Free SEO Audit checklist infographic 2024 Epic Ranks

10 Steps to Do A Complete SEO Audit in 2024 (Free Checklist)

When I first started doing SEO, I didn’t know how to audit my website. I knew it had a host of issues to be fixed, but I wanted someone (or something) to tell me which ones to prioritize and how to fix them to get better results from search engines.

After years of trial and error, here’s what I learned.

Free SEO Audit checklist infographic 2024 Epic Ranks

Download for free here.

Need more help? Let’s take a look at each of these steps and exactly how you can perform your own SEO audit.

What is an SEO Audit? An SEO audit It’s like a report card for your website’s search engine performance. It checks your website’s health, finding strengths, weaknesses, and improvement areas to boost your site’s ranking on search results.

1. Crawl Your Website

Screaming Frog seo audit screenshot
Image Source: Screaming Frog

The first step in doing an SEO audit is to crawl the website you’re working with. We recommend using Screaming Frog or SEMrush.

These tools not only scan for any errors such as broken links and redirects, but highlight any duplicate content.

For example, if you have a gardening website and you have two pages on raised beds with a lot of overlap, it may be a good idea to combine them into one and redirect one of the URLs to the other (using a 301 redirect).

This may look like:

  • (old) ->
  • (new)

Doing so not only simplifies your website (reducing user confusion) but also limits keyword cannibalization. The result is your website won’t be fighting itself for the same keywords, and will likely be crawled and indexed easier by search engines such as Google.

Crawl reports can show other errors such as alt tags, title tags, and server errors, which are all helpful in completing a quality SEO audit.

Action Step – Download the free version of Screaming Frog (up to 500 URLs). Enter your website in the address bar at the top of the program. After a few moments, the report will be complete. Sort by “Status Code” to see a list of errors.

2. Check It’s Indexed

google search console index seo audit screenshot

One of the most vital steps in an SEO audit is making sure your website is indexed in the first place. Without being indexed, your website won’t show on the SERPs meaning your pages won’t bring in traffic from Google and Bing.

What is crawling vs indexing? Crawling is when search engines scan a website to see what it’s about. Indexing is when the information is stored in the search engine’s database, ready to be displayed when relevant searches are made—similar to a librarian storing your book (website), ready to be checked out by a visitor.

For a quick indexing check, simply do a Google search for “”. If your website and its pages aren’t showing up, they likely have an indexing issue.

For a more extensive look, go to Google Search Console and navigate to the “Indexing” tab on the left. From there, select “Pages”. Click on “Crawled – Currently Not Indexed” to see pages that might have an indexing issue.

Action Step: Make sure your website is added to Google Search Console. After, navigate to “Sitemaps” and submit your sitemap. This will make it easier for Google to crawl and index your website in the future.

If you see a sudden drop in website traffic, one of the first places to check is Google Search Console’s section called “Manual actions”. This is a regular place to visit during your SEO audit as it rules out penalties from Google.

3. Have a Logical Site Structure

services and locations on one of our websites

Your website’s organization can often reflect your brand and user navigation, which is why it’s essential in SEO audits.

Simply, your website should have easy-to-follow categories and subcategories that both readers and search engines can follow.

While this gets easier as your business and website are more established, it can be tricky to start for new businesses.

Bakery Example

Let’s pretend you have a bakery business, but you’re not sure how your website should be structured. Here’s one way you can do it:


Your homepage is the central hub of the website, linking to all major sections like About Us, Our Products, Recipes, Blog, and Contact Us. You’ll often see these pages in the “menu bar”, such as in the above image.

  • About Us: Information about the bakery, history, and team.
  • Our Products: Overview of products offered by the bakery. This could be further divided into subcategories such as Breads, Pastries, Cakes, and Specialty Items.
  • Recipes: A collection of recipes shared by the bakery. This category is divided into subcategories for easier navigation.
    • Cookies: Dedicated to various cookie recipes.
      • Chocolate Chip Cookies
      • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
      • Sugar Cookies
    • Brownies: Focuses on brownie recipes, including classic, fudgy, and special flavors.
      • Classic Chocolate Brownies
      • Walnut Brownies
      • Blonde Brownies
    • Cupcakes: Showcases cupcake recipes, from basic to gourmet flavors.
      • Vanilla Cupcakes
      • Red Velvet Cupcakes
      • Lemon Cupcakes
  • Blog: Articles and news related to baking, ingredients, and events.
  • Contact Us: Information on how to get in touch with the bakery.

The goal is to structure a website to scale well. This way, as you grow, you don’t need to be constantly reorganizing your website and delaying SEO efforts (as it takes at least 3-6 months for pages to benefit from SEO).

Action Step: During your SEO audit, check that your website is organized into the proper pages, categories, and subcategories. Make sure that each page is only a few clicks away from the homepage to improve crawlability.

