Table of contents

    Effective SEO of a website consists of many elements, one of the most important of which is optimizing the site according to Google’s guidelines. To make it easier for us to work on the site, Google presents its requirements within the Guidelines for Webmasters available in the Search Engine Help Center (here). 

    SEO audit - what's that

    There are hundreds of pages of knowledge and advice on how our website should work to rank high in organic search results. Any website owner can, of course, read all this information and try to implement it on their own, but for someone who has had no previous experience with search engine optimization, it can be quite a challenge. 

    In such a situation, SEO agencies and specialists come to the rescue, who, thanks to their experience and knowledge, are able to conduct an effective and qualitative audit of the site in an objectively short period of time. As a result of such an audit, we receive a list of elements to change on the site, the implementation of which will significantly improve the visibility of the site in the search engine. 

    But what exactly is an SEO audit?

    We can consider the simplest definition of an SEO audit as simply verifying a site’s compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. An SEO specialist, point by point, checks whether our site meets all the specified requirements. If some of them do not meet, we get information about what specific elements and why there is most likely a problem. 

    The SEO audit is divided into two parts – an on-site audit and an off-site audit, which, together with the results of the analysis and implementation tips, form an integral whole. 

    Audit on-site

    An on-site audit is a technical analysis of a website, consisting of many different elements, these include:

    • Verification of the correctness of headers

    This means checking whether meta data title and description meet the guidelines for search engine visible length, originality of content, and presence of keywords related to the site. Title should be about 65 characters long, while description should be no more than 155.

    • Content to code ratio

    This is the percentage ratio of the amount of content on a page visible to the user and indexable by a search engine to the number of characters in the page code. The ratio of content to code considered good is about 20%. Having this parameter below 20% could be the result of too little content on the page or too much code (e.g., overwritten code that could be successfully reduced).

    • Verify sitemap.xml

    Check that the site includes a valid sitemap.xml file, which makes it easier for a search engine robot to index our site. This file should include a list of all addresses on the site along with their modification dates. It is also worth checking if the prepared sitemap is reported in Google Search Console.

    • Verify robots.txt

    The robots.txt file contains information about what pages a search engine robot should or should not index. With this file we can also indicate that we do not want Google to index the site at all. 

    • Verify “friendly links”

    Friendly links are a way of writing url addresses to be suitable for both the search engine robot and the site user. A well-structured “friendly link” should contain no more than 3 embeds, should reflect the structure of the page, and should not contain unnecessary parameters or special characters. 

    • Verify outbound links from the site

    This is a verification of what links and where they direct from the subpages of our site. It is also important to verify that they have the nofollow attribute, which is to prevent the power of our site from being transferred to the sites to which these links direct. 

    • Verify the loading time and weight of the site

    Page load time is one of the very important ranking factors. It has a huge impact on search result positions and is one of Core Web Vitals It is particularly important for mobile results and should not exceed 2 to 3 seconds. Page load time is affected by a great many factors, including its weight expressed in MB. You can read more about the importance of page load time for SEO here

    • Code error verification

    This is to check for the presence of errors in the code of the site, which may be more or less critical to its operation. Of course, we always aim to eliminate as many errors as possible.

    • Verify the correctness of image descriptions

    That is, verifying that the images posted on the site have a completed alt attribute, which makes it easier for Google’s search engine robot to understand what is in the image and index it in Google Graphics results. The alt attribute should be original to each image and concisely state what it represents.

    • Verify mobile version compliance with Google guidelines

    The version of the site displayed on mobile devices should be responsive – that is, it should automatically adjust to the size of the screen the site user is using, without cutting or stretching layout elements. Every interactive element on a desktop site should be equally accessible on a mobile site.

    • Verify social media connections

    In short, links or special plugins directing to various types of social media of a given company. Such links lend credibility to the service. 

    • Verify that the software is up to date

    Verify that a site’s software, such as a CMS, is up to date. This is especially important for open source software such as WordPress, for example, which, if not updated, is quite vulnerable to hacking attacks.

    • Verify domains linked by redirects to the domain 

    Verify what domains and with what history are linked to a given site with redirects, because domains linked in this way that, for example, constituted spam can have a negative impact on positioning.

