Competitor Audit Checklist
- You have identified the top 3-5 competitors.
- You know the keywords that the top 5 competitors rank for?
- Do competitor sites demonstrated high levels of E-A-T?
- You monitor the Backlink profiles of the top 3-5 competitors.
- Competitor SEO and KPI benchmarks have been set and reviewed.
- You know and track competitors performances in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Top keywords are known, tracked and monitored.
- You conduct Content Gap Analysis against your top competitors.
Content SEO Checklist
- Content is up to date?
- Content is relevant to users as shown by user behaviour matrices such as low Bounce Rate, increased Time On Site and no Pogo-Sticking.
- There are no thin pages/content i.e. content length is <300 words.
- Content is in-depth and covers the topic adequately.
- Content is not copied from other sites (duplicate content).
- Content is readable i.e. spelling and grammar is correct.
- Industry experts and/or authorities authored the website content.
On-Page SEO Audit Checklist
- Every page has a unique title tag
- Every page targets one primary keyword (Keyword Cannibalization)
- Every page has a unique and readable meta description
- Every piece of content makes use of header tags e.g. H1 – H6, and they contain primary keywords and/or synonyms/LSI keywords
- There is no over-use of keywords in the content (Keyword Stuffing)
- Every image used on the site has an image alt attribute that describes the image.
- There are NO broken Internal links i.e. the links do NOT return 4XX or 5XX status codes (all are 2XXs)
- There is a correct and appropriate use of the NoFollow link attribute
- Each page has friendly and readable website names (URLs)
- No flash content is being used on any of the sites.
- There is no use of iFrames on any of the site pages
- The site makes use of a website icon (favicon)
- There is the correct use of Canonical tags to tell the search engines the right pages to index and rank
- There are NO “Zombie” pages i.e. archived pages, pages with thin content, pages that do not rank, pages with no external links
- The site has an up-to-date Terms of Service
- The site has a Contact us page with a working contact form and up-to-date contact details
- All links are clear and descriptive (anchor text)
- Any blog commenting on site is monitored and all links by commenters are nofollow
- The site uses a Cookie acceptance notice
- Do any advertising links have ‘nofollow’ or rel=sponsored applied to them?
- Is ‘nofollow’ used correctly on other internal links?
- Is sharing across social networks encouraged?
- Have tags for Facebook Open Graph and Twitter Cards been applied?
- Does the footer contain links to Privacy & Cookie policies?
- Is the copyright statement and current year showing in the footer?
User Experience Audit Checklist
- Users have been surveyed and responded positively about user experience
- Heatmaps show users using the website correctly i.e. finding buttons, navigation, menus
- All fonts are large enough to read clearly across all devices and browsers
- Font colors are appropriate
- Are content and navigation elements clear for users?
- Is the quality of the content generally outstanding?
- Is the page both useful and unique for the end user?
- Is the quality of the web design of a very high standard?
- Does the layout of pages facilitate ease of scanning?
- Are there any mobile usability issues or errors?
- Is there a clear call to action messaging showing, above the fold?
- Is it clear what the primary action a user should take is?
- Does the site have a clearly defined user journey?
- Is the quality of experience comparable on desktop, tablet and mobile?
- Are there easy to complete forms on key landing pages?
- Is there good use of CTA buttons and panels?
- Do product pages feature clear ‘add to basket’ messaging?
- Are product page images of a high standard with zoom functionality?
- Has one-step checkout been set-up for eCommerce websites?
- Is there a clear and intuitive basket to checkout process for eCommerce sites?
- Is there a minimal amount of advertising banners above the fold?
- Does the site avoid oversaturation of text ad links?
Technical SEO Audit Checklist
- A Brand name search i.e. site:yourwebsite.com returns the homepage as the 1st result.
- The website has a robots.txt file.
- The robots.txt file does not block search engines (bots) from accessing, crawling and indexing the site.
- There is a correct use of meta-tags for Index and NoIndex HTML attributes.
- The site has an XML site map that has been submitted to Search engines for indexing
- XML sitemap shows valid site addresses (URL) on the site
- XML sitemap has NO invalid site address URLs to be kept out of the index.
- No XML sitemap errors.
- No discrepancy between indexed pages in Google and Sitemap
- There are NO redirect chains
- The site does not show different content to different user agents, including search engine bots.
- There are NO (302) redirects unless page and/or site is under maintenance.
- There is no Thin or Duplicate content.
- There is an appropriate Structured data (Micro-data) and Schema mark-up in use on the site.
- Deleted or missing important pages have redirects (30X) to other important pages.
- No URL Parameter issues
- No iFrames in use
- No Doorway pages
- No Hidden text
- Positive Crawl rates i.e. NO decrease in pages crawled per day and less time taken to crawl the site.
- There is ONE PREFERRED version of your site address (URL). The rest have been 301 redirected to the preferred version.
- Every page has a Canonical Tag.
- There are no Canonical errors
- There are NO multiple URL patterns returning the same content.
- The hosting platform the site is up to date and secured.
- The site has a valid SSL certificate
- The website has Malware/Virus protection
- There are regular Malware & Security checks
- All site links (URLs) start with HTTPS://
- There is a permanent redirection (301) of all non-HTTP:// to secure links HTTPS://
- The site secures and protects any emails submitted by visitors. (Email Privacy)
- There is NO use of flash on the site
- There are no resources accessible via HTTP
CMS Security Issues
- Check default CMS settings for
- User settings
- Comment settings
- Check file permissions
- Your CMS is running the latest version available?
