How you can Do an search engine optimisation Audit in 11 Simple Steps (With Guidelines)


In case your web site isn’t rating nicely in search engines like google and yahoo, it may very well be as a result of sure search engine optimisation points are holding it again.

By discovering and fixing these points, you may usually increase your rankings and get extra natural site visitors. That is the place an search engine optimisation audit comes in.

An search engine optimisation audit checks how nicely optimized your web site is for search engines like google and yahoo. It finds points that could be hurting the location’s rankings and offers alternatives to enhance them.

For instance, right here’s a web site that appears troublesome to make use of on a cellular system.

Example of a website that's not mobile-friendly, via

As a result of mobile-friendliness is a Google rating issue and there are extra searches on cellular than on desktop, this difficulty could also be holding the location again.

Listed here are some extra advantages of finishing an search engine optimisation audit:

  • Lets you keep forward of your opponents 
  • Improves your guests’ consumer expertise in your web site
  • Can determine priceless search engine optimisation alternatives that may maximize your return on funding
  • Means that you can refine your search engine optimisation technique
  • Means that you can talk the significance of search engine optimisation to stakeholders in your online business

What instruments do you want for an search engine optimisation audit?

There are various totally different instruments you should use to finish an search engine optimisation audit, however the best technique to begin is through the use of two free instruments that cowl all of the fundamentals:

Everybody’s search engine optimisation audit course of differs, however right here’s how one can create your personal search engine optimisation audit in 11 steps:

Ahrefs' SEO audit checklist

1. Run a crawl of your web site

A “crawl” is the place software program scans your web site to search out search engine optimisation points. You’ll must run one utilizing AWT to kind the idea of your search engine optimisation audit.

To do that, begin by heading to Web site Audit, click on on + New undertaking, and permit Ahrefs to authorize your account.

Accessing Site Audit in Ahrefs

Then click on on Import from Google Search Console. (You’ll want a Google Search Console account to do this.)

"Import from Google Search Console" section, via Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT)

When you’ve approved with Google, chosen your website, and clicked Import, the audit will begin.

When you’ve arrange your audit, it’s a ready sport. However Ahrefs will e-mail you when your audit is full. 

The audit can determine over 100+ points, which may be overwhelming for rookies. So if you’re new to auditing, I’d counsel specializing in the steps beneath slightly than making an attempt to repair all the problems one by one.

2. Determine natural site visitors drops and work out what brought on them

Google updates its search algorithms on a regular basis. Many of those updates goal particular issues like content material high quality or hyperlink spam. If in case you have site visitors drops coinciding with main updates, this could let you know what areas probably want your focus. Right here’s the way to test. 

Drops may be brought on by many issues, however two major causes are:

The quickest technique to test whether or not you’ve been hit by an replace is to plug your URL into Ahrefs’ Web site Explorer and see if any site visitors drops align with an replace.

For instance, we will see beneath that this website’s site visitors drop coincided with a Google Spam Replace.

Line graph shows traffic drop aligning with algorithm update, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

You can too double-check your natural search efficiency in Google Search Console. That is essential to do as a result of Ahrefs natural site visitors numbers are estimations. 

To do this:

  • Go to the Search outcomes report 
  • Set the date to the Final 12 months
  • Search for any important drops
  • Examine drops in opposition to Google’s Search Standing dashboard to see in the event that they coincide
Search results report in Google Search Console

In case your site visitors’s gone to zero, chances are you’ll must test for a guide motion. That is the place a human reviewer at Google decides your website doesn’t adjust to the Google search necessities. It signifies that some or your whole website received’t be proven in Google’s search outcomes. 

You’re unlikely to have a guide motion until you’ve completed one thing drastically incorrect. But it surely’s nonetheless essential to test you’re not lifeless within the water earlier than you even begin. 

To test for guide actions, go to the Guide actions report in Google Search Console. 

"No issues detected" message in GSC

If it says something apart from “No points detected,” learn our Google penalties information

If it’s not a guide motion, chances are you’ll must test additional for Google algorithm updates, as they will considerably have an effect on your website’s natural site visitors.

