How to Conduct an SEO Website Audit for 2024

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Ready to take your search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns to the next level? Then, you must master learning how to conduct an SEO website audit!

By creating a clear focus and process for your audits, you can ensure that you find the information you’re looking for and create meaningful reports for your stakeholders or points of contact! Additionally, focused audits can help you reference previous renditions to create a baseline of your progress!

Keep reading to learn how to audit the SEO of your website and identify opportunities to improve your rankings and traffic!

Why should you conduct SEO website audits?

An SEO website audit is essentially an in-depth snapshot of your website at a specific point in time. You can think about it like a photograph! After you capture the image, you can reference it at any time, compare it to the images of others, use it to improve your own skills in the future, and more!

Audits are vital to your SEO strategy because they help you identify and address website architecture or technical SEO issues. In the digital landscape, where websites and content constantly change, things will inevitably break on your site. 

In fact, most of these issues are things that you won’t inherently see just by looking around the website. These can range from minor issues like a few pages missing title tags to larger issues like entire sections of your website being deindexed. 

Audits help us identify these issues before they become a serious detriment to our online marketing performance.

SEO website audits can go a step further by giving you a comparison between older audits you conducted or audits you conducted on your competitors’ websites! 

By using the right tools, you can identify differences such as average word count, number of internal links on a page, and more. All of this can help you identify your competitors’ on-page SEO strategy and help you get an edge on your competition.

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How to conduct an SEO website audit

While it’s vital to conduct consistent website audits to help you benchmark your website’s progress, it’s equally as important to create a focus for your SEO audit. It’s similar to the phrase “jack of all trades, but a master of none:” If your audit tries to capture everything, you’ll capture nothing.

As a result, you need to consider the primary goal and process for your audit! You’ll need to think about how to conduct the audit, the tools you’ll use, the information you want to find out, and more!

Here’s a quick outline that can help you get started, but make sure to customize it to your specific needs and goals!

1. Determine the purpose of the audit

This is the portion of the process where you determine the purpose of the audit, which we’ll call the hypothesis. Were you assigned to look into something specifically, or are you hoping to diagnose a traffic or indexability issue? The clearer and more concise your hypothesis is, the more likely your audit will be smooth and effective.

One thing you’ll want to take a significant amount of time thinking about is the users that actually use your website. Understanding your website users will ensure you know what to look for and what is an issue during your audit. 

For example, suppose you’re a business-to-business (B2B) website, and your target audience likes to have as much information as possible before reaching out to you. In that case, you’ll want to pay attention to content metrics like:

  • Word count
  • Internal link count 
  • And more

However, if you’re a rental equipment service where the look and feel of your company matters a lot, then you’ll want to consider image-based metrics such as:  

  • Alt text
  • Image size
  • Page load speed (since images can weigh down your website’s speed)
  • Number of images per page
  • And more

2. Consider the tools you’ll use

In addition to planning out your goals, you’ll also want to consider the tools and software you’ll use for your audit. Every website analysis tool is slightly different, so gathering as much information from as many different sources as possible is important. 

There are tons of great software and tools out there to help you with your analysis, like:

You can use as many as possible to help supplement your audit process!

3. Discuss your audit goals with stakeholders

The next step in how to conduct an SEO website audit is to directly discuss your audit goals and hypothesis with your stakeholders! 

This is a really important step because it can help you build buy-in for the findings you come up with while also allowing you to do them a favor if there’s something they would also like to look into. 

Maybe the product manager wants to take a quick look at the effectiveness of a new page template, or maybe the IT team wants to get a quick snapshot of the website’s Core Web Vitals. You can not only help your co-workers out but also build momentum for any recommendations that you come up with!

4. Conduct the audit

Now it’s time to conduct your SEO website audit!

It can be incredibly easy to lose sight of your goals or hypothesis as you conduct your audit, but try to keep your ultimate goals in mind! 

Scope creep can kill the focus of your audit, muddle the findings you analyze, and either burn you out or confuse you as to why you’re undertaking the project at all. It’s essential to refer back to your planning documentation and processes to ensure you’re targeting your hypothesis and goals.

While conducting your audit, you’ll also want to revisit the list of tools and resources you created during the planning phase. It’s important for you to use as many different resources as possible to ensure you can view your website in multiple different ways and perspectives. 

For example, Screaming Frog is one of the best tools for understanding technical SEO data, but Semrush and Google Analytics are great for auditing your content and search appearances. Utilizing multiple sources can help you create well-rounded findings that address your hypothesis or topic.

A common question among beginning website auditors is how much data to use. While there is no right or wrong answer since it can depend greatly on your goals and hypothesis, a general rule of thumb is to use at least six months of data. 

Since SEO is a long-term marketing strategy, you need to include a large enough time frame to reflect how slowly search engine crawlers truly take to understand how your website fits into the overall web. As Google has recently hinted, it can take months for search engine crawlers to accomplish this, so including a large enough data timeframe is essential for an accurate assessment and analysis.

5. Report the audit findings

This is the step that everyone dreads, and it’s also the phase where many Internet marketers can fall flat. If you don’t create a compelling way to report your findings, then action will likely not happen. 

As a result, it’s important that you don’t just list metrics or problems with the website. Instead, you’ll want to tie these recommendations and fixes into the overall strategy of your website and business. 

Are there a significant portion of title tags that are unoptimized or missing? That sounds like an opportunity to improve your website’s SERP branding. It’s not enough to just list out the issues that you find. You need to create a compelling story.

In addition to the story, you’ll also find a much easier time building buy-in by creating a preliminary strategy or action plan for your stakeholders. A clear plan that lists the action items, when they’ll be completed, and who is responsible for each will greatly increase the chances of a green light. 

This moves abstract website issues into tangible solutions that executives and stakeholders can track and see on the website.

6. Implement your action items

Once you have the green light, it’s important not to take your foot off the pedal! You need to follow through on your plan and complete the action plan you identified. 

As you’re working through your audit action plan, it’s also crucial for you to keep the momentum going by planning an annual audit to continually identify a new action plan to inform your strategy. 

Additionally, consider keeping a document to discuss some “lessons learned” or common trends/findings with the website that pop up again and again.

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