Advanced SEO Audit - Semalt Expert

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An SEO audit is the most valuable document we can receive from an SEO specialist. A well-prepared list of all the important elements of the page that affect the page's display in search results. Its preparation is recommended at the very beginning of the work to improve the visibility of the site. A thorough analysis of the website allows you to prepare a personalized action strategy.

Conducting an audit involves a detailed examination of the website, which is allowed by SEO tools, including the Dedicated SEO Dashboard. The SEO audit includes an assessment of the current state of the website, taking into account parameters that have a direct and indirect impact on page positioning, as well as technical elements. If errors are detected during the audit, there are also recommendations to implement on the website to improve it.

Why is SEO audit becoming more and more specialized?

From year to year, we can notice that SEO audits prepared by specialists are getting longer and more in-depth. There are several reasons for this:
SEO audits are becoming more and more detailed and extensive and are gaining in value. So let's discuss step by step what should be included in an SEO audit, what to look out for and what is worth asking for.

The most important elements of an SEO audit

The SEO audit relies heavily on the knowledge of a specialist, but a complete and thorough analysis cannot be done without SEO tools. To prepare the audit, you will also need analysis tools such as the Dedicated SEO Dashboard, which is a very intuitive one. It is thanks to this tool that the author of the audit can make a detailed assessment of the existing state of the site. So, if the audit does not contain information about the tools used for its preparation, it is worth investigating.

Information about the domain and server

When analyzing your website, it is worth starting from scratch. In the case of positioning, not only the information on the website is very important, but also those that are not visible to the naked eye. Things like the presence of an HTTPS certificate on the website or correctly created redirects from all versions of the website are extremely important and have an impact on many other analysis results, for example, duplication within the website. An SEO audit with server optimization suggestions can contribute to a considerable improvement of the website while ignoring this point can result in an incorrect audit. This is something that should definitely be taken into account.

Page Speed

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There's a reason why more and more of the industry is talking about how SEO specialists must love web developers. Google's algorithms are paying more and more attention to the technical aspects of the websites. One of the important factors (which has been officially confirmed by Google) is the speed of data collection, i.e. the page load time.  The SEO audit should include measurements of the website loading time and, in case of unsatisfactory results, advice on how to improve the given results. In this regard, it is important that the analysis is done for both desktop and mobile devices. In case of major challenges with this aspect, it is worth investing time in developing an in-depth speed analysis, which should be prepared in cooperation with web developers.

4xx, 5xx errors, and internal redirects

The proper functioning of the website is one of the factors considered not only by Googlebot but also by the users. Internal redirects and links to pages with 4xx status or 5xx server errors can disrupt the smooth navigation of the site, slow down or even prevent its use and limit its indexing. They appear, for example, when you change the structure of the URL and when you make other changes to the page. They are often underestimated by website owners who do not have sufficiently advanced knowledge about them, which makes them unfavorable. However, you should be aware that they are detrimental to the website's ranking.

Title tags, meta descriptions

For Google's robots, it's not only what's on the page that counts, but also how it looks in the search results. Title tags and meta descriptions are responsible for this. An SEO audit should have a detailed analysis of what these tags look like before the page is optimized, but also recommendations for their correct construction.

In the audit, detailed examples of how to create them in the future and improve the structure of the existing ones should be provided. The construction of titles and descriptions can be done automatically (the possibilities depend on the CMS panel). The audit should include advice on how to get rid of invalid titles and meta descriptions as soon as possible.

Content on the website

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The content of the website is carefully analyzed by Google's robots. An SEO audit should contain a similar analysis and reflect the behavior of the crawler.

You've heard a lot of talk about "Content is king" in recent years, and rightly so. The person performing the SEO audit of the website must be aware of the importance of the current content of the website. However, it cannot be just any content. The audit point regarding the website content must contain:

The structure and hierarchy of content on the website

What matters about the website is not just the amount of unique content on it, but also the structure of the content and how it is presented to users. Therefore, the SEO audit cannot miss:

Photos and graphics

Although the role of content on individual pages of the website was clearly highlighted in the previous point, the SEO audit should not omit something as important as the photos on the website. Especially since it is a non-obvious element for many people who add photos of products, for example, on the website.

