How To Perform an SEO Audit – FREE $5000 Template Included

seo site audit

If you need an SEO audit, feel free to reach out to Sam from Vudu Marketing as he is the one who actually created the template below.

Over the years, the one thing that I’ve noticed is that most sites aren’t optimized for search engines. Even websites that are run by and owned by SEOs aren’t always optimized.

Why? Well, it’s because most SEOs know that link building is what mainly drives rankings. And although that’s true, on page elements roughly account for 43.12% of a search engines algorithm.

Due to this, I decided that it would be fun to have my buddy Sam McRoberts from Vudu Marketing audit Quick Sprout. With Sam’s approval, I decided to:

  1. Break down how he did the audit step by step so you can replicate it…
  2. Have my designer stylize his audit and create a template so that you can easily copy the whole audit for your website.

But before I give you the audit template (I link to it in the conclusion), first download the SEO audit of Quick Sprout as I am going to use that as a reference for how to perform an SEO audit for your website.

Here’s how to perform your own audit:

Step 1: Perform a Screaming Frog Crawl on the website

screaming frog seo site audit

Screaming Frog is a free application that crawls your website. It goes through every single one of your pages and looks for the following:

  • Errors – client and servers issues, such as 404 pages
  • Redirects – any permanent or temporary redirects (301, 302)
  • External links – all of the sites you link out to
  • URL issues – dynamic URLs, uppercase characters, URLs that are too long, and underscores
  • Duplicate pages – anything with duplicate content
  • Page title tags – any missing, duplicate, long or even short titles
  • Meta description tags – similar to title tags, it looks for anything missing, duplicate, long or short
  • Meta keywords tag – the same stuff as title and meta description tags… I personally don’t look at this field as most search engines ignore it.
  • Headings – the types of headings you use (h1, h2, h3) as well as keyword usage, duplicates, and any missing ones
  • Meta robots – what you are allowing to be indexed or not indexed as well as if you use it
  • Rel canonical – in case you are pointing search engines to a different URL
  • File size – the smaller your file sizes, the faster your load time
  • Page depth level – how many levels deep search engines have to crawl to find all of your content
  • Internal links – what pages you are linking to within your own website
  • Anchor text – the link text you are using for both images and web pages
  • Follow & nofollow – which of your links are being followed or not
  • Images – the sizes of your images, the alt text length, or any missing alt texts
  • Bot crawling – you can crawl your website as Google, Bing or Yahoo bot… this helps you see what they see

Once you crawl your whole website with Screaming Frog, which shouldn’t take more than a few minutes, you can then export all of that data into Excel spreadsheet to help you better analyze the data.

Step #2: Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics

If your website isn’t registered with Google Webmaster Tools, make sure you do so now. If you aren’t running Google Analytics or another form of analytics, sign up for it.

google webmaster tools

Through it, you can see your site’s health, any crawl errors Google is experiencing, how fast your site is loading, and almost anything you can dream of. If you want to learn about all of the features in Webmaster Tools, check out this guide.

Step 3: Keywords

With the Screaming Frog title tag, meta description, and meta keywords data, you can get a good understanding of what a website is trying to rank for. If you combine that data with your Google Analytics keyword data, you can see what a website is getting traffic for.

google analytics

If you then take the keywords out of those two areas and enter them into Google’s Keyword Suggestion tool, it will spit out a list of keyword ideas:

keyword ideas seo site audit

The beautiful thing about Google’s keyword suggestion tool is that it will tell you how competitive a keyword is. Plus it will tell you how many times that keyword is searched for worldwide (global searches) and how many times it is searched within your country (local searches) each month.

This will help you get a better understanding of the potential keywords you could be going after, but currently aren’t. When looking at the Google keyword suggestion tool, keep in mind the following:

  • Focus on local searches – it’s vary rare to capture all of the global searches as a US site is most likely to rank well in the US… not internationally.
  • Don’t go after competitive keywords – there are a lot of keywords that are low in competition that have high search volume. You should be focusing on those keywords first.

Step #4: URLs

When you look at your Screaming Frog report, you should see a list of all of your URLs. The way I analyze URLs is:

  • Static – your URLs should be static. Dynamic URLs usually contain random characters like: $, =, +, &. Static URLs typically contain numbers, letters and dashes.
  • Length – although it doesn’t happen all the time, I try to keep URLs under 100 characters.
  • User friendly – ideally your URLs should be easy to remember. Cut away dashes and slashes when you don’t need them.

If you have URLs that don’t fit the above criteria, you could create new URLs. When creating new ones, make sure you 301 redirect your old URLs to the new ones. That way you don’t lose the links that may be pointing to the old URLs.

Step #5: Title tags

The big misconception about title tags is that Google measures them in character limits. Google actually measures title tags by pixels.

So, what I do is I export my title tag data from Screaming Frog into Excel. I then change the font type to Arial and use the font size 12… as that’s what Google uses.

I then set the Excel column width to be set at 520 pixels as that’s Google’s cut off limit. Anything longer than 520 pixels is too long and anything under 350 pixels is too short.

Here are the rough guidelines you should use for your title tags:

  • Roughly 50 to 65 characters in length.
  • Be unique to that page (don’t use the same title tag on multiple pages).
  • Use the keyword of that page twice if space permits (once at the start, followed by separator such as a colon, hyphen, or pipe, and then once again in a call to action).
  • If relevant, include a geo-qualifier (such as Washington or Seattle, WA).

