This will be focused on completing a basic SEO audit that will catch the most important things for your site. The goal is to do the 20% of a full SEO audit that will capture 80% of the biggest issues.
The SEO audit process below will be completed with a focus on making sure the basics of your site SEO hygiene is good to ensure the content you create is set up to rank.
That means we’ll focus on how to review the high-level aspects like making sure all your pages are indexed property, you catch any basic on-site fixes, and find content that you can then audit and optimize.
Here are the tools you’ll need to do the SEO audit:
For this walkthrough, we’re going to audit gong.io’s site. Gong.io is a sales technology platform that captures your customer interactions across phone, web conferencing, and email, understands what was said in these interactions, and delivers insights to help your team win more deals.
Step 1. Do a site speed check
Head over to Google PageSpeed Insights and drop in your website URL.
We see below that Gong has a score of 8/100 for mobile and 36/100 for desktop.
Most issues with site speed come down to images that are too big and too many scripts.
Taking a look below, this is exactly the case with Gong.
It’s a fool’s errand to aim for 100/100. The effort just isn’t worth the diminishing returns. But make sure you tackle the issues of scripts and big image files.
Step 2. Make sure only one version of your site is indexed.
Some websites may have been migrated or gotten an SSL certificate, but haven’t been properly canonicalized or redirected.
The most common issue is that the http:// version of their site doesn’t redirect to the https:// version.
You also want to make sure that either www.yourdomain.com OR yourdomain.com is indexed, not both. Though this is less common than the http to https redirection.
You can check which version of your site is indexed by doing a Google search for each of the following permutations of your domain URL:
The ideal scenario is no matter what permutation of your URL you type in, you’ll get redirected to the same URL.
In Gong’s case, we end up on https://gong.io with every permutation search.
Similarly, we recommend you have your website on https:// and personally prefer no www. That’s why your browser shows https://beomniscient.com/seo-audit.
If you’re hosted on WordPress and want to change your website from www.yourdomain.com to yourdomain.com, you can update your primary domain in your wp-admin.
Before we move on to the next step, get our SEO audit template to automate 80% of the manual work we’re about to walk through. Click the bar at the top to get the template.
Step 3. Do a website crawl.
We’ll use Screaming Frog to crawl our website. The free version has a crawl limit at 500 URLs and the paid version comes with unlimited crawls for £149 per year.
You can also use Ahrefs Site Audit tool. Ahrefs starts at $99/month for their Lite plan. We recommend using the Standard plan for higher usage limits which starts at $179/month. This might be tough for some companies to commit to so we’ll use Screaming Frog.
Once you’ve installed Screaming Frog, drop in your URL to start a website crawl. This might take a few minutes depending on the size of your site.
Once the crawl has finished, make sure you’re in the Internal tab and export all the results.
Then import into a new Google sheet for analysis.
We’ll name this main sheet All Pages.
Create a filter in the Content Type column to only show the following content types
- text/html; charset=utf-8
- text/plain; charset=utf-8
We’ll keep this filter on for the rest of the audit. Hide the column (highlight the full column and hit option+cmd+9 on a Macbook) so you don’t accidentally remove the filter.
Step 4. Check Google for indexation issues.
Look at how many of your website pages Google has indexed.
If you’re using Google Search Console, you can access this by going to
Google Search Console > Google Index > Index Status.[Image in google search console]
If you aren’t using Google search console, you can do a Google search for site:yourdomain.com.
This won’t be as accurate as Google Search Console but will give you a decent ballpark.
In Gong’s case, Google has indexed 784 pages.
Now you’ll want to cross-reference the number of pages Google has indexed with the number of pages Screaming Frog crawled.
Sometimes Screaming Frog will crawl more webpages than are indexed. This is often a result of pages being noindexed, broken, or redirected that Screaming Frog still crawls.
In your new Google sheet, you’ll want to create a filter in the Indexability column to only show Indexable pages.
We see here that Screaming Frog only crawled 459 indexable pages.
If Google is indexing more pages than Screaming Frog has crawled, then there may be pages being indexed that should not be indexed. We’ve seen this happen with style guide pages or website elements being indexed as separate pages.
In Gong’s case, let’s do a query for site:gong.io -blog -press -case.
This query searches for all indexed pages on gong.io and excludes the obvious indexed pages on the blog, press releases, and case studies.
We find that there are 230 pages on join.gong.io and podcast.gong.io that Screaming Frog didn’t crawl. When we dig deeper, we find there are also URLs on pages.gong.io being indexed by Google.
This explains most of the discrepancy between the number of pages Google indexed (784) and the number of indexed pages Screaming Frog crawled (459).
Step 5. Audit for on-page SEO
This section is quite monotonous and will require a lot of filtering, creating new tabs, and copy-pasting.
To avoid all the monotonous work, get our SEO audit template to automate this work. Click the bar at the top to get the template.
5.1 Long Title Tags
Now we want to find pages where the title tag is too long and might be getting truncated in the search results.
Google truncates titles at 512px. A ballpark to aim for is 60 characters.
