If you’re a small business owner who suspects your website may have issues that are negatively impacting your SEO—but you don’t have the budget to hire a professional to review your site and tell you what’s wrong—this DIY website audit template is for you.
The template walks you through auditing 10 common SEO issues that plague small business websites, and its companion guide (the details below) explains how to identify those issues and—when possible—how you can resolve any issues you find yourself.
When You’re Ready, Here’s Your DIY Website Audit Template
When you’re ready to get started on your website audit, use the Google Sheets website audit template below. Just click the image to open the template, then select “File” > “Make a copy” to edit the spreadsheet and save the template in your own Google Drive.
But First, What Should You Look for When Conducting a Website Audit?
Before you can start making your way through the website audit template, you’ll need to understand what issues you’re looking for in each step. The guide below explains what you need to look for when going through each step of the website audit template.
Website Audit Checklist:
- Is your site secured by an SSL certificate?
- Does your website load when typing in various URLs?
- Has Google taken any manual actions against your website?
- Is Google listing crawl errors for your website?
- Can search engines index your site’s pages?
- Do all pages on your site have an SEO title and meta description?
- Is your website mobile-friendly?
- Have you submitted a sitemap to Google?
- Do you have a Google My Business listing for your local business?
- Can you find pages that shouldn’t be indexed in a site: search?
1. Is your site secured by an SSL certificate?
Installing an SSL certificate on your website is an easy way to give your site’s SEO a small boost and to make your visitors feel more secure when using and browsing your site. Without an SSL certificate installed, visitors see the “Not Secure” notice below in their browser when visiting your site, which doesn’t inspire much confidence:
You can determine whether or not you have an SSL certificate installed on your site by typing “https://[your-homepage-URL].ext” (e.g. https://www.authoritylabs.com) into your browser. If your site loads properly, you have an SSL certificate installed. But if you see the notice below, you either don’t have an SSL certificate installed or don’t have one installed properly.
If you don’t have an SSL certificate installed on your site, it’s easy and free to get one. Start by checking with your website hosting company. Many hosting companies make it easy to get and install an SSL certificate directly through your host.
If getting an SSL certificate through your hosting company is a dead end, you can get one for free through Let’s Encrypt. Check out these instructions for details on the steps you need to take, but keep in mind that you may need help from a developer to complete this process.
After you have an SSL certificate installed on your site, you’ll need to make sure that your site no longer loads for the HTTP version of your URL. You can find the instructions for how to test and fix that issue in the next step.
2. Does your website load when typing in various URLs?
Start by typing four different versions of your site’s homepage URL into a browser:
If your site is set up properly, three of those URLs should all redirect to a single one of those URLs—your preferred URL. So if your preferred URL includes HTTPS and WWW, all HTTP and non-WWW versions of your URL should redirect to the HTTPS://WWW version.
If that’s not the case—if your site loads without redirecting when you type in non-preferred URLs—then you have canonical issues that need to be resolved with a sitewide redirect.
There are several ways to set up a sitewide redirect. The simplest, least risky method is to set up the redirect through your website’s host.
You can start by searching Google for either “HTTP to HTTPS redirect [host name]” or “WWW to non-WWW redirect [host name]” and seeing if your host has a support page explaining how to make the change. Conversely, you can contact your host’s support team for help.
If that method doesn’t work for you, you probably need to enlist the help of a developer to set up your redirects using .htaccess (Apache) redirects, NGINX redirects, or some other method.
3. Has Google taken any manual actions against your website?
Manual actions are penalties issued by Google reviewers who’ve found your website to be in violation of its webmaster quality guidelines.
If you’re getting any traffic from organic Google search, it’s unlikely that Google has issued a manual penalty against your site, but it’s good to check and make sure in any case. To check, log in to Google Search Console, expand “Security and Manual Actions,” and click both the “Manual actions” and “Security issues” tabs. What you want to see is “No issues detected.”