- Are you using updated and secure security plugins/extensions?
- Check security plugin/extension settings.
- Is data regularly backed-up?
- Check the integrity of backups to ensure they are not corrupted or unusable
- Is the recovery plan up-to-date
- Sensitive files are protected
- Directory browsing is prevented
- Image hotlinking is prevented
- FTP (file transfer protocol) is secured using SSH (Secure Shell)
- Passwords for FTP. CMS, Database etc are strong and secured
- All plugins/extensions are up to date
- All inactive or unused plugins are removed
- Themes are up-to-date and secure
- Is two-factor authentication in place for entry to the CMS?
- Is adequate security software installed within the CMS?
Site Architecture Issues
- There is a flat-site architecture i.e. good organisation of site’s pages and categories.
- Important pages are only 3 clicks away from the homepage.
- Speed & Server
- There is regular monitoring of site uptime.
- There are no server-side (5XX) errors.
- Low site’s server response time
- The site is not timing out because of server issues
- The site and its pages take less than 3 seconds to load
- No Inline CSS is being used.
- Minification of CSS
- The site uses GZIP or compresses of resources.
- The site caches content
- A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is in use and configured.
- All images on site are optimized i.e. compressed and all using descriptive ALT tags
- International (Foreign) SEO Issues
- There is the correct use of the Hreflang HTML attribute across local sites.
- In the Google Search Console, the target country/region is set.
Structured Data Issues
- Are there any errors or warnings relating to structured data across the site?
- Is important business data marked up with Local Business schema on relevant pages?
- Is Organization schema firing on a suitable page?
- Are FAQ pages marked up with FAQ Page schema?
- Are important people in the business marked up using Person schema?
- Does the client have reviews that can be marked up using aggregate Rating schema?
- If the client sells products, are the products marked up using Product schema?
- Are breadcrumbs marked up using Breadcrumb schema?
- Is the sameAs schema property used for social media links and other identifiers?
- Are there any other types of structured data that could be applied, relevant to the client?
- The Website displays on a desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
- There are NO missing links on mobile sites that are present on the desktop site.
- Mobile buttons and links are easy to click
- The site favicon displays in mobile search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Content, Meta & Directives are the same as the desktop version
Accessibility & Compliance Issues
- The site is W3C Compliant
- Site complies with the latest accessibility guidelines i.e. WCAG 2.0 AA
- WHOIS contact details are correct and up-to-date.
- Does the site have a unique, GDPR-compliant Terms & Conditions page and Cookies page?
- Can the end user opt out of unnecessary cookies?
- Do pages on the site pass W3C markup validation checks?
- Is there a high contrast between the colour of text and the colour of the background?
- Does the alt tag for images adequately describe the image?
- Are written transcripts of video and audio content available?
- Can text be enlarged without impairing the function of the page?
- Are hyperlinks clearly visible and distinct?
- Can all parts of the website be accessed without a mouse?
- Is it easy to find the contact page?
- Site owners can receive and respond to Manual Actions/Penalty notices.
- Has the client attempted to implement international SEO activity? If so…
- Are the correct language and country codes used for regional variation pages?
- Are foreign language versions translated well without errors?
- Has hreflang been implemented correctly?
- Is X-default in place on all pages and correct?
- Are SEO-friendly navigation links to regional variations of the site in place?
- Are there any forced redirects in place based on IP / location?
- Is OG:Locale set correctly?
- Are there any backlinks pointing to international versions?
SEO Link Building (Backlinks) Audit Checklist
- No negative search results for the brand
- No negative Google Autosuggestions associated with brand search
- All Backlinks are high quality i.e. they are “DoFollow,” from trusted, authoritative and relevant sites.
- Other sites use branded or varied texts when linking back to your site. (Anchor Text diversification)
- There is routine monitoring and recording of Brand mentions and/or sentiment.
- Periodic audit of Backlinks i.e. tracking links earned or lost, checking for Spammy Backlinks.
- Are Social media business profiles associated with the Website?
- Is the Social media business profile information consistent, descriptive and up-to-date?
- All key content website pages contain social sharing capabilities.
- All advertisements (ads) and affiliate links are nofollow or using new Google rel=sponsored HTML attribute
- There are NO broken Backlinks
Local SEO Audit Checklist
- Descriptive local title tags are used.
- There is consistent use of the Business name, Address and Phone number (NAP) across the site and external sites e.g. social media profiles.
- There is a correct use of location-specific structured data/schema.org
- There is an up-to-date Google My Business listing with correct categories, description of the business and up-to-date business information
- The site is listed on reputable business directories
- The site has local citations
- The site has high quality and relevant content that serves the local users
- The site has NO thin content on local relevant pages
- There are no Citation gaps i.e. site has as many citations from the same sources as the top competition
Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist
- Correct use of product filters
- Correct use of product/review schema/structured data mark-up.
- Internal links to product pages match corresponding Canonical tags.
- Duplicate product URLs are not indexed
- Correct use of URL referral page parameters
- Top-level pages have Canonical links
- NO broken Backlinks to product pages.
- All categories and product pages have unique page titles and meta descriptions.