Mini SEO Audit for a Quick Site Checkup

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February 20, 2014

This is not the definitive-complete-ultimate guide to SEO audits. In fact, it’s barely an introduction. This is a 10-minute scratch-the-surface assessment for concerned editors, curious publicists and skeptical designers. It is a number out of 100 that lets stakeholders know where a site stands and, maybe more importantly, its proximity to competitors.

The last point is worth repeating. Your score is relative to competition and industry. I might rather be a small Pittsburgh mom ‘n’ pop with a mediocre score than a cosmetic surgeon with a high one. The latter is in a far more competitive industry.

The best advice is to use this test more than once to provide perspective. Find your number then compare it to competitors. That will determine if 85 is something to celebrate or remorse.

How to Use the Mini Audit

The SEO audit uses 13 (lucky) questions with varying weights. Answer the questions, find the sum and multiply by 5 to determine a score out of 100.

Let’s begin.

On-Page

1. Do product or service pages include keywords in the title tags?

Page titles are visible by hovering over the browser tab (in most browsers), using a Google site: search (for example site:www.lunametrics.com in the Google search bar) and looking at the blue underlined text in the search results or viewing the source code and finding the value between <title> and </title>.

Page titles without keywords tend to include page name and/or brand, for example a contact page title that might simply be Contact Us | LunaMetrics. Compare that to the SEO page, which includes common search terms.


2. Do product or service pages include custom Meta descriptions with calls-to-action?

Meta descriptions can be found below the page title in the search results and source code using the two tactics from above. Custom descriptions are tailored to the page while standardized or nonexistent descriptions can be seen in the search results with a portion of the page copy followed by an ellipsis.


3. Do product or service pages include much copy?


4. Does Google’s cache include product or service page copy?

A screenshot of Google's cache

Like the site: search from the first question, use cache:domain.com to find the version that Google has in its index then click on the “Text-Only version” in the upper right corner of the window.

Off-Page


5. Is home page authority higher than competitors?

site-explorer-screenshot

Find authority by using OpenSiteExplorer.org and selecting the “Compare Pages” dropdown to include competitors. This is a freemium tool from Moz so it is available three times per day without a login.


6. Where is the blog (or resource/content section) located?


7. Does the blog have social share buttons?


8. Does the site provide links to social media?

Technical


9. Does the home page URL include anything after .com/.org/.edu?

Common things to see might look like domain.com/home or domain.com/home.htm.


10. Does the site have a www version and a non-www version of the home page?

In the browser bar, type the URL with www in front. Try the same thing again without www in front of the domain. Are there two versions or does one redirect to the other?


11. Does the site have a robots.txt file?

The robots file can be found at domain.com/robots.txt, for example www.lunametrics.com/robots.txt on our site.


12. Does the site have an XML sitemap?

xml-sitemap-luna-screenshot

XML sitemaps can be slightly trickier to discover. Start checking the robots file (from above) and looking for a line at the end that lists the sitemap. If that does not work, try a site: search in Google for inurl:xml site:domain.com.


13. Does the number of pages in Google’s index seem appropriate?

Your Total

Find the number of pages in Google’s index with the site: search. Recently, a small nonprofit asked for a quick review of their site, which probably had 200 pages. Google’s index had over 6,000 pages indexed. The site had lots of duplicate content from www and non-www versions, internal search pages being indexed, improper multilingual setup and wicked pagination.

Tallying the Results

Determine the sum of your answers and multiple that number by five. That will return your score out of 100.  Remember to audit a couple of competitors. Your audit performance means little until you can compare it to others in the industry.

If you have any trouble completing the audit or have a suggestion for additional questions, please let me know in the comments.

Andrew Garberson is the Search Department Manager. He has led digital marketing efforts in a variety of settings, including agency, entrepreneurial and nonprofit environments, and has master's degrees in business administration and mass communications. An Iowan at heart and Pittsburgher in spirit, Andrew commutes on his 10-speed most days between March and December -- after all, he's only human.

  • raghu

    All are points listed out for website audit checkup are fine, except the #10 point. Little confused “does website should have two versions www & without www” Please clarify or share appropriate URL.

  • Andrew Garberson

    Sorry, the link in the gray text below the question is not visible so it is hard to find unless you know it’s there. The link is:

    https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/44231?hl=en

  • http://www.baby-hazel-game.com baby games

    All are points listed out for website audit checkup are fine, except the #10 point.

  • http://www.theedesign.com/blog/2014/seo-audit-design-doesnt-bring-you-traffic Patrick Stox

    A quick tool that would be useful for someone non technical for sure, I like it.

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