Core SEO Elements

Core Elements of an SEO Audit

Important Elements of an SEO Audit

The following items are the main sections usually covered as part of an SEO site audit. You want to keep in mind that some non-essential elements have been added, while others could be removed in an actual audit. This really boils down to your specific requirements and specific website situation.

One thing that you need to keep in mind tho, is that, as with all things SEO, you have to be organic about your approach.

Before you dive in, you might want to check our previous DIY SEO audit for a five minute work plan on the core items you need to be looking for.

Generally speaking, this is just a framework I wanted to share with you. Be warned, it can be very technical and with a lot of jargon.

Also, keep in mind this is NOT a forensic audit. That is a completely different subject which we’ll address later.

Table of Contents of an SEO Audit Report

 

General SEO Scoring

1. Domain Information

The point of this is to assess the domain, basically, identifying potential problems and past and present situation. A thorough audit will let you know of general knowledge of your domain from a technical point of view. It includes:

  • Domain analysis
  • Geo Targeting
  • DNS and glue
  • CMS status
  • Past or present penalties
  • CDNs or other off-site assets

2. General On-site Analysis

Basically takes care of going over your on-page content, both meta and visible in order to identify areas of improvement. This is usually the core of most SEO audits. It’s an essential part during SEO execution. But it relies in having a solid technical implementations and correct domain metrics. It includes the following:

  • Titles and Meta Data
  • TITLE length
  • TITLE targeting/duplication
  • Meta-D CTAs
  • Prominence Elements
  • Image Alts
  • Duplicate Content
  • Thin content
  • Phrase Diversity
  • URL Structures
  • Site/Page Speed
  • Mobile Readiness

3. Technical Analysis

Once you’ve identified all your content issues that need to be addressed. You want to get under the hood so to speak and identify all major technical limitations that could be impeding your site to perform better. Technical analysis is what most SEO’s charge so much, but it’s often over charged, as most websites are built on WordPress or similar platform, which more often than not, give you limited options for technical improvements. It generally includes the following:

  • Page Naming Conventions
  • Site Structure
  • Architecture
  • Faceted navigation
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Click depth
  • Canonical Issues
  • Page Canonicals
  • Rel/Next
  • WWW v non-WWW
  • Cookies/Session IDs
  • Robots.txt
  • URL re-Writing;(Apache/Microsoft IIS etc)
  • Header status codes
  • Error Codes (search console
  • Site Maps
  • Structured Data / rich media
  • HTTPs implementation

4. On-site Link Profile

Internal link depth stats

A thorough report of how your properties are interlinked together. Ideally you should address your customer journey via proper internal linking. You also want to make it easier for search engines and bots to understand your content. Links and its anchor text serve to give more context to your pages. This includes:

  • Internal links / Navigation
  • Keyword Mapping
  • Outbound links
  • Broken Links

5. Off-site Link Profile

CTLD Backlink profile

A thorough report of hyperlinks pointing to your site. Similar to on-site link profile, you want to address all links pointing to your domain. From the very basic web 2.0 properties, to guest posting and other forms of link building. You want to understand which are the best backlinks to get for your site. You must think of a backlink audit as a PR campaign. Where you want to put yourself in situations that would be beneficial for your business. Off-site link profile includes:

  • Link Diversity
  • Link Text(s
  • Velocity
  • Potential for link toxicity

6. Search Engine Visibility

Another extremely important factor when talking about SEO is search engine visibility. You want to make it easy for search engines to crawl and index your site. This analysis is like a before and after shot of your website situation. In essence, you want to understand to see your website the way Google and other search engines see it. That way, you will get a better understanding of the factors that move the needle regarding your site. It includes the following:

  • Indexation
  • Over/Under indexation
  • Search Console
  • Existing Rankings
  • Past ranking reports / search console
  • Query classification diversity (QDD/QDF)
  • Analytics analysis
  • Channels
  • Organic
  • Conversions
  • Annotations
  • Local needs/presence
  • NAP Citations and reviews
  • Social media presence
  • Brand knowledge graph presence

7. Action Plan

Once you have gone over the previous mentioned factors, you want to create a simple priorities plan. Given that resources are often limited, you want to focus your efforts on those things that payoff. Generally speaking, you want to go for the low hanging fruits in oder to achieve quick wins. This is generally done via:

  • Short Term Recommendations
  • Quick wins
  • Long Term Recommendations

Credentials Needed for a Proper SEO Audit

The following are some of the things you’d like to have if possible:

  • Google Search Console (access)
  • Google Analytics or other site tracking and monitoring tools (access)
  • Keyword strategy (core and stemming/modified terms)
  • Page mapping of terms and target pages (if existent)
  • Historic keyword/landing page rankings (if any)
  • Geo-local targeting (if applicable)
  • Past SEO work (white or black hat if any)
  • Past developer change logs
  • Server logs
  • List of other domains/subdomains/microsites (if applicable)
  • Competitive analysis (known search/paid competitors)

As you’ve seen it takes a strong effort to achieve desired results. But generally speaking, you only want to go a bit faster than your closest competitor. It’s often not the case that you’re going to be needing to execute all of the recommendations a thorough audit like the above will show. Yet, once you have understand your pain points, you’ll likely address them better in order to achieve the best results.

Click the button below for a fancy SEO audit checklist if you prefer.SEO Audit Checklist

If any of the above terms does not make sense you might want to check up our regularly updated SEO glossary.

Feel free to hit me up if you want me to take a look at your website. I regularly offer affordable SEO services that work.

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