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50+ SEO Audit Questions
and the Tools to Answer Them

I’ve often heard doing a site audit is like telling someone their baby is ugly.  This is obviously news that can be sensitive to deliver to a site owner.  You need to have all your information in order, as well as suggestions for how to deliver the news effectively.

Most SEO folks I know would probably be better served calling themselves a “website mechanic” – offering diagnostic information and recommendations is a critical part of staying relevant to organic search.  Understanding the best tools at your disposal and being able to create actionable high value tasks from that information is the important human layer that even the best marketing automation software will always struggle to replicate.  Sometimes half the battle is knowing the right questions to ask.

Last month I offered a webinar through Market Motive called SEO Workshop: Site Audits Part 1, The Ultimate Optimization Checklist. I have taken 50 of the 100+ audit questions and tools I discussed in the webinar and created the list for you below.  The remainder of those questions will be made available to MM students, and attendees of this month’s free webinar.

Feel the Pain! Site Audits Part 2 with Annie Cushing

Date: Tue, July 23
Time: 2pm EST / 11am PST

Join us to hear Annie give you a multitude of suggestions on how to make your website better.  This one is not to be missed (heck, I even did a blog post to tell you about it! :)  There are a few special documents (the extra questions below, as well as an amazing structured site audit template document from Annie) that will only be released to MarketMotive Members and folks who attend.

Basic Info

Keywords

  1. What are the Key Performance Indicator’s (KPI’s)
  2. What are the keywords being targeted?
    Semrush.com / Raven Research Central / GWT: Optimization > Content Keywords
  3. Keyword rankings?
    Authority Labs / Moz – Rank Tracker / SEMRush / SEO Book free rank tracker

Site Index

  1. How many pages are indexed?
    Google site: command combinations

Domain information

  1. What type of platform?
    BuiltWith.com
  2. Domain authority/ offsite equity?
    Moz – Open Site  / Raven Research Central Quality tool / Majestic
  3. What is home page quality? Vs. competitors’ home page quality?
    Raven Research Central Quality tool
  4. How difficult will it be to obtain rankings for desired keywords?
    Moz – Keyword Difficulty
  5. www vs. non-www setting?
    Can Change in GWT: Configuration > Settings
  6. Are there other sites, domains, subdomains?
    DomainTools.com

Intermediate Info

Keywords

  1. What are the main short tail terms being targeted?  What are some longer tail phrases being targeted?
    SEMRush, Soovle, Ubersuggest, Wordstream
  2. How competitive are these phrases?
    Moz – Keyword Difficulty
  3. Which competitors are competing for these phrases?
    Raven – Site Auditor / Majestic SEO Site Comarator / Open Site Explorer
  4. How specific are they to these targeted keywords?
    Internet Marketing Ninjas Optimization Tool

Content

  1. Are keywords in content?
    Internet Marketing Ninjas Optimization Tool / Moz – On Page Grader
  2. Top pages with authority?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer
  3. Meta-tags vs. content – do they work together?
    Internet Marketing Ninjas Optimization Tool
  4. Page to page content keywords and meta comparison.
    Internet Marketing Ninjas  Side-by-Side SEO Comparison Tool
  5. Is any of the content plagiarized?
    Plagiarism Checker / Copyscape.com
  6. Which keyword phrases are informational and could be used for content development?
    Topsy.com / Soovle.com

Duplicate Content

Off-site - Copyscape.com

Google “quotes” search or site: search

  1. Is there duplicate versions of the homepage?
  2. Is there easily identifiable duplicate content?
    Raven Site Auditor 
  3. Could Rel=prev/next be used? Should rel=canonical be used?
  4. Is there content blocked with robots.txt 
    Raven Site Auditor

Meta Elements 

  1. Are the page specific meta tags in place?
  2. Or are their identical title-tags and meta descriptions?
    GWT / Raven Site Auditor
  3. Are they properly descriptive?
  4. Are the main keyword phrases included?
  5. Is the length too long or short? 70 characters for Title-Tag and 160 for description?
    GWT
  6. Proper grammar and spelling?
    Grammar.ly
  7. Is Schema Data being used?
    Schema-Creator.org

Social Signals

  1. Does the site have social shares?
    Topsy.com / SocialMentions.com / BackTweets.com
  2. Is authorship being claimed with Google+?
    G structured data testing tool
  3. Had the brand identity been claimed with other social sites?
    Knowem.com
  4. Is the site optimized for social?
    Knowem social optimizer 

Image Optimization

  1. Are there broken Images?
    Raven Site Auditor or Research Central
  2. Is alt text being used on the images?
    Raven Site Auditor
  3. Are the images hot linked anywhere? Images optimized for size/speed?
    Raven Site Auditor – Images
  4. Is anyone stealing your images
    Tineye.com

