How to do an SEO Audit for a Website (Step-By-Step)

Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs can be used to generate a comprehensive backlink profile that provides valuable data about your referring domains, their Domain Authority and Page Authority scores, and whether the incoming links are dofollow or nofollow.

Your SEO audit should also include:

  • Checking for orphan pages that have no internal links to them and adding new links to those pages.
  • Ensuring anchor text is keyword-rich, relevant, and descriptive.
  • Making sure that your website has a clear and logical internal linking structure, with your most important pages easily accessible from your website’s navigation menu.

23. Audit the User Experience

Inner Page Backlinks Anchor Text Ratio

  • 35-45% mix of branded, natural, and URL anchor text.
  • 50-60% with partial and phrase match keywords included in anchor text.
  • Up to 10% with exact match keyword anchor text.

26. Audit Online Reputation and Reviews

If the website has any errors affecting Google’s ability to it, such as host server errors or broken links, they’ll be displayed here, and you click through to find out how to fix each one.

5. Check for Manual Actions

This search engine optimization (SEO) guide explains how to do an SEO audit for a website.

During this final stage of the SEO audit, you want to focus on finding long-tail keywords for more qualified traffic, and pay close to the search volume and ranking difficulty of each new opportunity to determine its value to your SEO campaigns.

Learn More About SEO Audits

We hope you enjoyed this guide explaining how to do an SEO audit for a website.

Are customers heading online to review their experience with your business? If so, where are they leaving these reviews, and what are they saying?

“Content is King” may be a cliche these days but, like all cliches, it’s one that’s grounded in truth when it comes to search engine optimization and keyword rankings.

Meta descriptions provide a brief summary of a page’s content and can influence a user’s decision to click through to the page from the search results.

Having a mobile-responsive website is crucial for providing a seamless user experience across different devices.

Siteliner from Copyscape is an excellent tool for identifying pages with duplicate content that you can then set about changing to ensure each page is unique.

11. Inspect the XML Sitemap

Note: Google is retiring the Google Mobile-Friendly Testing tool on December 1, 2023, and encourages you to use Lighthouse in Chrome DevTools as a replacement, which is an open-source, automated tool for improving the quality of web pages. This tool offers audits for performance, accessibility, progressive web apps, SEO, and more.

9. Check and Fix Broken Links (404 Errors)

As part of your SEO audit, you should be checking that each page has a meta description of around 150-160 characters that includes your primary keyword and a compelling call-to-action (CTA) convincing visitors to click through to the page.

16. Check the URL Structures

Any site auditing tool you decide to use will identify issues of missing or duplicate title tags that must be attended to. As part of the auditing process, you’ll also need to check that each title tag uses your primary keyword and accurately describes the content of the page.

If not, updates need to be made to the on-page SEO signals and/or more content should be published to rank for local SEO keywords that attract the right target audience for the business.

30. Find New Keyword Opportunities

There’s also a section with additional resources that explain more about doing SEO auditing and the best tools for the job as well a link to a helpful checklist you can download and use during the process.

How to Do an SEO Audit

See our free on-page SEO checklist and template page for more details on this step and the other items below that reference on-site optimization.

15. Analyze the Meta Descriptions

Along with mobile-friendliness, site speed, and navigation (all of which are covered separately in this SEO audit instruction guide), you’ll also want to consider the following to ensure you’re providing users with the best possible on-site experience:

  • Is the content well structured with headings and bullet points?
  • Is it easy to read with good font size and color choices?
  • Would a general user feel satisfied if they landed the page? Or would they need to visit other web pages to fully satisfy their search intent?
  • Is there an opportunity to conduct user testing, asking people to perform certain tasks on the website and observe how they interact with it?

24. Audit the Backlink Profile

While focusing on backlinks, an anchor text distribution checker is a good tool to use to analyze the anchor text ratio for incoming links. You can then make sure each page is following a good anchor text ratio that looks natural to search engine algorithms or take the necessary steps to fix it.

As you conduct your SEO content audit, check that each article:

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  • Is relevant to the focus keyword.
  • Aligns with search intent.
  • Is valuable and informative.
  • Is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Uses relevant internal links.
  • Is optimized for readability.

22. Analyze Internal Links and Anchor Text

HTTPS is a protocol to ensure data sent between websites and web browsers is securely encrypted. Google considers HTTPS a ranking signal, so you could be losing rankings without it.

During your SEO audit, run the site through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to check the website’s speed and performance and receive recommendations on how to improve them.

SEO Audit Step 7: Analyze Speed and Performance

8. Check for Mobile Responsiveness

Along with physically testing your site on different devices, you can also run Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test or open up the developer tools in your search browser to check that your site is fully optimized for mobile.

