27 SEO Experts Reveal Their Best SEO Audit Tips & Tools

An SEO audit evaluates the website’s performance in search engines and identifies the factors that have negative impact. There are of course fancier and more complex ways to define the SEO audit however the goal of this post is to determine which elements are considered the most important by top SEO experts.

This article is for people that already have SEO knowledge and know, at least in theory, how to make an SEO audit.

We consider that a quality audit is tremendously valuable to any online business and that’s why we decided to make a special blog post on this topic. We hired Minuca Elena to reach to 27 SEO experts and asked them:

What do you pay the most attention to when conducting an SEO audit?

In your opinion, what is the most commonly overlooked aspect of the SEO audit that you consider important?

Each expert answered to both questions. They also explained the reasons for suggestions and which are the essentials steps and tools to use in an SEO audit.

Matt Diggity

Name

Matt Diggity

1. This question is dangerous since nearly any aspect of SEO can cause a website to crash in the SERPs. Focusing on one specific part of an SEO audit could result in a blind spot.

That said…

Look at every aspect (technical, onsite, offsite) as if each of them has an equal opportunity to be causing the issue.

Usually, technical SEO factors are the ones you want to find. Things like site speed issues, indexing problems, etc are simple and quick to fix.

Onsite SEO problems like content issues or optimization problems, can be fairly quick to fix as well, but more costly (in the event you need a content overhaul).

Offsite, link-based problems are the painful ones to fix, but nonetheless shouldn’t be pushed aside.

2. Totally depends who you’re asking.

For example, technical SEO experts love to solve everything with technical solutions. When you have a hammer, everything is a nail.

They’ll often downplay the role that links, content, and optimization play in SEO.

But to give you a straight answer, I’d say that search intent is very commonly overlooked.

People need to match their content with the style, and type of answer that Google is already serving up. A simple Google search on the target keyword and looking at the results can help determine this.

Name

Charles Floate

Company

SEO A.I.

1. It’s always the basics that should be looked at the most, but every SEO audit should be unique the site you’re auditing.

Generally, I look at a few things straight off the bat:

Site Load Time – With Google putting more importance on the overall load time of a site. I am looking at if a site is over 3 seconds on average per page and checking the highest traffic pages load time specifically.

OnPage Basics – Making sure we have good meta titles, a sitemap in place for Google to get round the site on, we’re using 1 H1 tag per page, image alt tags and checking for the use of internal linking from content-heavy pages.

Technical Points – Finally I’ll do an overview of some of the more tech-heavy parts of the site like Hreflang markup, Schema/Microdata Markup, Mobile friendliness as well as scanning the site for duplicate metadata and content.

2. The most overlooked aspect is internal linking. Too many companies either completely neglect the way your site is linked between itself (Or as we call it in the SEO industry, Link Sculpting) – It is one of the most heavily underused tactics I have seen in the SEO industry, and one of the most beneficial ways to see quick turn around times on websites.

Charles Floate
Marcus Miller

Name

Marcus Miller

Company

Bowler Hat

1. The first and often most important step is a crawl. We use a variety of tools but typically a manual crawl in ScreamingFrog is the first step. This then acts as a reference point for the entire audit.

In some cases, we may then use a secondary crawl tool like Moz or DeepCrawl but typically our manual crawl is the one area we refer to again and again whilst looking at technical and on page SEO.

The crawl data allows us to take a bird’s eye view of the site: internal links, external links, response codes, page titles, meta descriptions, h tags, images, canonical URLs (and much more) can all be seen in the crawl data.

Just reviewing the crawl and looking for patterns here can be hugely useful.

2. The main area we see neglected is overall strategy and factoring in the reason the audit is being conducted. There are a lot of automated audit tools that will tell you if you are missing meta tags or have too long page titles but this is mostly useless.

You have to consider what we are trying to achieve here. Are we looking to diagnose a problem? Are we looking for general improvements? Do we want a situation analysis to form the bones of an SEO strategy?

At Bowler Hat (my agency), we perform an audit for every single client we take on. This at the very least gets us totally up to speed with regards to the current situation.

