Improve your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) with the most comprehensive small business SEO audit checklist on the internet today. Download for free and start optimizing your website today.
SEO can level the playing ground, enabling you to compete almost on the same footing with established brands.
For instance, a study found that about 1.7 billion people worldwide use the search engine daily, conducting seven billion searches. Also, approximately 53 percent of US consumers say they use search engines to research products online before buying.
So, ranking #1 on Google is a no–brainer.
Data shows that those that do get about 32 percent of all clicks. Now, imagine what this means to your website traffic and lead generation.
In this article, we shared a 109-step SEO checklist to optimize your website to rank highly on search engines. If it’s what you want, let’s dive right in.
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Who is this SEO Checklist For?
Anyone with a website can take advantage of this SEO checklist to outrank the competition. However, here are the small businesses that’ll benefit the most:
Only about 50% of HVAC businesses in the United States have a website. So, if you have one, your brand is already more visible than half of the market.
Now, it’s time to beat the other half with an online presence. And you can do that by following our expert SEO checklists.
In particular, pay more attention to the local SEO checklist. Most HVAC customers want to contract professionals that are close to them.
The US real estate industry is, in a way, saturated. Today, a website is a prerequisite to succeed in the property market as more and more customers start their search online.
All the big companies and agents are online and occupy the top spot on Google. So, without proper SEO optimization on your website, you don’t stand a chance.
Conversely, leveraging the content marketing, conversion optimization, and lead generation checklists will make a grand difference in your rankings.
One of the best ways to gain leads as a dental practice website is to maintain a blog. For instance, you can write about quick home remedies patients can take. Then, at the end, add a CTA to your business.
The problem is Google will easily rank high DA health blogs like Healthline, WebMD, and even Wiki-How. To get ahead of these sites, you need staunch keyword and competitive analysis. And for that, you can use our checklists.
Here’s an interesting stat: the best-ranking attorney website has a DA of 35. This is below the average of 40 to 50, which means many law firms’ sites are not well-optimized.
Some reasons, research shows, are poor internal linking and weak keyword research. As a law firm, then, it’s easy to stay ahead of the curve.
Our off-page SEO checklist will help you get backlinks from high-DA sites. Consequently, your site’s DA will skyrocket. Also, you can remedy the poor keyword research issue with the keyword analysis checklist.
Most auto shop websites get their traffic from mobile users. Hence, the advice is not just to make your website responsive on mobile. All your content should be mobile-first because that’s where you get leads.
Our indexability checklist will go a long way to help. It covers actions to improve your site architecture and speed to perform optimally on mobile. By extension, you can leverage the page experience checklist,
As a roofing contractor, understanding your website visitors is essential to excel. Therefore, you need SEO strategies to improve your bounce and conversion rates. It doesn’t have to be difficult if you leverage our conversion optimization checklist.
The majority of roofing contractor websites use Google Analytics to understand their visitors. Google Analytics is dependable, but in our checklist, we uncover a more comprehensive tool you can use.
If you’re a moving company, it’s almost impossible to succeed online without local SEO. Someone who wants to relocate within New York, for example, won’t hire a moving company based in California. They’ll 100% contract one in their locality.
As a result, we recommend you carry out the actions in our local SEL checklist. You can fetch many clients from social media, so the Social Signal checklist is also ideal.
SEO Keyword Analysis Checklist
Use this checklist for your SEO keyword analysis:
- Use keyword research tools to curate potential keywords
- Analyze the competition and relevance of each keyword as well as search volume
- Target specific user intents by focusing on long-tail keywords
- Identify gaps in your keyword strategy and find new opportunities
- Ensure keywords feature in meta descriptions, headers, page titles, and content.
- Focus on natural-sounding language and avoid keyword stuffing and
- Avoid repetition and create diversity through different variations of keywords
- Optimize images with alt text that includes relevant keywords
- Ensure your website’s site structure is clear and logical enough for users to navigate
- Monitor keyword rankings and track progress over time
- Track user behavior, time on page, bounce rate, and conversion rate with analytics tools
- improve user experience and optimize your keyword strategy on your website with data
Using this keyword analysis checklist will ensure your website is fully optimized for your target keywords and set precedence for success on (SERPs).