SEO Audit Step 8: Check for Mobile Responsiveness

An XML sitemap is another invaluable tool for teaching search crawlers about your website and how the pages relate to each other.

SEO Audit Step 11: Inspect the XML Sitemap

If a site is going to appear in the search results, it first has to be indexed by the search engines that provide those results.

Broken links can lead to a poor user experience and lower search engine rankings. Google Search Console and the Ahrefs Broken Link Checker can help you identify broken links within your site. You can then check each one to find the root cause of the problem and fix it.

SEO Audit Step 9: Check and Fix Broken Links (404 Errors)

10. Check for Duplicate Content

More importantly, your SEO audit should clarify that someone in your business is taking responsibility for replying to those reviews in a timely, friendly, and professional manner.

27. Audit Local Business Listings

The site crawl you ran at the very start of this process will give you a comprehensive overview of all the content on the site. You can use this data to identify if enough localized content has been created, then run on-page optimization tools to ensure that content is well-optimized for its target search terms.

As you discovered, the process for how to perform an SEO audit consists of multiple steps to properly analyze and check all of the factors that can impact the search engine rankings and organic visibility of a website. By following the tasks outlined in this guide, you’ll ensure that the SEO audits you do cover the essential elements for on-site and off-site SEO.


Ensure that the primary target keyword is used in the page title, meta description, H1 tag, a single H2 subheading, and a few times throughout the main body content, aiming for a keyword density of 1-2%.

Another essential part of learning how to do an SEO audit for a website properly is to check that the URLs are SEO-friendly; meaning they’re short, concise, and match the primary target keyword for the page.

Tools such as Ahrefs Site Audit, Screaming Frog, and Semrush Site Audit are all excellent options for making this process as smooth as possible. Once you’ve run your site audit, you’ll have a wealth of data that will take the hard work out of completing most of the following steps in this guide.

2. Check for HTTPS Issues

Business listings are essential to local SEO efforts, helping the organization get noticed whenever someone searches for similar businesses in a specific geographical location.

Tools like Semrush and the Ahrefs Site Audit can be used to identify any pages that are missing H1 tags so that you can quickly add them.

First, open Search Console and go to Indexing > Sitemaps to ensure that you have an active sitemap in place. You can then locate it on your server and check that it’s properly configured for search engines to crawl and index your website’s most important pages.

12. Audit the Robots.txt File

The much-feared “duplicate content penalty” has long been debunked as a myth. However, the fact is that having the same content on multiple pages (or on multiple sites) can still cause problems as Google’s ranking algorithms have to decide which content to rank and, more often than not, will index the wrong content.

The links below explain more about SEO auditing. Use these resources to expand your knowledge on the subject.

Do an SEO Audit Summary

A well-optimized title tag can make all the difference to your SEO success, ensuring that both search engines and their users understand the subject of your content and its relevance to search queries.

Header tags can also help you improve your rankings for relevant search terms, so you’ll benefit from optimizing the H2 tags for the target SEO keywords and the H3 tags with keyword variations and synonyms to improve topical relevance.

19. Analyze Keyword Usage and Density

These SEO auditing tools can help you make informed decisions when it comes to purging your website’s backlink profile of toxic or harmful links and identifying new opportunities to generate more high-quality inbound links to improve SEO ranking performance.

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How to Do an SEO Audit

1. Run a Site Crawl

Keywords may be the foundation of your SEO, but they’ll only benefit your site if they’re used appropriately.

Backlinks (literally links back to your website from third-party sources) provide signals to search engines about the quality, relevance, and authoritativeness of your content, which are major ranking factors for Google.

As explained in our other guide with common technical SEO issues, you need to ensure HTTPS is enabled and the website is not encountering problems such as mixed content, which is when your site loads over an HTTPS connection but some resources (such as images and scripts) load over insecure HTTP.

3. Check for Indexing Issues

You can use a multitude of paid and free tools for this process like Google’s Autocomplete featrue, Ahrefs free keyword generator (seen below), social media monitoring tools, Google Trends, etc. (See this related guide with a complete list of strategies to find good keyword opportunities for your website.)

SEO Audit Step 30: Find New Keyword Opportunities

At this stage of the audit, you should be checking that the business has a fully-optimized presence on all major business listing platforms like Google Business, Bing Places, and Apple Business Connect.

28. Check for NAP Consistency (Name, Address, Phone Number)

Businesses targeting customers in specific locations, should have localized content on the website tailored to significantly improve organic visibility in local search results.

The final step of the SEO audit process is to utilize keyword research best practices, looking for new opportunities to increase the search visibility of your fully audited and optimized website.

Running a site crawl will identify any broken internal links in your site, but that’s not all you want to be looking out for.

Schema Markup is a type of structured data that gives search engines valuable information about the type and topic of your content.