SEO Audit Checklist

Generally, we do many changes in the website and SEO issues may happen on the regular basis so it is compulsory to audit your site for SEO. Copy my SEO audit checklist in excel  (in Fail/Pass format) and improve your website basic and technical on-page SEO.

Page Title

  1. Every page must have title tag
  2. Page title must be relevant to the page content (and heading/subheadings)
  3. Page title must have main keyword (left side area is best for main keyword)
  4. Not having exactly the same main keyword in the title (add some prefix/suffix)
  5. Using page title length 50-60 characters (520 pixels) with space, (Google ignores rest of characters)
  6. Not using too short length page title (less than 30 characters)
  7. Using brand name at the beginning for the home page and at the end for other pages (without space).
  8. Page title should not be same with your other pages (avoid duplicate page title)
  9. Using numbers/Question /Urgency/Offers/Action words in the page title for better CTR
  10. Not using emojis, symbols, special characters in the page title, looks spammy for Google.
  11. Not repeating word/keyword multiple times in the page title
  12. Using title case for meta title for better CTR (Words first character in capital letter)
  13. Not using stop words in the page title because Google ignores them.
  14. Not using multiple page titles on the same page (same url), BTW google pick top one.
  15. Page title and H1 should not be exact same but should be equivalent (for the same page).
  16. Shorter title produce better CTR, Using 30-40 characters, if extra words not needed.

Meta Description

  1. Every page must have meta description.
  2. Meta description must be relevant to the page content
  3. Meta description must have main keyword
  4. Using meta description length 155-160 characters with space, because Google may ignore rest of characters.
  5. Not using too short description (less than 50 characters)
  6. Not using the same meta description for multiple pages (avoid duplicate meta description)
  7. Using numbers/Question /Urgency/Offers/Action words for better CTR
  8. Not using emojis, symbols, special characters in the meta description, looks spammy for Google.
  9. Not repeating word/keyword multiple times in the meta description.
  10. Not using multiple meta description on the same page (same url), BTW google pick top one.

Redirection

  1. All permanently moved urls have 301 redirection.
  2. All temporary moved urls have 302 redirection.
  3. Using 302 redirection for A/B test, Mobile site, country/language other version pages.
  4. Not having multiple redirections for any page because it can increase load time.
  5. Not having redirection chain/loop. Google considers them server error. (BTW Google follows only 5 redirects, after that consider it 404 page.)
  6. Keeping redirection code for 1 year. Google check it for one year.
  7. Not have 3xx links in the website and sitemaps, otherwise google will take time replace it from indexing.
  8. Not Redirecting all deleted pages to Home page, it confuses users, google considers it soft 404.
  9. Not redirecting to completely different (irrelevant) content pages (not relevant to each other). Only redirecting to similar or duplicate pages.
  10. All redirects have correct response code (3xx) even google support javascript redirects.
  11. Not having Sneaky redirects(sending a visitor to a different URL than the one they initially requested.)

Page URL

  1. Using static page url, not having query string, special characters, emoji, symbols etc. in the url.
  2. Using keyword in the url, not stuffing too many keywords, one is sufficient.
  3. Using page URL length maximum 76 characters (Google shows only 512 pixels for url in their snippet), BTW Google accept 1000 characters in the url.
  4. Page urls are Structured/categorized in a proper hierarchy.
  5. Page URLs are in small letters (Technically capital and small letter urls are not the same for Google)
  6. URL don’t have flexibility (when we type anything between url they still show the same page due to CMS issue)
  7. All urls have 200 Ok status code.
  8. Not having stop words such as a, an, the, am, is, are, for, to, in, of etc. in urls. Google may ignore them.
  9. Not Having keyword/word repetition in the url
  10. If content is super different from main site, using sub-domain otherwise sub-directory is better.
  11. Keeping urls in English for English pages and non-English urls for non-English pages.
  12. Using Hyphen in the url to separate words, not using other symbols. (underscore, plus)
  13. Not having “#” URLs, Jump links should not add a hashtag to the URL. Google may crawl if page load different content via #tag (mostly JS based, rarely gets used for indexing).
  14. Not having high page depth to find pages. Users able to see important pages in maximum 4 clicks.
  15. Using https for all pages. (also checked SSL expiry)
  16. Page URLs not having double slash // (it is responsible for duplicate page)

Internal Links

  1. Using <a> with href for all valid links
  2. Not using more than 100 links on a single page
  3. Having all important sections’ links on the home page. So crawlers can reach all of your pages.
  4. Using relevant anchor text in internal links.
  5. Not repeating the same link on the same page.
  6. Adding internal links for popular (already ranked keywords) pages. (Important content is >4 clicks from the homepage.)
  7. Having hyperlinks on the page heading instead of read more button (especially for WordPress category pages)
  8. Not having over optimized anchor text.

