An SEO audit is a comprehensive health check for your website, analysing its performance and visibility on search engines.

It identifies areas for improvement and usually results in a list of actionable insights for each area of the website, including:

  • Technical SEO: site crawlability, meta tags, indexing and other technical aspects that impact search engine visibility.
  • User experience: website design, navigation and accessibility to ensure a positive experience for visitors.
  • Website structure: site architecture and internal linking to promote a logical flow and improve search engine crawling.
  • Content gaps and opportunities: missing or underperforming content and areas for expansion to better serve user needs and improve rankings.
  • Potential off-site problems: backlink profiles and social media presence to detect any issues that may negatively affect search engine rankings.
  • Competitive marketplace insights: analysis of competitors' strategies and tactics to help identify opportunities for improvement and growth.

Types of SEO audits

The type of SEO audit needed to pinpoint specific areas for improvement should be carefully considered, ensuring resources are used effectively. By selecting the appropriate SEO audit, businesses can optimise their online presence and boost search engine rankings, ultimately driving growth and revenue.

Content audit

Content audits provide a systematic analysis of a website's content to evaluate its performance, identify improvement opportunities, uncover keyword cannibalisation, and enhance its search engine visibility. This process involves assessing the accuracy, relevance and quality of content, aligning it with Google's E-E-A-T guidelines, and optimising for featured snippets.

Off-page audit

Off-page SEO audits involve evaluating a website's external factors that influence search engine rankings and visibility. The process examines backlink profiles, social media presence and brand mentions to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Technical SEO audit

A technical SEO audit assesses a website's technical aspects to optimise performance and ensure search engine accessibility. Key factors evaluated include crawling and indexing, site performance, optimisation, sitemaps, structured data, core web vitals and mobile responsiveness.

Local SEO audit

A local SEO audit focuses on evaluating and optimising a website's online presence for better visibility in local search results. This process encompasses examining local business listings and citations, Google Business Profile, on-page location-specific content, reviews, keywords and competitor analysis.

What is included in an SEO audit?

If you were to go to a digital marketing agency and ask for an SEO audit, they would probably perform the following actions:

  • Check for HTTPS-related issues
  • Check for manual actions
  • Check organic traffic
  • Check Core Web Vitals
  • Check basic on-page elements
  • Check for indexability issues
  • Check for content gaps
  • Check that you can only browse one version of your website
  • Check for mobile-friendliness
  • Check for broken pages
  • Check for sitemap issues
  • Check for declining content
  • Check for further technical problems

If you really want to home in on your website’s technical or content health, you would need to ask the agency to perform a technical or content audit, or both. This would enable them to deep dive into each individual area. They would be able to look at the following elements, depending on the goal of the audit and the budget available.

For content audits, in addition to assessing content quality and keyword performance, an agency can analyse:

  • Inbound and outbound links
  • Anchored texts
  • Related keywords
  • URL structures
  • Title tags
  • Performance data metrics, including sessions, clicks and conversions

For technical SEO audits, in addition to looking at indexing issues, canonical tags and use of robot.txt files, an agency can also focus on:

  • Heavy reliability on JavaScript frameworks
  • URL structure
  • Page experience
  • Sitemap optimisation

What are the benefits of an SEO audit?

Consistently evaluating your website content can not only boost sales but also impact your company's reputation. Below are some reasons to consider investing in an SEO audit.

Improved search rankings

An SEO audit helps identify and fix issues that hinder your website's performance in search engine results, leading to improved visibility and better rankings.

Improved website performance

Optimising technical aspects of your site during an audit can lead to faster loading times and better overall performance.

Enhanced user experience

By optimising your site for SEO, you simultaneously improve the overall user experience, meaning your target audience is more likely to engage with your content for longer.

Better conversion rates

Improved SEO performance and user experience often result in traffic growth and higher conversion rates, generating more leads or sales.

