How to Perform a Complete SEO Audit to Boost Your Rankings

8 min read

An SEO audit is a comprehensive analysis of how well your website is optimized for search engines. It identifies errors that can prevent your site from ranking well and uncovers opportunities to help you gain more organic search visibility.

Conducting regular SEO audits is crucial for maintaining and improving your website's search engine rankings.

Google's algorithm changes frequently, so it's important to periodically assess your site to ensure it adheres to current SEO best practices and isn't being held back by technical issues or outdated strategies.

While a full SEO audit can seem daunting, breaking it down into a step-by-step process makes it much more manageable.

Here is a 14-step guide for performing a complete SEO audit on your website:

Step 1: Crawl Your Website

The first step is to crawl your entire website using an SEO auditing tool like Semrush's Site AuditAhrefs Site AuditScreaming Frog, or DeepCrawl. This will analyze your site the way search engines do and identify any technical SEO issues that need to be fixed.

Look for crawl errors like broken links, duplicate content, missing or poorly optimized title tags and meta descriptions, slow page speed, and more.

Create a prioritized list of technical problems to address based on severity and impact on SEO.

Step 2: Check Indexing

Make sure search engines are able to properly crawl and index all the pages you want showing up in search results.

In Google Search Console's "Coverage" report, look for pages that are blocked by robots.txt, have crawl errors, or are excluded from the index.

You can also use the "" search operator to get an idea of how many of your pages are indexed.

If key pages are missing, you may need to fix crawlability issues, build more internal links to those pages, or submit them for indexing via Search Console.

Step 3: Site Architecture

Your website's structure and navigation should make it easy for both search engines and users to find and access your content.

Ideally, your most important pages should be accessible within 3 clicks from the homepage.

Use a tool like Screaming Frog to generate a visual sitemap. Look for overly complex structures, orphaned pages, and key pages that are buried too deep in the site architecture. Reorganizing your site's hierarchy and internal linking can make it more crawlable and improve the flow of link equity.

Step 4: On-Page SEO

On-page optimization has a big impact on how well your individual pages rank for target keywords. For each key page, check that:

  • The primary keyword is used in the title tagmeta descriptionURLH1 tag, and naturally throughout the content
  • The content is high-quality, relevant, up-to-date, and provides value to the user
  • Images have descriptive alt text and file names
  • The page is fast-loading and mobile-friendly

Look for opportunities to better optimize your pages for target keywords and improve the user experience. Small tweaks to on-page elements can make a big difference in rankings and organic traffic.

Step 5: Content Quality

In addition to on-page optimization, take a broader look at your site's overall content strategy.

Use a tool like Google Analytics to see which pages get the most organic traffic and have the lowest bounce rates - these are likely your highest quality content assets.

Then use a keyword research tool like Semrush or Ahrefs to map your content to target keywords.

Look for gaps where you're missing content for important keywords, as well as opportunities to rank higher by improving existing content.

Your content audit should also identify thin, duplicate, or low-quality pages that should be improved, consolidated, or removed.

Pruning your content can help put more focus on your best pages.

Step 6: Test Your Site Speed

Page speed is an important Google ranking factor, especially for mobile searches. Use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to test your page load times and get recommendations for speeding things up.

Common culprits of slow load times include unoptimized images, bloated code, and slow server response times.

Implement speed optimizations like compressing images, minifying code, leveraging browser caching, and using a content delivery network (CDN).

Step 7: Check Your HTTPS Status

HTTPS is a confirmed Google ranking signal, and many browsers now warn users when they visit a non-secure HTTP page.

If your site isn't already on HTTPS, migrating should be a top priority.

In addition to serving your site over HTTPS, make sure your SSL certificate is properly configured with no errors. Use a tool like SSL Labs' SSL Server Test to check your SSL setup.

Step 8: Assess Your Mobile-Friendliness

With mobile-first indexing now the default for all websites, your site's mobile experience is critical for SEO.

Use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.

