Executing a SEO audit is a very involved process that touches on many of the aspects that can help or hurt your rankings, indexation and crawl rate in the search engines. Below you will find a few of the high level questions we ask when performing a website SEO audit that help us uncover technical, marketing, and ranking issues with your website. Once we have this data we can analyze the issues and make recommendations based on our years of wisdom and knowledge.
Search Engine Visibility
Check indexed pages
- Do a site: search
- How many pages are returned?
- Is the homepage showing up as the first result?
Search for the brand and branded terms
- Is the homepage showing up at the top, or are correct pages showing up?
Check Google’s cache for key pages
- Is the content showing up?
- Are navigation links present?
- Are there links that aren’t visible on the site?
- Does the homepage have at least one paragraph?
- Do these pages have at least a few paragraphs?
- Is it template text or is it completely unique?
- Site contains real and substantial content that passes the panda test?
- Is there real content on the site or is the “content” simply a list of links?
Proper keyword targeting
- Is the intent right?
- Are there pages targeting head terms, mid-tail, and long-tail keywords?
- Do a site: search Google for important keyword phrases?
- Check for duplicate content/page titles in the SEOmoz Pro Campaign App?
- Is the content formatted well and easy to read quickly?
- Are H tags used?
- Are images used?
- Is the text broken down into easy to read paragraphs?
Good Headlines on Blog Posts
- Are the headlines well written?
Amount of content vs ads
- Make sure there is significant unique content above the fold.
- If you have more ads than unique content, you are probably going to have a problem.
There should be one URL for each piece of content
- Do URLs include parameters or tracking code – This will result in multiple URLs for a piece of content?
- Does the same content reside on completely different URLs?
Do a search to check for duplicate content
- Does the content show up elsewhere on the domain?
- Has it been scraped?
Sub-domain duplicate content
- Does the same content exist on different sub-domains?
Check for a secure version of the site
- Does the content exist on a secure version of the site?
Check other sites owned by the company
- Is the content replicated on other domains owned by the company?
Check the robots.txt
- Has the entire site, or important content been blocked?
- Is link equity being orphaned due to pages being blocked via the robots.txt?
- More About Robots.txt.
- Is the content there?
- Do the navigation links work?
Now change your user agent to Googlebot.
- Are they cloaking?
- Does it look the same as before?
- Check for 4xx errors and 5xx errors?
- Are category pages set up in the appropriate way to flow link equity to key pages?
- Do they have landing pages high enough in the architecture to receive enough link equity to compete for competitive terms?
Number of category pages
- How many category pages are there?
- Have they been scaled out too much?
- Is pagination or faceted navigation more appropriate? Or, should they be used in tandem?
- Does pagination exist to help long tail content get indexed?
- Is the pagination prohibitive to crawling?
Number of clicks to content
- Are pages targeting really competitive head terms one or two clicks from the homepage?
- Are pages targeting moderately competitive keywords 2 or three clicks from the homepage?
- Are pages targeting the long tail 5 clicks away?
- Is the most important content higher up in the pagination?
Proper use of 301’s
- Are 301’s being used for all redirects?
- If the root is being directed to a landing page, are they using a 301 instead of a 302?
Use of iframes
- Is content being pulled in via iframes?
Use of Flash
- Is the entire site done in flash, or is flash used sparingly in a way that doesn’t hinder crawling?
- How long does the page take to load – Is it significant for users or search engines?
- Is alt text present?
- Does the alt text use keyword phrases?
- Does the alt text reinforce the topical themes presented in the content?
Check for Errors in Google Webmaster Tools
- Are errors and technical concerns showing up in Google WMT?
- Canonical version of the site established through 301’s>
- Canonical version of site is specified in Google Webmaster Tools?
- Rel canonical link tag is properly implemented across the site?
- Canonical tag points to the correct page?
Uses absolute URLs instead of relative URLs
- Do they use absolute or relative urls in their code?
- No excessive parameters or session ID’s?
- Are the URLs exposed to search engines static?
- Are the URLs 115 characters or less?
- Does it contain the primary keyword phrase or the page?
Number of links on a page
- Are there less than 100 links on a page?
- Homepage links to category pages?
- Category pages link to sub-category and product pages as appropriate?
- Product pages link to relevant category pages?
- Category pages link to other relevant category pages?
- Product pages link to other relevant product pages?
Links are in content
- Does not utilize massive blocks of links stuck in the content to do internal linking?
- Does not use a block of footer links instead of proper navigation?
- Does not link to landing pages with optimized anchors
Good internal anchor text
- Does the site contain internal broken links?
Unique title tags
- Does every page have a unique title tag?
- Pages contain the primary keyword phrase?
- Is possible to use the secondary keyword phrase in a non spammy way?
Page titles include branding
- Primary Keyword at the beginning of the title tag?
- Brand included at the end of the page title?
- Title Tags 65-70 characters in length
- Have they been keyword stuffed by someone else?
- Is the Meta keywords tag used?
Meta description is appropriate
- Each page has a unique meta description?
- Meta descriptions are representative of the content and entice users?
Meta robots tag
- Noindex pages only appropriate pages?
- Not blocking important pages?
- More About the meta robots tag.