Competitive advantage

Conducting regular SEO audits keeps your website updated and competitive in the constantly changing digital landscape.

Stronger brand reputation

A well-optimised website can help position your brand as an industry leader and authority in your field.

How much does an SEO audit cost?

The cost of an SEO audit can vary depending on several factors, such as the size and complexity of your website, the scope and depth of the audit, the agency you hire and the tools they use. Some agencies may offer a flat rate or a customised quote based on the estimated hours of work while others may provide a free, surface-level SEO audit that can give you a quick overview of your website’s strengths and weaknesses.

What are the best tools for an SEO audit?

If you are looking to have a go at an SEO audit yourself following an online guide, you’ll need the right tools. While there is no one-size-fits-all option, the selection of tools below can help you get the best out of your audit.

For technical audits

  • Screaming Frog (free version available): A website crawler that scans your site for technical SEO issues.
  • Sitebulb (free trial available): A website auditing tool that analyses your site from an SEO perspective and provides actionable insights.
  • Google developer tools (free): A set of web developer tools built into the Google Chrome browser that can help you test and debug your site.
  • Google Search Console (free): A service that helps you monitor and optimise your site’s performance and visibility on Google search.

Some other tools include GTMetrix, Oncrawl, Lumar and Ahrefs.

For content audits

  • Semrush (free trial available): their site audit will pick up any pages with low word count and flag them to you.
  • Screaming Frog (free version available): Crawls page word count and flags duplicate content. The tool can also pull GA and GSC data via API which could come in handy when you are auditing your content.

For backlink analysis

  • Semrush (free trial available): A digital marketing platform that includes a backlink analysis tool.
  • Ahrefs (free version available): An SEO toolset that specialises in backlink analysis and link building.
  • Majestic SEO (subscription required for full access): A link intelligence tool that provides data on backlinks and domains.
  • Moz (free trial available): An SEO software that offers a backlink analysis tool as part of its Moz Pro package.

For keyword research

  • Semrush (free trial available): Provides comprehensive keyword research, search volume data and keyword difficulty analysis for informed content planning.
  • Ahrefs: (subscription required for full access): Robust keyword explorer with search volume, difficulty and related terms for strategic keyword targeting.
  • Google Keyword Planner (free): Free Google Ads tool providing search volume, competition and bid estimates for effective keyword selection.
  • AlsoAsked (three free searches a day): Visualises user questions and search queries, uncovering long-tail keywords and content ideas.

Other useful tools include Google Search Console and Answer the Public – not forgetting your own Google search research!

For local SEO

  • Moz Local (subscription only): Streamlines local listing management, enhances visibility and monitors reviews for effective local SEO optimisation.
  • BrightLocal (free trial available): Comprehensive local SEO tool offering citation tracking, review management and competitor analysis for improved local presence.

While some of these tools are free, others usually require a subscription or one-time fee. You will also need to consider the cost of your time and resources to conduct the audit and implement the changes.

A professional audit can save you time and money in the long run as an SEO agency will not only have access to all these tools but know how to get the best out of them for each individual audit.

Wondering ‘do I need an SEO audit’?

Now you know what an SEO audit is, you may be feeling a bit bamboozled by it all, which warrants the question, do I really need an SEO audit? Generally, if you’re looking to scale the search engine results pages, an SEO audit can help identify and fix any issues that may be affecting your website’s performance and ranking potential.

Even if your site is currently ranking well, an audit can help identify hidden opportunities for further optimisation, helping to protect its competitive edge and stay ahead of ever-evolving search engine algorithms and industry trends.

And while it is possible to perform an SEO audit yourself, a good SEO agency will be able to offer you the expertise and experience to help your website maximise its full potential.

For more information about SEO audits, speak to one our Audit Specialists today!

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Meet the author ...

Anna Heathcote

Content Manager

Based way up on the Northumbrian coast, Anna uses her creative copywriting expertise and SEO experience to ensure clients have fresh, relevant and optimised content on their ...