We can then determine what work needs doing and what the priorities are for that work – which always factors in the client’s marketing objectives.

Name

Sotiris Sotiriadis

1. The most important thing when it comes to conducting an SEO Audit is the ability to reverse engineer your competition. When we are conducting an SEO Audit, after we finish examining the standard factors that could affect the ranking ability of a website, we get into specific keyword & Landing Page level.

What we do here is that we run a Google search for each main keyword, Parse the website using an automation tool and we analyze the results of the competitors VS our client’s website for more than 500 factors.

We then categorize the analysis based on the factors that the best statistical significance and the things that are easy to fix. So, we have a complete roadmap on the things that we have to work in order to be able to quickly move the needle for those specific keywords.

Furthermore, we are looking into TF-IDF, and contextual internal links that are known to be highly relevant in order to increase the rankings of a website.

2. In my opinion, the most overlooked aspect of an SEO audit, other than the competition analysis and reverse engineering is the relevance of the backlinks.

People often discuss the number of backlinks and the quality of the backlinks but I hardly see any audit incorporating the relevance factor of backlinks into it.

It is very important to analyze the backlinks that a website has and its competitors’ backlinks in order to know who to outreach to when doing the campaign.

Sotiris Sotiriadis
David Leonhardt

Name

David Leonhardt

Company

SEO Writer

1. I have always felt that SEO is all about the content. A good SEO looks first and foremost at matching desired searches with the current content.

Once matches have been made, the next step is to identify the gaps. Which searches are not covered adequately (or at all) by the content?

I also look at traffic and searches that lead people to my site the most. If I’m already ranking as high as I can for a given search, I set it aside. But if there is a search that’s getting me good traffic, still with room to grow, that’s my target – that’s the gap I want to fill.

Then there are decisions to make. Do I tweak the current content to cover those gaps? Do I create a new page for searches not already covered? Do I need more content on some searches, so that related pages point to each other to reinforce their importance? Do I go on a writing blitz elsewhere on the web on those topics, to create a bigger bubble for the missing or weak terms?

2. A pro doesn’t overlook anything of importance. A non-pro will most likely use a free online tool. Those tools capture the quantitative stuff, like load speech, number of characters in a particular element, etc. It can also tell the number of backlinks, although I just checked one site in three free tools and came up with 36 backlinks in one and 13,313 in another, so that’s up for grabs.

What these tools can measure is how many times a word or a pair of words shows up on the page. But they can’t measure whether these are the right words.

Things that are easy to measure are, at least in theory, easy to fix. They typically don’t need to be revisited very often. Things that are hard to measure get overlooked because people get lazy. All the more reason to do an SEO content audit. But I suspect that’s what gets overlooked the most.

Name

Dennis Seymour

Company

LeapFroggr

1. For deep dive audits, I pay a lot of attention on what the crawler reports, it can be the site is not optimized at all, it can be the URL structure which is causing duplicate content, etc.

There’s really no single area that I look at but I do run something really simple right at the start of the SEO audit, which is to run it through Google Page Insights and through BuiltWith.com. The results there already give me an idea of what can be improved on the site and it gives me an idea on what things I need to look for when the crawler’s report is done.

Audits may look simple but with sites with thousands and thousands of pages, you need to know what you are looking at so those 2 tools help me a ton.

2. The most basic things are usually missed but from my experience, what’s often missed are checking the server crawl logs and the structured data for the pages. They aren’t sexy at all so they are often overlooked but they often yield really great results.

Dennis Seymour
Floyd Buenavente

Name

Floyd Buenavente

1. In no particular order, I always check for the following:

A. Site Speed – is the website very slow?
B. Site Content – is the content highly relevant where users are more than happy to link to them?
C. Site Framework – Is it being indexed properly by Google?
D. Site Privacy – Does the site have Https?
E. Site Responsiveness – is the website mobile friendly?

Aside from the hosting provider and the platform/CMS of the website I make sure that the ones above are highly optimized before I proceed to check the backlinks. A good website foundation will always go a long way in rankings.