    • Verify redirects between www and non-www versions

    For Google, the www and non-www version of a website address constitute two websites, to avoid double indexation and thus duplicate content they must be redirected using a 301 redirect.

    • Verify the correct application of the language version of the site

    If the site has several different language versions, it is important to implement them properly and to populate the hreflang attribute correctly (more about language versions of the site here).

    Audit off-site

    The off-site audit is an analysis of the environment associated with the site, it mainly concerns:

    • History and current link profile

    What we mean by this is an analysis of inbound links, their quantity and the quality of the domains they direct from. On this basis, we can assess whether the existing link profile was built adequately, or whether it requires changes in the form of acquiring backlinks from other sources, better thematically related or of greater positioning value. As part of such an analysis, we are also able to verify whether the site is not being led to, for example, by some kind of spam.

    • Keywords related to the site

    In other words, to put it simply – what words the site is visible for in search results. As part of this analysis, we verify whether all the keywords for which the service is visible are relevant to it, or whether we may have accidentally indexed something. We also check what words the service should be visible for, but isn’t, which we can then add to further action strategy.

    • Originality of content and occurrence of duplicate content

    Originality of content is, next to technical correctness of the site and properly built link profile, the third of the most important ranking factors for a site. The occurrence of the phenomenon of duplicate content (duplication of already existing content on the Internet), almost completely eliminates the service to gain high positions in the search engine. 

    What tools are worth using when doing an SEO audit?

    Here are a few, out of the really many tools that are extremely useful when performing an SEO audit:

    • Google Search Console – a tool from Google that allows us to monitor many technical aspects of a site’s performance, as well as its visibility or link profile
    • MajesticSEO SEO and Ahrefs – tools that allow us to accurately assess and analyze the profile of links leading to the site
    • Google Page Speed Insights – a tool from Google that allows you to check the page load time and problems that may occur within this topic
    • Senuto – allows, among other things, to verify for what keywords and in what positions a website is visible
    • Screaming Frog SEO Spider – this tool crawls the website, making it significantly easier to technically analyze it (e.g. meta data, outbound links, size of individual elements, redirects, 404 errors and much more)
    • CopyScape – a tool that sues to verify whether there is duplicate content on the Internet against those on our site

    What are the benefits of an SEO audit?

    As we can see above, an SEO audit allows you to verify really many elements that are important to appear high in Google search results. Without conducting it and then implementing all the recommendations, there is no real possibility of achieving satisfactory positions for keywords. Merely acquiring links and creating content on the site will not be enough if the site does not meet the requirements of the Webmaster Guidelines. Therefore, conducting an audit and its subsequent implementation are crucial for SEO efforts. 

    An additional advantage of conducting an audit and making changes to the site, is to improve its quality and ease of use for the ordinary user. Because that’s what all Google’s guidelines are about – to make sure that only quality sites appear in high positions.

    The quality of the site is also improved.

    How much does an SEO audit cost?

    The cost of conducting an SEO audit can really vary a lot and fluctuate in wide price ranges, depending on what kind of site you are dealing with. It is known that the cost of an audit of a landing page, or a site that is just a business card of a company consisting of a few subpages, will be much lower than an audit of a huge e-commerce site. Thus, the cost range for an audit can vary from PLN 500 to as much as PLN 15,000. 

    Audit will also be priced differently, in the framework of which not only the guidelines for improvement will be prepared, but also their further implementation, because here there are also the costs of programming activities, which can also be very different depending on the scope and amount of work or software that was used to create the site. The audit of each site must be priced individually.

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    Adrianna Napiórkowska
    Adrianna Napiórkowska

    She has 11 years of professional experience, she started her career at the Emarketing Experts agency as a junior SEO specialist. In addition to website positioning, she was responsible for conducting 360° marketing projects as an Account Manager at She worked for companies from the financial sector (Bank Millennium, Bank Meritum, Finai S.A.) and e-commerce (e.g. Black Red White, Autoland, Mumla). At Up&More, he is responsible for, among others, SEO projects for Panek Car Sharing, Amerigas, Interparking, H+H and Autoplaza.