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SEO 4 min read

Effective Website Audit With Serpstat: Tool Overview

how to do a site audit
This article is an overview of the Serpstat SEO Site Audit tool.

We will go over the website issues and vulnerabilities the tool can detect, see what its assessment is based on, and learn how to set up a website audit with Serpstat. In the process, you'll also recall some technical audit basics.

Let's get started!

What is an SEO Audit? When and why do you need it?

A technical SEO audit is a detailed website check for internal issues and compliance with the search engine requirements (e.g., Google's Webmaster Guidelines).

More often than not, people start considering a website audit in case of emergency, such as a Google penalty. It can cause a significant drop in rankings for the targeted keywords or even get your website completely excluded from search results. Sounds like each SEO's nightmare, right?

That's where a thorough website audit is vital, as it allows you to detect technical SEO issues and fix them. After implementing the improvements, you can start monitoring your performance in organic search results and, after a while, get it back to normal.

However, there's a wiser way to go about it. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, and a website audit is no exception.
So, let's say your website performs well, and its positions in SERPs and traffic are growing. That's exactly when you should conduct an audit. What's the point in that? The answer is simple:
Find and correct technical issues before they start negatively affecting your rankings → avoid getting hit hard by yet another Google Algorithm Update → accelerate your website growth.
High-quality content and all kinds of on-page and off-page SEO tactics are step one for promoting your website in organic search results. But ensuring that your website is "healthy" in terms of technical issues is step zero — the foundation you build everything else on top of.

First, start by assessing your website rankings in search results to compare the before (prior to making any technical improvements) and after.

Next, we will dive into specifics. Let's figure out how to set up your site audit project and then discuss some technical issues that can be detected on your website.

Step #1: Create a Project for Site Audit

Go to My Projects and add the site for analysis. Press the button Add project:
In the pop-up window enter the project name and the domain , select the group for the project and click Continue:
Добавляем новый сайт в проекты для SEO-аудита в Serpstat><meta itemprop=
You will see your new project on the dashboard. Right there you can click the Start Audit button:
To get the report with technical problems that are not letting your website flourish, you need to fully set up the project first.

*click on the arrows to see the steps for setting up a project.

How To Detect SEO Issues That Decrease Your Rankings And Traffic: Serpstat Site Audit VS Competitors

When the audit is over, the dashboard will update, and you will see an SDO score → the Serpstat indicator that shows the optimization level of your domain, or so-called "domain health." It's the ratio between the detected website issues and their criticality to the total number of possible problems. The higher the rating, the better the optimization.

Serpstat shows a 93% SDO (Domain health) score for the domain I chose as an example, which means that the team takes good care of its website and conducts regular audits. Although, there are still some improvements they can make (even though they're less critical), which we will discuss further.
The project is successfully created! Now we can get to the Audit Summary that lists all website issues. Select the Site Audit section in the menu and let's take a closer look at it.
Would you like to try out the Serpstat Site Audit tool on your website?
Click the button below, sign up and get a free 7-day trial!

Step #2: Analyze the Audit Overview report

The first thing you will see is the graph of SDO dynamics from the moment of the first audit until now. Since it's your first audit, there are no "dynamics" to see yet. But as you start gradually improving your website and conducting regular audits, this graph becomes a great way to track your progress.
When you scroll down a bit, you will see the table with the results of the previous checks. Here you can compare any two audits in more detail.
Technical issues are divided into groups according to their priority/criticality:

High priority: the most severe errors that must be fixed first.

Medium priority: the issues that are not as critical but still affect the domain's performance and must be corrected.

Low priority includes the least significant issues. However, it doesn't mean you should ignore them. After you're done with the high- and medium-priority ones, you need to address them.

The report also has such categories as Information and Viruses:

Information is a section that has recommendations for optimizations. They are not as critical and mandatory but still worth checking out.

The Viruses section has the results of checking the website for malware.
Below you will see an Issues Overview graph where you can see how your pages correspond with the recommended range.
Next, we can see the table with a short list of the website vulnerabilities. To view each in more detail, just click on it:

Step #3: Analyze the Main Website Issues

To go into detail about each technical problem detected on your website, you can click on any issue in the Audit Summary report or select the All Issues report in the Site Audit menu on the left.

Serpstat Site Audit tool not only finds problems on the website but also gives recommendations on how to fix them. Also, it notes the issues you corrected since the last audit so that you can track your progress.
What are the main issues Serpstat checks for?

