SEO AUDIT: 10 Basic Steps

by: Dale Roxas
| September 8, 2021
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Accept the fact that there are numerous SEO audit methodologies available. It can be difficult to know where to start, how in-depth your analysis should go, and which SEO tools will help you glean the most useful information, whether you’re a small business trying to optimize your site for organic search or an agency doing so for a client.

Whether you’re an experienced SEO or a small business owner tinkering with your own Squarespace website, following these 10 steps will put your site on the road to organic search supremacy. We’ve nailed down 10 core elements to a successful SEO audit to cut through some of the noise.


SEO AUDIT: 10 Basic Steps

Step 1: Look for opportunities to build internal and external links.

Building links is an important part of gaining website authority, and no SEO audit is complete without advice on how to build site-specific internal and external links.

Internal links are ones that lead from one page on your site to another. External links, on the other hand, point to a page on another domain. For example, a link from this article to the SEMrush Features page is an internal link, whereas a link to Google’s Keyword Planner tool is an external link.

Step 2: Look for ways to improve your information architecture.

The goal of information architecture (IA) is to organize, structure, and label content in a way that is both effective and long-lasting. The goal is to make it easier for users to locate information and complete tasks. To do so, you’ll need to know how the pieces fit together to form the bigger picture, as well as how items interact within the system.

That means redistributing internal linking structures on your website to pass equity to the pages that need it for the purposes of an SEO audit. It also entails collaborating closely with developers and designers to create user-friendly solutions that boost page authority without sacrificing user experience (User Experience).

Step 3: Identify the Content That Is Too Thin

One of the most misunderstood and ambiguous terms in our industry is “thin” content. Many experts are quick to jump in and blame an alleged “thin” or “duplicate” content penalty whenever there is an inexplicable drop in rankings.

Anything that doesn’t provide real value to the people who visit your site is considered thin content. It’s articles that aren’t well-written and are only there for SEO purposes. It’s content created solely to entice users to click, or entire pages created to target a specific variation of a keyword. Finally, people are unlikely to share thin content on social media.

A 300-word blog post that explains a complicated concept is considered thin. However, putting 1000-2000 words on every page of your website is unrealistic. Design work—hero images, icons, and so on—call-to-action buttons, and product-centric copy will take precedence on pages closer to your homepage. So, what should you be looking for in terms of content?

  • Copy deck. Your client has provided you with a deck containing all of the pages they want audited. You can go through each page one by one and make recommendations at the page level based on the other elements on that page and how they fit into the overall site.
  • The most important pages. Export your top 25, 50, or 100 pages by traffic (depending on site size) and double-check that each has been adequately beefed-up.
  • All of it. After crawling your site, most site audit tools within the aforementioned SEO software will provide a broad report on content length and quality:

Step 4: Identify Duplicate Content

Content that appears on multiple online locations, such as different websites, is referred to as duplicate content. Duplicate content occurs when your own content is published in multiple locations. Duplicate content occurs when you copy someone else’s content onto your site or when they publish yours on theirs.

Google is intelligent enough to detect whether you’re duplicating content on your site with the intent of clogging the SERP with your site’s URLs. Almost certainly, you aren’t. If you have duplicate content, it’s more likely that it happened unintentionally.

Step 5: Perform a keyword optimization scan

In the early stages of search engine marketing, both paid and organic search, keyword search optimization is critical. All of your subsequent efforts will be in vain if you do a poor job selecting your target keywords. As a result, getting keyword optimization right is critical.

Whenever possible, make sure all of your pages are as keyword-optimized as possible to help them show up in organic search. Conducting keyword research is the first step in this process.

Step 6: Make Sure Meta Tags Are Optimized

Meta tags are invisible tags that give search engines and website visitors information about your page.

In a nutshell, they make it easier for search engines to figure out what your content is about, which is why they’re so important for SEO.

Write or rewrite your meta tags using your vertical-specific keyword research, making sure to optimize them for the keywords that will help them show up in search. Avoid keyword stuffing, also known as squeezing in keywords for the sake of squeezing in keywords, especially in meta tags (though it’s also important in general site copy).

Step 7: Look for Opportunities to Update Pages

Even minor changes to a page indicate to Google that it should be crawled. As a result, regular updates will help the search engine see your pages as fresh and relevant.

There are two types of content that need to be updated on a regular basis. The first is a top page, as mentioned in Step 3. These are the pages that bring in the most customers to your company. By keeping them up to date, you can rest assured that they will continue to drive traffic to your website.

The second is referred to as a “opportunity page.” An opportunity page is one that would see a significant increase in traffic if it were to move up slightly in the SERP. Popular SEO tools include rank trackers, which show you where pages rank for specific keywords, whether those rankings have changed, and how much traffic each keyword generates.

Step 8: Use Page Speed Analytics to see how fast your website is loading.

Page speed is crucial, especially since Google’s Speed Update in May. This is due in part to the rise in mobile searches. Anyone looking for information on the internet on their phone isn’t going to wait for a slow-loading site. That means the faster your site loads, the more likely Google will give you high organic rankings.

Backend alterations such as removing JavaScript and CSS from above-the-fold elements, as well as simple image compression, are all suggested as ways to improve page speed. Image compression is your best bet if you want to improve page speed quickly and effectively. 

Step 9: Check for Errors on the Site

If you have a website, I’m sure you’ve put in a lot of time and effort to make it a useful resource for your visitors. However, if your links are broken, it can jeopardize all of your hard work. Your website’s broken links can be harmful in two ways:


  • They create a negative user experience – Users become frustrated when they click on links and receive 404 errors, and they may never return.
  • They devalue your SEO efforts – Broken links prevent link equity from flowing freely throughout your site, which has a negative impact on rankings.

All of the 404s on your site can be identified using site audit tools. Once you’ve found them, determining how important each link is to your linking structure and user experience is the next step.

The SEO auditing process necessitates the use of certain tools.

The following are the tools I’ll be using during the audit.

  • Google Analytics
  • Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool
  • Web Page Word Counter
  • Copyscape
  • Ahrefs (7day trial)
  • SERP Simulator
  • Google Search Console
  • Google PageSpeed Insights

They aren’t all required, but they will make the process go more smoothly.

Step 10: HTTP to HTTPS: Make the Switch

Google Chrome and other browsers have begun to label all unencrypted HTTP websites as “Not Secure” in an effort to make the internet a safer place. HTTPS is faster, more secure, and is one of Google’s ranking signals.

Manually entering the various non-HTTPS iterations of your site domain—;;—and ensuring they’ve all been 301 redirected to the HTTPS iteration is all it takes to ensure your site is running on HTTPS.

Then you’ll want to look through the search index for any non-HTTPS URLs. You can see which versions of your site’s URLs are canonicalized by looking at the Index Status report in Search Console. Manually canonicalize the HTTPS versions if necessary.

And that’s it!

Complete SEO audit!

Following these steps should have revealed plenty of changes you can make to your site to help it rank higher.