If a manual action or security issue is listed, you need to take action immediately to resolve the issue. Depending on the type of issue or penalty, you may be able to fix it yourself, or you may need development help to fix the issues.
For example, if you were issued a manual action because of user-generated spam comments on your website, you should be able to delete the problematic comments on your site and submit your site for reconsideration. But if your site has been hacked or infected with malware, you will definitely need development help.
4. Is Google listing crawl errors for your website?
If Googlebot can’t crawl your website properly, then it’s probably not getting a complete picture of the content on your site and its pages, which could lead to lower rankings or not appearing in the search results at all.
If Googlebot isn’t able to crawl your website properly, any errors will be listed in Google Search Console under “Coverage.”
You will almost certainly need a technical SEO specialist and/or developer to help you identify what issues are causing crawl errors and to resolve those errors, but it’s a service that’s well worth paying for if you’re depending on organic search traffic to drive revenue for your business.
5. Can search engines index your site’s pages?
Sometimes, search engines can’t crawl and index your site’s pages because of a directive in your site’s meta tags or your robots.txt file. These are major issues because they may be telling search engine crawlers not to crawl and index your website, which can cause your Google rankings to drop dramatically and/or prevent your site from ever ranking well in search.
To check and see if search engines are able to index your site’s pages, run a crawl using Screaming Frog SEO Spider. This tool will crawl up to 500 pages of your site for free; if you have more than 500 pages, you may want to purchase a license for the tool.
In Screaming Frog, type in the URL of your site’s homepage and start the crawl.
When it’s finished, export the results to a CSV file, open that CSV file in either Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, and turn on filtering. You want to filter the results in the “Indexability” column to show only those URLs that are “Non-Indexable.”
If the URLs listed as “Non-Indexable” are all backend pages and/or pages you don’t want in Google’s index, then this isn’t an issue on your site. But if pages of your site that you do want to show up in Google’s index are listed as “Non-Indexable,” you’ll want to work with a developer to help you resolve the robots.txt or meta tag issues that are making your pages unindexable.
6. Do all pages on your site have an SEO title and meta description?
SEO titles and meta descriptions are the details that search engines display for your site’s pages in the search results:
Using the same Screaming Frog spreadsheet you used in the last step, scroll right until you see the columns for “Title 1” and “Meta Description.”
First, filter to show only “(Blanks)” for the “Title 1” column. Look at the URLs for the pages that don’t have a “Title 1” (this is your SEO title). If any pages you want people to see in the search results are missing an SEO title, go into your content management system and add an SEO title to that page.
Next, do the same thing for the “Meta Description” field. Filter for “(Blanks),” look for pages you want to appear in search results that are missing a meta description, and add a meta description to those pages.
If your site is built on WordPress, you can add SEO titles and meta descriptions using the free Yoast SEO plugin. But all content management systems (CMSs) have this feature, so if your site is built on a different CMS, just search Google for “add SEO title and meta description [name of CMS]” to find instructions for how to do this on your site.
Related: Why Google Is Changing Your Title Tags (And How to Stop It)
7. Is your website mobile-friendly?
Google’s algorithm favors mobile-friendly websites because they provide a better experience for people who are searching on mobile devices, so it’s important that your site is optimized for both large and small screen sizes.
To check and see if your site is mobile-friendly, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Run one or more of your site’s pages through the tool to see if your site displays and functions properly on mobile devices:
You want to make sure that the test results not only say that your page is mobile-friendly but also that it displays properly in the screenshot rendering. If images or chunks of your content are missing, you may have some issues that need to be resolved.
If your page isn’t mobile-friendly or you believe there are issues, you will most certainly need some development help. However, there may be things you could do on your own—such as switching to a responsive WordPress theme—to make your site display and function properly on mobile devices.
8. Have you submitted a sitemap to Google?
A sitemap is important because it helps search engines find and crawl all pages of your website. And while it may do this on its own even if you don’t have a sitemap, it’s better to create and submit one to be certain that Google knows about every page on your site.