4. Optimize On-Page Elements

Epic Ranks how to do on-page seo in wordpress

The next step in your SEO audit is to optimize on-page elements such as title tags, header tags, and image alt tags. Make sure to use relevant keywords when it makes sense.

Title Tags

A title tag is the name (or title) of a web page that you see at the top of your browser window or tab, and it’s also what appears as the clickable headline in search engine results.

It’s like the title of a chapter in a book, telling you and the search engine what the main topic of that page is. You want your title tags to be both informative and catchy to encourage searchers to click on them.

Header Tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.)

Header tags are used to organize content on a web page into a hierarchical structure, much like the headings and subheadings in a document.

The H1 tag is typically used for the main title or headline of the page, H2 for main section titles, and H3 (and so on) for subsections. This helps readers and search engines understand the structure and importance of the information on the page.

Meta Descriptions

A meta description is a summary of a web page’s content that appears under the title tag in search engine results.

Although it doesn’t directly impact search engine rankings, a compelling meta description can improve the chances of someone clicking on your link. It’s like a teaser that tells readers what to expect on the page.

Alt Text for Images

Alt text (alternative text) describes what’s in an image on a web page. It’s used by screen-reading tools to help visually impaired users understand what the image is about and by search engines to understand and rank the content of the page better. Think of it as a caption that’s not visible unless needed.


A URL is the web address that takes you to a specific page on the internet ( A well-structured URL is short, descriptive, and includes keywords relevant to the page’s content.

It’s like the address on an envelope, guiding the postal service (in this case, the user or search engine) to the right location. URLs are one of the most important on-page elements to consider during your SEO audit.

Action Step: Make sure your primary pages (“Homepage”, “About”, “Services”, etc.) have the proper title tags, header tags, alt text, and URLs. Check your website is using HTTPS to improve security and trustworthiness. This is usually free if you reach out to your host.

5. Enhance Content Quality

Updating Old Blog Posts seo Results

Content quality is one of the best ways your website can stand out from the competition and rank in the search results, making it one of the best places to spend your time in your SEO audit.

Updating old blog posts with new content and republishing can increase organic traffic by around 106%.

HubSpot 2021

The Internet was already a competitive place, and now with AI, it’s easily 10x’d. In 2024, it’s not enough to just have a homepage and a couple of other pages. You need content, and as much as you can get.

However, don’t copy/paste AI content (believe me, I tested it). It will most likely sink your website fast and make it difficult to recover.

I’ve personally written over 400 blog posts and edited another 100+ from writers. Each time I work on content, I get better at it.

If you don’t have the time to make quality content (understandably), consider hiring a family member, a college student, or an expert versed in your industry (the ideal case).

Remember, written content is good, infographics are better, videos are best. If you can do all three well, you’re ahead of 99% of your competition.

As you’re doing your SEO audit, start with the low-competition terms and work your way up.

Action Step: Create original, valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs. Update old content to keep it relevant. Just start with 10 blog posts. If you need help, ask ChatGPT to outline it for you. But make sure you refine it and make it your own. Trust me.

You can also use Google Search Console or Google Analytics to see which pages or blog posts bring in traffic and make a plan to optimize them.

Check what your competition is doing, and do it better.

6. Strengthen Internal Linking

internal-links ahrefs
Image Source: Ahrefs

Internal linking is when you link to your other posts and pages. This helps readers and search engines explore your other pages and shows you have a more comprehensive coverage of the topic. It’s often an ignored part of SEO audits.

The goal of internal linking is to create a network of resources for your audience. If it helps, you can picture it as a spiderweb, bubble map, mind map, or a hub and spoke model.

For example, if you have a comprehensive page about baking cookies, you’d likely want to link to your other posts and pages when relevant, such as “how long to bake cookies”, “the best chocolate chip cookie recipe”, and “are cookies okay to leave on the counter?”.

When doing so, make sure to use descriptive anchor text. Instead of using text for your link such as “click here”, use “best cookie recipe.”

Also, make sure to link to your high-priority or high-authority pages. You don’t want “orphan” posts, or those that don’t have any links pointing to them. Links help tell Google (& readers) that a page is important. Just remember to use links where they make the most sense.

We recommend performing an internal link audit at least once per year (ideally once per quarter if you have the time). You can use Screaming Frog, SEMrush, and/or Google Search Console. Although, one of our favorites is Link Whisper. To start, see which links are broken (404), which are redirecting more than once, and avoid orphan pages.

Action Step: Use Screaming Frog or Link Whisper to perform an internal link audit. Do you have any orphan pages? Which pages do you link to too much, or not enough? Make a draft of a hub and spoke model to build out your pages and links.

