How to Stay Ahead in the Game with an SEO Audit



Here’s a conundrum: How do you know if your SEO is where it needs to be? How do you make sure you’re getting ranked, not penalized, in the SERPs (search engine results pages)?

Stephan Spencer, a well-regarded international authority on the topic as well as co-author of what is now a best-selling college text and SEO Bible, The Art of SEO, says you need to do an SEO audit.

The First Steps for Optimizing Your SEO with an Audit

This “deep dive forensic analysis” gives you the ultimate look at how you’re doing with SEO, outlines errors, and shows you opportunities for SEO improvement.

1. Identify and Address Your Biggest Weakness

What’s your biggest SEO weakness? Where do you know you could improve? What have you neglected in favor of other areas? Is it your links? Your content? Your HTML or behind-the-scenes elements? Start there, and identify easy fixes to help ease you into the process of auditing.

2. Move to the Top of the SEO Funnel

If you don’t have an obvious weakness, start at the top of the SEO funnel with the broadest issues. Stephan says this is your site’s “crawl-ability” – is it easy for web crawlers to scan and index your pages?

There are a few different factors that affect accessibility and indexability:

  • Your page URLs – If they’re too long and complicated, you’ll confuse web crawlers
  • Your link structure and hierarchy, including menus and links between pages – For instance, your most important pages should not be “tucked away” in your site hierarchy. You should make them one click away from your homepage.
  • Duplicate content – If you have pages that are similar in content, you need to tell Google which is most important. Otherwise, the page authority will get spread out and won’t count for much.

3. Get Some Help Along the Way

An SEO audit is a big task with lots of steps. In order to do it the right way and get the best results, you need to stay on top of trends, best practices, and good tools that will help you.

Stephan recommends the following to help get you started.

For general guidance and information, grab a copy of The Art of SEO, or check out Stephan’s online resources. You can also sign up for his SEO Audit course.

For checking your site’s indexability, try tools like Screaming Frog, DeepCrawl, Yoast SEO, Ryte (formerly, and Google Webmasters.


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Stephan Spencer

Stephan Spencer is co-author of The Art of SEO, co-author of Social eCommerce, and author of Google Power Search. He founded SEO agency Netconcepts, which was acquired by Covario in 2010. He invented the SEO platformGravityStream, also acquired and now part of Rio SEO. As an SEO consultant, Stephan helps companies big and small – from Zappos, Sony, and Chanel to stealth startups.

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