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SEO Audit, the Essential 130-Point Checklist (Only)

le Wednesday 29 January 2020 - Mise à jour Sunday 03 March 2024
Audit SEO
Inside this article
Temps de lecture : 15 minutes

I'll admit something to you: being an SEO consultant is not always an easy job. Especially when you're faced with this kind of Google Analytics dashboard.

apercu google analytics
apercu google analytics 2

Your throat tightens at the sight of the disaster, and there's only one solution: elbow grease!

Here's how I managed to get out of this situation.

👣 What is an SEO audit?

What should you do when you suspect that a website is not functioning properly? How do you identify the problems? These are the questions you ask yourself when you want to conduct an SEO audit.

But what if you're on a tight budget? This article is for webmasters and SEO consultants who want to fix problems themselves without necessarily hiring an SEO agency.

There are many articles offering advice in this area, and we decided to get serious by creating an SEO checklist with over 130 checkpoints.

You can follow it or read it to understand how I conducted my SEO audits when I was working at an agency.

Thanks to this checklist, you'll be able to perform an audit yourself.

### Quick Pre-Audit

(If you don't have time) It's important to know how to quickly get an overview of a website's health. Learning to generate this type of "pre-SEO audit" takes only ten minutes. No need to buy expensive software; it's mostly free.

💰 How much does an SEO audit cost?

For a basic SEO audit, which would take about 5 to 10 hours, the recommended rate ranges from €700 to €2500, depending on the workload.

For a more detailed SEO audit, between €3,000 and €25,000, after reading this list, you'll understand why an SEO audit takes between 2 and 3 weeks (or even longer).

⚗️ How do you audit a website?

Not all SEO checklists are the same.

Most of the documents found on the web cover the basics of a technical SEO audit without taking into account how Google has evolved. It's possible that a UX issue or on-page SEO problems, especially semantics, are affecting your site's performance.

Technical fixes won't solve the problem permanently. To do that, you'll need to find the root cause.

This SEO checklist covers all the checkpoints and how they should be performed.

The complete SEO audit process:

Remember that these are just checks. The results of these checks should be part of a long-term strategy.

Before starting an SEO audit...

First and foremost, it's essential to be prepared and ask the right questions. You'd be surprised how many SEO problems are related to outdated optimization techniques that may have led to penalties.

Why this SEO audit checklist?

SEO audits are one of those areas where it's all or nothing. By publishing the checkpoints, we want to make an extremely comprehensive list accessible to everyone.

This list helps identify problems, no matter their size, that impact the site's ranking.

🔨 Tools used during a website's SEO audit

I strongly advise against using only one tool when auditing your website. Indeed, you'll likely miss something, which is why I invite you to use many different tools to analyze various elements. Each tool, in my opinion, covers a specific feature. Some are paid, while others offer freemium plans (limited access to features).

SEO Tools for checking site indexing:

  • Ahrefs
  • Oncrawl
  • Botify
  • Deep Crawl
  • Screaming FROG
  • SiteBulb

SEO Keyword Research Tools:

If you want more details on this part, read our article Understanding and Creating the Perfect Keyword List

  • Semrush
  • Answerthepublic
  • Ubersuggest
  • Rankxplorer
  • SEOQuantum
  • YoodaInsight
  • Ahrefs

SEO Tools for evaluating backlinks:

  • SEObserver
  • MajesticSEO
  • Moz
  • Ahrefs

SEO Tools for tracking your position in Google:

  • Monitorank
  • Allorank
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMRush

UX Tools, especially for SXO:

  • Hotjar (this page uses it :) )

Mobile evaluation tools:

  • Google Mobile Test
  • Lighthouse (google chrome)
  • Google AMP Validator

SEO Tools for site performance:

  • GTMetrix
  • Uptrends
  • Google PageSpeed

Various SEO tools in my toolbox:

  • Google Suite (Google Analytics, Google Search Console)
  • Wayback Machine
  • GA checker

The step-by-step SEO audit

Below is the list of audit steps by priority category.

Technical SEO audit

Many technical issues go undiagnosed because you don't necessarily see them.

Performing a high-quality technical SEO audit for a client is the cornerstone for the long-term success of your SEO optimization efforts.

The site's technical audit begins with various checks to determine how easy it is to crawl and whether there are any indexing or ranking issues.