SEO Competitive Analysis Checklist
Knowing what your competitors are doing is a big part of SEO. For example, you gain valuable insights into what’s working and identify areas for improvement by analyzing their strategies and tactics.
- Use a tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs to get a list of competitors based on keyword rankings or website content.
- Analyze the online presence of the names on the list.
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Analyze On-Page Optimization
- Use SEMrush or Ahrefs to list your main competitors based on keyword rankings or website content.
- Analyze your competitors’ online presence to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
- Review their on-page optimization, including meta tags, descriptions, and headers.
- Look for gaps in their content or meta tags that you can capitalize on.
- Optimize your on-page elements based on your competitors’ weaknesses.
- Improve your meta tags, meta descriptions, and headers.
- Incorporate keywords and content that your competitors need to improve.
- Continuously monitor your competitors and adjust your SEO strategy as necessary.
Analyze Backlink Profile
Backlinks show the authority and credibility of a website. Google sees it as a vote of confidence. As a result, the search engine treats websites with quality backlinks more favorably.
So review your competitors’ backlink profiles to understand their link-building tactics.
- Use a tool like Ahrefs or Moz to analyze your competitors’ backlinks.
- Identify high-quality websites in your niche for link-building and look for opportunities to improve your link-building tactics by analyzing your competitors.
- Review how your competitors handle guest blogging and social media outreach.
- Focus on building high-quality website backlinks to improve your authority and credibility.
- Reach out to websites in your niche for guest blogging opportunities.
- Engage in social media outreach to build relationships with other website owners and earn backlinks to your website.
Analyze Content Strategy
Content is a crucial factor in SEO.
It helps search engines understand the relevance and authority of a website. Use this checklist to analyze your website content:
- Review their blog posts, website, social media posts, and other online content.
- Identify gaps in your competitor’s content.
- Pay attention to their use of keywords and find ways to improve your content strategy.
Analyze Social Media Strategy
Social media provides an additional channel for users to engage with your brand and share your content. When leveraged correctly, it can be an essential factor in SEO.
To analyze your competitor’s Social Media Strategy:
- Review their social media posts and engagement rates
- Analyze their profiles to generate ideas to improve your social media presence
- Explore how they build links and brand awareness
Use this checklist to get search engines to properly index your pages:
- Ensure there aren’t any errors or roadblocks that might prevent search engines from crawling your website.
- Use a tool like Google Search Console or Screaming Frog to check for broken links.
- Check your website’s robots.txt file to avoid blocking important pages or directories.
- Having a clear and logical site structure will go a long way. Ensure your website has a main navigation menu and internal links to guide users and search engines to essential pages.
- Make URLs SEO-friendly and include relevant keywords in a descriptive way
- Ensure link equity and improve user experience by optimizing your website’s internal linking.
- Check your website’s page speed using a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix.
- Boost your website’s page speed by compressing text files, minimizing image and code file sizes, and using browser caching.
- Ensure that your website loads quickly on mobile devices and is mobile-friendly.
Indexing and Sitemap
- Ensure your website is indexed so search engine bots can find and crawl all important pages.
- You can index your website more efficiently and aid the search engine crawl by creating and submitting a sitemap to Google Search Console.
- Make sure that pages are not being excluded from the search index due to crawl errors or other issues by monitoring your website’s index status.
On-Page SEO Checklist
On-page SEO is essential to ranking highly on Google. Doing it right is not a walk in the park. However, you can pull it off with our on-page checklist.
- Include relevant keywords in your Title tags and keep it concise (around 60 characters).
- For header tags, Use H1 for the main headline and H2 for subheadings to structure the content and improve readability.
- Write a concise and compelling meta description of the page content.
- Keep the URL structure short and descriptive, and use hyphens to separate words.
- Ensure the content is high-quality, relevant, and comprehensive, properly using keywords and relevant visuals.
- Use descriptive anchor texts to link related pages to improve website navigation and user experience.
Recommended For You: On-Page SEO 2023: How to Use Surfer SEO For Data-Driven On-Page Optimization
Off-Page SEO Checklist
Off-page SEO optimizes factors outside your website to improve your website’s search engine rankings and increase its visibility. While it can be challenging, you can achieve success with this off-page SEO checklist.