Step #6: Meta descriptions

The biggest mistake I see companies making with their meta description tag is that they stuff keywords in them. And although you should have keywords in your description, it should also read well. The more compelling your description is, the more likely people will click on your search result.

Assuming you aren’t missing meta description tags and they aren’t duplicate, here are some guidelines for creating them:

  • Make sure they are unique and relevant to that page.
  • They should be written as descriptive ad text, with a call to action.
  • No more than 160 characters in length including spaces and punctuation (140-150 is ideal), but no fewer than 51 characters (Google considers 50 characters or fewer to be too short).
  • It should contain 1-2 complete sentences with correct punctuation, and no more than 5 commas.
  • Use the keyword once per sentence, as close to the start of each sentence as possible.
  • Include a geo-qualifier such as “Seattle, WA”, if relevant.

Step #7: Meta keywords tag

If you want to use meta keywords you can, but it isn’t necessary. Most search engines ignore them as I mentioned earlier… for this reason I don’t include them on Quick Sprout.

I recommend that you don’t use them on your website as it is one more thing for you to have to maintain.

Step #8: Headings

Similar to title tags, there is a big misconception with heading tags. Search engines typically feel the most important keywords on a page are the ones biggest in font size. So popping keywords in heading tags and making the font size really small, may not have the same benefit.

With typical HTML standards, h1 tags are usually the largest on the page. For this reason it is important for you to use headings with large fonts within each page.

Here are some guidelines to run your headings by:

  • Every page should have an H1 tag, as search engines look to the H1 to help determine the topic of a page. It should be the first thing in the body text of the page and should appear prominently.
  • H1 tags should never contain images or logos, only text. The keyword of a page needs to be used in the H1 tag and in at least half of the total heading tags on a page, if more than one heading tag is present.
  • From a usability perspective, paragraphs should never be longer than 5 lines of text, and it is wise to break up a page every 2-3 paragraphs with a sub-heading in the form of an H tag (H2 or H3) or an image. Testing has shown that when users are faced with a large block of unbroken text, most either skim over the text or skip it altogether, so content needs to be divided into usable chunks.

Make sure you go through all of the headings on your website so that they match the above requirements.

Step #9: Content

You’ve heard the saying “content is kind content is king”. So you want to make sure there is enough content on each page. Screaming Frog doesn’t do a great job of analyzing the content on each page of your website, but you can figure out where you have a good amount of content and where it lacks by just browsing your website.

For the pages that are lacking it, make sure you continually add more unique content. And don’t just add content for the sake of it, the content actually has to add value.

If you are looking for a rule of thumb, Google tends to rank web pages with over 2,400 words of content the highest. You’ll probably have a tough time adding that much content to each of your pages, but it shows that Google loves ranking good content.

Worse case scenario, each of your web pages should have at least 300 words of content. Ideally each page should have at least 400 to 600 words of unique content.

Step #10: Internal linking

Both Webmaster Tools and Screaming Frog will give you data on internal links. The more you link within your own site, when relevant, the easier it will be for search engines to crawl your whole site.

Search engines typically don’t want you to have more than 100 links on a page, so you ideally want to stay under this number. Sometimes you won’t be able to, which is fine, but try to stay under that limit.

As for anchor text, you would also want to look at all of the anchor text when linking internally. Avoid using rich anchor text all the time. Naturally, you should also be using link text like “click here” or “learn more”. Having a lot of rich anchor text may bring your rankings down a few slots.

Every page of your website should have at least two to three internal links. And you should only use rich anchor text 10-30% of the time for internal links.

Step #11: Image text and alt texts

For the benefit of search engines, code compliance, and visually impaired users, every image MUST have an ALT tag. The ALT tag should accurately describe the image and contain a keyword relevant to your website (but only if the keyword is relevant to the image as well).

Image file names should be descriptive words, not numbers or query strings. They should accurately describe the image, and, if relevant, should also use the keyword. If an image is used as a link, then the ALT tag functions in place of anchor text.  A linked image should follow this structure:

<a href=”http://www.targeturl.com/”><img src=”http://www.domain.com/images/keyword-rich-image-name.jpg” alt=”Describe the Image and use a keyword if relevant” /></a>

By ensuring that all images are properly named and tagged, you will not only increase the SEO value of those images, but you will increase the likelihood of receiving referral traffic from image search results.

Also, for code compliance reasons, all images should also specify a height and width in the image tag.

Step #12: Nofollow

Google measures how different pages link together and assigns a weight to those links based on traffic, relevancy, age, size, content, and hundreds of other components.

When pages that Google deems relevant link to other pages, some of that “link juice” flows through that link to the site being linked to. A “followed” link is essentially endorsing the page being linked to.

Enter the rel=”nofollow” tag. Google introduced this tag to help preserve the relevancy of PageRank, which was being hurt by blog and forum comment spammers. When the tag rel=”nofollow” is used in an anchor tag (link), Google will usually pass 50-100% less “link juice” to the page being linked to. Using this tag is like saying “this page is nice, but we don’t really endorse it.”

NoFollow tags should be used on blog comments, site-wide external links, and on any internal links pointing to low quality or otherwise user-worthless pages.

Step #13: Page exclusions

An easy way to exclude pages from being indexed is through using the robots.txt file as well as adding no index tags on pages you don’t want indexed.

The reason you want to remove pages from the index is because search engines don’t like it when you have thousands of mediocre pages with little to no content or duplicate content. The best way to solve this is to not have them on your website or stop those pages from being crawled.