2. The on-page level is the most overlooked aspect of the audit, sometimes you just have to tweak some pages that are hurting your website and fix how Google bots find your pages and it usually does the trick.

In my experience, I usually trim down pages to the really relevant ones so that Google will vote each page of my website as relevant.

The other thing is usability, and how fast the information is provided for by the website amongst others.

Name

David Krauter

1. We conduct several audits a week for prospects and each one is different… however, every time it really comes down to basics (with a twist… more on that in a moment). Are the basic on-page factors on par and does the site have any authority (backlinks).

Now to the twist…

Back in the day, all that would be required during an on-page check would be checking the title tag, h1’s, keywords density etc all the basic stuff we all know.

But it’s 2019 and the game has changed.

So the thing we pay MOST attention to is the first page of Google for the main keyword (alongside the 90 other pages in first 100 results) this page gives us all the information we need to rank AND identifies what’s missing on the site we’re trying to rank.

During the site audit we use machine learning & software tools to look at 500+ ranking factors and identify which ones for this specific industry, the specific search term and specific kind of content are most important.

Only then do we look at backlinks and what needs to be done.

Many times only a fraction of the power in terms of backlinks is needed to take top spots when getting the above right.

2. Now in the same way what I just discussed, doing on-site optimization the right way – not how it has always been done… but completing proper onsite optimization scientifically is the most overlooked aspect of people’s SEO audits.

Too many SEO companies still think by simply placing the keyword in the title, H1’s-H6’s, in image alt tags and just having 1000+ words on the page the job is done.

Well, times have changed… and taking this outdated approach to onsite optimization will not result in first page rankings.

David Krauter
Quentin Aisbett

Name

Quentin Aisbett

1. One of the first items I’ll check, and one that consumes much of my attention during an audit is its ‘crawlability’. Assessing a site’s crawlability can encompass many of the crucial elements of an audit.

I’ll start by investigating the site’s robots.txt file to make sure it’s not blocking crawlers from important areas of the site right through to ensuring there are no black holes caused by redirect chains.

2. In my experience, keyword cannibalization is one of the most overlooked aspects of an SEO audit.

When you have two or more pages of your site ranking for the same keyword topic, you’re not sending a clear signal to search engines as to what page they should prioritize. This issue is essentially diluting each page’s authority for the search.

Name

Antonella Pisani

1. One of the things I tend to pay the most attention to is the items that can be addressed quickly with a small code change. A simple example of that might be adding an H1 tag to e-commerce category pages if their on-page category names aren’t coded properly.

Having spent many years on the client side, I know how tough it can be to get technical resources for SEO projects and changes.

By identifying items that can be resolved with a small amount of development time, clients can begin to feel like they are making progress and if they can get some quick wins, it can be easier for them to continue having access to development hours.

2. I think that many people who are performing audits spend too much time buried in what the tools show, and don’t spend enough time really looking at the client’s website or competitor’s site.

For example, I’m in the middle of an audit for a new client right now and part of why they are getting beat has to do with the fact that their competitors are aggressively messaging price points in their meta tags, which is probably driving big click-through rates.

This isn’t something that would really show up in a typical audit but is important to share with the client.

ANTONELLA PISANI
Nate Fishman

Name

Nate Fishman

1. Like everyone performing SEO audits, I try to provide recommendations that are actionable to improve performance on SERPs. To take this a step further and think about what comes after the audit – implementing these recommendations.

During the audit, I start to prioritize these recommendations into what will have the most immediate impact. How I prioritize is based on two things:

a) how effective will this be in improving organic search performance?

b) how much time will it take to complete the task?

Quick-wins tasks (high impact, low time) will go first, followed by tasks that are high impact but may take longer. At the end of the audit presentation, I will have a slide that outlines the next steps, which solidifies a roadmap to follow moving forward. Having a roadmap that prioritizes SEO impact and your time will help maximize everything you find in the SEO audit into real success.

2. To me, the most overlooked aspect is presenting a backlink strategy. From the other audits I’ve seen, the main focus is on technical SEO and on-page recommendations. I think people avoid providing a backlink strategy because it’s hard to present and deliver, for many different reasons.

