The Final Search engine optimisation Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

The Ultimate SEO Audit [Works GREAT in 2018]

At the moment I’m going to point out you precisely the best way to do an Search engine optimisation audit.

The truth is, this is identical course of that helped increase their search engine visitors by 48.7%.

Proven – Traffic increase

And I ought to level one thing out:

This can be a non-technical web site audit.

So in the event you’re not tremendous technical (like me), you’ll love the easy steps on this information.

Let’s get began.

Step #1: Discover and Delete “Zombie Pages”

Kind web into Google.

This may present you what number of pages Google has listed:

Google – Pages indexed

If this quantity if larger than you thought, you’re not alone.

The truth is…

Most websites have 50% MORE listed pages than they need to.

(I name these additional pages “Zombie Pages”)

Because it seems, deleting Zombie Pages can get you A LOT extra natural visitors.

For instance, Sean from Confirmed deleted over 9k Zombie Pages from his web site…

…which helped increase his Google visitors by almost 50%:

Proven – Google traffic boost

Why does this work so properly?

Nicely, Google has mentioned that they like websites with a small quantity of high-quality pages.

Google prefers sites with a small number of high-quality pages

And while you delete Zombie Pages, you give Google what it needs.

Professional Tip: Deleting Zombie Pages additionally makes the remainder of this Search engine optimisation audit MUCH simpler. Fewer pages=fewer issues

With that, listed below are the most typical forms of Zombie Pages:

  • Archive pages
  • Class and tag pages (WordPress)
  • Search consequence pages
  • Previous press releases
  • Boilerplate content material
  • Skinny content material (

Which leads us to our second step…

Step #2: Test To See If Your Website Is Cell-Pleasant

Cell Search engine optimisation is extra vital than ever.


First off, 60% of Google searches at the moment are from cell units.

Google searches – 60% mobile

Second, Google simply began utilizing a Cell-First Algorithm.

Google using mobile-first algorithm

Which means that Google now makes use of the cell model of your web site for cell AND desktop searches.

Google always uses mobile site for searches

The query is:

How are you aware in case your web site is mobile-friendly?

Use Google’s Cell-Pleasant Testing Software.

Mobile-Friendly Test

Simply pop your web site into the instrument…

Mobile-Friendly Test – Enter site

…and also you’ll see whether or not or not Google considers your web site optimized for cell units.

Mobile-Friendly Test – Results

Step #Three: Make Positive Google Indexes ONE Model of Your Web site

Do you know it’s doable to have completely different variations of your web site listed in Google?

It’s true.

For instance, listed below are four completely different variations of the identical web site:


To me and also you, they’re just about the identical.

However to not Google.

And except you redirect these variations correctly, Google will take into account them fully separate web sites.

(Not good)

Thankfully, that is straightforward to test… and repair.

Simply kind every of the four completely different variations into your browser.

They need to all find yourself on the identical URL:

Different versions of the same site

In my case, the “WWW” model of my web site redirects to

Backlinko – WWW redirect

And when somebody visits the HTTP model of my web site, they get redirected to the HTTPS model.

Backlinko – Protocol redirect

All good.

If a model of your web site isn’t redirecting correctly, no worries.

Simply 301 redirect it to the model you wish to use.

Then, transfer onto step #four.

Step #four: Pace Up Your Website

A couple of years again Google confirmed that your web site’s loading velocity is a rating issue.

A site's loading speed is a ranking factor

They usually just lately rolled out a brand new replace that makes velocity even MORE vital.

Google update makes speed more important

Right here’s the best way to get your web site to load REALLY quick:

First, clear up your web site’s HTML code.

You’ll be able to simply discover issues together with your code with PageSpeed Insights.

PageSpeed Insights

Professional Tip: Don’t simply analyze your homepage. Take a look at 2-Three inside pages too. I’m speaking about weblog posts, service pages, and class pages.

Second, run a velocity take a look at.

The sort of take a look at truly hundreds your web page… and allows you to find out about bottlenecks that sluggish issues down.

WebPageTest – Results

I personally use However GTMetrix is de facto good too.

Third, crunch your photographs.

Enormous photographs can deliver your web site velocity to a screeching halt.

That’s why I like to recommend compressing your photographs with a platform like Kraken.