#1 HTTP Status Code

Each time the user/search robot access the site, the server sends a specific response code.

It's essential for webmasters and SEOs to monitor all server responses and find pages that have errors on them.

If the search engine detects that your website has plenty of pages with server or client errors, it's going to consider it poor quality or abandoned, and the negative impact on trust and rankings will not be long in coming.
Serpstat finds pages that send the following response codes:

  • 4xx (400-499) is a client error code. It usually means that the page doesn't exist (e.g., the infamous 404 Not Found error), has restricted access, or the request included the wrong syntax;

  • 5xx (500-599) is a server error code. It means that the server couldn't fulfill the request for some reason.
The Serpstat Site Audit tool collects the URLs with these response errors, tracks newly found ones, and those that have been fixed, so that you can monitor your progress (or regress).

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#2 Meta tags

Meta tags are a crucial signal for website ranking in search results and have even more of an impact on users' behavior. Since they affect the appearance of website snippets, the more attractive they look to users, the more likely they are to click them.

Therefore, t's necessary to make the metatags unique, and complete.
The title should precisely reflect the content of the page, the description should contain a brief summary of the content, and both should be within an appropriate length.
It is believed among SEOs that the Title length should be under 70 characters, and the Description should fit into the range from 100 to 300 characters.

So, the tool finds and gives recommendations on the following metatag issues :
  • empty or missing Title or Description;
  • duplicate Title or Description;
  • very long Title or Description;
  • very short Title or Description.
  • using meta refresh tag for redirect;
With each issue, including meta tags, you can see all errors that have been detected on your website with the list of URLs and recommendations for fixing them. To see the latter, click on the arrow in the right corner.

Also, you can switch to the Passed section to see the list of issues that are not present on your site, and avoid making those mistakes in the future.

How To Optimize Meta Tags And Images

#3 Headings

H1-H6 headers are a significant ranking factor. Each header indicates the relative importance of the content included after it.

The H1 tag (level 1) stands for the most significant headline, and the H6 tag indicates a subheading (level 6), which is the least significant. The H1 Headers must be present on each page and be unique.
Each page should have only one H1, and it should be unique - do not repeat it on other pages of the site. Also, all headers should be arranged in a strictly hierarchical order from 1 to 6.

Serpstat notes two major issues:
  • absence of H1;
  • multiple H1 headers;
  • wrong hierarchy of headers.
Отчет по ошибкам в заголовках страницы

How To Carry Out A Site Usability Audit

#4 Content and Multimedia

This means checking the page content and multimedia for elements that violate search engine requirements.
Serpstat Site Audit scans the page content for the following issues:
  • pages with Lorem ipsum;
    Lorem Ipsum is a placeholder text that programmers use to fill in page layout. For the search engine algorithm, it's a clear sign that the page content is meaningless and irrelevant.
  • absence of Body text;
    If there's no relevant content on the page - there's no reason for the search engine to show it in the top search results (or at all), as it doesn't correspond with any search query/search intent.
  • too large page size;
    If the page takes too much time to load, it has a negative impact on users' behavior: increases bounce rates and in turn, drops the rankings. Moreover, some Google Algorithm Updates are specifically aimed at removing slow-loading pages from the top search results.
When it comes to multimedia content of the website, Serpstat checks the pages for the following issues:
  • image size too large;
  • image contains empty alt attributes.
Главные ошибки сайта по контенту
*This screenshot doesn't display all possible issues Serpstat can detect on your website, as most websites only have some of them, just like our example domain. You can toggle between the All issues and Passed tabs to see all of them.

#5 Page Indexing

Page Indexing is the process during which the search engine collects information about your website. The search bot scans (crawls) the pages of your domain and all its elements, and stores the collected data in its index.

What is this Google index? As Google itself puts it, " The Google index is similar to an index in a library, which lists information about all the books the library has available. However, instead of books, the Google index lists all of the webpages that Google knows about".