Quality backlinks are still critical to any website’s SEO success, and if you’re providing a full audit, I feel you should have a backlink strategy in place.

The way I usually go about this is by looking at competitor’s backlink profile to see what types of content is getting links, and more importantly, who they are getting links from. Then, vet it to make sure that the high-level strategy would work for your client.

Name

Tyler Brooks

Company

Analytive

1. When conducting an SEO audit, there are a few things to look at.

First, are we talking a full audit or a technical audit?

A full audit looks at content and keywords as well as all the technical. In a technical audit, we look specifically at the site architecture.

With a technical audit, we’re looking at:

  • Title Tags
  • Meta Descriptions and Meta Keywords
  • H1 Headings
  • Page Errors
  • Mobile/Desktop Friendly
  • Robots.txt/Crawlability/Sitemaps
  • Search Console/Fetch as Google
  • Analytics
  • Page Speed/Size
  • Broken Links
  • HTTPS

In a general audit, we’re looking at a larger picture. With a general audit, the number one thing we recommend is to do deep, thorough keyword research. In order to actually be able to rank for a term, you need to run your keyword through three factors:

Volume – There has to be enough people searching for it that if we rank, we’ll actually get traffic.

Intent – Is this the right keyword/group of keywords that our audience will be looking for? There are billions of keywords we could go after.

We only want to pick the ones that will have meaningful business results for us.

Difficulty – Finally, we need to make sure we actually have a chance of ranking for that keyword. Knowing the difficulty will help us understand which keywords we can get a good return for in the time we invest for SEO. Targeting keywords that are too difficult won’t allow us to have an impact.

2. The keyword research portion of the SEO audit is where most people miss. And if you miss here, your SEO will have minimum impact. Keyword research informs the whole strategy!

Tyler Brooks
Andy Allen

Name

Andrew Allen

Company

Hike SEO

1. Completing a content audit, and paying specific attention to what content Google has crawled and indexed.

Many times, website owners are unaware that Google has indexed parts of their website they do not want to be shown to their customers (maybe it’s old pages, retired pages that should be removed, old content that is not relevant, etc). Then you can act on removing what is not wanted and ensure Google is only seeing content you want your customers to see!

It’s simple to do this too; go to Google and search “site:[www.yourdomain.com]” and you will see all pages Google has crawled.

Then you can easily spot any unwanted pages and – if any of these pages are not going to provide any SEO value (eg they are duplicated pages, account pages, query pages) – then stop them being indexed and crawled via noindex tags and/or by updating your robots.txt file.

2. Many businesses often don’t think their content strategy. Writing blogs can take a lot of time (and is often why they are overlooked) but they are extremely powerful for SEO.

They provide you with new landing pages to drive more SEO traffic, build SEO authority and enable you to engage with your customers and show them your tone of voice. Building a content strategy is key, and it’s not overly difficult.

I make sure I review exactly what content a business is producing and what the aim of that content is; is it for brand exposure, is it purely for SEO, is it for their ego? Reviewing this quickly highlights areas for opportunity.

Name

Jitesh Keswani

1. An SEO Audit is the optimum way to identify foundational issues or potential issues related to website or content that are impacting your SEO visibility. The purpose of an audit is to identify the gaps and fulfill them. A proper SEO is a crucial factor in website performance, driving traffic and boosting conversions.

So, before you start with your timely audit, establish goals considering the output you wish from the audit.

When performing an SEO audit for a website, I closely pay attention to the selection of keywords because keywords are the main drivers of an SEO campaign

By analyzing keywords, you can also understand your competition. An ideal keyword will help to increase traffic to your website and surpass your competitors.

2. One of the most important factors that are overlooked in an SEO Audit is to perform checks at regular intervals. The SEO specialists should conduct a weekly and bi-weekly SEO check to analyze and capitalize SEO opportunities on the website.

As SEO audit is the key indicator of the performance of a website, it should be performed while initiating a new project and at the beginning of every quarter. Hence, to have periodic SEO audits are of paramount importance.