Some key elements of a mobile-friendly site include responsive design, large font sizes, easily clickable buttons, and no intrusive interstitials. You can also check your mobile usability report in Search Console for any pages with mobile issues.

Backlinks remain one of Google's top ranking factors, so assessing your site's backlink profile is a key part of an SEO audit.

Use a backlink analysis tool like AhrefsSemrush, or Majestic to evaluate the quantity and quality of your inbound links.

Look at metrics like your domain authority, total number of referring domains, and percentage of followed vs nofollowed links.

Identify any spammy or low-quality links that could be hurting your rankings and consider disavowing them.

Also look for link building opportunities by seeing what sites are linking to your competitors but not to you. Reaching out to those sites can be a good way to build high-quality, relevant links.

Step 10: Keyword Rankings

Measuring your keyword rankings is a good way to gauge your overall SEO progress over time. Use a rank tracking tool to monitor your site's positions for your target keywords.

Identify which keywords you're ranking well for, which have declined, and which you still need to optimize for.

This can help inform your content strategy and on-page optimization efforts moving forward.

Step 11: Evaluate Organic Traffic and Conversions

In addition to keyword rankings, organic traffic and conversions are important SEO metrics to track. Use Google Analytics to see how much organic traffic your site gets, which pages drive the most traffic, and how well that traffic converts into leads or sales.

Set up goals in Analytics to track key conversions like form submissions, phone calls, and ecommerce transactions. This will help you measure the ROI of your SEO efforts and identify areas for improvement in your conversion funnel.

Step 12: User Engagement

User engagement signals like bounce ratetime on page, and pages per session give Google clues about the quality and relevance of your content.

Check these metrics in Google Analytics at both the page and site level.

High bounce rates or low time on page could indicate that your content isn't matching searcher intent or providing the information users are looking for.

Look for ways to make your content more engaging and useful to visitors.

Step 13: Manual Actions

manual action from Google can severely impact your site's ability to rank in search results. Check the Manual Actions report in Search Console to make sure your site hasn't been penalized for violating Google's webmaster guidelines.

If you do have a manual action, you'll need to fix the issue and submit a reconsideration request to get the penalty removed. Proactively avoiding shady SEO tactics can help prevent manual actions in the first place.

Step 14: Opportunities

The final step in your SEO audit is to identify the biggest opportunities for improving your site's performance in search and prioritize your next action items.

Create a punch list of high-impact optimizations to implement based on what you uncovered in the previous steps.

Some key areas to focus on may include:

  1. Fixing critical technical SEO issues like crawl errors, duplicate content, or broken links
  2. Improving page speed and mobile-friendliness
  3. Better optimizing your content for target keywords and searcher intent
  4. Building high-quality backlinks to key pages
  5. Pruning or improving thin or low-quality content
  6. Restructuring your site architecture for better crawlability and internal linking

Prioritize your to-do list based on estimated impact and ease of implementation.

Focus on the highest ROI opportunities first, then work your way down the list.


Performing a comprehensive SEO audit does require time and effort, but it's one of the best ways to uncover gaps in your current strategy and identify high-impact opportunities to boost your organic search performance.

By following this 14-step process and using the right tools, you can gain valuable insights into your website's strengths and weaknesses from an SEO perspective. Acting on those insights can help drive more high-quality traffic, engagement, and conversions over time.

While a one-time audit can be incredibly valuable, SEO isn't a set-it-and-forget-it discipline. Aim to conduct regular audits every quarter or at least twice per year to ensure your site stays in line with SEO best practices and continues performing well in search.

By proactively monitoring your site's technical health, content quality, user experience, and off-site factors, you can catch issues before they become major problems and continuously work toward greater visibility and authority in the search results. A consistent commitment to SEO auditing and improvement is key to long-term organic search success.

Ilias Ism

Ilias is the co-founder of MagicSpace SEO, helping small businesses grow with SEO. With a decade of experience as a CTO and marketer, he offers SEO consulting and SEO services to clients worldwide.

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