Does the site have a favicon? Visual check
Site availability (cheap and very effective)
Broken/redirected internal links Most SEO crawlers
Broken/redirected external links Most SEO crawlers
Use of JavaScript Screaming Frog
Use of HTTP/HTTPS protocol Most SEO crawlers + to check certificate validity
Are there HTTP pages loading instead of HTTPS? Visual check + ScreamingFrog
Are all pages correctly redirected from HTTP to HTTPS? ScreamingFrog + WebRankInfo tool (
Malware and security checks Google's site security tool:
Site speed checks GooglePageSpeed + GTMetrix
Check domain history SEMRush + Wayback Machine
Are there pages duplicated due to poor architecture? Most SEO crawlers + SEOQuantum Crawler
Structured data and schema usage Google Test Tool + Google Search Console
Is the CSS minified?
Is each site page secure and error-free? Screaming Frog
Are there errors in canonical tags? Most SEO crawlers
Can the site be indexed and used without JavaScript? Chrome Web Developer Extension
Do pages have more than 100 external links? ScreamingFrog + Seoquantum Crawler
What platform is the site built on? Know all the site's technological tools: Google whatsrun plugin
Is the platform associated with known restrictions? Research
Is a CDN used? Google whatsrun plugin

Having a consistently available and fast-loading website has been a ranking factor for several years, but it has become increasingly important in the mobile-first era.

Site architecture audit

Architecture issues can ruin a site and all future campaigns. A site's architecture plays an important role in its SEO.

A site may have quality backlinks from high-authority sites, but if the site structure and internal links are not well optimized, it probably won't fully benefit from these links.

HTML protocol check Most SEO crawlers
Pagination checks Screaming Frog
Canonical tag check Screaming Frog
Are URLs over-optimized? Visual check in Screaming Frog
Is there a blog on a subdomain or subdirectory? Visual check
Internal link check Screaming Frog
Are there any 404 error pages internally? Screaming Frog + Oncrawl + SEOQuantum Crawler
Site visualization checks Screaming Frog + Sitebulb + Oncrawl
Internal redirects Screaming Frog + Oncrawl
Is the Robots.txt file configured? Visual check via site URL+robots.txt
Robots.txt check Google Search Console
Are pages correctly blocked by the Robots.txt file? Check via Google Search
Are pages correctly blocked by the meta robots tag? Screaming Frog
Do all pages follow the three-click rule? OnCrawl
Site structure and silo strategy SEoQuantum Crawler (sitemap)
Are URL names properly optimized? Most SEO crawlers
Are error pages existing? Screaming Frog
Are Tag pages disabled for indexing? Screaming Frog + Oncrawl
Does the site use breadcrumbs? Visual check
Is the primary navigation easy to use? Visual check of UX
Footer checks? Visual check
Are all quality content pages accessible within 4 clicks of the homepage? Most SEO crawlers
Menu configuration and usage Visual check

Google audit

Ensuring that the website is properly set up with Google is always the first priority. If the client has not successfully verified their Google Search Console, for example, this should be a priority fix before starting work.

Here's a list of checkpoints:

  • Is Google Analytics installed correctly?
  • Are goals set and funnels correct?
  • Has e-commerce tracking been set up?
  • Do conversion data display and are they correct?
  • Is Google Tag Manager installed correctly?
  • Do event data pass correctly to Google Analytics?
  • Has Google Search Console been verified?
  • Has there been a sudden drop in traffic, rankings, and/or CTR?
  • Is Google My Business properly set up for all business locations?

Google Analytics:

Is Google Analytics installed?
Is the Google Analytics code duplicated? GA Debug Plugin for Google Chrome (also useful for Google Ads)

Google Search Console:

Is Search Console set up? Check on Google Search Console site
Are there errors related to Search Console? Google Search Console
Is there a sitemap.xml file? Check Sitemap on Search Console, and/or robots.txt
Are there discrepancies between pages indexed in Google and the Sitemap? 1. Check Sitemap and number of pages in Google Search Console 2. Use the command site: in Google to know the number of pages
Are there manual actions (penalties)? Google Search Console
Are there crawl errors? Google Search Console

From Google Search:

Do search suggestions harm the brand? Google / Visual check of the type "brand name + scam, unresponsive,..."
Google cache analysis 'cache:sitename' in Google

Keyword audit

Google expects to find certain keywords on a page. Make sure to use them.

Is there a keyword strategy in place? Analysis with the client + SEOQuantum keyword clustering
Keyword research Most keyword tools, read our article on this subject
Brand search - Does the homepage appear in the first position when searched? Google Search
Is there evidence of duplication or overuse of keywords? SEOQuantum Crawler
Do keywords appear in page titles? Ahrefs / OnCrawl / Botify
Are keywords in H1? Ahrefs / OnCrawl / Botify
Are keywords in H2? Ahrefs / OnCrawl / Botify
Are keywords in the meta description? Ahrefs / OnCrawl / Botify
Do keywords appear in the main content? SEOQuantum Crawler
Overall, is the site targeting the right keywords? SEOQuantum Crawler

SEO content audit

By better understanding your content, you can improve underperforming pages.

