The 23-Step SEO Audit Checklist for 2020

website audit checklistIs your website not ranking in search engines and are you looking for a website audit checklist to learn why your site is not ranking on Google and Bing?

Our 23-Step SEO audit checklist for 2020, can help you have an in-depth insight into SEO problems that could be preventing you from attaining a high ranking position in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Are you looking for a website audit checklist because your website is not ranking on Google and Bing? Do you want to improve your online visibility, bring more free organic traffic to your website, and increase sales?

Our site analysis experts follow the same extensive SEO Audit Checklist to discover SEO obstacles many websites are facing.

This 23-step SEO audit checklist for 2020 includes:

  • The process that each of our search engines consultants follows when auditing websites
  • Additional information about essential SEO elements problems to look for and need to fix if you want to attain top ranking on Google and other major search engines.
  • Our recommendations.

Are you ready to go through the same 23-Step site audit process our professional SEO consultants follow?

  1. Web Hosting and SEO
  2. Website Design Tool(s) and SEO
  3. SSL Certificate for SEO
  4. CDN (Content Delivery Network)
  5. Mobile-Friendly Website and SEO
  6. Mobile-First Indexing and SEO
  7. WWW Vs. Non-WWW and SEO
  8. Page Speed and SEO
  9. Zombie Pages and SEO
  10. Indexing Problems and SEO
  11. Checking Organic Traffic
  12. On-Page SEO Analysis
  13. Technical SEO Audit
  14. Backlinks Analysis
  15. External Link Analysis
  16. Google My Business (GMB) Audit
  17. Competitive Analysis
  18. Content SEO Audit
  19. UX User Experience and SEO
  20. Flat Website Architecture
  21. Get More From Your Internal Links
  22. SEO Audit Tools
  23. Check your E-A-T

Let's explore each step of our 23-Step site audit process, shall we?

Choose the right web hosting

Did you know that your web hosting could be affecting your SEO campaign? Can page speed have that much of an effect on your sales? Yes, it will affect your sales.

Your web hosting company and the server it selects to place your website can significantly impact your page load speed.

Your dedicated SEO consultant will look at your hosting's hardware and software setup. He or she will then recommend a better hosting if the one you are using offers cheap hardware and software configuration.

Pro Tip: Nobody likes a slow website. When looking at hosting their website, many website owners look for the cheapest hosting package they could find. If you want your website to achieve top page speed, you should look for a hosting company with top hardware and software configuration. Also, try to avoid shared hosting with thousands of websites.

Use the right site design tool

With the plethora of design tools available online, choosing the right design platform to built your website could be challenging. Always use the right tool for the right task. Your SEO auditor will look at the platform you are using and advise you if necessary.

Pro Tip 1: Do not use the website builder available from within your cPanel.

Pro Tip 2: Do not use Flash on your website.

Our recommendations:

There are plenty of web design tools available online which you can use:

  • Joomla! - If I am going to design an informational or a service type of website for someone, I will choose Joomla!. Joomla is a free mobile-friendly, SEO-friendly content management system (CMS) used by millions of website owners. Joomla! You could also have a library of great extensions and templates (free & paid) you could download and install to add features.
  • WordPress - WordPress is another excellent CMS (free and paid) you could use to design a website or a blog. If I were to create a blog, WordPress is the best option for managing a blog website. WordPress also bost an extensive library of extensions and themes (free and paid) you could install. You can use WordPress to build your e-commerce site using WordPress plugins like WooCommerceEasy Digital Download plug to sell digital products. You can also run an eCommerce site using BigCommerceShopify e-Commerce solutions, 
  • Magento - Magento is an excellent open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP. Magento has everything you need to run a successful eCommerce website and offers plenty of extensions available for download.
  • PrestaShop - You can use PrestaShop to create and manage your online business
  • Drupal - Drupal is an open-source platform (CMS) for building websites. The platform is free, but it has a steep learning curve.
  • Bootstrap - Bootstrap is a popular CSS framework for creating responsive and mobile-first websites. 

Note that there are other web design software you could use, but we don't recommend them because of their steep learning curve, or because they will slow down your site to a crawl. 