With Google’s latest updates, sites with thousands of mediocre pages are easily being penalized. So, make sure you stop mediocre pages from being crawled. Just place this code within the head:

<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>

Step #14: Page inclusions

Through a sitemap you can help encourage the indexation of your website. You can create an HTML sitemap as well as an XML sitemap. Once you have your XML sitemap, you can submit it to Webmaster Tools, which will tell you how many of your submitted URLs are indexed.

It’s rare that 100% of the URLs you submit will be indexed… especially if you have a large website. But through internal linking, you can increase the likelihood of having all of your pages indexed.

Step #15: URL redirects

Unless a redirect is truly temporary (such as for a time sensitive promotion), 302 redirects should never be used. 302 redirects don’t pass any link value and are essentially a dead end for SEO. In almost every scenario where a redirect is needed, a 301 redirect should be used.

Any page that changes URLs or is deleted needs a 301 permanent redirect to tell search engines and users that the page has moved/is gone. There should never be more than one URL path to a page. You can learn more about redirects here.

Step #16: Duplicate content

Search engines really don’t like duplicate content, as it leads to a poor user experience and other content quality issues. If you have duplicate content, you need to do everything you can to eliminate it.

There are 4 main options for addressing duplicate content:

  1. Fix the URL structure of the site to eliminate accidental duplicate content coming from URL issues, per recommendations in the URL Redirects section and this section.
  2. Re-write all duplicate text content to make it unique.
  3. 301 redirect the duplicate content to one canonical page/site, if it is in your control.
  4. Implement the rel=”canonical” tag to identify the original source/root page to search engines.

Specify the canonical version of the URL using a tag in the head section of the page as follows:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.QuickSprout.com/” />

You can use the tag on pages within a single site (sub-domains and subfolders are fine) or across domains (saying content on your site is identical to content on another site). You can use relative or absolute links, but the search engines recommend absolute links.

Step #17: Broken links

Because Google and other search engines crawl the web link-to-link, broken links can cause SEO problems for a website. When Google is crawling a site and hits a broken link, the crawler immediately leaves the site. If Google encounters too many broken links on a site, it may deem that site has a poor user experience, which can cause a reduced crawl rate/depth and both indexing and ranking problems.

Unfortunately, broken links can also happen due to someone outside of your site linking in incorrectly. While these types of broken links can’t be avoided, they can be easily fixed with a 301 redirect.

To avoid both user and search engine problems, you should routinely check Google and Bing Webmaster Tools for crawl errors and run a tool like XENU Link Sleuth on your site to make sure there are no crawlable broken links.

If broken links are found, you need to implement a 301 redirect per the guidelines in the URL Redirect section. You can also use your Google Webmaster Tools account to check for broken links that Google has found on your site.

Step #18: Code validation

Because there are so many programming languages and so many ways to accomplish any one thing using each language, search engines rely on certain rules when they read the content of the website.

Having code that follows these rules removes and helps to minimize errors when parsing or separating the code from the content of any one page.

Search engines such as Google have openly stated that W3C standards are what they suggest you use to make the code easy to understand for them. I typically only test the home page of the website because many issues can be easily fixed across the entire website using just its page templates.

Double-check your website with W3C to see how you stack up against the competition.

Step #19: Page load speed

Google’s recommended page load speed is 1.4 seconds or less. So, if your website loads faster, you are usually fine. If it is slow, your rankings won’t be as high as they could be.

pingdom seo site audit

If you are wondering what your load speed is, use Pingdom’s free speed test tool.

Once you learn your load time, you can typically make it faster through browser caching, CSS Sprites for images where possible, and reducing the image file sizes as much as possible for images that can’t be sprited.

You can also reduce the total number of CSS and JavaScript files by combining them into fewer files and minimizing file sizes by using compression and minification where feasible.

You might also see benefits by using a content delivery network (CDN) for your images.

W3 Total Cache is an excellent WordPress plug-in that can help with page load speed issues, and a simple CDN can be set-up via Amazon AWS for very little money.

Step #20: Inbound links

The more links come to your website, the higher you will typically rank. But it’s not just about the pure number, it’s also about how relevant the incoming links are, what anchor text of links is, and how many unique root domains are linking to you.

Most importantly, you have to look at where those links are pointing. If they all go to your homepage, it won’t help you as much as it could if all of those links were spread to all of your internal pages.

Through Open Site Explorer you can get a great overview of your inbound links:

link overview

If you are trying to grow your inbound link profile, keep in mind that the very best links come from trusted domains (sites like the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Inc., TechCrunch, Huffington Post, Wikipedia, etc.). The more links you can get from authoritative websites, the better. Guest blog posts and press mentions are a great way to get those links.

One of the things that Google looks at and factors into the algorithm is domain diversity. Essentially, the concept is that ten links from ten domains would be more valuable as a ranking factor than ten links form one domain.

From an SEO perspective, you usually want to see a domain diversity of no less than 10% (i.e. 100 links from 10 domains), though higher is usually better. All other factors being equal, the site with the larger number of linking root domains would almost always rank higher. That said, in the case of extremely high quality sites, an acceptable domain diversity could be as little as 2%.

If you are looking to build links, content marketing is going to be your best bet.

Step #21: Authority and trust

Similar to Google PageRank, there is a metric called Domain Authority. It ranks websites from 0 to 100. Anywhere from 40 to 70 is good, and anything above 70 is great.

domain authority

Typically the higher your domain authority, the higher you will rank on search engines. The best way to increase this is to build links from as many unique domains as possible… and ideally from ones with high domain authority.

Just like in Step #20 above, you can build links through content marketing.