- Build high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites.
- Engage with relevant online communities to increase visibility.
- Optimize social media profiles and activity to improve online presence.
- Monitor online reputation for addressing negative feedback and encourage positive reviews.
By effectively implementing these tactics and techniques, you can ultimately drive more organic traffic and conversions to your website.
Recommended Post: Backlink SEO Strategy: How to Build Quality External Links
Page Experience (Core Web Vital) checklist
Page experience is one of Google’s most important ranking signals. Use this checklist to get into the search engine’s good book.
- Ensure you have a first contentful paint (FCP) of less than 2.5 seconds to load your website’s pages quickly.
- Images scripts and other static assets on your server should be handled by a content delivery network (CDN).
- Ensure your website time to interactive (TTI) isn’t less than 3 seconds to guarantee responsiveness and interactivity.
- Improve page speed and user experience using lazy loading for images and other non-critical assets.
- Reduce usage of third-party scripts and services to prevent slow loading and interactivity.
- During page load or user interaction, ensure your website’s layout and elements don’t shift or move unexpectedly.
- Your website’s appearance should be responsive and fluid in design and layouts to adjust to different screen sizes and devices easily.
- Prevent layout shifts and visual instability with optimized images and videos.
Advanced Technical SEO Checklist
Advanced SEO goes deeper to make your business website readable by search engines. It encompasses technical SEO, link building, and content SEO, to name a few.
- Add JSON schema structured data (see the next checklist)
- Launch the Google Pagespeed Insights tool to optimize your website’s core web vitals.
- Create detailed sitemaps and robots.txt files and submit them to the Google search console.
- Use canonical tags to prevent duplicate content problems.
Add the below schema structured data types to your website:
- Local Business schema
- Article schema
- Products schema
- WebsiteNavigation schema
- Reviews schema
- FAQ schema
- Use Google Entity stacking to build high DA backlinks.
- Try Adsy to create entity-based backlinks that reflect your business.
- Track your link-building results with the Google search console.
Content Marketing Checklist
Quality articles, videos, podcasts, etc., are a creative way to attract leads. However, you can only retain these leads with a good content marketing strategy. For that, use the below checklist:
- Use a tool like HotJar to understand your audience and know the best content type.
- Consult the keyword research checklist to generate relatable content topic ideas.
- Your content must reflect Google’s E-E-A-T model.
- Include SEO entities in your content using structured data.
- Add more quality visuals to your content, most especially videos.
- Create quality text using Surfer SEO if your target is articles. Focus on crafting evergreen posts and pillar content that others can link to.
- Use Lumen5 to create high-quality visuals. You can also easily convert your articles into videos with the tool.
- Promote your content on social media with Sendible.
- Analyze your content marketing performance.
Conversion Optimization Checklist
As a small business, you sure want to boost your conversion rate. That means most visitors won’t leave without performing a preferred action. Our conversion optimization checklist will help:
- Know exactly what your visitors see and click. The tool to use here is HotJar.
- Make sure your website loads fast on all device types.
- Use friendly designs and colors that won’t overwhelm your visitors.
- Allow guest checkouts so random visitors can purchase or place orders without creating an account.
- Minimize the entry fields when making purchases so visitors only need to enter the relevant information.
- Test different elements of your website to see which will appeal best to customers.
- Create a detailed contact page with easy-to-access channels.
Leads Generation Checklist
Some people who visit your website will leave and never return. But with a staunch lead generation strategy, every visitor becomes a potential customer. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what you should do:
On-site Lead Generation
- Maintain a detailed blog with posts visitors will find helpful. And make sure each post has a CTA for your business.
- Use ads and banners to promote specific products and services. This will work best for discount and promo deals.
- Build welcoming landing pages for your best products and services.
- Your website should have a chatbot to engage visitors in real time. Create one using Collect Chat.
Off-site Lead Generation
- Ensure you have a solid social media presence across all major platforms.
- Partner with influencers to promote your landing pages.
- Maintain an up-to-date contact database for all leads you get.
