SEO Audit Checklists

Competitor Audit Checklist

  • You have identified the top 3-5 competitors.
  • You know the keywords that the top 5 competitors rank for?
  • Do competitor sites demonstrated high levels of E-A-T?
  • You monitor the Backlink profiles of the top 3-5 competitors.
  • Competitor SEO and KPI benchmarks have been set and reviewed.
  • You know and track competitors performances in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
  • Top keywords are known, tracked and monitored.
  • You conduct Content Gap Analysis against your top competitors.

Content SEO Checklist

  • Content is up to date?
  • Content is relevant to users as shown by user behaviour matrices such as low Bounce Rate, increased Time On Site and no Pogo-Sticking.
  • There are no thin pages/content i.e. content length is <300 words.
  • Content is in-depth and covers the topic adequately.
  • Content is not copied from other sites (duplicate content).
  • Content is readable i.e. spelling and grammar is correct.
  • Industry experts and/or authorities authored the website content.

On-Page SEO Audit Checklist

  • Every page has a unique title tag
  • Every page targets one primary keyword (Keyword Cannibalization)
  • Every page has a unique and readable meta description
  • Every piece of content makes use of header tags e.g. H1 – H6, and they contain primary keywords and/or synonyms/LSI keywords 
  • There is no over-use of keywords in the content (Keyword Stuffing)
  • Every image used on the site has an image alt attribute that describes the image.
  • There are NO broken Internal links i.e. the links do NOT return 4XX or 5XX status codes (all are 2XXs)
  • There is a correct and appropriate use of the NoFollow link attribute 
  • Each page has friendly and readable website names (URLs)
  • No flash content is being used on any of the sites.
  • There is no use of iFrames on any of the site pages
  • The site makes use of a website icon (favicon)
  • There is the correct use of Canonical tags to tell the search engines the right pages to index and rank
  • There are NO “Zombie” pages i.e. archived pages, pages with thin content, pages that do not rank, pages with no external links
  • The site has an up-to-date Privacy Policy 
  • The site has an up-to-date Terms of Service
  • The site has a Contact us page with a working contact form and up-to-date contact details
  • All links are clear and descriptive (anchor text)
  • Any blog commenting on site is monitored and all links by commenters are nofollow
  • The site uses a Cookie acceptance notice
  • Do any advertising links have ‘nofollow’ or rel=sponsored applied to them?
  • Is ‘nofollow’ used correctly on other internal links?
  • Is sharing across social networks encouraged?
  • Have tags for Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Cards been applied?
  • Does the footer contain links to Privacy & Cookie policies?
  • Is the copyright statement and current year showing in the footer?

User Experience Audit Checklist

  • Users have been surveyed and responded positively about user experience
  • Heatmaps show users using the website correctly i.e. finding buttons, navigation, menus
  • All fonts are large enough to read clearly across all devices and browsers
  • Font colors are appropriate
  • Are content and navigation elements clear for users?
  • Is the quality of the content generally outstanding?
  • Is the page both useful and unique for the end user?
  • Is the quality of the web design of a very high standard?
  • Does the layout of pages facilitate ease of scanning?
  • Are there any mobile usability issues or errors?
  • Is there a clear call to action messaging showing, above the fold?
  • Is it clear what the primary action a user should take is?
  • Does the site have a clearly defined user journey?
  • Is the quality of experience comparable on desktop, tablet and mobile?
  • Are there easy to complete forms on key landing pages?
  • Is there good use of CTA buttons and panels?
  • Do product pages feature clear ‘add to basket’ messaging?
  • Are product page images of a high standard with zoom functionality?
  • Has one-step checkout been set-up for eCommerce websites?
  • Is there a clear and intuitive basket to checkout process for eCommerce sites?
  • Is there a minimal amount of advertising banners above the fold?
  • Does the site avoid oversaturation of text ad links?

Technical SEO Audit Checklist

Crawling Issues

  • A Brand name search i.e. returns the homepage as the 1st result.
  • The website has a robots.txt file.
  • The robots.txt file does not block search engines (bots) from accessing, crawling and indexing the site.
  • There is a correct use of meta-tags for Index and NoIndex HTML attributes.
  • The site has an XML site map that has been submitted to Search engines for indexing
  • XML sitemap shows valid site addresses (URL) on the site
  • XML sitemap has NO invalid site address URLs to be kept out of the index.
  • No XML sitemap errors.
  • No discrepancy between indexed pages in Google and Sitemap
  • There are NO redirect chains
  • The site does not show different content to different user agents, including search engine bots.
  • There are NO (302) redirects unless page and/or site is under maintenance. 
  • There is no Thin or Duplicate content.
  • There is an appropriate Structured data (Micro-data) and Schema mark-up in use on the site.
  • Deleted or missing important pages have redirects (30X) to other important pages.
  • No URL Parameter issues
  • No unnecessary Javascript redirections
  • No iFrames in use
  • No Doorway pages
  • No Hidden text
  • Positive Crawl rates i.e. NO decrease in pages crawled per day and less time taken to crawl the site.

Canonical Issues

  • There is ONE PREFERRED version of your site address (URL). The rest have been 301 redirected to the preferred version. 
  • Every page has a Canonical Tag.
  • There are no Canonical errors
  • There are NO multiple URL patterns returning the same content.