Page indexing is influenced by:

  • external links that lead to your website page(s);
  • submitting a new or updated page to Google Search Console. That way, you "ask" the Googlebot to crawl or recrawl your website and update the information;
  • several special internal techniques.
Basically, if your website is not in the Google index, it will not appear in search results.
The tool points out internal technical issues of your website that may hinder its page indexing. These include the following:
  • pages are blocked from crawling in the robots.txt file;
  • pages are blocked from crawling by the <noindex> tag;
  • multiple rel="canonical' tags;
  • cross-domain canonical links;
  • canonical has a relative URL;
  • low word count;
  • Iframe found on a page;
  • flash elements on the page;
  • pages with the canonical tag.
Ошибки с индексацией страниц

How To Carry Out The Indexation Analysis Of The Website

#6 Redirects

Redirects are a way to send users and search robots to the URL that differs from the one they initially landed on.
A 301 redirect indicates that the URL has been permanently redirected to a different address, while the 302 code means it's a temporary redirect. It shows the robot that this document is temporarily available at a different address.

Always pay close attention to all redirects on your website and make sure they're set up correctly.
Serpstat collects data about corrupt redirects and lists the following parameters:
  • Redirect pages;
  • HTTP Status code for the redirects;
  • count.
Советы по избежанию и устранению редиректов

Detailed Instructions For Redirects: When And How To Use Them

#7 Links

It is essential to correctly configure the links on the website because they are a significant factor of website authority and ranking in search results.
Serpstat Site Audit reports on the following problems:
  • absence of favicon;
  • the URL is too long;
  • too many GET-parameters in the URL;
  • too many on-page links;
  • internal links contain the rel="nofollow" attribute.
  • external links don't contain the rel="nofollow" attribute.
Критичные ошибки по ссылкам сайта
How Many GET Parameters
Can Be In The Page URL
What Is The Maximum And Best
Page URL Length For SEO

#8 HTTPS Certificate

Having an HTTPS certificate is a crucial authority factor, as making sure that the users' data is secure is the basic standard everyone should meet nowadays.
Also, Google ranks such websites higher in search results.
Serpstat Site Audit tool analyzes your website for the following factors;
  • self-signed certificate;
  • HTTPS pages lead to HTTP pages;
  • HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is not supported;
  • incorrect certificate name;
  • an old version of the TLS protocol;
  • using SSL protocol;
  • pages with insecure password input;
  • invalid (expired) certificates;
  • HTTP URLs are included in the sitemap.xml;
  • mixed content
  • the certificate is not trusted in all web browsers;
Советы по улучшению работы с HTTPS при аудите сайта
What Is Mixed Content And How To Remove It From HTTPS-Protected Sites
How To Update The TLS Protocol
Version On The Website

#9 Using hreflang attributes

If your website has several versions of the content in different languages, you can use the hreflang tag to point that out to the search engine. Using this attribute helps the search engine determine what language you're using on a specific page, and display it to the corresponding target audience in search results.
Serpstat checks for:
  • pages without hreflang and lang attributes;
  • conflicts of hreflang attributes in the original code of the page;
  • page is not multilingual;
  • invalid hreflang attributes;
  • incorrect hreflang links.

#10 AMP Pages

AMP pages are accelerated pages for mobile devices. Sites that use this technology load faster and rank better in mobile SERPs.
Параметры сервера, которые стоит исправить

Configuring AMP On A Website: How To Avoid Mistakes

#11 Markup

Open Graph, schema.org, and Twitter Card markups are used to create an informative and presentable preview of your website on social media.
Markup helps the search engine generate unique snippets and recognize page content. It shows search engines that text or other elements on a page are important and belong to a particular data type.

Serpstat analyzes the following:
  • Open Graph markup
  • Twitter Card markup
  • schema.org markup.
Параметры сервера, которые стоит исправить

#12 Page Load Speed

In the report, you will find two sections: Pagespeed for Desktop and Pagespeed for Mobile. They list several problems that can slow down the website loading speed.

You should always pay special attention to this factor since slow-loading websites tend to annoy users, which increases the bounce rate, and in turn, makes your search engine rankings drop.

Fast and proper loading, on the other hand, will increase the overall website usability, improve your rankings, and along with that, drive more traffic to your website.

With Serpstat, you will discover the issues that harm your website loading, and find ways to fix that:
Would you like to see how Serpstat can help you find and fix technical SEO issues on your website?
Click the button below, sign up and get a free 7-day trial!

Step #4: Set up a custom report

The Custom Overview section displays all the information about technical issues collected from the website pages based on specific parameters. The report is compiled into a table that you can export in two formats: CSV Open Office and CSV Microsoft Excel.

You can configure a personal report with the parameters of interest, and apply filters to them:
Настраиваем персональный отчет по SEO-аудиту сайта
That's it! If some questions were left unanswered, don't hesitate to contact our technical support! ;)

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