Step #22: Social media mentions

Both Bing and Google have explicitly stated that they take social signals into account when ranking websites. In other words, social media does affects SEO.

Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Pinterest, Delicious, and any other social site you can think of, all need to be leveraged. They all may not fit your target audience, but should try to be on those that do.

If you want to do better on the social web, consider the following two tips:

  1. Make it easy for people to share your content socially by integrating sharing features throughout your website, blog posts, etc.
  2. Create content that is worthy of sharing and then reach out to people in that space via social channels to ask for feedback about said content.

If you are wondering how many shares or tweets a specific website or URL has, check out this article. It will explain how you can find out those numbers for your site as well as your competitions’.

Step #23: Competitive link analysis

Through SEOmoz, you can find out not only how many links you have and your domain authority, but you can also find out all of those stats for your competition.

This is important because if you have a great domain authority, it won’t mean much if all of your competitors have a much higher domain authority. You have to see how you stack up against your competitors, and not just the rest of the web.

competitive links

As you can see from the image above, I have a good domain authority, but a lot of other bloggers out there have a much better domain authority. That’s one of the reasons they get more traffic than I do.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve done a complete analysis of your site, you can take the SEO audit template and plug in the information. This will allow you to have a comprehensive report that looks pretty.

You can either plug the data into the template, using Microsoft Word or Pages. Once you do, you will see an area for you to add a subjective score of how you did overall per category, 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

Let me know what you think of the SEO site audit process and the template. :)

Click here to download the SEO audit template.

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Trackbacks

  1. How To Perform A SEO Audit – FREE $5000 Template Included | digitalnews2000
  2. How To Do a Full SEO Check on Any Website and Create an Effective Audit Report « vizualbusinessbd
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Comments

  1. Awesome. I am totally going to use this. I’ll have to bookmark this article and go back and slowly read it.

    But thanks for sharing.

  2. This is soooo awesome Neil. The detailed post, full audit report and audit templates are making this the best SEO post of the month (probably the year competition is between your advanced seo guide).

    You are totally nailing it with these recent awesome SEO posts.

    Rock on Neil.

  3. Great post.I am your big and old fan.Very few people share their secrets.Thanks for this.

  4. Wow…This is really God sent!

    I’ve been reading many posts on preparing a comprehensive SEO Audit…Since everyone has their own of creating SEO audit, I’m left confused…

    This post is fantastic…Beautifully arranged in logical steps.

    Thanks a Lot…Neil.

  5. Ridiculously valuable information.

    Neil you are the best!

    Mike

  6. Yay Neil,

    I was hoping you’d post something like this. Please don’t think is being pushy. But I would love to show everyone our application as way to to perform White-Label SEO Audits on any website.

    http://seogroup.com (see for yourself)

  7. We can never thank you enough Neil. These detailed posts you share are totally informative and i learn something new everyday.

  8. Wow Neil !!! Im totally blasted with this audit !! We will definitly implement new bullets points in the audit we do for our customers !
    I will give a nice tips to everyone, for the CDN, try the service of http://www.cloudflare.com you will be pleased with the free service and amazed by the paid ones ! To everyone, dont put your sites on shared hosting and use a VPS like digital ocean to have dedicated ressources ! Neil you rock !!!

    • Thanks for sharing with everyone.

      • Half of the comment you replied to is SPAM.
        Well nice guide, didn’t knew about the SEO Spider tool, its helpful.Just want to suggest one thing, there’s a plugin for WordPress for checking broken links. Its easy with the plugin to automatically unlink the broken ones.

  9. Wow, Neil this is great. I’ve been doing something similar to this with Micro Niche Finder and Google Adwords Tool, but this is far more comprehensive. I’ll be using this often.

  10. Neil,

    This list has HUGE value. You give those of us offering SEO Services a good name. It’s about time! Thank you for your generosity and brilliant work!

    Kirk

  11. Awesome article.. i have been looking for this … never heard of screaming frog… maybe because i’m still newbies. Thanks Neil. I’ve always want to learn how to be a SEO Master Guru like you.

    Awesome and informational information as always. TQVM Neil

  12. Neil,
    Wow! This is incredible! I just downloaded your audit template and I am going to use it to audit my website.
    There are so many great points you mentioned and this is going to help your readers take charge and fix some of the things on their websites for sure.
    This is the reason you have such an awesome following. That’s exactly why I can’t stop myself from visiting you every time you have something new. You are awesome!
    Thank you for adding value to the web with your tremendously powerful posts.
    Regards,
    Kumar

  13. I was under the impression that in the Google keywords tool, competition only had to do with PPC competition, not “ranking” competition. I.e. a keyword could have extremely low PPC competition, but still be almost impossible to rank for. True?

  14. Great article Neil. That audit sample is going to be awesome with my next audit. Cheers!

  15. This is superb Neil… I’m going to make use of this information for as long as I’m online and use it for all my blogs and also for my client’s website… This is really a great SEO audit process….

    Thanks Neil

  16. I always used to wonder how SEO audits are done by SEOs like you and the like, lo and behold, here it is. :)

    This report is just awesome. It will serve as a reference.

    Thanks a lot Neil.

  17. Hi Neil,

    This is what I had been looking for, it really perfect on how to start doing SEO for my blog, this article explains all those factors which is to be considered for SEO. Thank BOSS and Hats Off.

    Imran

  18. Amazing Piece of Information Neil…
    Totally going to use all of these. shall update you on the seo audit.
    Thanks again for this very useful post.