You can find out if you have a sitemap in Google Search Console. Just click on “Sitemaps.” If you have a sitemap, it will display on this page.
If you don’t have a sitemap, nothing will display on the page. You’ll need to create one and submit it in Google Search Console.
If you’re using WordPress, you can create a sitemap automatically with Yoast SEO. Otherwise, you may have to search for options for your CMS or ask a developer for help with the task.
It’s also worth checking the URLs that display in your sitemap to make sure that:
- all of the pages you want Google to index are listed in the sitemap
- pages you don’t want to be indexed are not in the sitemap
- none of the URLs in your sitemap point to broken or missing pages
- your sitemap includes your preferred URL only (ex: HTTPS://WWW)
9. Do you have a Google My Business listing for your local business?
For local businesses, a Google My Business listing is just as important as your website. An optimized Google My Business listing controls whether or not your business appears in Google Maps and the prominent map packs in the search results on both desktop and mobile:
Search for your business in Google Maps and see what comes up. Are all of the details for your business included and correct? Does it list your phone number, hours of operation, address, and website?
Make sure to claim your listing and optimize it for higher rankings in local search. Otherwise, other people—including your competitors—can add details to your listing for you.
10. Can you find pages that shouldn’t be indexed in a site: search?
The final step to take when conducting your website audit can be tedious, but it’s worth doing because it’s a great way to find issues on your site. Open Google Chrome and type this into the search bar: site:[yourwebsite].ext
Here’s an example:
This search will pull up every single page of your site that Google has indexed—and will only show pages on your website.
Now, page through the results and see what all is listed. Do you see anything that surprises you? Do you have pages indexed from a lower environment like development or staging? Are there broken pages indexed? Does it seem like there are too few—or too many—results?
If there are thousands of results, it will take a while to go through all of the pages and look for any issues, but it’s time worth spending because it’s one of the best ways to identify issues like pages not being indexed, pages being indexed that shouldn’t be, or duplicate/low-quality content issues on your website.
Finally, Set Up Monitoring for Keyword Ranking and Traffic Changes
If you’re investing your time and/or money in fixing SEO issues on your website, you’re going to want a way to see if those changes are producing the results you’re looking for. Particularly, you’ll want to be able to see if the fixes you’ve implemented have caused your traffic and search rankings to increase.
You can monitor traffic changes in Google Analytics. Just log in to Google Analytics, expand the “Acquisition” tab, expand the “All Traffic” tab, click “Channels,” and then click “Organic Search.”
This will populate a graph of the traffic coming to your site from organic search results. Obviously, you’ll be looking for your traffic to increase after implementing any fixes.
To track changes to your search rankings for specific keywords you’re targeting, use a tool like AuthorityLabs.
Authority Labs lets you track how your site and its pages rank for specific keywords you’re targeting, showing any increases/decreases in rankings in Google, Bing, and Yahoo search results. Get started by signing up for a free trial.
What is SEO audit? ›
An SEO audit is the process of analyzing how well your web presence relates to best practices – it is the first step to creating an implementation plan that will have measurable results. The purpose of the audit is to identify as many foundational issues affecting organic search performance as possible.How can I SEO audit my website for free? ›
- Screaming Frog – Free For 500 URLs Or Less. Industry-leading site auditing software Screaming Frog offers a free version that's perfect for auditing smaller sites that are under 500 URLs. ...
- Netpeak Spider. ...
- Xenu Link Sleuth.
- Check for Indexing Issues. ...
- Check for Duplicate Versions of Your Site. ...
- Run a Site Crawl. ...
- Check for Manual Actions. ...
- Check for Mobile-Friendliness Issues. ...
- Analyze Your Site's Speed. ...
- Analyze Your Core Web Vitals. ...
- Analyze Your Internal Links.