Kraken image optimizer

Professional Tip: Improve your internet hosting. If you happen to spend $10 per thirty days on internet hosting, don’t count on quick loading occasions. A couple of years again I switched from a price range host to $200/month premium internet hosting. And the velocity distinction was INSANE.

Step #5: Discover and Repair Indexing Issues

Subsequent, it’s time to search out pages that Google isn’t indexing.

To try this, fireplace up the nice ol’ Google Search Console.

The “Index Protection” report reveals you an inventory of pages that they’ll’t index for some motive.

Index coverage report

As you possibly can see, Backlinko is error free.

All good proper?


To double test every part is A-OK, I like to recommend a free Search engine optimisation instrument known as Screaming Frog.


Screaming Frog crawls your web site the identical means Google would. And it lets you recognize about pages that it might probably’t entry.

Screamingfrog – Overview

(For instance, in the event you’re unintentionally blocking a web page together with your robots.txt file… or the web page has a noindex tag).

So in the event you discover a web page that’s blocked, double test that it’s meant to be blocked.

For instance, we paginate feedback right here at Backlinko.

Backlinko comment pagination

And I don’t need Google to index each single remark web page. So we throw a noindex tag on these pages.

Noindex tag

On this case, the pages which can be blocked are supposed to be blocked.

And when you’ve confirmed that Google can entry all the pages you need them to entry, it’s time to…

Step #6: Test Your Natural Site visitors

Now it’s time to see how a lot natural visitors you’re getting.

To try this, head over to Google Analytics.

Then, go to Acquisition >> All Site visitors >> Channels.

Google Analytics sidebar

Hit “Natural Search”.


And also you’ll see precisely how many individuals visited your web site from search engines like google and yahoo final month.

Organic visitors

Subsequent, set the dates to the final 6-Eight months.

And also you’ll see whether or not or not your natural visitors is trending in the correct course:

Organic traffic – Trend

As you possibly can see, my natural visitors has steadily elevated over the previous couple of months.


In case your natural visitors is flat (or declining), no worries.

The purpose is that this step is simply to see the place you’re at.

Issues ought to begin to enhance when you end this Search engine optimisation audit.

Talking of…

Step #7: Enhance Your On-Web page Search engine optimisation

On-page Search engine optimisation is HUGE.

On-page SEO – Keyword stat

That mentioned:

You most likely don’t have time to optimize each web page in your web site.

Thankfully, you don’t should.

Right here’s what do to as a substitute:

First, determine your 5 most vital pages.

These may be pages that:

  • Goal an vital key phrase
  • Get much less visitors than they did again within the day
  • Already rank properly… however have the potential to crack the highest 5

For instance…

I just lately revealed an enormous information to utilizing BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo Guide

In addition to the fundamentals (like together with my key phrase in my title tag), I didn’t do a lot to optimize this web page.

And since it’s already on the primary web page for my goal key phrase…

BuzzSumo – SERPs

…it has a great probability of cracking the highest 5.

Then, optimize your web page with the methods on this video.


If you happen to’re REALLY pressed for time and don’t have time to implement every part from the video, concentrate on these 5 methods:

  • Embrace your key phrase in your title tag
  • Embrace your key phrase in first 100 phrases
  • Add 5+ exterior hyperlinks
  • Add 5+ inside hyperlinks
  • Use LSI key phrases

As soon as these methods are in place, let’s dive proper into step #Eight:

Step #Eight: Setup Key phrase Rank Monitoring

Now it’s time to start out monitoring your rankings within the SERPs.

There are one million rank monitoring instruments on the market.

However to me, the very best out there may be SEMrush.


SEMrush is superior as a result of it doesn’t simply monitor the key phrases you give it.

(Though it does that too)

SEMrush – Keyword tracking

What’s cool about SEMrush is that it robotically finds key phrases that you just rank for.

SEMrush – Automatic Keyword Tracking


There’s little question about it:

Backlinks are nonetheless REALLY vital.

The truth is, our research of 1 million search outcomes discovered that backlinks correlate with rankings greater than some other issue.

Backlinks correlate with rankings

And now it’s time to research your backlink profile.

Right here’s how:

First, enter your homepage right into a backlink evaluation instrument.

(I’m utilizing Ahrefs for this step. However you can too use Majestic Search engine optimisation, or Moz)

And also you’ll get a report in your hyperlinks:

Ahrefs – Backlinks profile

Then, take a look at referring domains and Area Authority.

Referring domains = the variety of websites linking to you.

