An SEO workflow is a useful set of activities that you can use to complete a technical SEO audit focused on improving SEO. Using a workflow such as this, you can ensure your audit is completed successfully and give you the insights you need.
Following an SEO Audit Workflow
1. Manual Website Checks
Before you dive into any audit, it’s important to conduct manual checks and interact with the website as a user. Navigate through the site’s main pages and click through some blog articles. Also, try to complete a purchase (where possible) and complete some of the other conversions and goals for the business.
As you’re doing this, write down any pain points you come across. We suggest looking out for:
- Any frustrating behaviour
- If something looks strange or out of place,
- Anything that you think works well.
Keep this to one side, and you can refer back to this at the end of the audit when bringing all of the main points together and making your recommendations.
2. Checks Website History
Next, look at the historic performance of the website. Can you see any instances where there was a big spike or a drop in performance? You can use tools such as Semrush in the Domain Overview section or Ahrefs in the Overview and Sistix‘s Visibility Index to look for the peaks and troughs.
Find out when and why these changes may have occurred.
- Was there an algorithm update that occurred?
- Did the website undergo a migration?
- Was anything changed on the site, e.g. content or imagery?
As before, save this information for later, as you may find that any issues you find might be explained by any of these changes.
3. Crawl the Site
Now that you have this information, you’re ready to crawl the site. You can even set up the crawl in the background as you walk through the above steps, but we suggest you wait to start any analysis until steps 1 and 2 are completed.
You can crawl your website in whatever tool you prefer, whether that’s Screaming Frog, Oncrawl, Sitebulb or any other popular crawler. Take the time to set up the configuration of the crawl to capture all of the information you need and ensure you get the appropriate insights.
Depending on their size, some websites take longer to crawl than others. That’s why we created this SEO Audit Workflow to allow you to work on other areas of the audit while the website is being crawled.
4. Benchmark Competitors
Ideally, you should know who the competitors are for the site you’re auditing. Aim for between 3-5 competitors to help you with this section.
Take the time to click around the competitor websites and do some manual checks again. You can note any differences and things you think they are doing better or worse than your website. This will be useful at the end of the audit, too.
You can also benchmark key URLs and overall keyword positions on each competitor site. See how the core keywords compare for each domain. This will be a really useful insight that will feed into the recommendations that you make later on and will feed into your ongoing strategy,
5. Check GA4 and GSC
Armed with all of your previous information, you can now analyse Google Analytics (or Adobe Analytics or other analytics solutions) and Google Search Console. Use what you have learned and look at the data with that in mind.
Things that you should look out for include:
- Is analytics set up to track all pages on the site?
- Where does most of the traffic come from?
- What are the top-performing pages?
- Is most traffic made up of new or returning visitors?
- What is the average position?
- Are the most important pages all indexed correctly?
- Is Google running into any issues with these pages?
- Are a good percentage of users able to complete website goals/purchases successfully?
6. Check Indexing Issues
Here, you can use the various tools at your disposal, including Google Search Console, crawling tools and manual checks to ensure that all the most important URLs are indexed. You need to ensure that the money pages are accessible for both robots and users and are easy to find.
Look out for any rules or conflicting URLs that could be affecting performance. GSC has a Page Indexing section where you can see any pages that cannot be indexed and will specify why. You will find this under Indexing > Pages, and you can work through these as needed.
Only some issues here will need to be fixed, as some reasons make sense for them not to be indexed; for example, the URL may redirect to another, but it is worth checking to make sure there are no unexpected pages here.
7. Site speed, CWV and UX
Site speed will always be an important consideration for users. While there have been some changes in measurement, the speed at which a website loads will always affect user experience and, therefore, will always impact search visibility.
For site speed, our go-to tools include:
Core Web Vitals is designed to get a level playing field and encourage good practice for all websites. Don’t chase a perfect 100/100 score, as this will not directly affect performance. Instead, please focus on the changes that will provide a better experience for your audience and help them convert.
For Core Web Vitals, you can use:
User experience matters as good UX means you are better at fulfilling user needs. The idea behind good UX is to encourage a user to be more loyal to the website. By complementing SEO with positive user experiences, your website will be more likely to enjoy increased traffic and conversions.
For measuring UX, you can use:
Use these tools to measure how quickly your website loads and performs for users, and you can also run similar tests on competitor sites. This will give you a greater understanding of how big the site speed and UX problems may be. Most of these tools also provide recommendations for improving site speed, so take the time to see what they suggest.
8. Analyse Internal Links
Internal links are crucial to SEO as they help search engines find, index and understand all of the pages on your site. If used strategically, internal links can help transfer page authority (or link equity) to important pages.
When crawling your site with tools such as Screaming Frog, make sure you collect the following data:
- Inlinks: Total internal link count,
- Unique Inlinks: Total internal unique link count,
- Outlinks: Total outlink count to internal pages,
- Unique Outlinks: Total unique outlink count to internal pages,
- Crawl Depth: How many clicks does it take to reach a page
- Indexability: Whether or not a page is indexable.
During your audit, assess whether your top pages have a healthy number of internal links. Otherwise, you could be missing a significant opportunity to drive traffic to other pages that also contain relevant and useful content.
While here, you can also look for any pages that have a low number of internal links. These would be classed as more of a “quick win”, as adding quality links across your site tends to be easier.
9. Find Content Opportunities
Various aspects of your content can be audited, and we would suggest a dedicated content audit where possible, but here, we will focus on those we can spot right away.
We can focus on the metadata to begin with and identify improvements in the page titles, meta descriptions, and H1 headings. Some of the areas you can look out for in each category include:
Beyond this, look out for opportunities for spelling and grammar issues, near duplicate or entirely duplicate content, as well as pages that could be considered thin. With this, it is important not to add content simply for the sake of it. Any content that you add to pages that may be seen as “thin” needs to be relevant and helpful to the user. If it does not meet this criteria, do not add additional copy to the affected pages.
10. Collate and Analyse Results
Now that you have run your audit and have collected the information you need from the various tools, it is time to collate them. We collate our audits into a spreadsheet and can then expand this into a Word document or presentation as needed by the client.
This allows us to visualise everything, analyse the results and provide the necessary recommendations and next steps.
Ensuring your audits are actionable and comprehensive is paramount and sets audits apart from automated options.
Take the time to properly analyse your findings and provide clear next steps and repercussions that the client and stakeholders can understand.
From there, you can plan these actions into a tangible roadmap that those involved can implement each month.
Using an SEO Workflow for your Audit
This is just one example of an SEO workflow you can use to complete a technical SEO audit.
Ultimately, you should find a workflow that allows you to get the insights you need and can be implemented once completed.