Why do you need to do an SEO audit?
Creating great content isn’t good enough to rank high in the search engines. If you want to rank well, you have to look at your entire site and see how Google sees it.
You should do an SEO audit every so often so that you can spot issues before they become severe problems or if you’ve made significant changes in your site’s content, design, or architecture. You don’t want it to hurt your ranking.
What are we going to do with this SEO audit playbook?
The ultimate goal for this SEO audit playbook is to make sure that your site is fully optimized for search engines and meets specific standards of on-site SEO best practices.
We’ll walk you through this step-by-step guide, ticking off each item as we complete it. Rather than just identifying the issues with the website, we’ll also point out how to fix these significant issues.
We’ll close this playbook by creating an ongoing growth strategy that goes much further than only search engine optimization!
Before we start…
Before we get started, save this page for easy access. You may want to return and undertake all of these activities at a later time.
We’ve also created two checklists (+ a print-friendly version) with this playbook.
A checklist that follows the steps in this playbook, where we’ve left some room for you to add tasks based on the outcome of your website audit.
And one checklist template. Which you can use when we start creating your unique growth strategy.
You’ll find everything below, and, as weird as it must be for a company with marketing resources, no opt-in is required.😊
It will immediately open a Google docs file.
➡️Open the playbook checklist.
Did you create your “Google My Business” account?
➡️ If not, you can do this right here.
ℹ️ NOTE: Even if you are an online business without a physical place to receive customers. This has proven to be very beneficial for your position in search engines. So before we go any further with this playbook. Register your business with Google My Business. It usually takes 10 business days for this to be verified.
Read more on Google my business and why it helps your SEO.
Having too many broken links will hurt your Google ranking. In addition, it is, of course, also quite annoying for your visitors to have to look at these 404 errors every time.
Therefore you have to check regularly if all the links on your site are working as they should.
➡️ Go to https://www.brokenlinkcheck.com/
➡️ Fill in your root domain in the input field.
➡️ Enter the security code and select “Report distinct broken links only.”
➡️ Hit enter.
➡️ Go to the first link on the list.
➡️ Copy the link text and click on the URL link.
This will open the page containing the broken link.
➡️Hit Ctrl-F on windows or cmd-F on the mac.
➡️Paste the link text in the search bar and locate the broken link.
➡️Now, either remove the link or edit the link.
🔁Repeat this with all the links from the scan.
ℹ️ NOTE: When having multiple subdomains. You need to re-run both plays 1.1 and 1.2 for each subdomain you have.
Play 2.1: Diagnose your website
➡️Go to DIIB. ➡️Enter the URL of the website you want to improve.
➡️Then connect all 3 (Google Analytics, Facebook analytics, Google my business) data channels.
Play 2.2: Creating your checklist
Make sure you have your checklist close by.
➡️ Go to the dashboard of DIIB.
➡️ Go to “website health.”
Check if you have an XML sitemap?
❌ No? ➡️ Add ‘”Create & submit a sitemap” to your checklist.
You can skip keywords for now.
Do you have spammy backlinks? (Bad websites linking to your website.)
✅ Yes? ➡️ Add “Remove spammy backlinks” to your checklist.
Do you have an SSL certificate?
❌ No? ➡️ Add “Setup an SSL certificate” to your checklist
Are you blacklisted?
✅ Yes? ➡️ Add “remove the domain from blacklists” to your checklist.
Do you have an SPF record?
❌ No? ➡️ Add “Create an SPF record” to your checklist.
Do you have a DMARC record?
❌ No? ➡️ Add “Create a DMARC record” to your checklist.
➡️Now go to “core vitals.”
Does it need improvement?
✅ Yes? ➡️ Add “Improve site speed” to your checklist.
Play 3.1: Creating a sitemap.
When you already have a sitemap. Skip to Play 3.2
➡️ Go to https://www.xml-sitemaps.com/
➡️ Enter your URL in the input field and click on enter.
⏱️ Wait a few seconds/minutes.
➡️ Download the XML file
Here also, if you have any subdomains, redo these steps for all your subdomains.
➡️ Add the XML file to the public_html folder on your server.
Now when you type in your browser your root domain + /sitemap.xml, it should open your sitemap.
If not, check if you named the file correctly or added it to the proper directory.
ℹ️ NOTE: If needed, ask your web developer or hosting provider to assist you.
➡️ Now go to your search console.
➡️ Go to the Sitemaps.
➡️ Submit the URL where your sitemap is located.
Don’t have any spammy backlinks? Well lucky you, proceed to play 3.3.
➡️ Go to diib.com and click on My backlinks.
➡️ Click on the tab called “Spammy backlinks.”
➡️Copy all bad backlinks and paste them into a notepad or docs file.
➡️Determine if the links are genuinely hurtful for your ranking or not.
⚠️ IMPORTANT: Always be careful when clicking on bad backlinks. Ensure you have a good firewall running and SKIP super suspicious links like the .xyz domains.
⚠️ IMPORTANT: Caution applies in both directions. As soon as you remove a good backlink, your ranking will also be negatively affected. This can result in a significant reduction in web visitors.
When you’re left with a list of only bad backlinks…
➡️Try to find the contact details of the web admins of these websites.