  19. Wow!… this is another gem of SEO weapon.
    Thank for the post and the template.
    .
    Mbah Katob

  20. Neil, thank you. this is just awesome, so much packed in one article, would start implementing immediately

  21. Awesome post Neil! Hope everyone loves the audit template, I know I do :)

  22. Neil,

    Another awesome article! You continue to deliver wonderful information that is of great value. Keep it up.

  23. Always a pleasure to find your newsletter in our inbox, keep it up neil!

  24. Hi Neil,

    We are just about to roll out our new site and this guide is going to help big time. We managed to get our old homepage to PR 4 and I am a bit concerned about the impact of a new homepage on the ranking. Will our PR suffer if the new page doesn’t have as much SEO specific content as our old page?

    Appreciate all your help!

    Thanks,
    Shrad

    • PR isn’t a ranking factor anymore. It’s just a reflection of the quantity and quality of links pointing to a page. Changing what’s on a page won’t change the PR if the URL remains the same.

      That said, changing content on a page CAN impact rankings, especially if the changes are major. At the end of the day though, do what you need to do to make your site better for users. If that means less content, then do it. (Or tuck the content into a collapsing DIV or tab structure, with a Read More button…not ideal, but better than nothing.)

    • You shouldn’t worry about PR. They also see a different number on their end.

  25. This is an amazing post neil. Thanks for the template and for running us through how audits are done. Will definitely be assessing my own blogs with everything I’ve learned here.

  26. This is very neat. Contents is worth a lot !!

  27. I have question about Nofollow & Follow:
    Enter the rel=”nofollow” tag. My question: Where?

    Also, thank you for an info. I’ve installed Screaming Frog and it’s don’t show anything valuable and I can’t understand the information. It’s not showing my titles and …anything. Just list of url. You’re not using a free version, probably.
    All this software just give you information, but no explanation what to do with your errors.

  28. Really great stuff Neil – thanks! I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thorough audit, but I can understand why you dig into such detail. After all, Google is paying attention to the details too.

    Looks like I have some work to do!

  29. Great post and run through of exactly what everyone should be doing.

    Screaming Frog is a great tool and one I couldn’t live without

    Xenu is a free alternative for people doing audits on their websites who maybe cannot justify paying for Screaming Frog tool.

  30. Neil, why are you so awesome?

  31. You blow me away by the depth of the articles you post…all the time. I know you say it is critical to have great content, and you certainly demonstrate it, but I have no idea how you have the time to do it. Thanks so much!

  32. Incredible article Neil! I learned quite a few new things about SEO, and I really appreciate all the resources you link to.

    I’ll be working on my own SEO audit this week, and thanks for the audit template! That will make life much easier.

    Steve

  33. Great post! Thanks for sharing this inside information and the free template.

  34. Another masterpiece post from Neil. This is a blueprint on SEO audit and will definitely bookmark this future reference. Thanks for the post Neil.

  35. Lot’s of great info and test that everyone should do!

  36. I already knew about some of the points raised in this article, but other suggestions are very new to me. I guess we never stop learning.

  37. Great information. Thank you for sharing.

  38. Daniel Monterrosa :

    Insightful information! It’s interesting to note that the message of this post not only touches on the importance of overall on-site optimization, but focuses on each specific element and the importance and value added for each element that’s optimized, not the other way around.

    Great collaboration from Sam and Neil!

    Thank you for taking the time to put this together for us guys!

  39. Nice post. thanks for sjaring the site pingdom. It’s agreat way to test the speed of a site.

  40. Great guides guys, thanks so much. I am starting to put together quite a list of things and only recently found screaming frog but using it regurally now. Thanks for sharing.

  41. This is amazing! Although I doubt you could call the template a $5000 template. You could say the template/report is a result of a $5000 consultation, but the template alone is not worth $5000, in my humble opinion :). Great work overall!

  42. Pure Gold.

    Thanks Neil!

  43. This guide is beyond amazing. Wow, bookmarking this for sure. Going to take me a week just to get through this.

  44. yes., i almost do the same things before. some points i missed out from the above list. My only problem was how to display it..,but now it is solved.., will try this template.., thank u

  45. Incredible format, perfect place to start “SEO” for any website.

  46. Now I will be more confident with this guide over my on-site SEO check! .. awesome !

  47. Hi Neil,

    I am really a fan of yours. This is another great and very useful guide to those who are into Internet Marketing. Looking forward to your more awesome articles! Thank you for this Neil.

  48. One more experience of mine Neil, instead of redirecting user to another/separate “Contact Us” page, I added a slide-out popup box- so that user can send comments right from where he is… and surprisingly I started receiving three times more responses!

  49. This is a very extensive guide. Just a question..if you try to do geo-targeting, like putting the name of the place on you meta tags, does this mean Google will try to rank you locally first?

  50. This is awesome. I have a question..How do you manage to give the best everytime? This is a really very helpful guide which I shall treasure it.

  51. Your guide is damn sure going to influence my data analysis report. Thanks a lot Neil!!

  52. Neil what a nice information you shared with us, thanks for creating such nice and worthy write-ups…Can you please confirm about the page load time for my own website it is showing 3.71, should i need to work on this..

  53. Neil i love this site because you explain in simple manner thank you very much for this nice article based on seo

  54. I recently conducted a site audit for a client, and I wish I came across this post earlier. A lot of what you said is commonly known, but having the right structure is very important. The example PDF just goes to show how much work was done and how thorough audits ought to be.
    Thanks for the great content

  55. This is like a guide on SEO! Thanks!

  56. Amazing resource – many thanks!

  57. Great piece and lots of useful resources. I am an SEOMOZPRO user and love their tools, especially their keyword rank tool with local maps rank.