Audit templates are pre-built audits that serve as starting points for building audits. As every audit is different, additional customization may be required. Depending on the workflow, the following items and relationships are included in audit templates: Workflow. Items.What should a website audit include? ›
An SEO audit measures how well your website is optimised for search, this can include analysing keywords, link profiles, traffic behaviour, goal conversions, meta data and image and video optimisation. There are also many technical aspects that will need to be audited.How do you create a simple audit? ›
- Assess business risks. ...
- Verify the appropriateness of accounting policies and procedures. ...
- Identify areas where special audit consideration may be necessary. ...
- Establish materiality thresholds. ...
- Develop expectations for analytical procedures. ...
- Develop audit procedures. ...
- Reassess the plan.
SEO audits are an important, necessary component of keeping your SEO strategy up to date. If your website isn't properly optimized for search, you're missing out on significant amount of search engine traffic, as well as attention from potential customers.Is an SEO audit worth it? ›
It will save you time and money.
By purchasing a professional audit from an agency, you'll not only free up time for yourself and your team to focus on other tasks, but you'll also save money that you would otherwise be spending to hire and onboard new employees.
The checklist also covers information about best practices for title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and more for on-page SEO. We explain how to do keyword research and incorporate keywords into your content. We cover off-page SEO strategies as well, including the importance of building backlinks.Does Google have free SEO tools? ›
Google's SEO tools are a great place to start.
Since the search engine currently accounts for 70% of all searches, their SEO tools harness the most accurate and comprehensive source of data. The best part of using these tools is that they're absolutely free and generally unlimited.
Is there any free SEO tool? ›
MozBar: Link Metrics in Search Results
Moz offers a few different free SEO tools in the form of their MozBar (a Chrome extension you can use if you create a free Moz account).
- Publish Relevant, Authoritative Content. ...
- Update Your Content Regularly. ...
- Metadata. ...
- Have a link-worthy site. ...
- Use alt tags.
- Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Google Search Console: Top SEO Tool.
- SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools.
- KWFinder: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Moz Pro: SEO Software.
- Ubersuggest: Keyword Tracking Tool.
- Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools.
- SpyFu: Free SEO Tools.
- Google Analytics and Google Search Console. Level: Beginner through to advanced. ...
- Clearscope. Level: All levels. ...
- Semrush. Level: Intermediate through to advanced. ...
- Ahrefs. Level: Advanced. ...
- Moz. Level: Beginner through to intermediate. ...
- Surfer SEO. Level: All levels. ...
- SE Ranking. Level: All levels. ...
Seomator. Seomator is an online SEO Audit tool crawls a website and provides a comprehensive analysis Report you can export and download in a white-label PDF detailing the problems, scores, and fixes to on-page and off-page SEO performance.How to do SEO audit in 2022? ›
- Step #1: Check To See If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly.
- Step #2: Make Sure Google Indexes ONE Version of Your Website.
- Step #3: Speed Up Your Site.
- Step #4: Find and Delete “Zombie Pages”
- Step #5: Find and Fix Indexing Problems.
- Step #6: Check Your Organic Traffic.
These SEO audits can take me anywhere from 40 hours to 60 hours depending on the size of the website. These audits are bucketed into three separate parts and presented with Google Slides. Technical: Crawl errors, indexing, hosting, etc. Content: Keyword research, competitor analysis, content maps, meta data, etc.How often should you do an SEO audit? ›
You know SEO is a long-term commitment. You also know trying to check for changes each day can be frustrating and make it seem like you aren't gaining any ground. I recommend conducting SEO audits two to four times per year.What are 3 types of audits? ›
There are three main types of audits: external audits, internal audits, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) audits. External audits are commonly performed by Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firms and result in an auditor's opinion which is included in the audit report.How do I create an auditor template? ›
- Log in to the web app.
- Select Template from the menu on the left-hand side.
- Click + Create on the upper-right corner of the template list.
- On this page, you have the following options to create a new template: ...
- Click Blank template to create a new template, ready to be edited.