Site Architecture

  1. Is the site structure easy to follow and use?
    Bing’s Webmaster Tools Index Explorer
  2. Are they using hyphens as word separators?
  3. Are there Rel Prev/Next link elements set up for paginated pages?
  4. Does the site have an XML sitemap? Does the site have an HTML sitemap?
  5. What does the Robots.txt file tell you? Noindex/nofollow? www.example.com/robots.txt
  6. What level are pages viewed by a search spider?
    ScreamingFrog

Advanced Info

Penalties

  1. Are there any penalties or historical drops in traffic?
    Panguin Tool

Site Speed

  1. How fast is the website?
    Google page speed insights
  2. What pagespeed score elements can be improved?
    Raven Site Auditor
  3. Is caching enabled?
    YSLOW / Firebug
  4. Headers  -
    Internet Marketing Ninjas Header Checker  / Urivalet.com 

…and 5 more questions…

Internal Linking

….3 more questions…

Offsite

  1. External links to domain?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer / Raven- Backlink Explorer / Webmaster Tools
  2. Anchor text distribution?
    ReverseInternet.com / Moz – Open Site Explorer / LinkResearchTools.com
  3. What is the quantity of inbound links?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer
  4. Quality of inbound links?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer / LinkResearchTools.com
  5. Links to individual pages?
    Raven – Research Central / Moz – Open Site Explorer
  6. Site/ Author Social clout or impact?
    Klout.com

Offsite – Competition

  1. Who are the top 5 competitors?
    Raven Competitor Manager
  2. What type of anchor text are they using?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer / ReverseInternet.com
  3. Do they have microsites?
    ReverseInternet.com

Offsite – Backlink Profile Health

  1. How many links are nofollowed?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer
  2. How many links are 301 redirects?
    Moz – Open Site Explorer
  3. Are there too many sitewide links?
    ahrefs.com

Resources

Special thanks to Melissa Fach for assisting and inspiring on these questions and the final document.

Remember to sign up for the free Webinar: Feel the Pain! Site Audits Part 2 with Annie Cushing on Tuesday, July 23,  2pm EST / 11am PST to get the extra questions and Annie’s template.

More information about Todd Malicoat aka stuntdubl.

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  • Addam Hassan

    This is a very useful article, thanks for sharing.

  • Tom Parling

    Very nice post. Lot of smaller items in there – but useful for a full detailed analysis. Our techies will enjoy.

  • Narein

    Great article Todd…

  • Keren

    Thanks. I have also found LXR marketplace to be very helpful. Their tools are simple and easy to use.

  • Spook SEO

    Knowing the penalties and checking the site’s existing link profile is important. Other clients are oblivious of the kind of SEO that their previous SEO provider did so a lot of them have no idea about the kind of link profile they have.

    The sooner you find-out bad links, the better and faster you can work with it.

  • suresh kumar

    Good one

  • Lance E. Carlson

    Wow Todd this is great and I have my work cut out for me. I am going to learn a ton as well. This is really a great educational post. Thanks LANCE

  • Prabal Chowdhury

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  • fawad

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    Education Information

  • adam

    Thank you a lot for all the knowledge you could share.
    iPhone screen Protectors

  • http://www.internetwage.com/ Richard Michael

    That’s a massive list, very helpful – just all the logins you would need for the different tools!

  • Ivo Vasilev

    Nice post,view more articles on http://www.yourseoplace.net

  • Spook SEO

    I guess you have mentioned them all already. There is no need to work
    on the different ideas that will only make you guess on what step to take. This
    one is already complete. Even as an expert, you will find reading it really
    helpful.

  • http://www.inmediaconcepts.co.nz/ William John

    Good post on SEO audit an total list needed for any seo audit.

  • louiesison

    Thanks, this is a superb share!

  • http://www.clickminded.com/ Jennifer

    Thank you for your post. I’ve been doing a lot of searching for resources after completing my first seo course and none have made me laugh! Thank you again for the valuable information and the much appreciated humor with the ugly baby comment.

  • http://fortressgeek.com/ Fortress Geek

    Thanks for the resources. Going to have to read your link building resource and this post in more detail. So much to follow-up on!

  • Storewars News

    Interesting
    article! Here is something equally interesting: Unilever Is Breaking Out &
    Could Go Higher, full story here: http://bit.ly/PcBsCY

  • Storewars News

    Nice read! Very informative. Did you know that Fashion retailers look
    to slow down expansion? Full story here: http://bit.ly/1k6ZSJu

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