broken Links?

Google hates when there are busted links in your material since it hurts user experience. Ensure you examine your pages to make sure your links are working properly. Use this free busted link checker to find damaged links on your site.

Do You Have Extreme Advertisements?

Excessive usage of advertisements can eliminate from your content, are sidetracking, and will make users hate your site.

When users dislike your website, Google will dislike it too.

If you utilize ads, do not let them overwhelm your content or Panda will be paying your website a check out.

Are You Moderating Your Blog site Comments?

Spammers like to inject nasty links in blog site comments.

That’s why you have to make certain yours are properly moderated.

You do not want to be guilty by association, so ensure you keep your comment area clean.

These questions are the initial step to identifying whether your content strategy is working or not.

The supreme indication of your material’s performance will originate from genuine user experience data.
Task 7: User Experience Analysis

User Experience Analysis

Goal: to see how well users are communicating with your content and site as a whole.

It is impossible to understand exactly what every user considers your site.

Thankfully, you can get a general photo of user experience based upon the information inside Google Analytics.

There are few data points you want to examine in your user experience analysis:

Bounce Rate

You are most likely questioning: “exactly what is an excellent bounce rate?”.

Regrettably, there isn’t a clear response.

Bounce rate is all relative and depends on exactly what type of website it is.

For instance, a “funny cat photos” website will likely have a high bounce rate.

That’s due to the fact that individuals go to the page, get their laughs in, and leave.

Websites like mine will have lower bounce rates since people will want to check out and learn more.

With that all stated, a bounce rate in between 60 %– 80 % is solid.

80 %– 90 % is enough to necessitate looking into the problem further.

If it is above 90 %, then it needs to hit the top of the priority list.

Typical Time Spent on Site.

The longer users remain on your site, the more chances you get to convert them.

Like bounce rate, average time invested in site is relative.

If the typical time spent on website is less 1 minute, then it’s certainly something you will want to look into.

As a general rule of thumb, users will invest more time on your website if there is a great deal of material to take in.

For instance, my readers spend an average of 2:52 minutes on Gotch SEO.

If this was less than 1 minute, I would have to start questioning my content method and my site in general.

There is something that will rapidly push back users:.

A lack of quality content.

Low average time invested in site typically pesters local businesses for this precise factor.

That’s due to the fact that any individual trying to find a “plumber in St. Louis” is most likely cost shopping.

They will jump from business-to-business looking for the best deal.

The very best method to combat this issue on the regional level is to produce more valuable material.

You should focus on informing your potential local customers.

Education and transparency cause trust.

Trust results in sells.

Concentrate on providing more value than your competitors.

This will improve bounce rates and force users to stay on your website for longer.

Think about by doing this: if someone wished to get to you, could they find out more in 30 seconds or in 3 minutes?

Yes, I am captain obvious, however it’s essential.

The longer users stay on your website and digest your content, the more they will feel like they “understand you”.

Objective Completions.

Tracking goal competitors is the most essential metric in Google Analytics.

The only reason your business ought to even have a website is to get conversions/goal conclusions.

It doesn’t matter if your bounce rate is low or people are remaining your website for hours … If the visitors aren’t converting into leads, sales or e-mail subscribers then you are losing your time.

The goal of improving the other metrics is to make you more cash!

Remember, SEO is just a method to an end. SEO by itself doesn’t make money.

YOU make money by offering.

You can have the best SEO in the world, however if you cannot sell, it won’t matter.

The word “offer” will have a various meaning for everybody.

However there is something that every online company shares:.

You have to offer through copywriting or through video. If you avoid this task, then no one will purchase your items or no one will end up being a lead.

With that stated, whenever objective conclusions are abysmal we instantly take a look at the customer’s on-site sales method.

Is it easy for leads to contact you?
Exists enough details about your service?
Are you showing enough social evidence?

Exit Pages

Identifying exactly what pages users leave from the most is the initial step to taking care of the concern. It should be obvious, but you need to assess the most regularly left page.

You need to ask the simple concern “why are they leaving this certain page more than others?”.

Believe it or not, it’s not always a bad thing to have a high exit rate on a page.

Sometimes the content does its task for the reader and requires them to go out and act.

Do not constantly think that users are leaving a particular page since they dislike it.

If the material fixes the user’s problem well and they leave the page, you have actually done your task.

There is one very important thing to think about when analyzing Exit Rate inside of Google Analytics.

Do not take a look at the overall number of “Exits”.

The total number of exits will constantly be higher on pages that get more traffic.

The number you wish to take a look at is the “% Exit”.

Sort your data from the greatest percentage to the lowest.

A “high” exit portion would be anything over 80 %. A “regular” exit portion is around 50-65 %.