Ahrefs – Referring Domains

Don’t sweat the precise quantity an excessive amount of. You’re simply benchmarking the place you’re at.

You additionally need to try your Area Authority.

Ahrefs – Domain Authority

Each instrument has its personal title for “Area Authority”.

(For instance, Ahrefs calls it “Area Score”)

However the concept is identical:

Area Authority tells you how a lot authority your web site has… based mostly on a mixture of the amount AND high quality of your backlinks.

Lastly, search for poisonous hyperlinks.

To try this, take a look at the most typical anchor textual content in your hyperlink profile:

Ahrefs – Most common anchor text

If you happen to see a variety of branded anchor textual content (like “Backlinko” and “”), you’re good.

Thankfully, that’s the case with my hyperlink profile:

Branded anchor text

However in the event you discover numerous keyword-rich anchor textual content (like “Search engine optimisation weblog” and “Search engine optimisation coaching firm”), that’s an indication of a poisonous hyperlink profile.

Right here’s an instance of a hyperlink profile with spammy anchor textual content:

Spammy anchor text link profile

And if you wish to dig deeper, check out a few of your backlinks.

Ahrefs – Check backlinks

Most of your backlinks ought to come from REAL web sites.

For instance, you possibly can see that the majority of my hyperlinks come from blogs and information websites that write about digital advertising and Search engine optimisation.

Ahrefs – Backlinko – Good backlinks

(Which is sweet)

However in the event you discover that the majority of your hyperlinks are from shady websites, you may wish to disavow these hyperlinks.

Professional Tip: Spammy hyperlinks are a standard a part of any hyperlink profile. So don’t stress in the event you see a couple of shady hyperlinks

A couple of years again Google said that they don’t “lose sleep” over damaged hyperlinks.


That mentioned:

Damaged hyperlinks are unhealthy for person expertise… which CAN harm your Search engine optimisation.

(Extra on that later)

With that, right here’s the best way to repair damaged hyperlinks in your web site:

First, discover damaged pages in your web site that Google can’t index.

Yow will discover this information within the Google Search Console’s “Index Report”.

Google Search Console – Index report

I keep on prime of damaged hyperlinks, so I’m within the clear.

Right here’s what you’ll see in case your pages are giving Google 404 errors:

Google Search Console – Index errors

Typically you deleted pages for a motive (for instance: you deleted a bunch of Zombie Pages).

In that case, you don’t must do something. Google will ultimately cease reporting these damaged pages as issues.

But when Google can’t entry a web page that you just wish to rank, you clearly wish to get that web page again up ASAP.

Subsequent, use a instrument to search out damaged inside and exterior hyperlinks.

You need to use Ahrefs…

Ahrefs – Broken links

…or a free instrument like Damaged Hyperlink Test.

Online Broken Link Checker

Each work.

Step #11: Competitor Evaluation

Now it’s time to spy in your opponents.

Right here’s the best way to do it:

First, discover your opponents’ finest key phrases.

You’ll be able to simply discover this information utilizing SEMrush…

SEMrush – Best keywords

…or Ahrefs.

Ahrefs – Best keywords

Evidently, these make GREAT key phrases to focus on.

Second, take a look at the pages which can be rating for these phrases.

Then, work out what these pages have in widespread. That means, you recognize what kind of content material works finest in your area of interest.

For instance, in the event you take a look at a few of my highest-ranking pages…

Highest ranking pages

…you’ll discover that my content material:

  • Is long-form (3k+ phrases)
  • Comprises customized visuals and illustrations
  • Cites analysis research, knowledge and statements from Google
  • Isn’t tremendous technical

Lastly, see who hyperlinks to these pages.

To try this, pop a URL into Ahrefs.

Ahrefs – Check competitor backlinks

And try the hyperlinks pointing to that web page.

Ahrefs – Look at links pointing to page

This tells you who the influencers in your area of interest are. That means, you can begin to construct relationships with them.

Step #12: Make Your Content material 10x Higher

Again in step #7 you Search engine optimisation-optimized 5 of your most vital pages.

And now it’s time to make the content material on these pages 10x higher.


It’s easy:

To rank in 2018, your content material must kick butt.

With that, right here’s the best way to make these pages 10x higher:

1. VERY brief intros.

Nobody needs to learn lengthy winded introductions like these:

Long intro

As a substitute, hold your intros brief and candy:

Short intro

2. Small paragraphs.

Folks don’t learn on-line. They skim.