Jitesh Keswani
Donna Duncan

Name

Donna Duncan

1. Building a website is like building a house. If a house foundation is weak, it will decrease your home value and only get worse over time.

Technical SEO is your website’s foundation. If it is weak, Google will have a hard or impossible time finding, navigating and understanding your website. It won’t index your content, and you won’t show up in search results.

Just like it won’t matter how beautifully your home is decorated when the foundation is weak, it won’t matter how good your content is if searchers can’t find it. I always pay the most attention to technical SEO.

2. I find the most commonly overlooked aspect of an audit is what the business is doing to gain exposure for its content.

If your content is excellent but resides on an island all by itself, no one is going to see it, engage with it, or tell friends, colleagues, and family members about it.

Good technical SEO will make sure your content gets found and indexed by Google, but that content may rank very poorly. To rise to the top of search results, it has to earn high-quality backlinks from the MLSs and real estate website equivalents in your industry. That’s hard to do. They don’t just give away backlinks.

You have to show them you can provide value to their audience. To do that, you have to get your content out in front of the people who are most likely going to appreciate it; you have to promote it on the venues where your audience likes to hang-out. You have to gain exposure for your content so it can begin to earn appreciation, social shares, and backlinks.

Name

Richard Lowe

1. The most important thing to check in an audit is how many backlinks the site has, the quality of the backlinks and which keywords are favored by the search engines. My focus is on external factors that Google uses to rank the site.

On top of that, I advise about the best keywords and phrases so the client gets more sales.

2. A good SEO company will advise you what keywords to use for your posts. I recently did an audit for a site on which the choice of keywords wasn’t the best for getting sales.

Those keywords were used more for research purposes, not sales, so I recommended others that would be more effective. So, in other words, what I want from an audit is a brain behind the audit guiding me to the right solution for SEO.

Richard Lowe
Mark Bryce-Sharron

Name

Mark Sharron

Company

Sussex SEO

1. If you pay too much attention to one thing you end up with egg on your face.

You have to look at everything with equal measure. Once you find something out of place e.g. poor site architecture, over-optimized or low-quality link profile then you give that more attention.

Every good SEO has their own checklists, beyond tech SEO and Google’s web quality guidelines I look at SILO architecture, internal linking, copy/subheadings, and user behavior.

2. Classification, I look at the vocabulary used within the website copy, examining the use of related terms and entity salience/n-grams by running the text through a natural language processing API.

Likewise, I look at the topic of a websites link profile’s using Majestic Topical Trust Flow Metric. I have found Majestic to be a good reflection of topic sensitive Pagerank.

Google uses topic sensitive page rank to determine whether a site is a good match for a given keyword, so I scrape the top 10 sites for every commercial keyword I can find and run the entire dataset through Majestic.com.

With most niches patterns emerge. If 80% of your client’s competitors sites are SHOPPING or BUSINESS, the classification of your client’s site can be flipped/re-classified by building links with an appropriate topic.

Name

Evgeniy Garkaviy

Company

Temi

1. I usually start with domain analyzing and look if it was under penalty or not. If domain history is good then I move to the next step – keywords research. I recommend using a special tool like SEMrush. It can save a lot of time.

  • Quality content is very important so before creating it you should find the right keywords.
  • Sitemap and Robots.txt
  • Duplicate content checking. There are many tools to help you with that.
  • Internal linking.
  • Incoming links. If the domain is old then it should have many backlinks and part of them could be low quality. It is important to build quality links for your site to be in safe after all Google updates.

2. I think it is keyword research. Many SEOs do not spend enough of time on choosing the right keywords for their businesses. For me the best way to do it is to identify your competitors and steal their keywords. In this way you know who are ahead of you. And you can build content creation strategy in the right way.

Evgeniy Garkaviy

Name

Jake Idoko

1. It really depends on the site I am conducting SEO audit on. If it is a site, that is performing well, that just need SEO tweak, I pay the most attention to on page factors and bounce rate. If it is a new site or a site that is not performing well, most of my attention is focused on incoming links and outgoing links.

