How to Conduct an SEO Audit: The Ultimate Checklist [With Template]

SEO auditing helps you find existing issues on the site and discover the required improvements to improve search rankings and drive more organic visits every month.

But analyzing technical health issues, content performance, and on-page issues can be overwhelming for a beginner with little understanding of SEO.

This is why we have created this simple 12-point SEO audit checklist that works for every type of website.

This guide will share a step-by-step process to conduct an SEO audit in 2023 with a downloadable checklist.

Why Is SEO Audit Important?

In simple words, An SEO audit is necessary to find out exactly what’s holding back your pages and articles from ranking high on Google. This includes technical SEO issues, under-optimized on-page content, lack of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EAT) information, poor backlinking profile, and more.

💡Key benefits of doing SEO audits:

  • Knowing the site issues that affect ranking ability, you can improve keyword rankings and outrank your competitors.
  • The audit report helps to make data-driven decisions on where to spend your SEO and content efforts. Hence, it makes your SEO process more efficient to focus on areas that make up most of the results.
  • Helps you fix manual actions and Google penalties for manipulating search rankings.

“ The deeper the auditing, the more crystal clear the problems,  the lesser the mistakes, and the faster the results!”

When starting any SEO project, SEO auditing must be one of the top priorities. It is just like a doctor analyzing the patient before performing crucial surgery. The deeper the analysis, the easier the surgery, similar is with SEO. We should do auditing on different levels like website audit for health check of the website, content audit for giving context to the audience, technical audit for making the website familiar with search engine algorithms, and more.

Pranav Jha, Director at AP Web World

How To Conduct SEO Audits In 2023

Based on our years of experience in SEO and content marketing, here are 12 steps to conduct a successful SEO audit in 2023.

1. Prevent Multiple Website URL Versions

Type the following URL versions in the search tab (replace the URL with your domain) and see whether your website has multiple versions available.


Serving the HTTP version can harm your rankings as it is an official ranking factor. Also, it is necessary to serve only one version of the site to prevent duplicate content.

Why it matters:

Google and other search engines pick every URL as a new page.

If two versions (www and non-www) of a webpage are available, then Google will consider these two URLs as different pages.

This will create duplicate pages on your site as the content remains the same. Also, it may impact the indexability search rankings significantly.

How to fix: 

Website URL Versions

  • Make sure that your website is only accessible through an HTTPS connection.
  • Choose only one version between (www) and (non-www). For example, if you’re using the www version of your website, the non-www version should redirect to the www version of the page.

An example:

At Pazeviews, we prefer using the non-www version of the page. That means if you type, it will get redirected to the URL

2. Fix Indexability Issues

Generally, the process of ranking a webpage in the SERP is shown below:

Crawling → indexing → ranking

That means no matter how good content you create if pages aren’t indexed, they will not rank.

Open the Google Search Console dashboard to find the indexability issue and check the ‘page indexing’ report.

Why it matters: 

Identifying pages that are not indexed will give hints about the overall website quality in terms of internal linking, content quality, etc.

How to fix: 

  • Request indexing using GSC’s URL inspection tool
  • Add internal links to these un-indexed pages so Google can crawl them easily
  • Check whether pages have any content quality issues

3. Check Crawl Depth And Site Structure

Crawl depth refers to the number of clicks it takes to reach a specific page from the home page.

If the crawl depth of a page is two, then that specific page is two clicks away from the home page. When a site has a crawl depth of more than 3, it causes crawlability and user experience issues.

Why it matters: 

To improve UX and help bots find important pages of your site, it is important to have a flat site structure with a crawl depth of 3 or fewer.

How to fix: 

Audit your website through ScreamingFrog and check the site structure report.

Audit Crawl Depth of Website

Next, identify the URLs with higher crawl depth and place them within three clicks from the home page by adding categories to the navigation.

4. Remove Broken Links

Broken links are also known as dead links or 404 errors, which indicate that a page has links to invalid URLs. Google crawls a website via internal links. So, if a link is broken, it will negatively affect crawlability and user experience.

Why it matters: 

Broken links also lead to a bad user experience and affect the ranking ability. Also, having too many dead links will waste the crawl budget.

How to fix: 

Audit your website through any SEO tools such as Ahrefs or ScreamingFrog, and it will show you the list of pages where broken links are found.

Search Console Website IssuesNext, replace the broken links with active links (recommended) or remove the internal link.

5. Remove Orphan Pages

When a site’s web page has no incoming internal links, it’s called an orphan page.

Why it matters: 

Search engines or bots discover new pages on your website through sitemaps and internal or external links. But crawlers may find it challenging to discover when a specific page has no incoming internal links. Hence, these URLs get hidden deep inside your website.

How to fix: 

Run an SEO audit using any SEO tools and check the number of pages with no incoming internal links.

Next, add internal links from other pages pointing to these orphan pages. If the orphan pages are left intentionally, then you may add a no-index tag to prevent crawlers from finding them.

6. Anchor Text Distribution

Anchor text is often underutilized when it comes to optimizing pages for SEO. In fact, Google prefers using descriptive anchor text (aka link text) for internal linking.

Descriptive Anchor Texts

Auditing the anchor text distribution will help you determine whether you’re using descriptive or generic text (click here, read more, learn, etc.).

