SEO Audit Check ListThe following 15 point audit doesn’t deep dive into technique aspects or many crawl issues, but it is something you can do without any special tools or tricks.  Just use the search bar and look at some code, and you can quickly gauge how your site is positioned to performing in natural search.  Questions about any of the points?  Just ask in the comments!

SEO Audit Checklist

  1. WWW & Non WWW
    1. Does the WWW version of a website redirect to the non-www (or, other way around).  If not, two versions of the website are being created and indexed
    2. Preferred: Only one version of the website exists, and either the WWW version redirects to the non-WWW version (or, other way around).  This is done with a 301 redirect, and may require your webmasters assistance to complete.
  2. XML Sitemap in place/updated?
    1. Generally titled www.example.com/sitemap.xml, lists all pages on the website so search engine can find pages quickly
  3. All pages indexed in Google?
    1. Searching for “Site:www.example.com” in Google will show how many pages are indexed, currently, in Google.
  4. Text in images?
    1. Text in images cannot be indexed.  Only taglines should be in images, page copy should be in the code.
    2. Preferred:  Very few words, if any, are in images
  5. Images as navigation
    1. Since text in images cannot be indexed, a search engine does not understand what the navigation is directing to
    2. Preferred:  Navigation is indexable words and hyperlinks.
  6. Alt text on images? Aligned with keywords?
    1. Alt text (alternative text) on images tells a visually impaired user’s screen reader what the image is about.  A search engine also uses this text to understand the image.
    2. Preferred: Every image on the page has alt text of less than 100 characters describing the image and using relevant keywords for the page topic.
  7. Images fewer than 100kb in size?
    1. Large images take longer to download, which annoy visitors and lowers the user experience.  This leads to a higher bounce rate, and demotion in the search engine rankings.
    2. Preferred: Images are as small as possible to the server the quality needs of the website.   Images are show at the size they are saved the server and not sized down in the browser.
  8. Keywords in URL
    1. A keyword in the URL for the page indicates to a search engine the intent of the page
    2. Preferred: A one or two word phrase for the page, like www.example.com/dog-houses would be about dog houses.
  9. Single H1 on each page?
    1. Purpose: The H1 relates to the page title and content; it should sum up the page in very few words.
    2. Preferred: There should be one and only one H1 per web page
  10. Unique Title tags per page? Under 65 characters? Keyword for page used early in the tag?
    1. The <title> tag identifies the purpose of the page much like the title of a non-fiction text book.  It should be short (less than 65 characters) and use relevant keywords for the topic covered
    2. Preferred:  Keywords should be used up front and branded terms towards the end.  Example:  “Build a Dog house | Dog house construction| DogHouses.com”
  11. Unique Meta descriptions?  Under 155 characters? Keywords for page used early in the tag?
    1. The meta descriptions summarize the page.  It is displayed in search results for humans to read before clicking into the page.  It should be less than 155 characters and use relevant keywords for the topic covered.  It should be written with a slight sales pitch, motivating someone to click into the page.
    2. Preferred:  Keywords should be used up front and branded terms towards the end.  Example:  “Looking to build a dog house? Our plans are easy to follow and take only hours to complete! Build a dog house today with plans from DogHouses.com”
  12. Meta keywords are relevant and not over done?
    1. Meta keywords do not provide value anymore to most search engines, but can be indicators of spam if they are over used (more than 100 characters)
    2. Preferred:  very few to any keywords in the meta keyword tag
  13. One topic per page?
    1. Pages should be on topic, and not trying to cover too much within a single page.
    2. Preferred:  Each product and service a website offers should have its only unique page.  Pages can be summaries of all the topics, as long as they link off to the individual pages about the specific topic.
  14. Sufficient amount of text per page?
    1. Ideally, about 300-500 words of copy should be on each page.  Less than this and a search engine will be strained to develop topic context.  More than this and the copy is probably too broad of a topic and should be broken up into shorter pages.
  15. Internal linking uses keywords and descriptive phrases?
    1. The anchor text of a link tells a search engine what the resolving page is about.  If the anchor text is “click here” “read more” or “check this out”, it is a loss opportunity to communicate the intent of the page to a search engine.
    2. Preferred: The anchor text for the link uses keywords for the resolving page.  Example: “Design your website strategy before creating your website design.”

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