Quality of the incoming link is one aspect I put a lot of research and time into. If you get the link strategy right for a website, the chances of a very successful SEO campaign is very high.

2. When carrying out and SEO audits, we tend to focus a disproportionate amount of time on incoming links and other factors. Most of the time, SEO consultants and website owners do not pay adequate attention to call to action buttons and call to action links.

Once you land them on a page, you must make it as easy as possible for them to take action. So, if your site is selling a ballpoint pen for example, and the keywords that get people to that page is “buy ballpoint pen”. There must be a big fat call to action button they should be able to click to buy a ballpoint pen.

Name

Chris Hornak

Company

Blog Hands

1. The thing I pay the most attention to is what content is performing well and what content is not via Google Analytics and Search Console.

This will give us a feel of how Google feels about their content currently and from there we can look for ways to make improvements.

2. I think the most overlooked aspect is content quality. Often people are just satisfied with mediocre content and will put a lot of emphasis on links and social media.

You need to look at the competing content in the search results and honestly ask yourself if your content is better than what’s there.

Chris Hornak
David Ambrogio

Name

David Ambrogio

1. I typically focus on the most glaring issues, like on-page optimization issues that are easily fixable (title tags lacking a keyword, pages without meta descriptions, etc.) and the site’s historical link building/SEO strategy.

I find these to be the best areas to start with because they’re easy to spot and fix and can make a massive difference in the site’s rankings rather quickly.

Not only that but when using these issues as a guide on what to focus on, I can determine whether the issues plaguing a site’s SEO are surface level, obvious fundamental issues or something much deeper that will require more digging to locate and pinpoint.

2. Too often people pay too much attention to the technical side of an SEO audit and forget to look at the other half — content, like duplicate content issues, readability and locating thin content.

People also tend to neglect testing the website’s forms — do they work? Where do they go? etc. These aspects are equally important to the technical stuff because content makes up probably 50% of a site’s SEO rankings these days.

Looking at content and testing forms can help improve click-through rates and other factors that affect a site’s rankings overall as well.

Name

Oz Chowdhury

We use tools like SerpStat to conduct an audit. We focus both on page and off page SEO.

1. The attention that we pay the most to, I would say is the on-page optimization. Making sure that the website loads up accordingly and it’s meta description, H1, H2 tags, etc. are properly set in place. That is the primary focus.

A lot of people have sites where they don’t put keywords in their descriptions. They just put their name and hours of business. We also make sure the site is indexed by Google and make sure there is a sitemap that is in place.

2. The most overlooked aspect I would say is on pages. I feel like everyone is focused on Backlinks. Your site has to be indexed, the meta description has to be there, and there has to be good UX (Site structure & easy navigation- and interlinking).

I think these on page stuff are the most overlooked on SEO audits.

Oz Chowdhury
Nick Leffler

Name

Nick Leffler

Company

Exprance

1. What I pay attention to the most in and SEO audit depends entirely on the website being audited. If the website is not responsive then that’s the primary focus. If the website is responsive then speed is the #1 factor.

Speed is always important but if a website doesn’t meet the minimum needs for being accessible and content visitors are likely to look for then the speed doesn’t matter.

2. Website visitors. Audits and SEO in general often focus too much on the technical aspect from code to the search engines themselves.

Visitors to the website are often forgotten or a distant second in though after search engines. SEO should first and foremost focus on website visitors and the people actually using the website.

That means auditing the content and structure for navigability by users so it makes sense to them is an essential piece of the puzzle the data and audits often don’t tell you.

Name

Matt Brooks

Company

SEOteric

1. When SEOteric conducts an SEO audit, we don’t necessarily have one area that we pay the closest attention to. We start with our four pillars approach.

We look at technical aspects, content, links, and engagement. We begin with the technical foundations to identify indexation and crawl issues as well as coding or mobile responsive issues. We look for opportunities in structured data like schema.org and open graph implementation.

We then look to see how the website addresses its content needs. We look to see if it cover its topics completely and if the content is structured and optimized properly. This includes top-down analysis beginning with topics and keywords, and how those should be included and implemented within pages and content.