Their quality can, of course, influence users' buying decisions, but that's not what SEO analysis focuses on. On the other hand, what an SEO specialist should pay attention to are alternative descriptions of photos and filenames.

Using them properly allows you to increase the likelihood of photos being displayed on Google Graphics and get additional traffic from this source, as well as increase the number of keywords available on the subpage.

Site indexing

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All of the above-mentioned elements and their detailed analysis will, however, be meaningless if Google does not see your website or sees too many useless subpages, so it is so important that the audit includes an element describing the indexing status of the website.

In particular, websites that are important for business reasons and pages that have unique and valuable content for the user should be audited. Any subpages of the website that contain duplicate or very useless content for the users should not be indexable.

You should also check if the subpages with the content you want to index are fully visible to the indexing robots. It is important to keep this in mind, especially when it comes to Java Script pages.

The audit should also include options that will allow us to block the indexing of pages or improve it. Two solutions that will work best in this area and that every specialist should pay attention to are the robots.txt file and the XML sitemap.

Robots.txt file - which allows blocking the indexing of pages

The SEO audit should contain the content of the robots.txt file and its evaluation. The addresses that have been blocked for indexing should be analyzed. They can be found in the file of pages that are to be presented to users in search results. An SEO specialist should also check the accuracy of the commands it contains and the presence of a sitemap address, which will facilitate the indexing of the website.

Sitemap - a file containing a list of URLs to be indexed

A sitemap is a file that should contain all the URLs we want to share with users in search results. The file must be properly generated and continuously updated. The analysis should show if the number of URLs in the file is consistent with their number in the index. If not, where does the discrepancy come from and what actions should be taken to eliminate it?

A specialist analyzing the website and having access to the website's Google Search Console should also verify that the map has been correctly loaded into the tool.

Internal Linking

There are many benefits to adding internal links to your page. For this to happen, however, you must enter them correctly. The audit should analyze not only the links in the main menu, but also the breadcrumb menu, links from photos, and internal links in the content.

Structured data markers

Structured data are used to describe the data on the website even more precisely - in the search engine. With them, it is possible to distinguish the page in the search results. This can include voting results (stars) or additional information about a particular product or service, such as a price range. Their implementation is not easy. 

The SEO specialist must verify the accuracy of the structured data or give practical advice on how to implement it. You can check and enter them using tools that are worth asking about if they are not listed in the audit.

Local positioning

Depending on the type of website, additional elements should be included in the audit. In the case of local businesses, the SEO audit should include, among other things, analysis and advice for optimizing the Google My Business listing. Thus, SEO activities are not performed only on one page. Local positioning requires additional supporting actions and analysis that will ensure that the SEO process will run smoothly and that the website will be displayed on the appropriate queries for a given location.

Inbound link analysis

As mentioned earlier, SEO activities often go beyond the website. For Google's algorithms, the back-end of the page is also important, as well as how often it is mentioned on other websites. However, also in this aspect, many factors are taken into account. In the case of a new page and the lack of links, the analysis of incoming links will be useless and the specialist will have to provide information on the strategy of action in this area for the future.

On the other hand, a situation in which many links lead to the website requires an audit of the profile of links that lead to the website. Such an analysis is necessary because not all links to the website will have a positive impact on it. On the contrary, some of them may harm your website.

The inbound link audit should analyze:


The listed elements are among the most important factors taken into account when auditing most websites. When receiving an SEO audit, it is worth checking whether each of them has been included in it and, if not, asking why the specialist did not notice such a need.

However, it should be remembered that each of them should be addressed individually, and the audit may have to include the analysis of more aspects, but also less. An SEO audit is a highly evolving document and, in addition to factors affecting the website's ranking, it often also has UX guidelines.

The preparation of the audit itself, as originally written, does not bring any measurable benefit. However, its implementation allows for achieving satisfactory results.

If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.