  • Wix
  • Squarespace
  • Adobe web design software like Fireworks, Dreamweaver, and so on.

Check your SSL Certificate

Because security is a top priority at Google, in 2014, Google introduced SSL to encourage website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS. Please note that Google made SSL a weak ranking factor in 2014.

SSL certificate and SEO

ProTip: It doesn't matter whether SSL is a strong factor or not. You should still set up an SSL certificate because every SEO element you implement will help increase your site ranking, not diminish it.

CDN (content delivery system) check

Content Delivery Network (CDN) applies to a geographically distributed group of servers that work together to provide the user's fast delivery of Internet content. Your search engine professional will look at your CDN setup and see if your site is pulling all of your resources from a CDN pull zone.

ProTip: We recommend the use of CDN.

Check if your website is mobile-friendly

Most of the Internet users use their smart devices to surf the web and search for a product or a service. Having a non-f your site is not mobile-friendly, potential customers will go to your competitor and buy from them.

Mobile Friendly Design and SEO

Your site SEO auditor will check your site for mobile-friendliness.

ProTip: You don't need or build a separate mobile website to cater to mobile users. Most of the CMSs we tested are mobile-friendly.

Mobile-first indexing check

Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content to index and rank your website. Your SEO audit includes examining your site for mobile-first indexing and offer guidance if he or she finds problems.

ProTip: Most of the time, you should not worry about this if you use a content management system (CMS) provided you don't make core changes to the CMS or the template/theme. 

WWW Vs. NON-WWW check

To avoid duplicate content problems with your website, you have to make sure you choose one version and stick with it. Did you know that even you are 100% you designed one version, other variants do exist.

Below are the four variants that exist for the one site you designed:

  • http://www.domain.com
  • https://domain.com
  • http://domain.com
  • https://domain.com

ProTip 1: We recommend that you configure your site only to use https://yourdomain.com version. As you can see, it is short and sweet. 

ProTip 2: If you haven't thought of and purchased a domain name yet, choose a short one and make it catchy.

Page speed check

We always believed that page speed is an integral part of excellent web design and SEO and that it should be part of Google's ranking factors. 

page speed and SEO
Note: The 98% score on YSlow is due to Google's analytics.js file

In case you were living under a rock, page speed has been a ranking factor for many years.

ProTip: Always reduce the file size of every image, including your logo, before uploading them to the server. Check the Technical SEO audit below.

Check for Zombie pages

Zombie pages are pages that offer no value to your visitors. So why keep them? Our auditors look at page content and provide suggestions as to which page(s) you should remove.

ProTip 1: Instead of removing the page(s) with no value to your visitors, refresh or rewrite the page with better and informative content that answers someone's question or resolves their problem.

ProTip 2: Redirect zombie pages to the homepage, or another relevant page with great content.

Indexing issue(s) audit

Crawling and indexing issues could affect your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign. If your site contains 25 pages, but only 15 pages were indexed, Googlebot may have encountered a crawling or indexing problem.

Our expert SEO will audit your Robot.txt file for instruction(s) that could be blocking some resources and recommend a fix. He or she will check for pages with a no-index meta tag. Your designated site-auditor will look for any discrepancy between the number of pages you believe should be indexed, and the indexed URLs.

ProTip 1: If you believe Google is not indexing some or many pages from your site, log in to your Google Search Console and look for crawl errors with something like "submitted URL blocked by robots.txt." You can also use Google's URL Inspection tool in Search Console to scan any URL.

ProTip 2: Make sure no instructions in your Robots.txt are blocking resources and essential pages.

Resources you shouldn't block are:

  • JavaScript files
  • CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) files
  • PNG, JPG, GIF and other image files you are using on your website
  • PDF files - If you want your visitors to view the file(s)

Resources you might want to block for security reasons (this will vary depending on the web design tool you are using):

  • administrator
  • bin
  • cache
  • component
  • includes
  • installation (should be removed)
  • layouts
  • libraries
  • logs
  • tmp

Note: You can use robots.txt to your advantage to further boost your SEO campaign. How your SEO consultant optimizes your robots.txt will depend on the content you have on your website.all depends on the content you have on your site. There are all kinds of ways to use robots.txt to your advantage.

