SEO Audit Checklist

By /

August 24, 2010

Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of calls from companies looking for help with SEO. Maybe it’s because they’re finally starting to realize the value of SEO, or perhaps it’s a sign that the economy is turning around. Whatever the reason, we’re being tasked with evaluating new sites on a daily basis.

Generally, our first step is to do a quick (30 minutes or less) audit of the site to get a feel for where they’re at and what they truly need help with. However, this 30 minute task can easily turn into a couple of hours if you don’t have something to keep you focused and on track. (Seriously, who hasn’t started looking at inbound links to a site only to look up from your screen 3 hours later in a link-induced daze?)

Here’s what I use – a handy SEO Audit Checklist (PDF). This checklist was originally concocted by Taylor Pratt of Raven Tools fame (before Raven Tools, when he worked here at LunaMetrics) some years ago. It has since undergone several rounds of revision and updates.

There are typically three areas I look at:

  1. Accessibilty
  2. Keywords
  3. Links

The SEO checklist breaks those three areas down into a handful of items that can be quickly checked. I’ve included the most common and important items, like canonicalization, title tags, number of links, etc. It’s enough to give a quick idea of any issues the site is facing, both in terms of on-page SEO and off-page (links). It also prevents me from overlooking any critical issues, which would otherwise be easy to do given the quick nature of these initial audits.

 

 Download SEO Audit Checklist (PDF)

Click to download

 

Tell me what you think! Are there things you check that I haven’t included? The comments are yours!

Jim Gianoglio is a Senior Digital Analyst. He works with implementation, analysis and training of Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Before focusing on analytics, he led the SEO campaigns of Fortune 500 companies in the insurance, retail and CPG industries. Things you didn’t know about Jim: he’s biked from Pittsburgh to Washington DC in 41 hours, roasts coffee beans and has done voiceovers for TV commercials.

  • http://www.pabloalmeida.com.br Pablo Almeida

    Oh, God! It’s so useful for me! Thank you, Jim! 😉

  • http://www.moomumedia.com Kate

    When looking to see the competitors that link for those keywords, I would also check those competitors to see what other, potentially valuable and overlooked keywords they are using.

  • http://www.pure360emailmarketing.co.uk Michael @ Email Marketing

    great list – I popped across to read your post on canonicalization. I’m fairly sure I’m lucky enough to have an apache server (although tend to have a good old fight with my htacces everytime I try to edit it!) so will check that out. Thanks for putting it simply: it was nice and easy to digest, which can sometimes be a bit of a problem with seo blogs!

  • http://www.canucksseo.com Jim Rudnick

    Yup, and a big canuck THANKS too, Jim!

    Nice list….and nice share too!
    :-)

    Jim

  • http://twitter.com/jgianoglio Jim

    @Kate – competitors are a great source for additional (sometimes overlooked) keywords. Thanks for adding that!

    @Jim – always happy to share things that will make the lives of others easier :)

  • http://www.elevatemarketing.co.za Werner from elevatemarketing.co.za

    This is definately going to help me the next time I analyze a site. Always good to have a checklist! thanks.

  • Greg

    The image of a page from the PDF is beautiful. I’d like to be able to include images like this on my site. I’d really like to know what app you used to create the image. Thanks for any tips you can offer.

  • http://twitter.com/jgianoglio Jim

    @Greg – I opened the PDF in Adobe Reader and took a screen shot of it. Then I took that image into Powerpoint, applied a preset picture style and took a screen shot of that. Voila!

    I’m sure there’s an easier, way, but it did the trick.

  • Greg

    The checklist asks, What linkable assets do they have?

    I’d add another question on this topic: Are their linkable assets remarkable?

    If not, I’d point the client to a site like the blog for the online dating site, OK Cupid, so they could see examples of interesting articles that get a lot of attention and links, because they pretty much go viral as soon as they are published.

  • http://raventools.com/ Taylor Pratt

    *sniff* I remember when I made one of these while at LunaMetrics a few years back. Good times.

  • http://www.webdesignoptimizare.ro optimizare seo

    This is a great starting point in optimizing process for a website page.
    I found here some new things, really usefuls for every webmaster.
    Nice work!

  • http://www.webmasteraudit.com/ Zack Robert

    The webmaster audit tool can tell you instantly what kind of value you are getting from your current webmaster / SEO professional. Overpaying? You will find out. Underpaying? It will tell you. Each webpage is scored for efficiency, irregardless of pagerank. Each individual link is scored as well!Amazingly, you can schedule your own times to audit your SEO and edit customized rules that email you only when they are triggered. Don’t waste time comparing one month’s work to another. The SEO rules will automatically tell you, for instance, if your Home Page score drops more than 20%. The combinations of rules are endless.
    Webmaster Audit

  • http://www.home.co.ke Ken

    Thanks alot for this helpful guide. Going through the chicklist has highlighted some of the things I had not worked on.

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