The # 1 problem that will force people to leave a page at a high frequency is that your content did not resolve their issue or answer the concerns they had.

There are other aspects that might compel individuals to leave a page like design, but content is often the culprit.

Go the page with the greatest exit rate and ask:.

Does this page fix a problem or answer a question to the max level?
Are there still some questions left unanswered?
How is the readability of the material?
Exist a lot of huge blocks of text?
Insufficient images?
Busted images?
Does the page load slowly?
Exist distracting aspects such as advertisements that would send a user off your website?
Are you setting external connect to “open in a new window” (if not, you should)?

These questions need to be ample to obtain to the bottom of the issue. Go through this process for every single page with a high exit rate.

Return Visitors.

The amount of visitors who return back to your website is a strong positive user signal.

It suggests that your website or material deserves seeing once more.

Return visitors are also good from a conversion perspective because it offers you more opportunities to convert them into a lead or e-mail customer.

If you do not have a high percentage of Return Visitors then this might be an indication that your content is lacking. Or, your site has one or a lot of the technical or content concerns that I explained above that are repelling your users.

Branded Searches.

Like Return Visitors, top quality searches are a strong indictor that individuals want your website and brand.

If you are producing great material and your website is developed with users in mind, then individuals will wish to return. That indicates they will go into Google and look for your brand.

To see how well you are currently doing, you will have to utilize Google Search Console.

Go to “Browse Traffic” and click on “Browse Analytics”. Filter by “Clicks” so that the search query with the most clicks is on top.


Your brand name should be one of the top inquiries.

Social Signals.

Social signals by themselves are not effective.

BUT, if you integrate them with all the other positive user metrics, then your site will get a whirlwind of favorable ranking signals.

Getting REAL social signals must be a priority for your company. The only way to obtain them is through developing excellent material and pleasing your users. You can likewise consider using social locker plugins if you are really struggling.

Now it’s time to take a look at your link profile.

Here we go:.
Step 8: Connect Analysis.

Connect Analysis.

Goal: to identify staminas and weaknesses in your link profile.

As you understand, backlinks can make or break an SEO project. This is why a big part of our audit is spent evaluating the customer’s link profile. We make use of Ahrefs, Majestic, Open Website Explorer, and Google Browse Console to examine the links.

Now you are most likely questioning: exactly what are we looking for?

We are looking at a few various factors:.
Link Significance.

Link relevance is king when it comes to link structure.

That’s almost always where I start a link audit.

Are the backlinks hitting their site appropriate?

100 % of your backlinks don’t have to be relevant, however the bulk needs to be.

To quickly determine the significance of a client’s link profile, we export their links from Ahrefs and use the bulk look at Majestic.

When you export from Ahrefs, make certain you export the referring domains like so:.

Ahrefs Export-min.

Now you are going to take those referring domains and make use of Majestic’s bulk check to see Topical Trust Flow Subjects.

Although the Topical Trust Flow Subject metric isn’t really ideal, it is the only scalable relevance metric there is.

By hand checking the significance of each linking site would be a horrible wild-goose chase.

The goal of this workout is to obtain a general significance image of the DOMAINS that are connecting to the customer’s website.

Go to “Tools”, “Link Map Tools”, and “Bulk Backlinks”.

Majestic Bulk Backlinks Analysis.

Place the referring domains into the bulk checker and export the results. Sort your CSV file based on Topical Trust Circulation Subjects.

Identify exactly what link sources are entirely off the wall.

If you are an attorney and you have a backlink from a domain with a Topical Trust Flow Topics of “Pets”, then you need to be concerned.

Mark all backlinks that are irrelevant. This does not mean you are going to get them gotten rid of.

It’s simply a way for you to know that they exist. That way, you might return to them if your site was ever hit with a penalty.
Connect Authority.

After link significance, link authority comes in a close second.

In fact, pure authority can often mask an absence of link relevance.

I like relevancy before authority due to the fact that I believe it keeps your site much safer from algorithm updates.

However to each their own!

There are a number of methods to find how “reliable” your backlinks are.

You can run a bulk examine both Majestic and Ahrefs.

Ahrefs “Domain Rating” (DR) is an accurate gauge of site authority.

It is far more accurate than PA and DA due to the fact that it updates on a frequent basis.

The information from Open Website Explorer updates at a snails rate and is inaccurate the majority of the time.

Don’t think me?

Open Site Explorer gives a DA of 25 and claims the site just has 30 linking root domains …

Ahrefs is showing 562 connecting root domains and it’s only showing about 80 % of the backlinks in fact has.

With that said, you can utilize Open Website Explorer to crosscheck, however do not count on it’s metrics alone.