7. Make It Mobile-Friendly

before and after staffing website design

From our websites’ data, over 70% of visitors are from smartphones, meaning mobile-friendliness is only getting more important in SEO audits.

The easiest way to make sure your website is mobile-friendly is to use a responsive web design. Doing so allows your website to automatically adjust and resize no matter if your readers are on desktop, mobile, or tablets.

You can check your website’s user experience by navigating to Google Search Console and going to the tab “Page Experience”.

google search console mobile page experience

However, you can also visually test how your website appears on mobile devices, right on your computer.

Here’s how to do so:

  1. Open Google Chrome on a computer
  2. Visit your website
  3. Right-click anywhere on the page and select “Inspect”
  4. Toggle the Device Toolbar (see screenshot below)
  5. Select the device dimensions you’d like to view
screenshot of test mobile friendliness for a website
How to test mobile view on a computer. Keep in mind that it’s not 100% accurate—we still recommend checking on a physical smartphone.

Action Step: As part of your SEO audit, use a friend’s smartphone while not on Wi-Fi and play around with your website. Does it load quickly? Is it easy to navigate? Is the text cut off? If you see issues, you may have to move to a responsive web design theme.

8. Improve Site Speed

Before and After roofing mobile website speedtest
Performance according to Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool.

How fast your website loads is a direct metric on its performance, and should not be ignored in an SEO audit.

For example, 89% of visitors switch to a competitor’s website as a result of a bad website experience. This includes the website’s speed, security, and ease of use—all of which are easily fixed.

Even 1 or 2 seconds of a delay can significantly increase the amount of users bouncing from your website.

Website Load Time & Bounce Rate graphic

As with mobile-friendliness, site speed can be quickly improved by using a reputable website theme. We recommend using Kadence or GeneratePress.

This simple adjustment can bring your website speed and performance from the low 20s and 30s to the 80s and 90s without a lot of work.

Other SEO audit tasks you can do to speed up your website include:

  • Compress images and use lazy loading to improve page load times.
  • Minimize CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files and use a content delivery network (CDN) to speed up delivery.
  • Implement browser caching to store elements of your site on visitors’ devices for faster loading times on subsequent visits.
  • Use performance testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to identify and address specific speed issues.

Action Step: Check your website’s speed and performance by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. What’s your mobile score? What’s your desktop score? What does the improvements section say?

9. Identify Keyword Opportunities

finding keywords using semrush
Image Source: SEMrush

Keywords were the bread and butter of SEO in 2008, and while many things have changed since then, keyword research is still essential in SEO audits.

The goal is to perform keyword research to identify what’s working well and what you can improve. The good news is that there’s a ton of data to help you choose valuable keywords. The bad news is that many of your competitors are also searching for these keywords.

To start, use tools like:

  • Keywords Everywhere
  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Search (Autosuggest & People Also Ask)
  • Google Trends
  • Forms such as Reddit & Quora

When I first started SEO, I used Keywords Everywhere and found some good, competition openings in my niche.

After my first website was growing, I found that Google was providing me with new keyword suggestions via Google Search Console. You can see this by sorting the queries you rank for by high impressions, and under a 2% click-through-rate.

During your SEO audit, you’ll also want to monitor your keyword performance as well as your competitor’s. This helps you identify any gaps or upcoming competition. Use tools such as SEMrush and their Keyword Manager to keep track of your ranking positions.

Action Step: Use Google Search Console and sort your queries by most impressions. Which queries have over 2% CTR? Which have under 2%? If you’re seeing queries with a lot of impressions, but a low CTR, it could be a sign that your title needs optimizing or you could benefit from content on that topic.

10. Increase Backlinks

backlinks from one of our websites

If this is your first SEO audit, you might see that backlinks are a highly controversial topic. Essentially, the two arguments are:

  • Either: You need to have a backlink strategy to win
  • Or: Backlinks come as a result of quality content and networking

For many, it’s a Catch-22. You need backlinks to rank, and you need to rank to get backlinks.

Personally, we believe either approach works well. It comes down to preference.

For us, we prefer to focus on creating the best content possible and networking with those in our niche. We’ve had success with our backlinks, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t testing other methods such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out).

In summary, here’s what you can do to start getting backlinks and make progress in your SEO audit:

  • Create high-quality, shareable content that naturally attracts backlinks.
  • Reach out to industry influencers, bloggers, and websites to request backlinks or collaborate on content.
  • Use backlink analysis tools like Majestic or Ahrefs to audit your backlink profile and identify toxic links to disavow.
  • Participate in community discussions, forums, and social media to increase visibility and opportunities for backlinking.

Action Step: Tools such as calculators are magnets for backlinks. Is there a tool in your industry that you could feature to help your audience? If so, consider sharing it. For example, we noticed it was difficult for SEOs to communicate the return on investment (ROI) to businesses, so we made an SEO ROI calculator.

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