Before going into the detail of the key SEO audit pointers, I would like to share a sort of preface here. To recall, Google, the search engine magnet has over 200 ranking signals that they use to rank website(s) in SERPs. Google has been vocal to the view that chasing algorithms hardly serves any purpose. Webmasters need to work on their existing or future strategies strictly under Google guidelines.
Comprehensive SEO Audit Checklist
This SEO audit checklist will offer search professionals an insight into their auditing process, and will help them improve that by focusing on the areas where attention is needed. They directly impact the ranking process.
The list explained below shouldn’t be taken in entirety. This isn’t an official list of ranking factors. Now, check out the comprehensive checklist of SEO audit items one by one.
Once, in a webmaster conversation video, Google’s Matt Cutts said that the domain age doesn’t necessarily a significant ranking factor. It doesn’t play any significant role in deciding the search rankings. Albeit, Matt indicated that domain age is used in some way and for some reasons. Domain names help to establish authority. Older the domain name is, stronger its authority will be.
Keywords in TLDs:
Google lately started bolding keywords that appear in a domain name. Though, it isn’t surely a proof of ranking signal, it makes sense that Google notices keywords used in domain. But, since it’s not a ranking signal, you needn’t to worry about when buying signal.
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Domain Registration Length:
The point could be seen in the correlation with the first point explained above. Google’s official version on domain registration length is more than clear. In its patent statement, Google defines that – legitimate domains are those that are registered for longer duration. They are registered for several years in advance. The length is anything but more than a year.
Though, not a ranking signal, the data showing the expiry date of domain can be used to measure the legitimacy of the domain.
When buying an existing or older domain, check factors such as link profile, previous owners, and instances of Google penalty it likely went through. A domain with vicious history can negatively impact your SEO efforts. There are tools out there that you can use to check domain ownership, history, DNS history and much more.
If a domain that you have recently purchased isn’t yielding expected results, might be the website could have been penalized in the past. Use Penguin detection tools to check whether you’ve been penalized by any recent algorithm penalty.
Page Load Speed:
Google lately has begun giving page speed significant weightage as a critical ranking factor. Googler John Mueller, in a Google hangout, admitted that a website with less than 2-3 seconds seems good one in terms of visitor influx and ranking preference from Google. It’s evident that slow website hurts your rankings.
If your page speed is killing your prospect, use different tools to identify multiple factors that are causing this. Tools can help you spot server bottlenecks and other issues that can cause longer load times.
Number of Outbound Links:
Matt Cutts once argued the significance of outbound links in a page. He asserted that certain number of such links is acceptable, while excessive links could damage the page’s performance. Again there are tools that can be used to sort out outbound links and measure their proximity.
Number of Internal Links Pointing To Page:
This is another important factor to consider during an SEO audit. More quality links pointing to your website are always significant to the ranking. They increase your website’s authority and brand value. There are tools out there that can be used to check internal links. Run them to find the quality and relevance of internal links. Weed out the irrelevant and spammy links using Google disavow and retain those that produce the real link juice.
Similarly, you can use tools to find out broken links. It helps you find pages that appear broken in Google search results. Fix them before they turn out a major issue.
It’s also important to audit the content that provides value and uniqueness to the users. It can be done via a comprehensive competitor analysis. Run a thorough analysis to identify the competitor’s pages and the content that provides value and unique insights.
Length of the your site’s URL is also important. Though, couldn’t be linked directly to ranking signals, having an appropriate length is always recommended. Use tools to identify issues with overly long URLs.
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Deep Check for Anchor Text:
Poisonous anchor text basically from well-known spam niches like gambling or viagra could hurt your site. In search engine optimization vertical, this is a notorious activity dubbed negative SEO technique. Here a competitor deliberately points links with spammy anchor text to another competitor for dropping their rankings. It’s recommended to identify instances of such anchor text. Run disavow to filter and weed out such links.