SEO audit checklist: Improve Google search results

It’s important to do a periodic audit of your website for SEO effectiveness, particularly if you haven’t been getting the results you are looking for. This website SEO audit checklist will help you assess your current performance and find opportunities to improve.

Here’s what you should look for in a website SEO audit checklist.

Starting your website SEO audit checklist

Assess your SEO objectives

In order to succeed in your SEO strategy, you need to understand what you want to achieve. Are you simply trying to improve your web traffic, or are you looking for an increase in leads or sales? Once you know what you’re looking to achieve, it’s easier to measure your performance and identify room for improvement. A website SEO audit checklist should be your first strategic initiative when improving your SEO program.

Look for Google penalties

If your SEO hasn’t been performing the way you have expected, you may want to check and see if you have any Google penalties. You can check for manual penalties under the Google Search Console – they will be listed under ‘manual actions’.

To search for algorithmic penalties, check the dates of the last change in the SEO algorithm, and then look for any sharp changes in performance on those days. If your performance has dropped off on that day, it’s likely because the algorithm is penalizing your site. Research the algorithm changes to see what SEO changes you may need to make.

Check your search results

Next, you’ll want to see how your website shows up when you search for your brand name. This will give you an idea of any issues with your meta description and page title, plus you’ll be able to make sure that someone else isn’t ranking higher than you for your own brand name.

Then, check to see how your page is performing for your targeted keywords. If there are other pages ranking ahead of you, look at their sites to assess what strategies might be working better for them.

Do a technical SEO check

If you aren’t particularly familiar with technical SEO, you may want to hire an SEO consultancy to help you with this one. A professional SEO audit focuses on things like the format of your URLs, the structure of your website, and the structure of your data.

Some key things to check for are well-formatted URLs, a good breadcrumb menu, a functional site map and an optimized robot.txt file, just to name a few. Another key factor to look at is your website speed and whether or not it is mobile-friendly. Google looks for pages that load quickly and that work well on any device, as they’re easier for consumers to read. Having an HTTPS URL will also help your chances of ranking because it indicates that your site is secure.

Check each page for proper SEO formatting

Next, you’ll need to go through your site step-by-step and check for good formatting. This means titles and subheadings with proper heading tags, appropriate keywords in your content, and both internal and external links.

Test each link to make sure it works properly and is not broken. Make sure your content incorporates lists and proper formatting, which makes it easier to read. Your images should also be properly labeled for SEO with clean file names. This will likely be the most time-consuming part of your audit, but it’s also the most important, so don’t skip it.

Check your backlinks and social media

In addition to SEO on your website, it’s important to look at off-page SEO techniques and factors that will affect your SEO.

First, you’ll want to review your social media posts – make sure you’re using the same keywords, linking to your website appropriately and staying on brand. You will also want to look at other sites that link to yours. Backlinks can raise your rankings, but they need to be reliable ones. A link building analysis may be helpful during this SEO audit process.

Additionally, Google Search Console will allow you to see all of the backlinks to your page. From there, you can identify any backlinks that aren’t from trusted sources and take steps to remove them.

There’s nothing more frustrating than doing all the right things for your business and still finding yourself at the bottom of Google’s search rankings. Whether you can’t hit that algorithm sweet spot, or you’re new to the whole digital marketing thing, getting that ranking is vital for long-term success.

If you want to improve Google search ranking results, these four strategies are exactly the place to start to boost your visibility and get your brand out there.

Improving your Google search ranking

Implementing the correct SEO keywords

While, in some cases, it can seem the way Google ranks websites is random, there’s a definite science behind the process. Keywords are one of the best ways to make the most of the algorithm, especially if identified and used correctly.

Start with in-depth research into precisely what your audience will be looking for when it comes to your business, and you’ll be off to a great start. From there, you can branch out your keywords into alternative wordings and variations on the same theme.

For example, a local company that sells shoes may find success with ‘cheap online shoes,’ but they may find more success by being more specific with their keywords – ‘cheap online shoes new york,’ for example. 

By researching and implementing the correct keywords, both in on-page SEO content and for Google Ads, it’s possible to boost your Google ranking quickly and effectively. With a good understanding of your keywords, it’s far easier to achieve your goals and have a clear path to get where you need to go.

Link building internally and externally

Link building is an often-overlooked part of many digital strategies, but it can be invaluable when it comes to putting yourself head and shoulders over the competition. Investing in link building that’s relevant, effective, and designed for purpose can provide your website with a way to boost visibility, and improve quality in the eyes of Google’s bots

Link building can mean providing helpful links from blog content into product descriptions, or even recommendations for other products a visitor may like if they view a particular item.

As for external link building, this method of digital strategy further legitimizes your business in the eyes of Google – which is more than worth the time and money you put in. The ultimate goal of link building is making your company appear as an expert in your field, which goes a long way towards propelling you to that coveted front page. You may want to perform link building analysis to see where you stand against the competition. See off-page SEO techniques for more information.

Improving the user experience

User experience, often shortened to UX, is another element of the average digital strategy that can be underplayed. Because it is so commonly pushed to the back of the list, making the user experience a priority can give you the edge over your competition in a way more conventional strategies cannot. 

User experience includes a whole host of different features, from how easy a website is to navigation, through to how accessible it is from a mobile device in comparison to a web browser.

One of the most important parts of user experience to expand and improve upon is page speed and load times for your website. As part of Google’s algorithm, the accessibility of your site will be judged. 

While this judgment is entirely impartial, a less-than-stellar speed score can impact on the visibility of your website to your audience. Focusing on user experience is an excellent way to both provide a better service to your customers and meet the needs of Google, all in one combined development.

Creating effective and compelling SEO copy

SEO copywriting is a vital part of a digital marketing plan, and the same is true when it comes to your website, getting seen for all the right reasons. Over the years, Google has homed in on what they consider to be great websites. 

These websites that are far more likely to be at the top of the search rankings contain what is considered to be high-quality, readable, and user-friendly content as defined by Google. As such, skipping on the quality of your copy is no longer an option for just about any business looking to reach that number one spot. Investing in copywriting that’s both in-line with your brand and highly effective can be a delicate balance, but when you get it right, it can be incredibly rewarding.

Copywriting can take many forms, but for websites that want to improve their rankings, this content should be focused on being relevant, useful, and valuable to their particular audience. Whether this takes the form of blog posts, how-to guides, articles, or in-depth product descriptions, creating content that’s keyword-rich and high-quality is key to climbing those rankings and achieving that top spot. Check out this SEO content optimization guide.

Website SEO audit: Checklist for improving rankings

This website SEO audit checklist will help give you an idea of what to expect during the entire process, plus an opportunity to strengthen your website’s SEO effectiveness.

If you want to improve Google search results for your business, then the first step is performing a website SEO audit. Investing in top SEO services, like an SEO consulting agency, designed to support your business. If you’re looking for an SEO marketing strategy that helps you climb those rankings, then contact Segment SEO today. Our expert insights might be exactly what you’re looking for.

For more SEO tips, visit the Segment SEO Blog and subscribe for regular updates.

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