Once the topics and keywords are identified, we’ll begin creating content that is unique, in-depth and covers all the questions a user may have about it.

Once that is complete, we’ll turn attention to links and citations. We first will identify any problem links (low-quality or spam) to remove and identify opportunities for new link growth.

Then we look at overall site engagement and conversion data to see how users are performing on the website and identify opportunities for improvement. If we can get users to accomplish their search goals by identifying an answer to their query (like purchasing a product or converting into a lead), then the client will see a better return on digital marketing spend.

2. The commonly overlooked elements that are discovered in our audits tend to be technical in nature.

We’ve had a lot of newly built websites come to us with rankings drops. An audit quickly reveals issues like robots.txt blocking indexation, or missing 301 redirects from pages that had URLs change.

Internal linking is also an overlooked and important element that we see under-utilized. We’ve also seen other audits that do not look at engagement metrics like conversion or bounce rates. These may not be directly tied to ranking factors, but they have a significant impact on the overall performance of a campaign.

Ranking or visibility isn’t the end game – revenue and profit growth are. So audits should always include engagement and conversion items that are going to impact the ROI of a campaign.

MATT BROOKS
Joe Goldstein

Name

Joe Goldstein

1. The focus of an SEO audit should adapt to the site and the business’s larger goals and context. For a smaller, newer site, I might focus on their link profile, opportunities they can borrow from direct competitors, supporting keywords and how to capitalize on them.

For a larger enterprise client, I might focus on site structure, crawl optimization and indexing, how they handle user-generated content, and optimizing their category pages.

If a business has an online store, local presence or goals, international presence or goals, significant link or structural problems, sufficiently-developed marketing channels, or unique internal capabilities or limitations, those can all have a massive effect on how I structure and focus my SEO audit.

2. Many SEO audits check the site against an explicit or implicit checklist and the SEO’s own preferences instead of adapting to the business’s distinct needs, goals, competition, and capabilities.

It’s not worth talking about bad H1 tags if half the site is uncrawlable, or making profound structural changes if they don’t have the development bandwidth to fulfill it.

Name

Alex Ratynski

1. When conducting an SEO Audit our team always tries to think about the end goal in mind. For example: if you are trying to get someone to call your business or direct to another website’s landing page, a higher bounce rate might be expected rather than alarming.

2. Our team also finds many people forget to think about user intent when doing an SEO Audit. Content and SEO go hand in hand. Sometimes SEOs get so caught up in analytics and keywords they neglect to figure out WHY it’s not ranking. You haven’t fully satisfied user intent.

Another huge miss is auditing well-preforming pages to tweak them for conversions rather than rankings. Audit pages ranking #1-#3 spots to improve headings for click-through rate or improve conversions on the page itself.

Alex Ratynski
Joe Robinson

Name

Joe Robinson

Company

Kazu

1. Along with the basic on-page stuff that’s reported on all SEO audit software, I carefully examine site structure and speed.

For speed, one of the most common areas for improvement I find is images.

They’re usually the largest elements on a page and are often poorly implemented. Many people use a plugin to “Auto-optimize” their images, although I find they don’t always do a great job.

Images should first be resized to the actual size they appear on the page, by right-clicking the image, and choosing “Inspect”, you can see the exact dimensions, and use the numbers to resize the image, then upload them to a service like TinyPNG to compress them, and replace the originals on the site. This alone can save many seconds of page loading time.

2. Many audits overlook internal linking and whether certain pages are even necessary at all.

I export all pages from Screaming Frog and then combine the data with organic traffic from Analytics. This shows whether a page is performing poorly. I can then decide whether to remove the content altogether, or combine with other poorly performing pages to make longer guides, then redirect the old pages to the new.

I prefer a site structure that allows any page to be accessed with as few clicks as possible. Preferably no more than three. I use Screaming frog to collect all the internal link data, combine with Ahrefs DR (backlinks) ratings for each page, then create a visualization in Gephi to get an actual map of all the internal links, with backlink data.

Thank you so much to all the experts that contributed to this expert roundup! Now you know what are the most important aspects to which you have to pay attention when conducting an SEO audit.

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