What are the main things to consider in an SEO audit? ›
Elements of Technical SEO
While crawling and indexing are important factors in SEO, there are many more aspects to consider when performing a technical SEO audit. These include: Mobile optimization-how your page is experienced on a phone. Page load speed-how quickly your website and elements load.
Website audit is a full analysis of all the factors that affect website's visibility in search engines. This standard method gives a complete insight into any website, overall traffic and individual pages. Website audit is completed solely for marketing purposes.Which tools are used in auditing website? ›
- Ahrefs SEO Site Audit. Ahrefs SEO Site Audit carefully inspects your keywords and your link building quality as well as compares how your site is performing versus your competitors.
- BuzzSumo. ...
- DeepCrawl. ...
- Found. ...
- Google Analytics. ...
- Google Webmaster Tool. ...
- Marketing Grader. ...
- Moz Pro.
- Reflect on your satisfaction with each area of your life. ...
- Envision what your level 10 life looks like in each area. ...
- Create a vision board. ...
- Prioritize your focus & Set effective goals. ...
- Revisit your life audit on a regular basis.
- Step 1: Planning. The auditor will review prior audits in your area and professional literature. ...
- Step 2: Notification. ...
- Step 3: Opening Meeting. ...
- Step 4: Fieldwork. ...
- Step 5: Report Drafting. ...
- Step 6: Management Response. ...
- Step 7: Closing Meeting. ...
- Step 8: Final Audit Report Distribution.
What happens during an audit? Internal audit conducts assurance audits through a five-phase process which includes selection, planning, conducting fieldwork, reporting results, and following up on corrective action plans.What's the first thing you look at when doing an SEO audit? ›
Check basic on-page elements
Every indexable page on your site should have a title tag, meta description, and H1 tag. These basic on-page elements help Google understand your content and help you to win more clicks from your rankings. To check for issues, head to the “Issues” tab in the Content report in Site Audit.
In fact, site performance is a key factor in rankings. Running an SEO audit will flag up any issues that your website has, such as low-speed or issues with site-maps. It can also bring up security issues your website may be facing. Some of these issues can be fixed immediately, however, some will take more time.How long does a website audit take? ›
On average, a manual SEO audit that generates an easy-to-read report that meshes well with your overall business objectives takes about one week to complete. For smaller websites with less than 10 pages seeking to start off on the right foot, an audit should only take a couple of days.How much should I pay for an SEO audit? ›
The typical cost is anywhere between $650 to $14,000 per audit. Most companies use this standard range when they deliver a comprehensive SEO audit report.
How much does it cost to do a website audit? ›
How much does a website audit cost? Although we would love to give you an exact answer, the price of a website audit varies greatly. because every website is unique! However, to give you a rough idea, prices can generally vary between $1,500 and $8,000.How much does it cost to audit SEO? ›
The cost of a technical SEO site audit typically starts at around $5,000, but this depends on how deep or complex your business wants to go. Depending on depth and size, it can range anywhere from $3,000 all the way up to $30,000.What are 3 main areas of SEO? ›
- On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – Blogs, product copy, web copy.
- Off-page SEO – Anything which happens away from your website that helps with your SEO Strategy- Backlinks.
- Technical SEO – Anything technical undertaken to improve Search Rankings – site indexing to help bot crawling.
- technical SEO: How well your content can be crawled and indexed.
- content: Having the most relevant and best answers to a prospect's question.
- on-site SEO: The optimization of your content and HTML.
- off-site SEO: Building authority to ensure Google stacks the deck in your favor.
- Get your technicals right.
- Find a keyword to target.
- Create an optimized page.
- Build links to it.
Automated Local SEO pricing generally runs between $300-500 per month. Small scale SEO pricing packages range between $400-$900 per month. Comprehensive Local SEO services can be as much as $4,000 per month. Most businesses have budgets that range from $500/month to $10,000/month.Which is the best free SEO tool for beginners? ›
- Panguin Tool. ...
- Wordtracker Scout. ...
- Lipperhey. ...
- Bing Webmaster Tools. ...
