Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Initial SEO Audit process for clients

In today's post, I thought I would go through the process that I follow for a new client's initial SEO (Search Engine Optimistation) audit of their website, so that I can understand what has been done so far for the site, what obstacles may exist and create a structured plan of action tailored to the client's website requirements.

In this initial audit process I don't just put the SEO hat on, but look at Social Media engagement and opportunities, Online Marketing activities, Design and Usability issues, as well as hosting, coding and site performance efficiencies.

Business Details
Contact Person:

Business Address:


Comments on visible front page:
* In this section I'll review elements of the front page and list all issues seen and opportunities of where to add in improvements. This includes functionality and usability.

Google SERPS:
* Here I'll list the primary listing for the front page of the business from Google's results, and pick it apart.

Developed by:
* Determine who created the site, and whether that carries any common and known issues. Surprisingly, working with many web design companies throughout Perth and Australia, I have come to recognise many of their stock standard template deliveries and issues that keep being generated.

Shopping Cart/eCommerce:
- SSL cert type:

* Any information about their online shopping cart and security is noted.

IntraSearch tool:
* Do they provide an internal search tool, how effective is this, do they provide any specialist product/service search tools as part of their site.

Newsletter Subscription Option:
* Is one provided, if yes, subscribe and test it out and make recommendations.

RSS Feed:
* Does the client provide RSS/Atom feeds via the site, how are these implemented.

Number of pages from site indexed in Google:   Yahoo!:   Bing: 
* Check on how many pages (site saturation) for the client website in the major search engines. Looking also at canonical (www and non-www issues).

Google PageRank:
* A look at how Google scores the pagerank for the front page and some inside pages.

Domain Age:
* How long as the domain been registered and in use.

URL matches business name:
* Does the domain name reflect the business (not an acronym), is it keyword rich in the industry vertical, have they used an appropriate TLD (Top level Domain) such as for Australia.

Title Tag: <title></title>   * Review the current home page title tag and comment upon its structure.

Meta Description Tag:
* Review the current home page description tag and comment upon its structure.

Meta Keyword Tag:
* Review the current home page keyword tag is used and comment upon its structure.

Heading Tags on page: x<H1>, x<H2>, x<H3>, x<H4>, x<H5>, x<H6>
* Review how heading tags are being used on the front page, and comment.

Number of images on the webpage:
ALT Tag attributes:   images are missing their ALT tags.

* Review how images are used on the front page, naming conventions and file structure, as well as whether ALT tags have been appropriately implemented.

Site uses Frames:
* Determine if the website use frames/iframes in any shape or form.

Site uses Flash design:
* Determine if the website uses flash, and how, and work out any impact and navigational issues, or display issues for mobile devices (eg iPod/iPhone).

Different titles are used on inside pages:
* Determine if different titles are used through inside pages (no duplication).

Canonicalisation Issue:
* Determine if any form of canonical issues affect the site.

* Has a robots.txt file been created, is the structure correct.

* Has a sitemap been created, and is the structure correct, is it missing pages etc.

Custom 404 error page:

* Does the website have a customised 404 error page, and analysis its design.

Google Analytics code in page:
* Confirm the presence of GA code, or other types of website stats being used on the site.

Number of backlinks to website on Google:   Yahoo!:   Bing:
* Determine how many sites (not including itself) link back to the client's website.

Directory listing on DMOZ:   Yahoo!:
* Any listings exist on either DMOZ or Yahoo directory?

Social Media backlinks:
* Find out who may be talking/linking back to the client's website.

Twitter username: is available:
Facebook username:  is available
YouTube username:  is available
MySpace username:  is available
FourSquare username:  is available
LinkedIn username:  is available
* A look at some of the more popular Social Media websites to check if the client already has a presence and if a suitable username is available for their engagement.

Wiki article:
* Is there any wikipedia articles generated about the client.

Does site use Favicon.ico:
* Confirming the status of the use of the favicon.ico for the client matching their business.

Site hosted in:
* Listing a lot of technical mumbo jumbo about the hosting, server, webserver, location, IP, DNS, concerns or issues.

gzip Compression:
* Does the website use compression?

Comments from looking at source code from front page:
* A review of the code behind the page looking at a range of elements.

Any obvious site loading issues/concerns:
* Checking for 404 errors, Site Validation, Speed issues, image compression and much more.

Keyword Density:
* Reviewing the use of text on the page, and the subsequent keyword density from this.

Keyword/phrase group:
* Outlining what keywords I believe best summarise this business.

Related Sites:
* Determine what competiting sites exist in the client's area, and how they are doing.

Keyword Traffic Estimate Volume:
* Generate some stats on keyword traffic volumes and CPC bidding estimates.