Heading tag

  1. Using only one H1 tag per page
  2. H1 heading is relevant to the page
  3. Content is structured in proper heading tags (H2, H3 & so on)
  4. Using main keyword in H1
  5. H1 is nighter exactly same nor too different but equivalent
  6. H1 is not too long (Google think keyword over optimized)
  7. Having H1 on top
  8. Not Having exactly same main keyword in H1 (Add prefix/suffix – Professional Teacher Resume Samples Online)
  9. Not having all subheadings in H2 (having some H3 tag as well to avoid over-optimization)
  10. Using keyword variations in H2, H3

External Links

  1. Not having too many external links on a page and overall website.
  2. All External links are naturally added and helpful for users.
  3. Using noindex for paid, untrusted, non-popular external links. (No need to add noindex for popular & trusted sites)
  4. Opening in new tab

Images

  1. Using Alt tag for images without over optimizing (no need to add alt tag for decorative images)
  2. Not having blank alt tag in images. (alt tag exist but blank, is not good)
  3. Not having poor quality images. (Only have HD images, not blur images)
  4. Images are optimized for load time and having less than 100kb in size.
  5. Using title text in hyperlink images.
  6. Using SEO friendly url for images which can describe image properly.
  7. Not using header image, better to use image in OG tag for social media.
  8. We are not using important images (which we want to index) in CSS, google do not read css images.

Published & Updated Dates

  1. Showing Published/Updated Date on the page (help in CTR if Google shows it in their snippet)
  2. Using Updated date (if we update the content) instead of published date on the page.
  3. If dates (both) are too old, then hiding the dates from the page.
  4. Not using fake dates for both cases.
  5. Not having same date in multiple pages. (Google may consider them auto-generated page)

XML Sitemap

  1. Having XML Sitemap
  2. No syntax error in the sitemap like UTF-8
  3. Using lastmod date in the sitemap (Google consider lastmod but ignores priority & change frequency)
  4. Not having canonical (duplicate), 3xx, 4xx, 5xx, noindex, disallow pages in the xml sitemap.
  5. Not having more than 10k-20k pages per sitemap (Google limit is 50k urls or 50MB file size).
  6. Using full page urls with protocol (http/https) in the sitemap.
  7. Using same protocol urls in the sitemap (Google ignores one of protocols)
  8. Using encoded urls for special characters urls in the sitemap.
  9. Using sitemap index file for multiple sitemaps
  10. Using correctly Images, videos, mobile pages, other language version pages (alternate)
  11. Not including more than 1000 images per pages in the xml sitemap.
  12. XML sitemap submitted in the webmaster (Google and Yahoo/Bing)
  13. Having XML sitemap url in the robots.txt
  14. Using noindex in http header (if we really want to hide sitemaps from competitors, otherwise no need)
  15. Not having errors in webmaster for all xml sitemaps.

Author

  1. Mentioning Author bio details on the page with name, image, designation, social links.
  2. Author has a good reputation on the internet.

Website Design & Trust

  1. Website have good reputation.
  2. Website have good reviews on the third party sites like TrustPilot, BBB
  3. Website do not have much complaints and fraud content on the internet.
  4. Website have clearly explained about the organization, address, phone number.
  5. Website have policy pages (terms & condition, Private policy, Cookies policy, Refund policy)
  6. Website have backlinks on reputed sites (Wikipedia, IBM, Forbes etc.)
  7. People are mentioning our website in their social media & sites.
  8. Website have testimonials, published/featured articles on popular sites icons, social media links, security seal etc. for user trust.
  9. Not distracting users by popups & Ads.
  10. Website have good UI design.
  11. Not having social media business page link icons on the top.
  12. Having social media business page link icons in the footer and not highlighting.
  13. Checked Language and country Declaration (html lang tag: en-us) (Google ignores but Bing Consider)
  14. We are using Favicon correctly for all devices. (following all google favicon guidelines)
  15. Website not having any W3C errors, console errors etc.
  16. Having OG tags in the website (all pages)
  17. Not having site’s inner linking on the same class C ip?
  18. Not having site’s hosted on the same class C ip?

