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6 Tips To Conduct Effective SEO Audits

In a world where 68% of online experiences start with search engines like Google, you can’t afford to leave your SEO behind other things.

However, boosting your SEO and keeping your page high on search engine results pages (SERPs) is virtually impossible if you don’t know what issues are keeping it down.

And that’s why SEO auditing is essential.

In this article, we will discuss six proven tips for conducting an effective SEO audit and scaling your website for a larger share of organic traffic.

#1. Choosing The Right SEO Audit Tool

A good SEO audit tool helps you identify technical issues affecting your pages, including minor errors that could have otherwise been ignored. It also provides a comprehensive score to gauge your website’s health. If it does not do that, it’s not recommended.

Most importantly, your preferred tool should suggest how to fix issues that arise instead of just dishing them out to you in red colors.


Source: SE Ranking

By the way, it's okay to combine more than one tool to focus on each aspect of your website and provide accurate fixes. 

For instance, Google’s Pagespeed Insights can help you dig deeper into issues that increase your page’s loading time. On the other hand, Google Search Console troubleshoots factors like search visibility, mobile usability, and overall performance.


Source: Google Search Console

#2. Assign a Priority Score To Each Problem

After conducting an SEO audit, you should have a panel showing the various issues affecting your website. These problems usually include missing titles and meta descriptions, too-large images, issues with status codes, etc.


SE Ranking
Source: SE Ranking

Export them into a spreadsheet and assign a priority score based on how they affect your website performance. For instance, if you’re conducting an SEO audit to see what’s slowing down your website, page issues such as extremely large CSS and media files should top your priority list.

Some software can prioritize problems for you. For example, SE Ranking provides a panel for “issue reports” with distinct groups: errors, warnings, and notices. Regarding priority, issues under the “errors” tab are more urgent and need a quick fix. This approach gives you a clear direction of what to fix first, especially if you operate on limited resources and time. 


SE Ranking
Source: SE Ranking

Another practical scenario is if customers complain about broken or missing pages after clicking a link. In this case, you should identify the affected pages and quickly resolve them before handling other issues, such as those negatively impacting user experience.

#3. Analyze Your Backlink Profile

On your SEO audit report, check out how many websites link back to you. That’s their vote of trust in your services or content and a signal of credibility to search engines.

Note that the total number of backlinks on your SEO panel is not the same as the unique number of referring domains linking to you. For example, a total of 300 backlinks might be 100 unique websites linked to you thrice each.

On the flip side, referring domains only include the number of websites that link back without including how many times they did. For a more effective SEO audit, your focus should be on this metric since it gives you a clearer understanding of your backlink profile compared to competitors.

With an SEO audit, you can also figure out your broken backlinks – websites no longer linking back to you. Broken backlinks are usually caused by missing pages, and in some cases, they might be due to the intentional removal of your link from the referring domain’s page by their content admin.

Follow these links and see why they’re no longer linking back. If it’s because of a missing page, contact the admin and provide a replacement through guest posting.

In addition to reviewing your broken backlinks, you can also see which referring domains have a high spam score. Links from these domains are called toxic backlinks, and they can affect your website’s credibility when they are present in large numbers. You know what to do if you see one.

#4. Review Content Issues And Fix

While many SEOs focus on keywords during audits, it’s best to take a holistic approach and focus entirely on your content. That’s what people are looking for – whether to buy your product or learn about other things. Your keyword strategy also needs good content to be effective.

Another important thing is that content can be something other than your blog posts. You should look for often ignored content issues such as page duplicates, long titles, missing headings, or thin meta descriptions.

Page or content duplicates can particularly damage your SEO because search engines are unsure which page to index, give more priority, and assign traffic to. In some cases, traffic is evenly split between each page, and search engines might also decide to canonicalize one.

To resolve that, remove the duplicate content and keep your original. 

If you’re running an eCommerce site, this approach might not work since most products share similar page content, and you can’t remove one for the other. A suitable method is to canonicalize each original product page by inserting rel="canonical" inside the header code.

Images and video files are also part of your content. And it’s not rare to come across queries on unnecessarily large graphics, which is a major contributing factor to slow-loading pages. In this case, you simply download a file caching plugin if you’re using a CMS platform like WordPress or personally compress each file if you’re hosting outside a CMS.

#5. Look Out For 404s, Missing Meta, And Tags

404s are commonly reported technical SEO issues that happen when a page is broken or missing. This is often due to website migration, especially when changing your hosting service provider. However, it can also occur due to website bugs or if you purposely remove the page without adding a redirect.

To determine the exact cause, you can use tools like ScreamingFrog to parse all the links on your page and see which ones are outside the loop, broken, or unavailable for crawling.


SEO spider tool

Source: ScreamingFrog

Users who encounter a dead or broken link will most likely exit the page immediately and search for other results. Since this process involves rapid switching between your page and SERP, it is called Pogo-sticking.

Does pogo-sticking affect your SEO? Not at all. Google’s John Mueller confirmed that it is not used as a ranking factor, so you don’t have to worry.

However, you can’t say the same for your crawlers. While they are not affected by pogo-sticking too, they can hit a wall when trying to crawl your interlinked pages. This results in a crawl error and affects your page visibility. That’s why 404s are top priorities when conducting an SEO audit.

Other issues, like missing meta descriptions and alt tags, can drastically affect your search visibility. Zoom in to see if they’re present and fix them.

#6. Conduct Website Speed Analysis

The ideal page loading time is 2.5 seconds. But that’s just a benchmark; you should aim for as low as one second. You need to identify the factors affecting your loading speed to do that.

Reviewing image size is excellent, but that’s only effective for eCommerce websites with thousands of media files. For a non-eCommerce site, you need to check your backend architecture and ensure there’s no bug in one corner.

In most cases, your CSS might be too large, or your Javascript might be all over the place. You can quickly sort both problems by minifying your codes.

You can also use Google’s Pagespeed tool to analyze your website’s speed and find out what’s causing it to load slowly. Per Google’s documentation, an analysis score above 90 is recommended.


The Pagespeed insights tool also suggests what to fix to reduce loading time and improve speed.


Auditing your website for good SEO can look intimidating and overwhelming, but that’s only on paper. To get good results, start by picking the right SEO audit tool. Then, assign a priority score to each issue on your audit report.

Dig deeper into your backlinks profile and assess the percentage of toxic domains available. Afterward, assess the minor but crucial content issues such as duplicate pages, missing headings, and thin meta descriptions. Also, look out for 404s and broken links. Lastly, find out what’s dragging your website speed down and fix it.