    Never heard of screaming frog, looked it over and seems cool. I will try a free crawl. How would you compare it to SEOMOZ crawl? @ over $100.00 a license for commercial use, I think it over priced.

    PS. Seen one or two type OOOOOOOOOOOOOO’s

    Peace- From Looking to be a big deal soon

  58. This article is really useful and timely. Everyone knows that content is king when it comes to SEO so there is a real danger that we forget the simple boring things that will always be important, like making sure our sites work. There are some excellent tools mentioned in this article, thanks very much for improving my SEO knowledge.

  59. Very useful information! Many thanks for sharing your SEO knowledge, Neil

  60. Extraordinary useful. Many thanks.

  61. I love this guide!!

  62. One of the best SEO made easy articles

  63. An absolutely outstanding SEO audit walk-thru and template. I produce many such audits for clients large and small, but must confess this has to be the most comprehensive SEO appraisal I have ever seen, or that anybody could ever provide.

    Neil, thank you so much for sharing.

  64. Thanks, Neil. Really appreciate your sharing nature. It will carry you from strength to more strength.

  65. Everything Neil posted is legit. All great programs as well to help with your audits! Thanks for bringing everyone into our business Neil :P

  66. Wow, this is incredibly thorough. I’m printing it out for future use.

  67. Awesome!!!!!!!!!1 Great job .You explained the each and every thing related to SEO, Screaming frog crawl new information for me Great effort .Thank you

  68. Balla. Kick ass guide Neil.

  69. More or less, all most all SEO professionals use these tactics in their work. However, you have summarized every thing to a one piece.

    great Job.

  70. Good Job Neil,
    I am actually impressed how on the job i have been, seeing that I have only been doing this for the last year..

  71. Thank you very much, excellent template!

  72. Great Post Neil. This certainly is an extensive one. I am a fan of your posts. You are the only author whose blogs I read completely even though they are very lengthy.

  73. One quick question – if the title tag of the post or page is already in H1 , do we still need another h1 in the body? I have heard different stories so trying to confirm :).

    And you said not to use images for the tags – does it mean using cufon fonts is bad for SEO?

    Last question – does it matter if I increase the font size of h2 tag and make it bigger than the h1 on any certain page? Would google see h2 superior to h1? Thanks

    PS: This is one hell of a post; probably the best so far in this year :) Thanks for the awesome contribution Neil

    • If a page already has a H1, you don’t need another one.

      As for the cufon fonts, I am not 100% sure.

      I think they may see it superior, because a h1 is supposed to be bigger in font size than a h2.

  74. Neil, what’s that new social sharing widget you’re using called? I would love to replace it with the buggy sharebar and diggdigg one use now.

  75. Awesome like always, is really complete template for our next aduits, Thank Neil¡¡

  76. Another gem of an article Neil. In one word just “Awesome” Neil, you’re not only a successful internet marketer but also a really benevolent guy who shares everything from his own experiences and they are just worth applying.

    Wonderful info. Pixel fact in the meta title is just new to me, in fact shocked to know this. Very much interested to check this out. Downloaded your files, what a masterpiece.

    Look forward to learning more from you,

    Thanks for sharing

  77. Neil, you are my SEO god! That is so awesome man! You shared such an awesome template for just free of cost! :D

  78. Nearly had an aneurysm when I saw Meta Keyword on that list, am so sick of seeing people saying ‘you never know…’ but you said you ignored it, and this brings me joy.

  79. Ouaouh! As usual a great article! I knew about the majority of these steps but having all these with a great description and a showcase in one place is a great opportunity to refresh my memory about what to pay attention to, and to apply them. I did not know about Screaming Frog and since I like to try tools, I will surely download this one. Thanks!

  80. Hi Neil,

    Wow, that’s probably the most informative post I’ve read about Onsite SEO Analysis in a LOOONG time!

    Thanks so much for all the great info, free resources AND that awesome template!

    You da man, Neil! =D

    Cheers,
    Dwad

  81. Thanks for sharing, Now i am going to check my website for these things.
    By the way Nice Template you have here.

  82. It is a wonderful experience to do SEO Audit using your template. It gives all aspects of research. Don’t have enough expressive words to thank you. But I know your authority in the field of internet marketing.

  83. Neil, this is amazeballs!

    Very, VERY timely piece of highly useful information here. You’ve definitely taken the “give your best content away for free” mantra to heart.

    Something that would be really great in future is a piece on non-US citation finders, link building, etc. Many tools are (unfortunately for us South Africans and other countries abroad) tailored mainly/only to a US market and this makes it very difficult for us to implement the same sort of practices. Obviously many things are location independent, but there are things to consider that a US-based SEO campaign might not require.

    I’m more glad than ever that I’m a subscriber. Keep up the awesome content.

  84. What a usefull and inspiring guide for SEO optimizing my blogs. I have been looking for a complete guide for this in a long time but this definately the best I have seen. I have bookmarked your site and will come back when I start with optimizing my blogs – site by site.

  85. A Big Thanks to you Neil…Though m not good in SEO but by reading your post i got lots of info which i never knew….Great efforts you have put in this post….Even a kid who has no knowledge of SEO can do SEO audit like a SEO professional by reading this awesome post….Keep it up

  86. this is like one of the best posts on onpage optimization… thanks for all the insight and template, I will try it out.

