What Is an SEO Audit

What Is An SEO Audit and Why Is It Crucial For SEO Success?

If you want to rank higher and generate qualified traffic to your website, you need to win in every aspect of SEO.

Yes, there are many important ranking factors of SEO, but ultimately it all boils down to three core areas: content, links, and the site’s technical health.

This is where an SEO audit helps you win in all three areas.

Here’s how:

  • SEO audit evaluates the overall performance of your website in the search
  • It identifies issues in your content, links (internal and external), and technical health that are hurting your ranking ability

In this guide, you’ll learn what exactly an SEO audit is and why it is important for your SEO success.

What Is An SEO Audit?

SEO audit is the process of analyzing your website’s performance in search engines and identifying issues that may impact the site’s ability to rank higher for important keywords. It helps business founders and marketers find overall site issues, improve the content, and prioritize SEO efforts for effectiveness.

An SEO audit process includes analyzing the following three categories:

Technical aspects: Crawlability, indexability, sitemap, robots.txt, crawl budget, canonical tag, structured data, etc.

Content: Thin pages, duplicate content, title optimization, heading structure, ranking movement of pages, underperforming pages, etc.

Links: Quality and quantity of backlinks, broken links, crawl depth of pages, anchor text distribution, orphan pages, HTTPS/HTTP, etc.

What Insights Does SEO Auditing Provide to a Business?

An SEO audit gives you a holistic view of the existing site issues affecting the organic rankings and opportunities, fixing them will improve your website for search engines and users.

Here is the list of some common insights and reports you’ll get in SEO auditing:

  • List of underperforming pages
  • Top pages by traffic, links, and revenue
  • Core web vitals report
  • Month-over-month traffic trends
  • Technical issues
  • Under-optimized pages and on-page SEO issues
  • Ranking positions of every single page
  • Quality of backlink profile
  • Prioritized list of action items

Why Is An SEO Audit Important?

Performing regular SEO audits maximizes your SEO and content effort by identifying the issues and scope of improvements to rank your site higher.

Here are some important reasons why an SEO audit is important:

1. Measure And Improve Organic Performance

Identifying the strength and weaknesses of a website includes analyzing underperforming and well-performing pages in the SERP.

An expert SEO will audit every single page, article, link, and even multimedia (images, PDF, etc.) of your website to identify the following:

  • What pages need an update
  • On-page SEO issues
  • Pages with little to no organic traffic
  • Performance of different content clusters
  • Ranking positions of important pages
  • Traffic growth trend, and more.

Why it is important:

  • When you know the organic performance of your website, you can prioritize the tasks to gain search rankings and increase traffic
  • Double down on creating content that is already driving traffic and revenue
  • Find which pages to remove/redirect/ or update to improve SEO efficiency

2. Improve Your Website Health

Technical issues can significantly impact your organic rankings in the SERP. In fact, there are 100+ possible issues that your website may already have.

Performing regular audits give you insights about the website’s health and issues to fix by priority.

For example, Ahrefs WebMaster Tool shows you issues with priority. So you know what issues to be fixed now and later.

Website issues and errors

In addition, technical audits give you control over how you want your website to be shown in the search results with the help of structured data, robots.txt, meta tags, etc.

Why it is important:

  • Identifies the website’s technical health score
  • Prioritizes the list of technical issues
  • Discovers and improves the site structure and crawl depth

3. Checking The Backlink Profile

Analyzing backlink profiles is important to understand the authority of a website in a specific niche. Generally, the more quality backlinks your website has, the more authoritative your website is in Google’s ranking criterion.

A backlink audit of your website helps find your website’s backlink profile compared to competitors. This way, you’ll know whether to focus on improving website authority by getting high-quality backlinks.

Also, link analysis is important to find suspicious link activity. This happens when a site creates a lot of unnatural backlinks on low-quality or irrelevant sites (aka link spam).

Link Spam

Here’s an example where Semrush detects the backlink profile suspicious.

Network Graph by Semrush

Why it is important:

  • Evaluates the backlink strength of a website and help plan the link-building strategy accordingly
  • Identifies whether your site is at risk of getting affected by Google’s link spam update

4. Help Bots Easily Crawl And Index Your Website

Two fundamentals of technical SEO are assessing the crawlability and indexability of your website.