Fixing this won’t help with search rankings, but makes the page title appear cleaner, and ensures searchers can read the entire title. This may help improve the clickthrough rate on the search engine results page.
In the All Pages tab, create a filter under the Title Length column to only show cells greater than or equal to 60.
Create a new tab called Long Title Tags and copy and paste the resulting rows into the new tab.
Now we can go through these pages one-by-one to re-write and shorten the title tags so they aren’t truncated in the search results.
For example, this post is titled “How To Turn A Field Sales Rep Into An Inside Sales Rep (And Still Make Quota)” which has 71 characters. We can see how it shows up in the search results below.
We could rewrite the title to appear in the search results as “How to Train a Sales Rep from Field Sales to Inside Sales” which has 57 characters and wouldn’t be truncated in the search results.
5.2 Missing H1s
Now we want to find pages where there’s no H1 tag present.
Fixing this will help maximize the likelihood of ranking for the page’s target keyword.
In the All Pages tab, create a filter under the H1-1 Length column to only show cells with 0.
Create a new tab called Missing H1 and copy and paste the resulting rows into the new tab.
Now we can go through these pages one-by-one and add H1 tags to those pages.
With Gong, the pages that are missing H1 tags are mostly pages that aren’t important to rank like blog category pages and blog archive pages.
There are pages like the pricing page that could benefit from adding an H1.
This page, for a virtual sales kickoff checklist could benefit from making the header an h1 tag instead of h2.
5.3 Review H1s
We don’t want to forget the pages that have H1s. Create a filter to show pages that don’t have 0 in the H1-1 Length column.
Copy and paste the resulting rows into a new tab called Review H1.
Now we can review these pages’ URLs, Titles, and H1s to see if they’re all optimized for and targeting the same keyword.
For example, the page below has the url https://www.gong.io/market-intelligence/ and appears to be targeting the keyword “market intelligence.” However the H1 tag doesn’t mention market intelligence.
This is a product page but, according to ahrefs, it doesn’t appear to rank for any keywords:
When we scroll down, there is an H2 for “What is Market Intelligence?”
We’d recommend optimizations to rank for “market intelligence” and a good place to start is to use that phrase in the H1 tag.
5.4 Missing H2s
Now we want to find pages where there’s no H2 tag present.
Fixing this will also help maximize the likelihood of ranking for the page’s target keyword. We can also use H2s to target secondary keywords within the topic cluster.
In the All Pages tab, create a filter under the H2-1 Length column to only show cells with 0.
Create a new tab called Missing H2 and copy and paste the resulting rows into the new tab.
Now we can go through these pages one-by-one and add H2 tags to those pages.
In the blog post “Jonathan Frick: What Prevents B-Players From Becoming” we find that there are no H2s present.
When we inspect the elements on the page, it turns out the large font headers aren’t in H2 tags but are all in H1 tags, meaning there are multiple H1 tags.
It is not a problem to have multiple h1 tags. In this scenario we may hve been led astray because there are missing H2s. If I were doing a full audit of the gong.io cnotent, I’d make sure that, if a page doesn’t have H2s, that it’s properly using H1s to hit on important keywords.
5.5 Review H2s
We also don’t want to forget the pages that have H2s. Create a filter to show pages that don’t have 0 in the H2-1 Length column.
Copy and paste the resulting rows into a new tab called Review H2.
Now we can review these pages’ URLs, Titles, H1s and H2s to see if they’re all optimized for and targeting the same keyword.
5.6 Missing meta description
Last part of the on-page SEO is the meta descriptions.
We want to find pages where there’s no meta description present.
Fixing this won’t help with improving rankings, but a well-written meta description that’s treated like a call-to-action will improve your clickthrough rate on the search results.
In the All Pages tab, create a filter under the Meta Description 1 Length column to only show cells with 0.
Create a new tab called Missing Meta Description and copy and paste the resulting rows into the new tab.
Now we can go through these pages one-by-one and add meta descriptions to those pages.
In Gong’s case, many of the pages without missing meta descriptions are again category or archive pages. But there are also podcast pages that could benefit from adding meta descriptions.
For example, the podcast page for the interview with Laura Palmer has a truncated meta description.
One strategy we recommend for podcasts is to rank for the guest’s name so when people search their name, they’ll find the podcast episode.
So let’s rewrite the meta description and the title too.
Step 6. Analyze organic search traffic.
The goal of this step is to understand the historical trends of organic search traffic. Hopefully, it has been growing.
Pay attention to any dips or spikes in organic traffic and ask why that might have happened.
Was there a Google algorithm update? Did a page start ranking on page 1 of the search results then get pushed back to page 2?
Pay attention to which pages are generating the most traffic and dig into how that might inform your content strategy.
For example, in the chart below (not Gong traffic), we see that there was primarily a dip during the holidays. Otherwise, organic traffic has been steadily growing.
What we’d do next is look at:
- What pages are contributing the most organic traffic and how we can double down on those topics.
- What keywords we’re ranking for on page 2 of the search results that we could optimize and push up to page 1.
- What other highly relevant keywords we’re ranking for beyond page 2 that we should put more effort into to improve rankings.