Performing an SEO Audit on your website

Over the coming weeks, I am going to produce a series of posts, starting with this one, that explains the auditing process I use when performing a technical SEO audit on a website. The simple purpose of this is to help you understand how to complete an audit yourself, what you need to look for and the tools that are used.

What is a Technical SEO Audit?

A technical SEO audit is a comprehensive and methodical series of processes used to help evaluate a website against a known set of SEO best practices.

It involves assessing various aspects of a website to identify strengths, weaknesses, and potential areas for improvement in terms of search engine visibility and performance.

In a nutshell: An SEO audit evaluates a website’s SEO, identifying technical, on-page, and off-page improvements.

Why are you performing an SEO Audit?

You don’t need a reason to complete an audit – it can be undertaken as a part of good site housekeeping practices. That said, most tend to wait until it is too late and they have been penalised by Google for something.

This is entirely up to you when and why you do it but I would advise any site owner to build this into their in-house work, even if only completed once or twice a year. It just gives you a heads-up.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed – why wait to be penalised if you can avoid it?

How long will an audit take?

This isn’t a quick process. An SEO audit can take ‘a number of days’ and even run into several weeks. You just can’t rush any aspect – doing so will lead to inspection points being missed and incomplete results. If that happens, you may as well have not bothered in the first place.

So be prepared to put some time into this now.

What inspection points should be covered in an SEO audit?

To help with this, I created a quick-start spreadsheet that gives you over 200 inspection points and some tools that you can use to gather the data you need.

You can find the spreadsheet here.

I will be updating this in the coming weeks to account for SEO changes in 2023/2024 so please keep an eye on it.

You can also see the SEO audit checklist here. This is a post rather than an external document but covers the same points.

Where to start when auditing

You always start at the beginning – in this case, we start with Google Search Console.

I tend to start here just because the data is already there and you don’t need to use any external tools to extract it, but it still helps to work through it methodically.

You would be surprised how much useful data you can extract from here.

I go into this in more detail in another post, but even being able to look back at dates when you first started seeing things happen, is a huge help.

If you have been penalised, you will want to see if it is related to a specific Google Algorithm Update and this is where Search Engine Journal comes in – they have collated all of the announced updates by date order and it is incredibly useful. View the Google Algo Updates here.

You can often tie these dates in with known updates and quickly learn what has happened.

In this case, we are looking at something that happened in March 2023, which we know was a broad core update. You can then start investigating that.

Taking The First Steps

Here we have touched on what a technical SEO audit is and why it’s important.

With Google now exceeding more than 1000 algorithm updates over the course of a year, as you can imagine, the rules change regularly.

If you want to stay ahead of the game and maintain your website’s ability to attract and retain traffic, then you should really understand what is going on.