  87. I like that on page elements account for “roughly” 43.12% – LOL, that’s a pretty defined percentage for being an estimate ;)

    Good stuff though as always Neil.

  88. Thank you very much for pointing out how to do SEO audit.. I learn a lot of new things especially doing Audit for clients site..

  89. Wow, now THAT’S an SEO audit! Nice work. Thanks for sharing that.

  90. Thanks for sharing this wonderful template that helps one in getting the desired results for SEO.. you made my “month” by saving $5000 claim that you have spent for this audit.. Thanks Neil!

  91. Great Post Neil.You explained the each and every thing related to SEO,also new information for me. Great effort. Keep it up !

  92. Hello,
    I do really like the way you are going to illustrate your readers n this post. It was knowledgeable and worth reading.
    Thanks

  93. Neil, amazing piece of work you’ve put together. How long did it take you from idea to completion?

  94. Hi Neil, SEO is in my opinion one of the hardest marketing routes there are to drive sales. It takes time to develop enough authority to influence a lot of people and it’s often misleading in prioritizing position above revenue. To me is fairly easy to get sites to top ranks but to make them sell a differentiated offer… that’s the real deal. You are the only SEO expert I know who can do that. Because of that, this post is a “must” bookmark. And pay a lot of attention where the focus is because it gives all the meaning to the job.

  95. Neil in your post you write about competition that google keyword tool shows – but it’s only adwords competition not and it don’t say us nothing about organic results.
    Second thing “H1 tags should never contain images or logos, only text.” – why? Google count’s H1 or H2’s exactly thesame as text if image has defined the alt attribute.

    • Generally if a keyword in AdWords is competitive, it also usually has a lot of organic competition.

      Others may have a different opinion, but they prefer it being text and by not having it a logo it will be more keyword rich.

    • Actually, they don’t. Google gives added weight to text based on font size. If you follow proper coding practices, text in an H1 tag should have the largest font size on the page, and only text should be used in Heading tags. This is where the concept of SEO value of the H1 tag comes from. An image is not text, and an ALT tag is not a substitute for the text that should be wrapped in that tag.

  96. Hi Neil ! Thank you for your great ideas. specially its depend on keywords according to niche and targeted visitors. Content should be qualified.

  97. Where did you get the 43.12%?

    • That is an oddly specific number isn’t it :) By my tally on-site factors account for 26%, or 38% if you include indexation related elements in the “on-site” bucket. Those percentages come from the SEOmoz industry survey.

  98. Wow this is great information Neil! I just checked out the crazyegg.com site as well, that is incredible but is it really an accurate seo measurement tool?

  99. Thanks Neil, I am regular follower for your blog, really your postings are very informative and latest.

  100. Excellent post. I will try your steps and will let you know the outcome. :)
    Thank you

  101. Such a useful information sharing. There are many other tools which are providing seo audit for any website.

  102. Hey Neil. Great Post!

    I was surprised that no one mentioned that Meta Description tags do not affect ranking. I thought that was important to mention for those looking to learn SEO.

    However, I understand that it’s an important consideration and I take nothing away from including it in this article. Especially for user experience (+CTR).

    Alex
    Marketing Manager
    Zift Solutions – Channel Marketing Automation

  103. Awesome Post!!compleate and simpe..Good job Neil..

  104. Hello Neil your post is very good. i hope that you every time you will be write same post.thanks

  105. Would you mind sharing what tool created the SEO scorecard on the audit template? Is that from SEOmoz?

    very good information. I will be using this template for new clients. Thank you

    • Brad, the SEO scorecard does come from SEOMoz.

      • Actually, it doesn’t. The SEO scorecard does use some data from the SEOmoz industry survey (in calculating the overall site score), but it’s just a 1-10 ranking system for each element in each section, extrapolated into a % based on the number of elements in each section. Then each section is weighted using the SEOmoz data to get the overall site score.

  106. You have made the SEO world much more clearer. Amazing post. Screaming frog is the best tool we can use it track the website Errors.

  107. Cracking post, thanks a lot. I haven’t stolen the template but this certainly served as an excellent checklist!

  108. What a great post patil it is a complete audit review.Thank you so much

  109. Thanks Sam!
    I am now responsible in my current role to do thorough audits. This template will help set the ground work.

    I do have a one off question though for anyone. Sorry if this is not the right post.

    With a site that has thousands of pages of duplicate content i plan on suggesting to implement canonical tags. Does anyone have a sufficient way to implement across this many pages?

    Or with this many pages has anyone had better luck doing robots.txt or URL parameters in webmasters tools?

    Thanks again for the template!

    • The solution really depends on the source and scope of the problem. Why does the site have thousands of pages of duplicate content?

      My email address is listed at the end of the audit template if you want to reach out. I’d be happy to help you figure out the best approach for the site in question.

  110. Namaste Neil Patel. I’m just such a dunce when it comes to this SEO stuff. I’ve never quite figured it out. :-) I’ll give this a shot. Thank you much!

  111. Great guide Neil. So many important things in one place.

  112. Great blog here! Also your web site lots up fast!

    What host are you the use of? Can I am getting your associate link
    in your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours
    lol

  113. I do not think backlinks are king anymore, solid structure and content is the future. I am beating all my competition and I do not use link networks like they do. I only have a handful of links.

    @Sammy you can obtain crazy fast load times with a shared hosting plan if you know what you are doing. 90% of SEOs really do not know how to optimize. Really sad. I would suggest all SEOs learn how to develop websites before they try to optimize them.