Ads

  1. Clearly labeled ads as advertisements
  2. Not having banner Ads inside the content, better to add simple text link/button if needed.
  3. Ads are not blocking content.
  4. Using Nofollow on advertisement links. [rel=”ugc” for ugc content and rel=”sponsored” for sponsor link]

User Experience

  1. Website is fully user friendly.
  2. Having Menu and footer navigations in proper hierarchy
  3. Bounce rate is good (less than 60% for normal page and less than 80% for blogs)
  4. Time duration is good
  5. Page visited per session is good
  6. User scrolling (Page depth) is good.
  7. User behaviour flow is good.

Content Quality

  1. Our Content is not affecting negatively of users’ safety, happiness, health and finance.
  2. Removed zero traffic pages (Zombie pages) otherwise update their content. (zero traffic from last 6 months/1 year)
  3. Not having thin content/poor quality content (Removed or noindex)
  4. Redirected by 301 or added canonical tag for duplicate content and similar content.
  5. Content have in-depth content (2000-5000 words) or good content as compared to competitors.
  6. Content readable/Scannable by using index table, bullet points, sub-headings, small paragraphs, important tip box, compare pattern, right wrong form, white space, font optimization etc.
  7. Not having spelling mistakes in the content, meta tags, urls, on the images, alt text, anchor text, image title.
  8. images, videos and reputed external links added in the content for users to give proofs, research.
  9. Having questions and answers related content on the page.
  10. Content is well structured.
  11. Promoting content on social media.
  12. Not having similar keyword pages (keyword cannibalization)
  13. Not hiding content by any spammy methods (display none, font size zero, same text and background color, locating text behind an image, CSS to position text off-screen). Showing same content for users and search engines.
  14. Not having doorway pages.
  15. Not having clocking.
  16. Not having keyword stuffing in the content. (1-2% is good keyword density)
  17. Content is not scraped from other websites. (Even google understand synonyms)
  18. Not hiding links by using the same color (internal+external) or by small character
  19. Content is completely relevant to the topic (H1 heading and page title)
  20. Showing the same content from the JavaScript in a <noscript> tag. (contents are exactly the same as what’s contained in the JavaScript, if using this method)
  21. Content is not hidden in tabs, accordions, expandable boxes and other methods (Google said it would not be weighted as high but for desktop not for mobile)

Robots.txt

  1. Blocking invlaid pages in the robots.txt correctly
  2. Not having any error in Robots.txt
  3. Mentioning sitemap url in robots.txt
  4. Not blocking any valid pages in robots.txt
  5. Not blocking CSS and JS files in the robots.txt
  6. Internal search urls blocked in robots.txt
  7. Not using nofollow syntax in robots.txt (Now Google ignore it)

Hreflang (language/country declaration) (Multilingual/Multiregional)

  1. Using hreflang tag in case of multilingual/multiregional site. (No need to specify if have single version)
  2. Using only one method to implement for the hreflang. (Meta in <Head>/XML Sitemap/HTTP header)
  3. Using x-default for main version.
  4. All hreflang tag and the canonical URLs are matching.
  5. Using absolute URLs when defining the hreflang tag.
  6. Not using auto redirect visitors and/or search engines based on their IP addresses, or browser settings.
  7. Not using automatic translation tools for the content (some manual work needed)
  8. Not having hreflang errors or invalid hreflang code (Example using US-en instead of en-US)
  9. Using hreflang tag on each version.
  10. Using separate domain for multilingual sites to get domain extension benefit (.uk, .fr, .au)
  11. Using canonical tag for other versions.
  12. Using hreflang for both devices mobile and desktop
  13. Adding hyperlinks to other language versions of a page for users (It also helps to Google in case hreflang tag missing)