For instance, the core replace in August 2018 appeared to largely have an effect on well being, health, and medical websites that didn’t exhibit experience, authoritativeness, and belief (E-A-T). The truth is, Barry Schwartz, a outstanding blogger, dubbed it the “Medic” replace. 

The replace all however destroyed some websites, like this one:

Line graph shows Google's Core Update in August 2018 decimated this site's organic traffic

In the event you spot a giant site visitors drop coinciding with a Google replace, test our Google Algorithm Updates Historical past web page.

3. Examine for any duplicates of your web site

Guests to your website ought to solely be capable of entry it at one in every of these addresses:


If it’s accessible at each or at their non-secure counterparts (i.e.,,, you could have an difficulty.

The above variations ought to redirect to the primary model of your website.

That is essential as a result of Google sees these URLs as separate website variations. Having a couple of accessible could cause crawling and indexing points. In some circumstances, it could possibly even dilute hyperlink fairness and, thus, might negatively influence rankings.

To test that all the things works because it ought to, set up Ahrefs’ search engine optimisation Toolbar, sort every URL model into your browser, then test the HTTP headers to make sure all of them redirect to the identical “grasp” model.

For instance, if we go to, it redirects to the safe model at

HTTP headers in Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

The identical occurs if we go to the safe www model ( 

HTTP headers in Ahrefs' SEO Toolbar

If this doesn’t occur, you’ll must implement redirects.

4. Discover and diagnose indexability points

Google search outcomes come from its index, which is a database of a whole lot of billions of webpages. Your pages should be on this index to face any probability at rating. 

Indexing points can get fairly sophisticated, however you may test for primary points pretty simply.

First, test the Indexability report in Web site Audit for “Noindex web page” warnings.

Noindex pages in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Google can’t index pages with this warning, so it’s price checking they’re not pages you need listed. If they’re, take away or edit the meta robots tag.

5. Guarantee your website is mobile-friendly

Cell-friendliness has been a Google rating issue since 2019, so it is sensible to test in case your web site is mobile-friendly.

To do that, go to the Cell Usability report in Google Search Console. It would let you know whether or not any URLs have errors that have an effect on cellular usability. 

Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console

In the event you don’t have entry to Google Search Console, plug any web page out of your web site into Google’s Cell-Pleasant Check instrument

Google's Mobile Friendly Test tool

Listed here are a couple of extra suggestions on the subject of mobile-friendliness:

  • Use a mobile-friendly structure or theme
  • Prioritize your content material and ensure it’s readable on cellular gadgets
  • Compress your photographs so they’re mobile-friendly, however don’t sacrifice high quality
  • All the time check your web site throughout totally different gadgets

6. Benchmark your Core Internet Vitals scores

Core Internet Vitals are metrics that Google makes use of to measure consumer expertise. They measure a web page’s load time, interactivity, and the soundness of the content material because it hundreds. 

In 2022, John Mueller confirmed that Google solely makes use of Core Internet Vitals slightly than “outdated web page velocity indicators.”

He additionally said on Reddit that Core Internet Vitals are a Google rating issue.

John Mueller confirms Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor, via Reddit

These are the core metrics that it’s best to benchmark in opposition to:

In terms of monitoring these metrics, it’s best to begin through the use of Google Search Console’s Core Internet Vitals report. In the event you want extra knowledge, take a look at the Efficiency report in Ahrefs’ Web site Audit.

7. Reclaim authority by fixing damaged pages

Having damaged pages in your website is rarely good. If these pages have backlinks, they’re successfully wasted as a result of they level to nothing.

You can too discover damaged URLs with backlinks in Web site Explorer. Simply plug in your area, go to the Finest by hyperlinks report, and add a “404 not discovered” filter. Then type the report by referring domains from excessive to low. 