  114. The write-up provides verified useful to myself. It’s extremely informative and you are certainly extremely experienced in this field.
    You have exposed our face to be able to varying opinion
    of this kind of topic using interesting and
    sound content material.

  115. Hey Neil,
    Great checklist and awesome tips here!
    What also makes me happy is that most of the points you mention can be performed with the SEO dashboard I’m using (Webmeup).
    Thanks for explaining about site speed, I always wanted to know what a good load speed is.

  116. Ad Workouts :

    Hi Neil,

    First of all, I agree with Matt Sells. Links are becoming less important and may even hurt sites. A couple links is good – one from this site would be good for me (maybe :). My question is: is it better to have a static home page or latest posts home page for seo? I am working on an abs workout site and would think I should have a solid static page, but then again you have a recent posts page? What’s better?

    Thanks

    • I like a recent post pages because content changes. But a solid static page works as well.

      Just make sure you continually add new content to the whole site. That’s the most important thing.

  117. Great article, the audit files in the zip don’t work, they come up as corrupt. :)

  118. Thanks for the great post and template.

    Everyone who implements these 23 SEO Audit steps will benefit greatly by ensuring that they have a quality website for their visitors.

    Signed up to your list…I am looking forward to more great content.

  119. Hey Neil,
    Great article indeed. Really good valuable content :)

    What criteria do you use to come up with a score (7/10) for each section?

  120. This is fantastic Neil. Actually we are following the same for an audit, but the perfect lineup of each metric is getting now. Thanks for the worth share Neil:)

  121. Hello Neil,

    Thanks for a masterpiece content as expected. I have one question. I have downloaded the templates and I am particularly interested in the keyword research spreadsheet.

    Would you mind sharing with me how the percentage figures in column B were reached for competition?

    Regards

    Samuel

  122. First of all, thanks a ton for the amazing tutorial, Neil!

    Somewhere in between you mentioned: “When the tag rel=”nofollow” is used in an anchor tag (link), Google will usually pass 50-100% less “link juice” to the page being linked to.”

    I’m surprised by this, as I have heard every SEO consultant and frankly, everyone who has to deal with SEO, stressing out that nofollow links are 100% ignored by search engines. Is this a misconception? If yes, in which cases will nofollow links pass any juice at all? :)

  123. Neil,
    Thank you for taking the time to write such great article on SEO. It’s hard to find the kind of information you are sharing with everyone. It’s even harder to find this kind of information from a trusted source. You have help our business in so many ways!!

    • Glad I could help. Most times people post content without checking their sources. I like to ensure that all the information I provide is factual and has a case study to back it up. Thanks for reading!

  124. I think redirection reports and broken link report should also be included in SEO audit report.

  125. wonderful!!Thanks for idies!

  126. Thank you for Neil , your work is absolutely amazing and has helped me out so much , your Advanced SEO guide was brilliant and now reading this I am just blown away , i am a website designer and developer offering seo services also I will be implementing your ideas no doubt.

    Thank you once again.

    Adam

  127. This is one of the best article that i have read until now about website optimization. You have covered both on-page and off-page, and pointed the various important factor that we should keep in mind while optimizing the site. There are few things that i wasn’t aware of but now i know. Thanks for sharing such a valuable piece of information.

  128. Hey Neil,

    What a great article. I got a lot of great value from it.

    Do you know what software or tool Vudu Marketing is using to generate the report template?
    Or are they all hand made/designed?

    Thanks

  129. Hii sir,
    I have heard a lot about Google’s Keyword Suggestion tool, but not been able to use it can you suggest a good alternative as they are not working on Google’s Keyword Suggestion tool.

    Thanks a lot

  130. Has been very helpful for ourselves and clients. Thanks.

  131. This is my second time reading this post, I can’t believe how generous you continue to be with all the great information you provide on this site (your guides, posts, everything).

    I have been doing audits for clients in a much less thorough and organized manner than this.

    Thanks a ton for the template at the end!

  132. After reading your article, i actually realized what i am doing and what i am missing. Your report is just awesome bro. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  133. Thanks Neil for sharing this. I realized my loading speed is pretty bad after testing with pingdom. Now need to fix it!

  134. This is absolutely superb article. Thanks for writing such a detail post on seo audit.

    I need a small help from you. I find it difficult to get backlinks from related sites. Is there any software that I can use to get a list of sites from where I can get backlink.

  135. These all of the tips are so much effective for a website. But, how can i increase the page rank more easily?

  136. Hi, I do think this is an excellent site. I stumbledupon it
    ;) I am going to revisit once again since i have book-marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  137. Hi Neil,

    I have been looking for an article like this for many days. Thanks for compiling such detailed guide on SEO Audits. I want to do it myself.

  138. Awesome piece Neil

    This is why I love quicksprout so much awesome content!

  139. I’ve had a lot more audits to do myself lately and I always find myself referring back to a few resources, yours being one of them Neil.

  140. 520 pixels for the title tag length? I don’t think so! That is very long for a title tag. It’s more like 490 or thereabouts.

  141. Thanks for the free templates. Really awesome guide to help newbies with their own site’s SEO audit process.

  142. Awesome job Neil! I was looking for some online tools for comprehensive competition analysis for social media engagement and I came across your website. My search ends here. Can’t thank you enough for the free templates and analyses.

  143. God dammit, i swore i’d never subscribe to another IM blog .. but you won me over !
    It seems Every time i was googlin’ something up, i’d end up coming on your blog and actually find the content that i was looking for instead of some rehashed B.S SEO advice and the such.
    Keep rocking it !

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