How to Perform an SEO Audit in 2020 (a Step-by-Step Guide)

My Post (13)One of the hardest parts of performing an SEO audit is knowing where to start.

Even when audits are completed, the actions often take a long time to implement.  In fact, the actions from some audits never get implemented at all.

Audits don’t need to be hundreds of pages long, nor should they only be accessible and understood by the most technical of people.

A great SEO audit should effectively communicate a prioritized list of actions and justifications that clearly lays out the steps that need to be taken to improve organic search performance.

It is as simple as that.

In this guide, we are going to walk you, step by step, through the process of performing an audit.

We will teach you everything you need to do to audit your site and find and prioritize issues that could be holding back your site’s performance and help you understand the steps you need to take to grow your organic traffic.

What this guide will cover:

  • What is an SEO Audit and Why is it So Important?
  • The SEO Audit Tools You Need
  • Starting Your SEO Audit
  • SEO Audit Basics — The Things You 100% Must-Check
  • SEO Audit Quick Wins
  • What Are The Next Steps After an SEO Audit?

What is an SEO Audit, and Why is it So Important?

Before we dive deep into auditing your site, let’s first take a look at what an SEO audit actually is and why it is so important.

To put it simply, an SEO audit is the process of identifying issues that could prevent your site from ranking on Google and other search engines.

If there are issues that mean that your site cannot be properly crawled and indexed, your content doesn’t stand up against your competitors, or you have toxic links (just a few common issues that an audit could highlight), you will be missing out on organic traffic.

Sales and Competition

When you are missing out on traffic, that also means you are missing out on sales. It will be your competitors who enjoy this traffic and these conversions.

If there is any motivator to encourage you to go and audit your site, it is knowing that your competitors could be taking traffic and conversions that you could otherwise be reaping the benefits of.

If you are not auditing your site on a regular basis, it is easy to miss opportunities for growth, accidental issues that arose in the latest development roll-out, or simply things you could have done better.

Some of the most common reasons why you need to audit your site include:

  • You just landed a new SEO client and are putting together a growth strategy.
  • You started a new job and, like the above, are putting together a strategy.
  • You bought a website and want to figure out your next steps.
  • You experienced a drop in organic traffic and need to discover why.
  • Part of your ongoing SEO strategy includes regular audits to allow you to find and fix issues quickly (we recommend quarterly).

The SEO Audit Tools You Need

We are all about keeping things simple. You absolutely don’t need a large number of tools to successfully perform an SEO audit.

Throughout the audit process, we will be using just 4 core tools:

  1. SEMrush Site Audit Tool
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Google Search Console
  4. Google PageSpeed Insights

Starting Your SEO Audit

Before you start working through the audit process, go ahead and run a site crawl with the SEMrush Site Audit tool.

We will be referring to insights from this report as we work through each step, and depending upon the size of your site, it can take a bit of time to complete.

  • Head to the Site Audit tool.
  • Click ‘New Site Audit’ (top right of your screen).
  • You will now be asked to create a new project.
  • Enter your domain name and project name:
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  • You shouldn’t need to edit any settings except the limit of checked pages — this will depend upon the size of your site. In some instances, you may need to remove URL parameters, bypass restrictions, or allow or disallow certain URLs.https://cdn.semrush.com/blog/static/media/7f/e5/7fe53a9f388156ce6741a0fa84a74e9b/site-audit-settings.png” data-source-height=”1172″ data-source-width=”1764″ data-gtm-vis-has-fired-9025619_57=”1″ />
  • Start your site audit and let the crawler run; we will come back to this shortly.

If you haven’t already done so, you also need to make sure that your website is verified in Google Search Console.

Once your site crawl has finished, you will see a dashboard that displays the findings:

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SEO Audit Basics — The Things You 100% Must-Check

Let’s kick off the audit with those things that you absolutely must check.

Those potential areas of issue that could prevent your site from being properly crawled and indexed or serious issues that could be causing areas of concern. – Read more