No matter how many backlinks and quality pages you have, if bots cannot crawl or index your web pages, you’ll never rank in search engines.

How search engines work

This is why you need to ensure that all important pages are allowed to crawl and index in search engines by adding a sitemap and using a robots.txt file. Otherwise, your pages won’t show up in search results.

SEO audit also identifies the pages that are yet to be indexed in Google for various reasons like duplicate content, quality issues, etc.

Why it is important:

  • SEO audit is required to fix crawlability and indexability issues
  • Improves search visibility by getting your pages indexed in search engines

A lot of behind-the-scenes work is necessary to get your website indexed by search engines. But there’s a big difference between just getting indexed and actually having your landing page rank high up on the first page of search engine results. A high ranking that gets lots of clicks requires a headline and meta description that grabs attention, is relevant to your topic, and most importantly, sounds like a human wrote it.

The same goes for the content throughout your whole website. Know who you’re writing to. If you don’t have a buyer persona (and you absolutely should!), you’ll end up with irrelevant content that nobody but you wants to engage with.

This is where a fresh set of eyes comes in handy, and one of the many benefits of an SEO audit.

Lane Bargeron, Copywriter and SEO Content Marketer

5. Handle Algorithm Updates With SEO Audit

One thing common in the SEO industry is Google’s algorithm updates. In most cases, algorithm updates significantly impact the ranking positions and overall traffic due to changes in Google’s ranking factors.

One way to prevent traffic loss in updates is by conducting an SEO audit. This way, you can find the root cause of the traffic drop and fix it to regain rankings and traffic. Tracking these updates and adapting SEO strategies accordingly helps you maintain the site’s traffic.

Why it is important:

  • Prevents significant traffic loss due to algorithmic changes
  • Helps you adapt the latest SEO best practices

6. Shape Your Future SEO Strategy

The goal of doing an SEO audit is not only to find existing issues with the website but also to improve your SEO plan accordingly. Because of the data and insights you get from SEO audits, you can tweak your SEO strategy and get more search visibility.

Also, you clearly understand what strategies are working and what aren’t.

Why it is important:

  • Helps to update your SEO strategy based on SEO audit insights

Things You Should Keep Ready Before the SEO Audit Process

There is no universal method for SEO audits, as every business demands different strategies to increase rankings and traffic.

However, if you’re looking to hire SEO audit services, you need the following things ready to access for the SEO expert:

1. Your Business Goals

Your goals and KPIs will help the SEO expert align the reporting with end business objectives. Also, knowing which KPIs (traffic, leads, sign-ups, etc.) to measure helps analyze the performance of existing SEO strategies and where further improvement is needed.

Why it is important: With business goals, it is clear what type of content to create and prioritize SEO auditing tasks from most important to least important.

2. Google Search Console And Google Analytics Access

First, ensure that you have already added your site to Google Search Console (GSC) and submitted a sitemap before doing SEO audits.

This will help SEO experts in assessing organic performance and finding site issues, like:

  • Average ranking positions
  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • CTR
  • Search performance comparison report
  • Indexability
  • Sitemap
  • Crawl requests

Likewise, Google Analytics is also required to perform an in-depth analysis of user engagement, traffic channels, conversions, and more.

Why it is important: GA and GSC are used to collect data about your SEO performance and how users engage with your website content.

3. List All Product or Service Pages

To help SEO professionals understand your business offerings, create a list of product or service pages.

The list should include the page URL and the importance of offerings in terms of revenue, demand, etc.

Why it is important: This way, your SEO strategy will evolve around targeting the right keywords and bringing traffic to the transactional pages.

4. Buyer Persona

A documented buyer persona detailing the target audience, pain points, and how your products solve their problems can make the SEO auditing process much easier.

Why it is important: This helps in audience research and crafting the content strategy personalized for your target audience.


SEO audit may sound too technical and a highly complex process for many SEO beginners or startup founders. But the value of an SEO audit report lies in the insights it gives you regarding website issues, page performance, quality of link profile, and many more.

Ultimately, it helps you increase rankings, site traffic, number of leads, and revenue for your business.

So, if you want to achieve higher search engine visibility in 2023, it is time to invest in SEO audits and outrank your competitors for keywords that matter to your business.

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