How to Do an SEO Audit on a WordPress Site

How to Do an SEO Audit on a WordPress Site pixelwork

How to Do an SEO Audit on a WordPress Site

How to Do an SEO Audit on a WordPress Site


Taking care of your SEO is one of the most important tasks for any website owner. If you don't, your WordPress site has very little chance of getting significant organic traffic.

However, Search Engine Optimization is a big puzzle with many moving pieces. Every little thing has an impact on your site's performance in search engines. For that reason, it is important to learn how to do an SEO audit of your WordPress website.

Auditing your site means looking at your most important SEO markers to make sure it is in good condition. This way, you are able to find weak points that could be harming your performance. By fixing them, you can then improve your position, even dramatically in some cases.

Since SEO audits They are something that should be done on a regular basis, it is a good idea to learn how to do them yourself. Tie your SEO belt tight and let's get started.


SEO Audit Tools


At perform an SEO audit on your WordPress site, you will need a lot of data. The first thing we will do is gather some tools to collect them. This is what we will use:

Screaming Frog – A downloadable tool that is free to scan up to 500 URLs. Just like a search engine spider, it can crawl your entire website and provide important technical SEO information. Please note that Screaming Frog requires Java. There is also a free alternative called Beam Us Up.

Google Search Console : Webmaster tools are the closest tools to search engines that we have access to. They offer a ton of information about the health and optimization level of your site that we will mine for the audit. If you haven't set anything up yet, now is a good time. Most people rely solely on Google tools, but you can also add Bing webmaster tools if you want to optimize for Microsoft's search engine.

Google Analytics: Your third source of information is your site visitors. You can find a lot of information about them within their site analytics. Again, there are several solutions for this out there, but for most people, Google Analytics will be the most relevant.

Start website crawl

While Search Console and Google Analytics should already have their data available, we first need to run site crawling to get information from Screaming Frog. Start the program, type your website address in the top bar and click Start.

If you have a Screaming Frog license, you can first make changes such as setting your preferred user agent, configuring how to handle cookies, JavaScript and other web technologies. However, since we are using the free version, we start tracking right away.

While it is running, we can start our SEO audit.


First Things First: Site Accessibility

In this first section, we check if the site and all the pages that matter are accessible to visitors and search engines. If not, no amount of on-page SEO can compensate for this.

Check that only one version of your site is available

Theoretically, any website is accessible in several ways:



Whichever you choose is your preference. However, it is important that you choose only one as your primary address and redirect the others there. If you don't, you could have problems with duplicate content, as Google will think there are two different sites.

If possible, use the version HTTPS for a slight SEO advantage. However, for this it is necessary to install a protocol SSL.

Second, if you haven't already, let Google Search Console know your preferred domain. To do this, click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the Search Console home page, then select Site Settings.


Take a look at your robots.txt

The robots.txt file is a core file for any website.

Among other things, this file controls search engine access to your site. Therefore, the next step in our SEO audit is check if robots.txt contains rules that prevent crawlers from accessing parts of your site that you definitely want indexed.

(Of course, at the same time, it's a chance to see if you're allowing access to things you'd like to keep off the network.)

Alternatively, you can also check Crawl > robots.txt Tester in Google Search Console.


Check your Robots meta tag

This type of tag is similar to robots.txt and tells search engines whether to crawl and index a page or follow links on it. It looks something like this:

Of course, when they are present in the site header, you may accidentally block search engines from indexing your sites. For that reason, it is important to check these meta tags during the audit. You can do this under the 'Directives' tab of Screaming Frog. Make sure there is nothing blocked that you don't want to be blocked.


Check HTTP status codes

You probably know the HTTP status codes 404 – Page not found.

Status codes 4xx and 5xx show accessibility errors. If there are too many from them, the site may be judged as low quality. You can get this data from Screaming Frog (the response codes tab) or in Google Search Console (under Crawl > Crawl Errors).

If there are any issues, this is also a good opportunity to set up broken URL redirects to relevant pages. The redirect plugin is a great tool for that, as it also tracks 404 errors experienced by users on your site. Also, while you're at it, make sure all redirects present are 301 redirects so that the link juice is preserved.


Examine the XML Sitemap

Sitemaps provide search engines with a roadmap of your website, making it easier for their crawlers to find all the relevant pages.

WordPress offers a large number of plugins for creating XML sitemaps. For example, the two most popular SEO plugins Yoast SEO and All-in-One SEO Pack offer this functionality. Apart from that, there are also Google XML Sitemaps.

When reviewing a sitemap, first make sure you have one, then that it is updated and has been submitted to Search Console. Also, check if the number of crawled pages on your site matches the number of pages in the sitemap (crawl > Sitemaps).


Test site performance

As a final step in testing accessibility, it's time to check the loading speed of your site. Page loading speed has become increasingly important in recent years, especially for mobile users. If they have to wait too long to see your site, they will leave.

There are several free online services to check your site speed, which will also give detailed feedback on how to improve further.


But can it be indexed?

After making sure your pages are accessible, now it's time to see if they are being indexed as they should.

Google site:

Google and other search engines offer the “site:” command. This allows users to search for content on specific websites and can also be used to obtain an estimate of the indexed pages of that web presence.

For example:

Why is it useful? Because it allows you to compare the number of pages indexed with the number of pages found during the crawl and in your sitemap.

This way, you can identify if there are any problems with the indexing of your pages. For example, in case the number of indexed pages is significantly less, there could be an issue with a search engine's ability to add them to the index. On the other hand, if the number is significantly higher, you may have a problem with duplicate content.

Also, while you're at it, make sure your most important pages are displayed in the search engine of your choice.