And small paragraphs assist skimmers devour your content material higher.

Use small paragraphs

Three. A number of subheaders.

Subheaders assist break up your content material into digestible chunks.

Use subheaders

Use them early and infrequently.

four. Use visuals, photographs and video

Multimedia makes your content material MUCH extra compelling.

(Plus, visuals assist folks be taught and perceive)

For instance, on this Search engine optimisation guidelines put up, I exploit numerous photographs:

Use images


Use visuals

And video:

Use video

And since my content material is simple to learn and perceive, the typical person spends 05:08 on that web page:

SEO Checklist – Average time on page

Step #13: Optimize For UX Indicators

RankBrain is Google’s new AI algorithm.

In contrast to the outdated Google, RankBrain measures how customers work together together with your web site.

RankBrain uses UX signals

Which suggests:

To rank in Google at present, it’s good to optimize for UX Indicators.

In different phrases, your content material must make customers completely happy.

Whenever you do, Google’s going to present you a HUGE rankings increase.

For instance…

Some time again I observed that this put up on my web site wasn’t rating that properly.

SEO Campaign – Old

(It was hovering between the 10th and 15th spots for my goal key phrase: “Search engine optimisation Marketing campaign”)

SEO Campaign – Historic ranking

And once I checked out my content material, I spotted why…

My content material didn’t give folks trying to find “Search engine optimisation marketing campaign” what they needed.

As a substitute of steps, they obtained a case research of ONE particular technique:

SEO Campaign – Only one case study

My put up additionally had numerous outdated screenshots:

Outdated screenshots


As a result of my content material wasn’t optimized for UX alerts, Google buried it.

So I made a decision to overhaul the whole put up.

Particularly, I:

  • Changed the case research with a step-by-step information
  • Included extra actionable suggestions for newbie and intermediate SEOs
  • Added examples from a number of completely different industries
  • Heaps extra

Ultimately, I had a chunk of up-to-date content material that was a PERFECT match for somebody trying to find “Search engine optimisation marketing campaign”:

SEO Campaign – New version

Positive sufficient, as a result of my content material is designed to make Google searchers completely happy, my web page rapidly went from #15 to the #four spot in Google.

And it just lately hit the #1 spot:

Very cool.

Step #14: Flatten Your Web site Structure

Your web site structure is straightforward:

It’s how the pages in your web site are organized.

Because it seems, your web site structure is REALLY vital for Search engine optimisation.


Two causes:

First, web site structure helps search engines like google and yahoo discover and index your whole pages.

When your web site’s structure is a giant ol’ mess, Google’s gonna have hassle discovering your whole pages:

Complicated site architecture

However when your web site structure hyperlinks your pages collectively, Google can simply discover and index your whole web site.

Good site architecture

Second, structure tells Google which pages in your web site are most vital.

Usually, the nearer a web page is to your homepage, the extra vital it’s.

Closer to homepage = More important

The query is:

How ought to your web site’s structure look?

Nicely, I do know I mentioned that this Search engine optimisation audit wasn’t going to be tremendous technical.

So I’m going to maintain this tremendous duper easy…

You wish to hold your web site structure flat.

In different phrases, not like this:

Deep site architecture

As a substitute, you need it to appear to be this:

Site architecture – Flat

(Tremendous flat)

Or put one other means:

It shouldn’t take greater than Three clicks to go out of your homepage to any web page in your web site.

Any page should be fewer than three clicks from the homepage

In some instances, you’ll want a developer to fully overhaul your web site’s navigation.

However you can too simply add inside hyperlinks to completely different pages…

Add internal links

…and add hyperlinks to the sidebar:

Add sidebar links

So long as customers can attain any of your pages in Three clicks or much less, you’re good.

Step #15: Rewrite Duplicate Meta Tags

Google just lately mentioned that your title and outline tags are “straightforward wins”.

Title and Description tags are easy wins

And I’d should agree.

ESPECIALLY in relation to fixing duplicate titles and descriptions.

Thankfully, you possibly can simply discover duplicate metas within the Google Search Console.

Simply head over to Search Look → HTML Enhancements.