Google Search Console (GSC) / Webmaster 

  1. Not having schema errors
  2. Not having server errors, 404 errors (broken links) and other webmaster crawl errors
  3. Not having malware, manual actions and security issues. (hacking issues)
  4. Not having AMP errors
  5. Not having sitemap errors
  6. Not having robots.txt errors
  7. Having impression/clicks for negative/adult keyword
  8. Specify international targeting if site for specific location (US, UK).
  9. Not indexing parameter urls (check parameter urls in GSC)

Pagination

  1. Pagination is starting from page 2 because page 1 is default page.
  2. Pagination pages have page-2, page-3 in the meta tags
  3. Not having canonical tag on paginations pointing to default page
  4. Not having noindex tag (if too many, then use noindex)
  5. Using rel=”prev/next” tag in paginations (google ignores but bing considers)

Mobile

  1. Site is mobile friendly (all pages passed in google mobile friendly tool)
  2. Using proper canonical tag in mobile page and alternate tag in desktop page if using separate mobile site.
  3. Not redirecting mobile users to completely different page (content not same) although some differences are allowed for google.
  4. Having AMP for all pages.
  5. Using Vary HTTP header for Dynamic serving mobile pages
  6. Not having any issue in Dynamic serving mobile pages
  7. Meta tags, h1, content and links on the mobile site are similar enough to the desktop version.

Canonical

  1. Using canonical tag in correct format – (head section, absolute url)
  2. Using canonical tag for duplicate query string urls.
  3. Using canonical tag for print and pdf version
  4. Using canonical tag for AMP pages (pointing to desktop version)
  5. Using canonical tag for A/B test pages
  6. Using canonical tag for same page content in multiple categories
  7. Using canonical tag/301 for www/non-www version
  8. Using canonical tag/301 for same content on cross domain
  9. Using canonical tag/301 for capital letter url to small letter urls
  10. Using canonical tag for utm campaign pages
  11. Using canonical for pages itself
  12. Using canonical tag for mobile, region, language version.
  13. Using canonical tag/301 for Http and Https Version
  14. Using canonical tag/301 for Sorting/Filter pages (sub-content)
  15. Using canonical tag/301 for similar/duplicate pages
  16. Not using canonical tag for irrelevant content pages, better to use 404
  17. Using canonical tag/301 for default home page (.com vs. default.aspx)
  18. Target canonical tag is crawlable and indexable for Google (Not having noindex, error (4xx, 5xx, 3xx), blocked in robots.txt)

Noindex

  1. Using noindex for wordpress tags (Better to not create tag pages – old trick)
  2. Using noindex for wordpress comment reply.
  3. Using noindex for wordpress separate image pages
  4. Using noindex for wordpress archive pages (year, month)
  5. Using Noindex for invlaid pages and thin content pages.
  6. Not having nofollow for Indexable internal links
  7. Testing links Not Indexed. (stg, dev, qa)
  8. Not blocking US country (by using IPs) because Google crawls by US bot

Load time

  1. All pages have less than 2 sec load time.
  2. Loading Small images, vector icons (ex.-email, phone icons) using css to reduce http requests.
  3. CSS files minified
  4. JS files minified
  5. HTML files minifield
  6. Enabled Gzip compression
  7. Enabled browser cache
  8. Put JS files in the footer.
  9. Put CSS files on the top.
  10. Server response time is good (First Byte Load).
  11. Using Asynchronous Scripts (for parallel loading) rather than synchronous scripts
  12. Not having Inline CSS
  13. Using CSS sprite to combine small and decorative images (there are also other methods to do that)
  14. Combined all js files into one to reduce http requests
  15. Combined all css files into one to reduce http requests
  16. Loading media files after content load
  17. Not having broken links, blank img tag
  18. Not having render blocking issue
  19. Using light weight font
  20. WordPress DB optimized
  21. Media files (images, videos, gif) are compressed and less than 100kb in size,
  22. WordPress spam, trash cleared,
  23. WordPress non-active and not useful plugins removed completely
  24. Optimized Embedded videos
  25. Specified image dimension
  26. Not using CSS @import
  27. Using HTTP/2.0 instead of HTTP/1.1
  28. Using CDN for media files and js, css files (cloudflare best CDN provider)
  29. Hosting server is near to our highly traffic area. (ex. getting best traffic from SF then better to take hosting server of SF area)
  30. Pages published (disk store technique) in html file. (not applicable for dynamic content & files)
  31. Using server side cache
  32. Using HSTS (help in load time and user security)