Local SEO Checklist
Local SEO is straightforward and one of the best to implement. Follow our checklist below:
- Create a Google My Business profile.
- Ensure your profile is verified with all necessary information.
- Confirm that your business profile appears on Google when you search for your company name.
- List your business on Yelp, Yellow Pages, and other local directories.
- Include multiple phone numbers and email addresses for customers to contact you.
- Encourage visitors to leave reviews on your Google My Business profile and other directories.
Social Signal Checklist
Nowadays, you can’t leave out social media if you want to succeed as a business. Instead, you need a comprehensive social media marketing roadmap. A social signal checklist will help with that, and here are some things to do:
- Make your presence felt on the preferred social media platforms of your target customers.
- Plan a strategy that matches your business goals and brand identity.
- Monitor your competitors to learn from their best practices. Also, stay on a level with industry trends.
- Create content that engages your customers and makes them interact.
- Add relevant hashtags, keywords, and tags to your social media posts.
- Use social media tools like Sendible to track and analyze your social signals and performance.
Recommended Software for Small Business SEO Audit
Here are the tools you’ll need to implement this checklist to the fullest:
- Surfer SEO: Create high-quality and keyword optimized articles.
- Marketing Miner: Find relevant keywords and other ideas to include in your content.
- HotJar:Understand your visitors via heatmaps and recordings.
- Collect Chat: Engage web visitors in real time and convert web visits to leads.
- Rank Math: Create and apply structured data to your site.
- Adsy: Find high-domain-authority guest posts and link building opportunities.
- Lumen5: Create high-quality videos for your content.
- Sendible: Engage customers across social media platforms effortlessly.
How to Use this SEO Checklist
The features checklist entries are all punchy. In other words, as you work with them, you should start seeing results. The good news is that implementing them is straightforward.
First, not all may apply to your business website. Hence, you should identify the ones that matter most. After that, know the software and platforms you’ll be needing. All recommended SEO audit software have been previously outlined, so this should be easy.
Proceeding, carry out the checklist recommendations one after the other. Some are basic; some are technical. For the latter, you can employ an expert to help.
Take the Local SEO checklist, for example. It primarily involves listing on Google My Business and other local directories. Anyone can do that easily.
Meanwhile, the advanced technical SEO checklist will demand more expertise in web functionalities. But, whether you do it yourself or hire an expert, take note of the word “Measure.”
Measuring is hypercritical when it comes to SEO. You must keep track of what you’re doing and notice changes. That’s only how you’ll know if your actions are working.
All in all, we’re confident that our SEO audit checklist will bring about a positive change to your small business website.
Small Business SEO Audit Checklist: Now What Next?
These checklists can help you audit your website for SEO.
Many powerful SEO audit tools are available to make your SEO audit process more effective. This software allows you to analyze your website’s performance, detect problems, and implement solutions.
Some top options include:
We love using these tools here, at Smart Entrepreneur Blog, to identify and fix underlying SEO issues, ultimately improving organic visibility. It won’t hurt to try them out.
You can start with the free version and upgrade as your business needs grow.
When you start ranking on Google and generating traffic, use Collect Chat to convert them into leads and paying customers. You can use Link Management to source quality backlinks to boost your organic rankings for more impressive results.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit analyzes and identifies technical, content, and structural issues that may prevent a website from ranking well in search engine results pages.
Why is SEO audit important?
It’s important because it clarifies website owners’ and marketers’ issues and helps them implement the required changes.
What are some of the benefits of conducting an SEO audit?
The benefits of conducting an SEO audit include higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and more revenue. It helps to fix technical issues, improve content quality, and build a better backlink profile.
How often should I conduct an SEO audit?
An SEO audit should be conducted at least once a year. However, if you recently made a big change to your website, such as redesigning or changing your business strategy, conduct an audit as soon as possible.
Can I conduct an SEO audit, or must I hire an expert?
Although conducting an SEO audit requires a good understanding of SEO best practices, you can still conduct an SEO audit yourself. However, you may want to hire an expert if you’re not confident in your skills.
What are some common tools used in an SEO audit?
Many tools can help you identify and analyze technical issues in your website. The most common ones include Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, SEMrush, Moz, and many others.