Broken internal pages in Ahrefs' Site Explorer sorted by referring domains

Right here’s our advisable course of for coping with damaged hyperlinks:

Flowchart showing how to deal with broken links, via Ahrefs Blog

8. Guarantee your sitemap doesn’t have any points

A sitemap lists the pages you need search engines like google and yahoo to index. It shouldn’t checklist issues like redirects, non-canonicals, or lifeless pages as a result of these ship blended indicators to Google.

It’s essential to make sure that an important pages you need listed are included in your sitemap.

You possibly can monitor your sitemap points by going to Google Search Console and clicking on Sitemaps. 

Sitemaps section in Google Search Console

9. Guarantee on-page components conform to search engine optimisation finest practices

Each indexable web page in your website ought to have a title tag, meta description, and H1 tag. These primary on-page components assist Google perceive your content material and provide help to to win extra clicks out of your rankings. 

To test for points, head to the “Points” tab within the Content material report in Web site Audit

Basic on-page issues in Ahrefs' Site Audit

For instance, the web site above has 724 pages with a lacking or empty title tag. This isn’t very best as a result of Google reveals them within the search outcomes, so the location may very well be consequently lacking out on clicks.

It additionally has the identical variety of pages with an empty or lacking meta description and hundreds with a lacking or empty H1 tag.

Google usually reveals meta descriptions within the search outcomes, so it’s best to attempt to write an attractive one for each essential web page. Lacking H1 tags, then again, normally level to greater points like an improperly coded theme.

You possibly can see which URLs are affected by clicking a problem and hitting “View affected URLs.” 

Title tag issues in Ahrefs' Site Audit

If you wish to prioritize fixes, type the report by estimated natural site visitors from excessive to low.

Prioritizing fixes by organic traffic in Ahrefs' Site Audit

10. Discover declining content material to reclaim rankings

Rankings don’t final without end. As content material turns into outdated, its search site visitors will usually begin to drop off. However you may normally resurrect rankings by refreshing and republishing the content material.

For instance, our checklist of high Google searches declined massively in 2021. 

Estimated organic search traffic to our list of top Google searches

It’s because we didn’t replace the submit for over a yr, so the content material turned outdated. As soon as we republished the piece, nonetheless, we noticed a spike in natural site visitors.

Right here’s a straightforward technique to discover declining content material in Google Search Console:

  1. Go to the Search outcomes report
  2. Set the date filter to match mode
  3. Select “Evaluate final 6 months to earlier interval”
  4. Click on the “Pages” tab
  5. Kind the desk by “Clicks Distinction” from low to excessive

For instance, this reveals us that our article on the high 100 most visited web sites has declined massively over the past six months. So that is in all probability ripe for an replace.

Decline in traffic of our list of the most visited websites, via Google Search Console

In the event you’re a WordPress consumer, you may automate this course of with our free search engine optimisation plugin. It screens for pages that not carry out nicely and provides suggestions on the way to repair them. 

For instance, it’s suggesting that we rewrite our checklist of the most effective key phrase instruments as a result of it used to rank within the high three for its goal key phrase however now doesn’t even rank within the high 100. 

No longer well-performing pages, via Ahrefs' SEO WordPress plugin

11. Discover key phrases opponents rank for, however you don’t

Content material gaps can happen when your opponents’ web sites rank for key phrases that you simply don’t. Figuring out these key phrases manually takes time.

Right here’s a straightforward technique to discover content material gaps at a website degree utilizing Ahrefs’ Content material Hole instrument:

  1. Paste your area into Web site Explorer
  2. Go to the Content material Hole report
  3. Paste in your opponents’ domains
Content Gap report in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Hit Present key phrases. You’ll see all of the key phrases your opponents’ domains rank for, however your area doesn’t. 

Results of a content gap analysis in Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Subsequent steps

Working this search engine optimisation audit provides you three issues to take motion on to enhance search engine optimisation.

  1. Technical search engine optimisation points – Fixing these might increase your website’s total search efficiency.
  2. On-page search engine optimisation points – Fixing these might enhance your natural clicks.
  3. Content material alternatives – Pursuing these might rank pages larger and for extra key phrases. 

If you wish to run a deeper audit, learn our information to operating a technical search engine optimisation audit.

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