Organic traffic check on Google and Bing

This step is a suggestion from our expert SEO marketers. To continue to outrank your competitors, you should regularly check your organic traffic on Google and Bing and make any SEO tweaks necessary. 

On-page SEO analysis (and advice)

BuzFind's internal audit checklist includes an on-page SEO audit.

One of our professional SEO providers will look at the following on-page search engine marketing elements and then present you with the on-page SEO analysis report that includes tips.

  • Page Title: It is no mystery that you should use your keyword in the Title. The page title is what appears in Google and Bing search result pages. The page title helps search engines understand what your page is about? BuzFind site audit professional will check your title tag is enticing or not, whether you have included the keyword you should be targeting, whether you have added a title tag modifier, and where you have placed the keyword. 
  • Keyword in URL: The keyword in the URL assists Google to understand what your page is all about. Did you include the right keyword you should be targeting in the URL? The SEO audit report will answer that question and offer advice
  • Short URLs: A recent analysis found that having short URLs will help you achieve top ranking in Google.
  • Keyword in your content: Did you include your keyword in your content? If so, where did you place the keyword, and how often? Our website audit report will list issues and suggest changes to tweak your on-page SEO further.
  • Headings (H1 - H6): Did you include your keyword in the H1, H2, and H3 tags? Your SEO audit report will have the answer, plus offer advice if and when needed.
  • Content SEO analysis: Offering high quality and relevant content is key to improving your visibility on search engines, and increase website traffic. We will also analyze your content for search engines and make recommendations.
  • Images: Have you optimized your images for on-page SEO and page speed? Our SEO checklist report will answer that question and make suggestions if necessary.
  • External Links: Are you linking to external relevant and authoritative websites in your article? We will audit each link within your content and make recommendations. 
  • Internal Links: Is the page you just wrote linking to other relevant pages within your site? Your assigned SEO auditor will analyze your internal link and offer advice(s).

Technical SEO audit

Our technical SEO audit checklist includes the analysis of technical SEO elements of your website for any search engine issues.

Your designated SEO expert will look at the following technical search engine optimization elements:

  • Inspect for crawl errors, if any
  • Check if your site is mobile-friendly - Does your web site qualifies for Google First Index?
  • Review your website for broken links
  • How search engines view your page(s)
  • Examine your site's page loading speed
  • Check if you secured your web pages with HTTPS (SSL)
  • Image file size and other important information you need to include to boost your image SEO and ranking

Your designated website auditor will look at the following essential technical SEO elements you should look at to improve your page speed and ranking:

  • Redirect - Did you minimize your redirects?
  • Images - Did you scale your images before uploading them to your server?
  • Image Speed - Did you optimize every picture for smaller file size to boost page load time?
  • Image Alt and Title - Did you include a well-written Alt and Title for your image(s) to further tweak your on-page SEO?
  • More about Images - Are you combining your images using CSS sprites?
  • Browser Cache - Are you leveraging browser caching?
  • Cache Validator - Did you specify a cache validator?
  • JavaScript - Did you minify and combine your JavaScript files into one file to improve page speed?
  • JavaScript Parsing - Are you deferring the parsing of your JavaScript?
  • CSS - Did you minify and combine your CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) for optimal page speed?
  • CSS and JavaScript location - Where are your CSS and JavaScript located from within your site?
  • Bad Request - Are you regularly checking your site for the bad request(s)?
  • Compression - Did you enable compression throughout your website?
  • Landing Page Redirects - Are you regularly checking for landing page redirects?
  • Keep Alive - Did you enable Keep-Alive?
  • Inline small JavaScript and CSS - Do your pages have small inline JavaScripts and CSS?
  • Request Size - Are you minimizing your site's request size?
  • Resource - Are you serving all the resources from a consistent URL?
  • @Import - Are you avoiding CSS@import?
  • Site Resources - Are you delivering your resources asynchronously?
  • Character Set - Did you specify a character set early? Are you also avoiding a character set in the meta tag?

Backlinks analysis

Backlinks are still relevant. How often are you checking your backlinks? We will review and analyze your backlinks and present you with a backlink report and include backlinks recommendation(s).