Check the penalties

If you found in the previous test that a significant number of your pages have not been indexed, you may have been penalized. If that is the case, action needs to be taken.

The first step is to make sure you have really been penalized. A good tool for that is Penguin. You can use it to show an overlay of Google algorithm changes on your Google Analytics data. If one of those changes came along with a significant drop in traffic, there's a good chance you've been penalized.

If that is the case, you need to discover the reasons and correct the offending behavior. This might require some detective work. This article will help you find out which algorithm update was your downfall and here you can learn how to come back from a manual penalty.


How to do an SEO audit of your On-page ranking factors

Next in our WordPress SEO audit we turn to On-page SEO.

Here, we're just going to quickly go over the most important on-page SEO markers to pay attention to when doing an SEO audit.

The good news is that as a WordPress user, you don't have to check all of these by hand for every page. If you are using Yoast SEO you can check the status of your page in the SEO page traffic light in the WordPress backend.

Otherwise, if you go the manual route, make sure to at least review your most important pages. Here's what you should look for:

On-page SEO factors


HTML – HTML markup contains a lot of important things for SEO. In WordPress it is your duty to take care of this. If you are using a quality theme (like the Genesis framework) and keep it up to date, everything should be fine.

Titles – Are your titles clear and succinct? Relevant to the content of your pages? Do they contain keywords? They are unique? Be sure to check Screaming Frog's Page Titles tab for titles that are too long (over 512 pixels) and HTML search appearance improvements in Google Search Console for duplicate titles.

Meta description – These can be added with SEO. Screaming Frog has a section for them. Keep them under 155 characters, relevant, unique to each page and include the keywords and a call to action.

URL – Make sure you are using pretty permalinks and keep your URLs short and friendly, include relevant keywords and use hyphens to separate words. WordPress does a lot of this automatically.

Headers – Heading tags are important to structure the content and make it verifiable. Make sure you don't use H1 tags except in the title.

Contents – Does each page contain more than 300 words? Does it provide value? Is the content unique? Are your keywords present in important places like the opening and header tags, but you don't overuse them? Screaming Frog doesn't have a section for this but Yoast SEO will help you.

Images – Important SEO markers for images are file titles and ALT tags. They must be descriptive and contain keywords. Use this plugin in case you need to rename image files on your site. Screaming Frog has its own section where you can also check the image size (important for loading times).

Links – Check the links on your pages for relevance, whether they refer to trusted sites and whether they are available. Broken Link Check it will help you.

Keywords – When it comes to keywords, it is important that only one page is optimized for that keyword. Again, Yoast SEO will tell you if a keyword has been used before which makes auditing much easier.

Duplicate Content: Use this tool to find out about duplicate content issues on your site or check Google Search Console search appearance > HTML improvements.

I know it's a lot, but using Yoast SEO makes the whole ordeal so much easier. If you're not familiar with how it works, request the service we offer on this page.

For example, in Images, you can choose to view only images larger than 100 kb, with missing ALT tags, or ALT tags longer than 100 characters.

This also works for page titles, URLs, meta descriptions, and other elements and makes your life much easier.


Finally, Off-Page Ranking Factors

Part of learning how to do an SEO audit for your website is to look at Off-Page ranking factors. That means everything that happens outside of your site and is not in your direct control. The most important part is, of course, the backlinks, but there is more.


Investigate the reliability of your site

Trust is an important factor on the Internet, both for users and search engines. The latter are especially concerned about the integrity of your site, which means that it is free of malware, spam and the like.

Therefore, it is important to check your site for things like reliability.

Other than that, just make sure you are a good web citizen and Do not engage in spam tactics such as keyword stuffing, or hide text on your site. Also try to link only to trusted sites since links are basically your reputation in the eyes of Google and your visitors.


Check your recoil profile

Backlinks are still the most important ranking factor. Google cares a lot about the number of people linking to your site and will reward you with higher rankings search if more sites link to you.

However, at the same time, search engine thinking also goes a bit like “birds in a flock.” That means that if you only have links from spam websites, this will not be good and Google will not see you well and will leave your site.

For that reason, below we will see the profile of the websites that link to you. You can check them in Google Search Console (Find traffic > Links to your site) or use one of these tools;

When looking at your backlink profile pay attention to the following:

  • Number of unique domains that link to you
  • Its relevance, popularity, reliability and authority
  • Are they nofollow or follow links?
  • Do anchor texts seem natural?

Knowing this information will tell you where to focus your off-page optimization and link building efforts. For example, it is much better to have fewer links from multiple sites relevant and highly authoritative websites than hundreds of the same site. Plus, the information will help you figure out what you need to do to outperform the competition in search results.


Inspect your authority

Finally, it's time to look at your site's authority. Authority is made up of different factors. The most common ways to measure it are with PageRank, Domain Authority and Page Authority (which is a metric of Moz). You can view all this data with the help of browser extensions SEOQuake y Mozbar.

This will give you an idea of ​​how your site is perceived by search engines. You can improve your authority over time by gathering more quality links and getting rid of bad links. If you do, you should see the numbers go up.


The SEO audit is finished. Now what?

Phew, that was a bit of a stretch, wasn't it? You did it though so congratulations, everything is in order! However, now that we've gone through this whole ordeal, how is this going to help your website?

Well, an SEO audit is only good For something if it becomes a viable way to improve your site. By going through the process, you should now have learned about your site's SEO weaknesses.

Armed with those results, you can now formulate an action plan to improve your site's SEO. Prioritize the biggest defects and go through the list one at a time. Over time, this should have a lot of positive impact on your website's search performance.

Apart from that, it is also important to take into account what you learned for the future. For example, if titles are a weak point, pay more attention to them in the future. This way, you will have much less to do in future SEO audits.