Why it matters: 

Link text helps search engines understand the content and context of a page. So if you want to target keywords, using related anchor text is one of the tactics to boost page rankings.

How to fix: 

  • Go to Ahrefs Web Master Tool and open the link text report.

ahrefs webmaster tool

  • Export the list of anchor text and source URL.
  • Replace generic link text with descriptive and keyword-rich text.

7. Audit Thin Content Pages

Priority: Medium

Websites with hundreds of pages with little to no content can impact the overall website quality. Generally, pages with less than 250 words are considered thin pages.

Why it matters: 

The goal of identifying thin pages is to ensure that these pages provide unique value to the users. Mostly, because of technical errors, many low-quality pages are automatically created in the backend with no additional content. These pages will affect the overall site quality.

How to fix: 

  • Run a site crawl using any crawler like ScreamingFrog, Ahrefs, or Semrush and find the percentage of thin pages.

Site Crawling

  • Manually check these pages as some pages contact us, thank you, sign up, etc.) usually have less content.
  • Remove or no-index pages with thin content and no value.

8. Fix On-page Issues

Priority: High

One-page SEO is one of the important areas of a website that you can control to influence rankings and traffic.

Why it matters: 

Optimizing on-page factors can make your page more SEO-friendly, rank for a search query, and increase readability.

How to fix: 

Common on-page site issues to fix:

  • Include target keywords in the title tag and meta descriptions
  • Include subheadings to increase content readability
  • Make short and keyword-rich permalink
  • Optimize your images by adding descriptive file names and alt text
  • Cite every claim and data with trustworthy sources
  • Include internal links to related pages
  • Include structured data

9. Check EAT Information

EAT audit is also essential in understanding whether a site has enough expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in a niche.

Why it matters: 

In the Quality Raters Guidelines, a high level of EAT is mentioned as one of the characteristics of a quality website.

How to fix: 

There are no fixed rules for improving the EAT information, as it depends on the overall website quality (content, links, user experience, customer reviews, etc.)

However, some common yet effective factors to check while understanding EAT:

  • Improve your about us page to show the brand’s expertise, team members, awards, and achievements.
  • Get experts to create or edit your content and show the authors’ expertise by adding an author bio for each article.
  • Encourage customers to leave product/service reviews on third-party sites.
  • Check whether the website has links pointing to spammy or low-quality sites.
  • Include contact information, privacy policy, and customer service page to build trust.
  • Use structured data to mark up authors, content, organizations, etc.

10. Identify And Update Content With Declining Traffic

Content auditing helps you find pages with declining traffic and rankings.

Why it matters: 

Declining traffic trends hint at poor content performance due to many factors, such as lack of backlink strength, change in user intent, outdated content, etc. By improving these pages, you can quickly boost the overall SEO performance, which will take less time to show results.

How to fix: 

  • Open the GSC page performance report
  • Compare the last six months of data against the previous six months
  • See the difference in clicks and impressions

Here’s what it looks like:

Compare website traffic in Search Console

  • Manually audit these pages and improve the content
  • Check the performance again after a few weeks.

Check out this guide on how to perform a content audit of a website (step-by-step).

11. Check Canonical URLs

The canonical tag is added in a page’s head section, which helps crawlers understand which page to index in Google.

Here’s an example of a canonical tag:

Canonical URL Issues

Sometimes not using canonical URLs can create duplicate content issues as search engines will get confused about which page to choose as primary.

Why it matters: 

Generally, providing a canonical tag for each page of your site is preferred. However, in eCommerce sites, the canonical tag is a must-have.

For example, a product page may have multiple color variations. When users choose a different product color, the URL of the page and color change, but the content on the page remains the same.

In this case, canonical tags help make one page primary and avoid duplication issues.

How to fix: 

  • If your site is not using a self-referential canonical tag, include it on every page.
  • Run a site audit in any SEO tool and check for duplicate pages and canonicalization issues.

Here’s a detailed guide from Ahrefs on fixing canonical issues.

12. Improve Site Speed And Core Web Vitals (CWV)

Google officially announced that CWV is a ranking factor in ensuring a better page experience for users.

Why it matters: 

Page experience significantly improves the page experience, especially for eCommerce or online stores. Improving the page speed metrics will lead to a positive user experience.

Google's Core Web Vitals

How to fix: 

Here’s a PageSpeed insights report example:

Pagespeed Insights

  • Check whether your page passes the CWV score on desktop and mobile.
  • If not, forward the CWV suggestions to the developer team.

Download The Complete SEO Audit Checklist

So far, we have discussed some of the most important steps to audit your website and improve organic performance.

If you’re looking to download the SEO audit checklist considering technical SEO, content performance, on-page SEO, and links, you’re at the right place.

Check out this downloadable SEO audit checklist and template which you can use as a template to perform audits of any kind of website.

Click here to download the SEO audit checklist and use it to perform effective SEO audits for your websites.

Final Words

This is the ultimate guide to conducting a successful SEO audit in 2023 to find critical site issues and how to solve them with a step-by-step process.

Check out this guide on SEO audit charges and how much it costs to get one done.

Auditing your website for SEO performance at regular intervals will help you keep improving the rankings and make your website ready for future Google algorithm updates.

Looking for experts in auditing your website and improving organic performance? Contact our SEO experts and get a free quote for a complete SEO audit report.

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