Broken Internal and External Links check

The broken internal link will result in 404 errors. So you should avoid them at all costs because it will result in poor user experience (UX). Using many paid SEO audit tools, our SEO analyst will look for any broken internal and external links and suggest changes necessary to remove those 404 errors.

Google My Business (GMB) Audit

Optimizing your online presence through Google My Business SEO is a crucial step your small business can't afford to overlook. Improving your GMB should be part of your local SEO tactics because it is an excellent method for your business to reach digital marketing success for local searches.

If you are a local business, our local SEO professionals will audit your Google My Business (GMB) to see whether you have implemented a robust local SEO strategy or not.

Competitive analysis

To outrank your competitors, you'll need to get to know them better. Competitive analysis is an indispensable part of SEO marketing. Do you have a robust competitor analysis strategy?

You assigned search engine professional will analyze your competitions' website and report to you the following important information:

  • Competitor's position (advertising research): This will help you find the paid search positions where your competitor is ranking.
  • Organic position: To find out which keywords your competitor is ranking for organically.
  • and so on

Content SEO Audit

What is a content SEO audit? A content audit includes a full list of all indexable pages or content on your domain. Our auditors will analyze your content and discover which material you should remove (zombie pages), and which content you should refresh or consolidate.

UX user experience

Are you offering the best and meaningful user experience (UX) to your visitors? User experience (UX) comprises all aspects of the end-users interaction with your website. 

Offering top user experience includes but is not limited to:

  • Offering the fastest page speed to your visitors
  • Eliminating celestial pop-ups. It is okay to use celestial pop-ups triggered when a visitor is about to exit your page.

Flat Website Architecture

Our search engine experts look at your website's architecture for the number of clicks visitors have to click on to reach a specific page. A flat architecture has no chains that help visitors reach a page in one, two, or three links maximum.

Get More From Your Internal Links

Internal links connect your content within your website and give search engines an idea of how your website is structured.

ProTip: Linking your internal pages doesn't mean you are getting more from your internal links. We can help you make better use of your internal links.

SEO audit tool

The Internet has numerous SEO audit tools (free and paid version) you could use to audit your website for SEO problems. However, using an audit tool is not as simple and easy as it seems.

We continue to be asked, 'which site audit tool should I use?' The real questions are:

  • Do you know how to conduct an audit
  • Can you afford to pay over $100 a month?
  • Do you have the time to learn how to use the audit tool and take full advantage of what the SEO audit tool has to offer?
  • Can you guarantee you're using the site audit tool as you should be using it?

BuzFind has invested time and money on paid SEO audit tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, to mention a few.

Why pay hundreds of dollars a month when you can hire an SEO services provider to audit your website for SEO? By having an experienced SEO company audit your site for search engine problems, you can rest assured that the audit report will contain accurate information about your ranking problems, and includes recommendations. 

Optimize for Featured Snippets

What are 'Featured Snippets?' Featured snippets are the picked search results displayed in a box on top of organic search results. Moz.com has extensive information about featured snippets.

E-A-T compliance check

What is E-A-T? Not to be confused with food, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Please note that not all SEO's recognize that E-A-T is a ranking factor. 

At BuzFind, we firmly believe that E-A-T is very important to search engine marketing campaigns. In February of 2019, Google validated that E-A-T is an integral part of their algorithms.

According to Google, if you have been negatively affected by their algorithm updates, their advice is to "get to know the quality rater guidelines & E-A-T. " 

Now, to the real questions. Do you know how to improve your E-A-T? Our SEO consultants know how you could enhance your E-A-T and get a high ranking position on major search engines.

I hope that is article gave you an insight into the thorough audit process each of our professional marketing consultants follows when auditing a website for SEO.

If you ever decide to audit your site for search engines yourself, we believe this article will help you.

If you tried everything but still can't get your site to achieve a top-ranking position, we can help.

Call 484-662-3084 Now


Good Read:

Technical SEO Audit

 

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 BuzFind's Website Audit Checklist - By Billy, BuzFind

23-Step SEO Audit Checklist (BuzFind's Site Audit Process)