Security Issues

  • The hosting platform the site is up to date and secured.
  • The site has a valid SSL certificate
  • The website has Malware/Virus protection
  • There are regular Malware & Security checks
  • All site links (URLs) start with HTTPS:// 
  • There is a permanent redirection (301) of all non-HTTP:// to secure links HTTPS://
  • The site secures and protects any emails submitted by visitors. (Email Privacy)
  • There is NO use of flash on the site
  • There are no resources accessible via HTTP

CMS Security Issues

  • Check default CMS settings for
    • User settings
    • Comment settings
  • Check file permissions
  • Your CMS is running the latest version available?
  • Are you using updated and secure security plugins/extensions?
    • Check security plugin/extension settings.
  • Is data regularly backed-up?
  • Check the integrity of backups to ensure they are not corrupted or unusable
  • Is the recovery plan up-to-date
  • Sensitive files are protected
  • Directory browsing is prevented
  • Image hotlinking is prevented
  • FTP (file transfer protocol) is secured using SSH (Secure Shell)
  • Passwords for FTP. CMS, Database etc are strong and secured
  • All plugins/extensions are up to date
  • All inactive or unused plugins are removed
  • Themes are up-to-date and secure
  • Is two-factor authentication in place for entry to the CMS?
  • Is adequate security software installed within the CMS?

Site Architecture Issues

  • There is a flat-site architecture i.e. good organisation of site’s pages and categories.
  • Important pages are only 3 clicks away from the homepage.
  • Speed & Server
  • There is regular monitoring of site uptime.
  • There are no server-side (5XX) errors.
  • Low site’s server response time
  • The site is not timing out because of server issues
  • The site and its pages take less than 3 seconds to load 
  • All JavaScript rendering takes place on the server versus client-side. 
  • There are NO Javascript errors.
  • No Inline CSS is being used.
  • Minification of CSS
  • The site uses GZIP or compresses of resources.
  • The site caches content
  • A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is in use and configured.
  • All images on site are optimized i.e. compressed and all using descriptive ALT tags
  • International (Foreign) SEO Issues
  • There is the correct use of the Hreflang HTML attribute across local sites.
  • In the Google Search Console, the target country/region is set.

Structured Data Issues

  • Are there any errors or warnings relating to structured data across the site?
  • Is important business data marked up with Local Business schema on relevant pages?
  • Is Organization schema firing on a suitable page?
  • Are FAQ pages marked up with FAQ Page schema?
  • Are important people in the business marked up using Person schema?
  • Does the client have reviews that can be marked up using aggregate Rating schema?
  • If the client sells products, are the products marked up using Product schema?
  • Are breadcrumbs marked up using Breadcrumb schema?
  • Is the sameAs schema property used for social media links and other identifiers?
  • Are there any other types of structured data that could be applied, relevant to the client?

Mobile-Friendliness Issues

  • The Website displays on a desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
  • There are NO missing links on mobile sites that are present on the desktop site.
  • Mobile buttons and links are easy to click
  • The site favicon displays in mobile search engine results pages (SERPs)
  • Content, Meta & Directives are the same as the desktop version

Accessibility & Compliance Issues

  • The site is W3C Compliant
  • Site complies with the latest accessibility guidelines i.e. WCAG 2.0 AA‎
  • WHOIS contact details are correct and up-to-date.
  • Does the site have a unique, GDPR-compliant Terms & Conditions page and Cookies page?
  • Can the end user opt out of unnecessary cookies?
  • Do pages on the site pass W3C markup validation checks?
  • Is there a high contrast between the colour of text and the colour of the background?
  • Does the alt tag for images adequately describe the image?
  • Are written transcripts of video and audio content available?
  • Can text be enlarged without impairing the function of the page?
  • Are hyperlinks clearly visible and distinct?
  • Can all parts of the website be accessed without a mouse?
  • Is it easy to find the contact page?

Manual Actions

  • Site owners can receive and respond to Manual Actions/Penalty notices.

Technical SEO

  • Has the client attempted to implement international SEO activity? If so…
  • Are the correct language and country codes used for regional variation pages?
  • Are foreign language versions translated well without errors?
  • Has hreflang been implemented correctly?
  • Is X-default in place on all pages and correct?
  • Are SEO-friendly navigation links to regional variations of the site in place?
  • Are there any forced redirects in place based on IP / location?
  • Is OG:Locale set correctly?
  • Are there any backlinks pointing to international versions?

SEO Link Building (Backlinks) Audit Checklist

  • No negative search results for the brand
  • No negative Google Autosuggestions associated with brand search
  • All Backlinks are high quality i.e. they are “DoFollow,” from trusted, authoritative and relevant sites.
  • Other sites use branded or varied texts when linking back to your site. (Anchor Text diversification)
  • There is routine monitoring and recording of Brand mentions and/or sentiment.
  • Periodic audit of Backlinks i.e. tracking links earned or lost, checking for Spammy Backlinks.
  • Are Social media business profiles associated with the Website?
  • Is the Social media business profile information consistent, descriptive and up-to-date?
  • All key content website pages contain social sharing capabilities.
  • All advertisements (ads) and affiliate links are nofollow or using new Google rel=sponsored HTML attribute
  • There are NO broken Backlinks

Local SEO Audit Checklist

  • Descriptive local title tags are used.
  • There is consistent use of the Business name, Address and Phone number (NAP) across the site and external sites e.g. social media profiles.
  • There is a correct use of location-specific structured data/
  • There is an up-to-date Google My Business listing with correct categories, description of the business and up-to-date business information
  • The site is listed on reputable business directories
  • The site has local citations
  • The site has high quality and relevant content that serves the local users
  • The site has NO thin content on local relevant pages
  • There are no Citation gaps i.e. site has as many citations from the same sources as the top competition

Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist

  • Correct use of product filters 
  • Correct use of product/review schema/structured data mark-up.
  • Internal links to product pages match corresponding Canonical tags.
  • Duplicate product URLs are not indexed
  • Correct use of URL referral page parameters 
  • Top-level pages have Canonical links
  • NO broken Backlinks to product pages.
  • All categories and product pages have unique page titles and meta descriptions.

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