Another metric that is nearly impossible to “game” is the SEM Rush traffic rating.

That’s since it based on genuine organic online search engine rankings.

SEM Rush uses its own algorithm to determine how much your organic traffic is “worth”.

It’s not perfect, however it’s a metric I rely on a daily basis to determine the quality of link opportunities.

Make use of all of the metrics readily available at your non reusable to assess the quality of your present backlinks or opportunities.
Link Diversity.

Diversifying your backlinks makes your profile more “natural”.

Various “types” of backlinks consist of.

contextual links.
site-wide footer/sidebar links.
directory links.
resource page links.
niche profile links.
forums links.
relevant blog remark links.

In addition to the “type” of backlink, you also want to have diversity with DoFollow and NoFollow links.

At this part of the analysis, simply ask the easy question:.

“Is my link profile diversified enough?”.
Connect Targeting.

Another crucial link factor you have to analyze is the ratio of homepage links compared with deep links.

If you are using a content-focused SEO method, then the majority of your backlinks must be going to deep pages.

Regardless of what approach you are utilizing, it is always a good practice to disperse backlinks across your whole site.

This will develop the total authority of the site and improve your possibilities of seeing SEO results.
Anchor Text Diversity.

Anchor text abuse is widespread and that’s why we always examine the ratios.

The first ratio we appreciate the most is the client’s portion of precise match anchor text.

After that, we want to see their percentage of top quality anchor text.

If the EMA surpass top quality anchors, then there has to be a modification of method.

As you might know, the bulk of your anchor text profile should be branded anchors.

EMA’s ought to be used far and couple of between since it is a strong spam signal to Google.

If the customer is struggling with over-optimized anchor text, there are a couple of solutions:.

Construct new backlinks with branded anchor text to balance out the over-optimization.
Think about getting a few of the EMA altered to branded anchor text.

Overall Referring Domains.

The more special referring domains a website has linking to it, the better.

The analysis we do here is absolutely nothing more than a comparison versus their leading ranking competitors.

For instance, how many referring domains do they have linking to them as compared to their rivals?

The solution is basic here:.

Get more pertinent, high quality backlinks from special domains.
Historic Link Velocity.

Has their link speed stayed steady throughout the life of their website? Or has it been erratic?

Enormous dips in link loss are suspect.

Backlinks from genuine websites hardly ever fall off.

Backlinks from synthetic websites fall off when the link suppliers stops spending for their hosting or do not renew a domain.
Connect Velocity-min.
Link Development for

Your goal should be to accomplish steady link growth overtime like this:.

Now that you understand the best ways to analyze your link profile, let me reveal you ways to analyze your citations.
Step 9: Citation Analysis.

Citation Analysis.

Objective: to see whether or not the client has consistent NAP-W information across all listings. And, to determine business directories that the client is not noted on.

The citation analysis is used for local customers.

Nevertheless, it can be used for any business who is wanting to preserve consistency throughout all online homes.

I suggest that every business performs a citation audit even if you aren’t engaging in local SEO.

Fortunately is that citation cleanup is one-and-done activity.

Let me show you exactly what we search for in a citation analysis:.

NAP-W Consistency.

Having constant NAP-W (name, address, phone, site) consistency is among the most important ranking consider Google Local.

There are many tools for auditing your citations such as:.

Moz Local.
Brilliant Local.

Untapped Directory sites.

There are numerous business directory sites to submit your site which’s why it’s optimal to make use of a tool. Once again, we utilize Bright Resident’s Citation Tracker, White Spark, Moz Resident and Yext to find these untapped citations.
Download Free SEO Audit Checklist.

I create an SEO audit list for you that highlights the most fundamental parts of this guide.

Here’s what you have to do to receive it:.

Click on this link now.
Enter your email.
Click “Download Now”.
Validate your email address.
Enjoy your free checklist!


Wow, that was extremely long, however I truly didn’t want to leave anything out! You are now geared up to perform an extensive SEO audit whenever you want.

Please leave your ideas and concerns about this post in the remark area. I.

look forward to learning through you in a second and thanks for reading.


2 replies on “The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist in 2016”

  • Whitney
    March 23, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Hey, great post (thank you!) but it’s really hard to scan for certain sections. Would you be willing to use bold and a larger font to give each section some separation making them easier to find? Would reaaaally appreciate it!!

    • Rob Boirun
      June 29, 2016 at 3:30 am

      Our editor published this before formatting it and then got busy on other projects. Next person that has some free time will need to jump in and make this more easily scanable and readable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Need a successful project?

Want to talk to a marketing expert?

Contact Us
  • bubble-12
  • bubble-16