➡️ Ask them for manual removal of your links.
Although you probably already know that not many will respond, Google encourages you to first contact the webmasters. When no one replies, or everyone declines your request…
➡️ Go to Google’s Disavow Tool.
➡️ Pick the right property.
➡️ Upload a .txt file with all the links you want to disavow.
⚠️ IMPORTANT: There is a chance that you’ll drop in the search ranking after this. Because sometimes, a backlink wasn’t flagged as a bad link yet. However, it’s still always better to remove it before Google flags the bad backlink. Because then the decline would be even more significant.
Play 3.3: SSL Certificate.
Do you have one already? Well, move on then!😉 (See you at play 3.4)
Most hosting companies offer a free SSL certificate.
➡️Just go to your hosting provider’s dashboard and look for the SSL section. As you can see in the example below. (Siteground)
If for some reason, your hosting provider doesn’t offer a free SSL certificate, then you can also use the FREE SSL service from Cloudflare.
Watch the video below on how to set Cloudflare up on your site.
Play 3.4: Blacklist.
You’re not on any blacklists? That’s more like it.😊 Proceed to play 3.5
➡️ First, determine why you are on a blacklist.
➡️ Make sure to solve the issues you’ve found.
➡️Find the contact details of the blacklist admin.
Below is a list of the most well-known email blacklists.
- Spamhaus Block List (SBL)
- SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL)
- Barracuda Reputation Block List (BRBL)
- Cloudmark Sender Intelligence (CSI)
- Proofpoint’s Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS)
- Invaluement (ivmSIP and ivmSIP/24)
- Spamhaus Exploits Block List (XBL)
- Composite Blocking List (CBL)
- LashBack’s Unsubscribe Blacklist (UBL)
➡️ request for being removed from the blacklist.
Want to learn more on blacklists and how to prevent ever landing on one? I found the following article that explains this in full detail.
Play 3.5: The SPF record.
Already got an SPF record? Continue to play 3.6
➡️ First, determine which email provider you’re using for your business emails.
Don’t have a business email yet? Create a Google workspace account here.
➡️ Then go to the DNS settings of your domain provider.
➡️ Create a new TXT record with the values.
v=spf1 include:_spf.google.com ~all
ℹ️ NOTE: Above is only for the Google workspace provider. Value is different for each email provider!
It can take 24 hours before changes are effected.
Play 3.6: The DMARC record.
Already got an SPF record? Continue to play 3.7
The easiest way to set the DMARC record is via Cloudflare. There it will be as simple as clicking on a button. Cloudflare automatically creates the DMARC record in your DNS settings.
Play 3.7: Speedup
No need for an improvement? Continue to play 4.1
When you have a WordPress website…
Go to our other playbook, “The WP Accelerator playbook.” And follow all the plays to improve your website performance.
Don’t have a WordPress site? Ask your web developer to improve your site speed by minifying the HTML and CCS files. And by optimizing the media files.
Play 4.1 Creating the ultimate growth plan!
After finding and curing your SEO health issues, you should already see some significant changes in your ranking. However, we’re not quite there yet! We’re still, most likely, competing with millions of content creators to rank on the first page of specific keywords.
Do let’s begin creating an effective growth plan.
➡️Go to DiiB.
➡️Click on objectives.
➡️Go to “Pro-growth” and click on view all (If there are more than 2 objectives).
➡️ Now run through the list and decide which “Objective” you want to accomplish, if not all. I mean, of course, the more you complete, the better.
➡️ Copy-paste the objectives to your checklist.
Do the same with the Visitor Experience, Mobile, Traffic, and Social Media topics.
Play 4.2 Executing the ultimate growth plan!
➡️ Head back to DIIB ➡️ objectives
➡️ Go to Pro-growth and find the “Objective” you want to start with.
➡️ Click on begin!
Now follow the steps created by DIIB. Make sure to check the box when complete. When the entire objective is done, check the growth plan checklist box.
Repeat this process for all the objectives.
NOTE: Some of the objectives are ongoing and/or take a few weeks to accomplish. So when you have your growth plan ready and have started executing it, move on to the next play.
Play 5.1: Monitor your daily health score.
➡️ Get into the habit of going to DiiB every day to get a look at the daily health score.
You can find the daily health score in the dashboard.
This way, you know immediately when your website is underperforming, and you can instantly take action.
Play 5.2: Weekly alerts
➡️ Once a week, make a checklist of all alerts in DiiB.
DIIB will send you a beautiful report by e-mail every week.
➡️ Now create a new copy of the checklist template.
➡️ Go to DiiB ➡️ Alerts.
➡️ Copy/paste the alerts into your checklist.
Now you or someone from your team can start solving all the weekly problems.
Play 5.3: The monthly cleanup.
Once a month, run your site through a broken link scanner and ensure that all the links on your site are still working.
➡️ Click here to create a monthly event in your Google calendar.
There you have it…
You’ve spotted the illness.
You’ve managed to cure it.
Now you’re ready to grow!
Now that you know how to find issues, solve them, and what to do to grow your website, it’s time to start writing some fantastic blog articles!
If you found this playbook useful, please share it on your socials.
And last but not least…let me know what you think about the article in the comments below!
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one. Take care! 🙂