Google Search Console – HTML improvements

And also you’ll get an inventory of duplicate metas:

Google Search Console – Duplicate meta tags

In my case, I’ve Eight pages with the identical description:

Google Search Console – Duplicate meta tags – Backlinko

These are all completely different pages of my weblog feed (which aren’t listed anyway). So it’s no large deal.

But when vital pages in your web site have duplicate meta tags, I like to recommend rewriting them ASAP.

Step #16: Launch a Skyscraper Submit

The final step of this Search engine optimisation audit is to publish a chunk of content material utilizing The Skyscraper Approach.


It helps Google rapidly discover and index all the adjustments you simply made.

For instance, take a look at the spike in “Pages crawled per day” each time I publish one thing widespread:

Backlinko – Pages crawled per day

And this video will present you precisely the best way to execute the Skyscraper Approach course of:

However as a fast recap, right here’s the way it works…

First, take a look at the highest 10 outcomes for a key phrase that you just wish to rank for.

For instance, I just lately revealed a chunk of content material known as: “27 Methods to Improve Web site Site visitors in 2018”.

Increase website traffic

Earlier than I wrote a single phrase, I analyzed the primary web page for key phrases like “the best way to get extra visitors”:

The content material I discovered was fairly good. However nothing particular.

Subsequent, publish content material that’s 5x higher than what you discovered.

I took issues up a notch with my put up.


I included numerous detailed steps:

Increase website traffic – Detailed steps


Increase website traffic – Screenshots

And strategies which can be working RIGHT NOW:

Increase website traffic – Techniques working right now

Lastly, it’s time to advertise your put up.

This half is vital.

When Google sees a flood of individuals (and hyperlinks) coming to your web site, they are saying: “This web site is blowing UP. We have to ship Googlebot there proper now.”

(Like I discussed earlier, this helps Google rapidly course of all the adjustments you made to your web site).

In my case, I despatched out a e-newsletter to my e mail subscribers:

Increase website traffic – Newsletter

And promoted it on Fb, LinkedIn and Twitter:

Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter promotion

Bonus Step #1: Get Extra From Your Inner Hyperlinks

Inner linking is among the most underrated Search engine optimisation methods on the planet.

The query is:

How do you inside hyperlink the correct means?

It’s easy:

Ensure you hyperlink to high-priority pages as a lot as doable.

Link to high-priority pages often

You’ll be able to see your whole web site’s inside hyperlinks within the GSC.

Go to Search Site visitors → Inner Hyperlinks.

Google Search Console – Internal links

And also you’ll see the pages in your web site that get essentially the most inside hyperlink love.

Google Search Console – Most internal links

Professional Tip: You may discover a handful of non-important pages on this report. For instance, you may need numerous hyperlinks pointing to your privateness coverage or contact web page. That’s normally since you hyperlink to these pages out of your web site’s navigation or footer. Don’t sweat it.

Bonus Step #2: Use a Website Audit Software

I attempted to maintain this Search engine optimisation audit course of as non-techy as doable.

However if you wish to dig deeper into your technical Search engine optimisation, I extremely advocate utilizing an audit instrument.

Which instruments do I like to recommend?

Truly, I exploit and advocate two.

The primary is SEObility.


In contrast to most audit instruments, SEObility is VERY straightforward to make use of. Plus, the studies are easy to know and take motion on.

seobility – Report

Although SEMrush is usually often called a key phrase analysis instrument, it has a surprisingly in-depth web site audit characteristic.

SEMrush – Audit

Bonus Step #Three: Optimize for Featured Snippets

Featured Snippets can DRAMATICALLY improve your natural visitors.

Featured Snippets can increase organic traffic

For instance, some time again I obtained this web page to point out up within the Featured Snippet spot.

Featured Snippet for

And natural visitors to that web page shot up like a rocketship:

How do you get your content material within the Featured Snippet spot?

This information (and research) has you lined.

SEMrush – Featured Snippet study

To sum up the information, to point out up within the Featured Snippet, it’s good to…

  • Have your content material optimized for cell
  • Have HTTPS put in
  • Use numerous headers (H1 and H2 tags)
  • Embrace brief reply to questions (42 phrases)
  • Hyperlink out to authority sources

That’s about it 🙂

Now It’s Your Flip

That’s it for this Search engine optimisation audit course of.

And now I’d like to listen to from you:

Do you could have any questions on this course of?

Or possibly you could have a cool tip that I didn’t embrace right here.

Both means, let me know by leaving a remark under proper now.

Supply hyperlink

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