Give Your Website an ‘MOT’: The Ultimate SEO Audit Checklist

Sam Underwood 2 years ago

Site audits are one of, if not the most, important tasks you will carry out when working on a website. When you are conducting one, you need to be sure you don’t miss anything. The best way to make sure an audit is all inclusive of potential problems is by keeping an ever evolving list of issues that you have ever found with a site.

This is something we do at Zazzle Media - and we are doing a lot of site audits. Every time we find something new that doesn’t fit within the audit, it gets added to our checklist so we make sure it is checked next time.

You can find our site audit checklist by clicking the button below:

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Quick Start Guide

If you want to start auditing straight away just go to File > Make a copy

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Then start checking the site for each issue. In the ‘Status’ column mark it either ‘Pass’, ‘Fail’ or ‘N/A’ if the issue was not applicable.

What does our audit cover?

Our audits cover the following topics:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • International SEO
  • Mobile SEO
  • On-Page SEO
  • Site Speed
  • Site Structure
  • Technical SEO (crawling and indexing)
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Structured Data

Within each topic there is a sub-topic. For example, within the technical section we will look at:

  • Canonical Hostnames
  • Canonicals
  • Cloaking
  • Crawlability
  • Duplicate Content
  • Pagination
  • Redirects
  • Robots META
  • txt

Some issues on the site audit highlight problems that need further investigation rather than things we would fix within the actual audit. For example, when reviewing the site structure, we do not include a full Information Architecture review and proposal. If we did find issues with site structure, however, we would look into planning in a further investigation to get it fixed. Another example would be if we found a lot of crawlability issues.

We may then start planning in a log file analysis so we can see how Googlebot is actually crawling the site. Or, if the audit highlighted a large difference between URLs indexed and the number of URLs receiving organic traffic, we would plan in a more thorough content audit of the site.

The Website Health Score

One important point in our site audit is the health score. We prioritise all issues on a scale of 0–3, with a rating of 0 being urgent, and 3 being something that we should look into fixing once higher priority problems are completed.

At the end of the audit a website health score is generated based on whether the site passed or failed the different checks. This score gives us an idea of how well the site performed (you can find this in the ‘Scoring’ tab of the Google Sheet):

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We have categorised health scores into the following sections:

Health Score

Description

0 – 25%The site does not seem to have been created with SEO in mind. Ranking highly with this site will be difficult without very significant off-page campaigns.
25 – 50%The site follows some best practices, though there are some significant issues that are holding it back from fulfilling its potential.
50 – 75%SEO best practice has been undertaken in quite a few areas. With some extra finesse the site could perform a lot better in search results. We will not see the full benefit of off-page campaigns.
75 – 100%The site has been created with SEO best practice in mind. There may be some areas to improve so we see a small boost in rankings. We will benefit greatly from off-page campaigns.

This is especially useful for clients that aren’t clued up on SEO. Being able to give a metric on how well optimised the site is, simplifies things and lets them know how far away the site is from being ideal technically.

Don't forget to download your copy of the auditing checklist by clicking the button below:

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Any suggestions?

As mentioned earlier, we are always adding to this checklist. If you have any feedback or you think something could be added, comment below or find me on Twitter at @SamUnderwoodUK.

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