Domain

  1. Domain have country extension (.com is good for USA)
  2. Domain name is relevant to business (e.g. – resumenerd.com)
  3. Not having more than one hyphen in the domain name
  4. Not having exact match keyword (It helps to only one keyword, EMD is now low beneficial)
  5. Not having Location in domain (only help for particular location, may face problem in future)
  6. Domain name length is not more than 15 characters
  7. Domain name is easy to spell and memorable
  8. Not having numeric characters in the domain name. (e.g – 123resume.com looks spammy)

Schema Markup (Structured markup/Rich snippet/Rich card)

  1. Not having any schema error (all pages passed in google schema testing tool)
  2. Not using any fake schema and code written in only RDFa/Microdata/JSON-LD
  3. Using breadcrumbs with schema markup for better website structure
  4. Using Schema for Author
  5. Using schema for Published and updated date and time (and time zone)
  6. Using review/rating schema for better CTR
  7. Using faq/how-to/Q&A schema for better CTR
  8. Using other schemas if possible (Pricing, Events, Recipes, Carousels and articles (for publishers or blogs), Job postings, Product, site navigation, NAP, Social Links, phone number, sitelink search box, organization details, video, person etc.)

Backlinks

  1. Not using reciprocal link scheme.
  2. Not using poor quality directory/article/social bookmarking backlink submissions (sites which are only made for backlink creation are spams)
  3. Not having exact same keyword for all backlink anchor text
  4. Having some backlinks on brand name
  5. Mostly backlinks on relevant content.
  6. Mostly backlinks on relevant country content.
  7. Mostly backlinks on relevant language content.
  8. Too many backlinks on guest blogging sites on relevant keywords (ratio maintain)
  9. Having some backlinks on popular and trusted sites (e.g. – forbes, wikipedia)
  10. Not having backlinks on poor quality sites and shady sites
  11. Not having backlinks on shady sites (redirecting to other sites or having 404 page)
  12. Not having keyword based backlinks in the forum signature
  13. Not having keyword based backlinks in the comment.
  14. Not having irrelevant anchor text on backlinks
  15. Having nofollow for press release backlinks
  16. Having nofollow for backlinks in the UGC content.
  17. Getting new links on a regular basis.

Indexing

  1. All SEO pages indexed by Google/Bing-Yahoo and Not having any indexing issues.
  2. If showing content by JS, must be indexable for Google
  3. If showing content by AJAX, must be indexable for Google.
  4. If showing content by Lazy load, must be indexable for Google
  5. If showing content by iframe, must be indexable for google (better to not use iframe, it is a very old techniques)
  6. If showing content by flash, must be indexable for google (better to not use flash, it is a very old techniques)
  7. If showing images “on load”, adding details in src and noscript and must using alt tag.

Caching 

  1. All checked – Not showing different page in google cache
  2. Loading full view in google cache (sometimes google doesn’t show full view due to heavy js)
  3. Not Showing wrong canonical version in google cache
  4. Not Showing mobile version for desktop in google cache
  5. Not using noarchive meta tag without any reason to hide cache

404 page

  1. Custom 404 page is well designed, same format as other valid webpages have.
  2. Having home page and other important links on 404 page.
  3. 404 page throwing 404 http response code.
  4. Showing a message for users that this is broken or not found page.
  5. Not having soft 404 errors (google show it when you have almost zero main content on the page-we also call it very thin content)

Keyword 

  1. Not having keyword meta (Google ignores but Bing considers (bing may count wrong keywords as a spam)
  2. Using main Keyword in page title, meta description, heading, first 100 words of the content, url.
  3. Using keyword variation in subheading (at-least one), image alt tag, anchor text of hyperlink (internal link) and content.
  4. Having 1-2% Keyword density on the page.
  5. Using site search terms for keyword and content ideas.
  6. Using webmaster search terms for content and keyword ideas.