- Dareboost. ...
- Siteliner. Get a full SEO report for free. ...
- KWFinder. No-nonsense keyword research tool. ...
- People Also Ask. This free tool pulls questions that appear in the “People Also Ask” section of Google's search results.
There are two key differences when considering SEO or PPC. The first is that paid ads appear at the top of the page, above the organic listings influenced by SEO. The second is that traffic from organic via SEO is free, whereas traffic from PPC has a cost for each click.How do I create a SEO tool for my website? ›
- Page Layout and Formatting. The layout of your page is very important. ...
- Do Your Keyword Research. ...
- Create Relevant Content. ...
- Take Time to Consider and Plan Site Structure. ...
- Navigation and User Experience. ...
- Make Sure to Use Analytics Tools. ...
- Optimize Title Tags. ...
- Use Social Media as An Advantage.
The world in 2022 is online. Even if you have a decade-old business that works offline, folks will still look for it on the internet. It's okay if you do not want to invest your resources in a website. You can still create a listing on search engines such as Google, Bing, etc., and do SEO without a website.
Can SEO be done without website? ›
Many SEO strategies like increasing traffic for higher ranking by SERPs involve using a website. Can SEO be done without a website? Yes. SEO works well with websites but does not mean that you cannot take advantage of its capacity without a website.What's the easiest thing someone can do to boost their SEO? ›
Make sure your website is user-friendly
Make sure it's immediately clear to visitors who you are and what you're offering. Use a lot of headings to improve readability, and put your keywords in the headings. Headings stand out for search engines and will help you rank higher. Site speed is also important for SEO.
- Know Your Keywords.
- Write High Quality Content (Naturally)
- Use Keywords in Your Website Page URLs.
- Don't Overlook Page Titles.
- Review Every Page for Additional Keyword Placement.
- Improve User Experience.
- Hire an Expert.
- Step 1: Enter the site's URL for which you check the SEO score in the given box.
- Step 2: Click the “Check SEO Score” button.
- Step 3: The utility will conduct SEO analysis of the requested URL and display results in a matter of seconds.
The SEO audit cost depends on the size and purpose of the website. The typical cost is anywhere between $650 to $14,000 per audit. Most companies use this standard range when they deliver a comprehensive SEO audit report.How do you trigger SEO? ›
- Step 1: Find keywords.
- Step 2: Put keywords in the page title.
- Step 3: Put keywords in the page URL.
- Step 4: Put keywords in your meta description.
- Step 5: Put keywords in your H1 text.
- Step 6: Use keywords in the page's content.
- Step 7: Build links to your website.
- Step 8: Monitor your rank.
Check if your webpage URLs are SEO friendly. In order for links to be SEO friendly, they should contain keywords relevant to the page's topic, and contain no spaces, underscores or other characters. You should avoid the use of parameters when possible, as they make URLs less inviting for users to click or share.How much should an audit cost? ›
They typically range in price from $500 to $5,000. The compilation process involves a CPA gathering and organizing a nonprofit's financial statements to aid it in assessing its records.Who needs an SEO audit? ›
A successful business must be accessible to its clients and found easily by search engines. If you have a business with a website, and you have invested in optimising your website, be it with an external agency or internally – conducting a regular SEO audit will prove if your investment is paying off.How often should I audit my website? ›
At minimum, we recommend completing a full website accessibility audit at least once a year. If your website remains mostly static with minimal changes to content and little to no functionality updates, then annually may suffice.
How much should I pay someone for SEO? ›
78.2% of SEOs charge monthly retainers for some or all of their services. 54.5% of SEOs only offer one pricing model (i.e., hourly, retainer, or per-project). $501–$1,000 is the most popular monthly retainer. $75–$100 is the most popular hourly rate.Why should you do an SEO audit? ›
SEO audits are an important, necessary component of keeping your SEO strategy up to date. If your website isn't properly optimized for search, you're missing out on significant amount of search engine traffic, as well as attention from potential customers.