Does the site have comprehensive content? Visual check + SEOQuantum Crawler
Do pages satisfy user intent? SEOQuantum – Semantic analysis
Are pages enriched by a complete semantic analysis? SEOQuantum – Semantic analysis tool
Are all fonts large enough to read? Visual check
Are hyperlinks clear? Visual check
Is the content up to date? Visual check
Are there thin pages (less than 200 words)? SEOQuantum Crawler
Is there internal duplicate content? Most SEO crawlers
Is there external duplicate content? killduplicate or Siteliner
Does content copy external sources? killduplicate or Siteliner
Is the "contact" page easy to find and use? Visual check
Content classification checks SEOQuantum

On-page analysis

Sometimes known as best practices, these elements are mostly on-page and easy to change.

Is page position tracking enabled? Monitorank / Allorank / Ahrefs
Validation to web standards
Accessibility checks

Page titles (title)

This is one of the inevitable elements in SEO: the title tag. To go further, consult: 5 Tips on the "title" Tag

Do all page titles have fewer than 65 characters? Most SEO crawlers
Are there titles with fewer than 30 characters? Most SEO crawlers
Are there signs of keyword cannibalization? SEOQuantum Crawler
Is the keyword phrase close to the beginning? OnCrawl, SEOQuantum Crawler
Do all page titles describe the page content? SEOQuantum Crawler with page topics
Are there missing titles? OnCrawl, SEOQuantum Crawler

Meta Description

Are meta descriptions unique and descriptive? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Are Meta descriptions missing? Google Search Console / ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Is there duplicate content unrelated to pagination and without a canonical tag? Google Search Console / ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Are there fewer than 70 characters? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Are there redirects other than 301? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Are there 5xx errors? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Do you use ALT attributes on your images? ScreamingFrog / Botify
Are there too many ads on the pages? Visual check
Does the site bombard you with pop-ups? Visual check
Does the site contain a clear call to action? Visual check
Does each page have a clear H1 tag? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify
Is the H2 title used throughout the site? ScreamingFrog / Oncrawl / Botify

Link building and backlink audit

Google relies heavily on backlinks. So make sure you're on top of it.

Evaluation of backlink quality MajesticSEO via TF and CF indicators (both indicators must be consistent)
"Spammy" domains Ahrefs
Has a disavow file been created? Google Search Console
Use of anchor texts MajesticSEO
Lost backlinks Ahrefs
Gained backlinks Ahrefs
Broken backlinks Ahrefs

UX audit (user experience)

User experience is an SEO criterion. You'd do well to check this factor as it is considered in the EAT evaluation in SEO.

A technically solid website with strong on-page optimization is no longer enough to maintain high visibility on Google. Sites must demonstrate expertise in their field, provide exceptional quality content, and an intuitive user experience.

Use of video on the site Visual check
Homepage check Visual check
Internal page checks Visual check
"Contact" page check Visual check
404 error checks Visual check
Track user behavior live Hotjar

Mobile SEO audit

Mobile compatibility is extremely important, with over 50% of internet users now using this mode of navigation.

Page size on mobile
Use of images
Image optimization
Image resizing
Errors related to Search Console Google Search Console
AMP check
Mobile UX issues (see UX) Hotjar / Google Search Console
Mobile navigation Visual check
Use of video on mobile Visual check
Are buttons and links easy to click? Visual check

Bad SEO practices

These practices still manage to infiltrate the site, sometimes without the owner's knowledge.

Satellite pages Most SEO crawlers

Bonus: Competitor tracking

Set up your competitive benchmarks before starting. That way, you know where growth has occurred. Understanding what your competitors are doing may be a great way to imitate and improve your SEO campaign.

Your analysis here may not appear at the beginning of the main audit itself, but it will help define your recommendations to the client. You may want to consider creating a separate Excel sheet containing key information on competitor analysis and details on how the client compares to these competitors.

Have you identified 3 to 5 market competitors? Client / SEMRush / Ahrefs
Total number of pages indexed in Google Google Search
Total number of backlinks Ahrefs / MajesticSEO
Total number of domains Ahrefs / MajesticSEO
Total number of organic keywords SEMRush / Ahrefs
Track the top 20-50 performing keywords (best keywords, average positions) Monitorank / Allorank / Ranxplorer
Domain age

In conclusion

An SEO audit is an essential starting point for any new activity or business development, with the goal of improving organic visibility performance.

Tools should never replace the important work of analyzing and interpreting results by a human. The SEO audit provides a snapshot at a specific point in time, and it's up to you to plan the action plan for various optimizations.

Need to go further?

If you need to delve deeper into the topic, the editorial team recommends the following 5 contents:

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