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The 4 Phases of an SEO Assessment

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If you want help, you can hire a professional to do your SEO assessment for you, here.


Phase 1 : Audit your company’s SEO


Prepare to be amazed by how much SEO can positively impact your marketing budget, CAC & user retention.

  1. Open up the Template of my SEO Assessment here
  2. Open up a notepad to jot down ideas as they come to you throughout your SEO Audit (aka Assessment).
  3. Open the SEO KPI excel I created just for you & fill it in as you go.


Step 1: Research & Discovery

….no, not development. My undergrad degree is in Medicinal & Biological Chemistry I know what R&D typically stands for. Here I very intentionally said discovery because you’re new to SEO, you can’t develop much before you understand what’s out there…but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a notebook open during this assessment to jot down ideas as they come to you.

Below is the video we show our clients who inquire about our SEO Assessment


  1. Current SEO profile –¬†This is an overview of your SEO profile on the start date of our assessment, click HERE to view how I layout my assessment¬†phase 1
  2. SERP 1 KWs –¬†These are all of the keywords that you currently rank on Search Engine Results Page 1 for. In the consumer’s mind you do not exist if you are not on the first page of their search engine results. Our goal is to get you on SERP 1 for the words that your customers are typing in. Click here to find your SERP 1 KW rankings, click on the epic pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  3. SERP 2-5 keyword rankings –¬†These are all of the keywords that you currently rank on Search Engine Results Pages 2-5 for.¬†Click here to find yours, click on the super fly pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  4. Top Competitors – Organic –¬†This is a list of companies that you are currently competing for, based on the keywords that web crawlers believe you are currently trying to rank for. This list will change as we refine your strategy.¬†¬†Click here to find yours, click on the snazzy pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  5. Top Competitors – Paid –¬†This is a list of companies that you are currently competing for, based on the AdWords you currently buy.¬†¬†Click here to find yours, click on the super cool pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  6. Most Valuable Keywords –¬†These are your most valuable keywords. This list will change over time as we study the behavior of your website traffic and refine your strategy.¬†Click here to find yours, click on that elegant pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  7. AdWords History & Recommended Buys –¬†Here is a list of AdWords recommendations for you based on your current AdWords & SEO profile.¬†Click here to find yours, click on the sexy pineapple logo below if you need my help.

Step 2: Test your website’s readability & usability


  1. Mobile Friendly Test –¬†This test checks to see if your website is mobile friendly.¬†
  2. Site speed test –¬†This test checks to see if your website load speed is impacting your business. The report can compare your site to those of your competitors & give you a rough estimate of how your speed is impacting your revenue.
  3. Lighthouse Test –¬†This test will assess your website’s readability for web crawlers.¬†¬†Click here to view my SEO assessment template FOR FREE, click on the beautiful pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  4. Unicorn Test РThis test checks the markup validity of your Web documents in HTML, XHTML, SMIL, MathML, CSS & more. 
  5. On-Site Link Test РThis test verifies that there are no broken links on your website. Broken links lead to lower organic search engine ranks 
  6. Backlink Test – This gives us a quick overview of your current backlinks, broken down by “follow” vs. “nofollow” and more. This data helps us to understand which types of backlink opportunities are best to pursue in the future.¬†Click here to view my SEO assessment template FOR FREE, click on that very cool pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  7. Local SEO Test –¬†This local test allows us to identify your current digital footprint in the geographic area of your business.
  8. Website Readability Test РWebsite crawlers assess the readability of your site when determining where it should rank. This test helps us to see current errors that might be impacting your SEO performance. 
  9. Browser testing –¬†This test allows us to verify that your users are getting a seamless experience regardless of the device and browser they are visiting from. Click here to view my SEO assessment template FOR FREE, click on that gorgeous pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  10. Sitemap Test –¬†This test allows us to verify that your website has a sitemap. A sitemap allows web crawlers to quickly review and index your entire website.
  11. Screaming Frog SEO Spider –¬†The final test is conducted using Screaming Frog SEO spider. This allows us to analyze: page titles & meta data, audit redirects, discover duplicate content, review robots & directives and evaluate internal linking.
  12. The MD9 Test –¬†This test helps us to assess the your contents “stickiness” & the impact your brand colors have on conversion rates.


Step 3: User experience & user behavior analyses


  1. Entrance Pages – Which pages lead clients to the site? Why? What do they do on these pages?
  2. Exit Pages – Which pages lead clients to leave the site? Why? How can we change these pages?
  3. Session Time – Which pages have the highest session times and which ones have the lowest session times? What can we learn from the pages that have the highest session times?
  4. CRO Pages – Which pages lead people to make a purchasing decision? Why? Where are these people coming from? How does the target market find this content relevant?
  5. Visual Asset Usage Assessment – How many visual assets are used on each of the high performing pages vs. the low performing pages? What can this data tell us about how the target market responds to the usage of visual assets? How can we use this data to acquire and retain more customers?


Phase 2: Audit the SEO of your top 3 competitors


If you’re worried that you’re in for a crazy data dive as deep as the last phase, don’t be. In the next two phases we just do a quick run through of your top 3 competitors & your top 3 business role models. After walking through Phase 1 you now know where all of the data lives so if you’d like to learn MORE about a competitor or role model you have the knowledge and tools needed to do so.

Tools that my non-tech friends tend to hate:

  1. Screaming Frog SEO Spider


Step 1: Repeat your Research & Discovery Step, for your number one competitor.


Wait, you can do that?

Yes, with SpyFu you can do this really easily.

  1. Current SEO profile – This is an overview of their SEO profile on the start date of our assessment.
  2. Their SERP 1 KWs – Click here to find their SERP 1 KW rankings, click on the epic pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  3. Their SERP 2-5 KWs – Click here to find theirs, click on the super fly pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  4. Their Top Competitors – Organic – Click here to find theirs, click on the snazzy pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  5. Top Competitors – Paid – Click here to find theirs, click on the super cool pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  6. Most Valuable Keywords – These are your most valuable keywords. This list will change over time as we study the behavior of your website traffic and refine your strategy. Click here to find theirs, click on that elegant pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  7. AdWords History & Recommended Buys – Here is a list of AdWords recommendations for you based on your current AdWords & SEO profile. Click here to find theirs, click on the sexy pineapple logo below if you need my help.
  8. BONUS: in step 2 of the last phase you learned about all of the cool places you can go to to collect loads of data on various URLs. If you have any additional questions about this competitor, go back to these tools to study what they’re doing now.


Step 2 & 3 : Repeat Step 1 for two more competitors


Phase 3: Audit the SEO of your top 3 business role models


What is a business role model? A person or brand you really admire and aspire to be like. They don’t have to be in the same industry to be a great role model.

Step 1, 2 & 3: Repeat Step 1 from the last phase with three businesses you admire & would love to emulate.


Phase 4: Opportunities & the Future


This part of the assessment lists out the biggest opportunities I identified in the first 3 phases. I create a portal similar in format to the Phase 1 portal & break it down into the following sections.

  1. Lifelong Assets (these will provide fast facts that are updated often, and referenced throughout the duration of the project).
    1. SEO KPI Excel¬† – this is updated monthly to show how we’ve improved over time. I cannot reiterate this enough, you need to look at the impact on CAC, churn & revenue, month over month, in this excel to really appreciate what SEO is doing for your business.
    2. Project brief (aka SEO campaign brief)
    3. Idea backlog – this is a link to either a Trello board or Google Shared doc where everyone (at the client company and on the MD9 team) can add in random ideas.
  2. On Site Opportunities
    1. Keywords we are targeting & an outline of how we plan to increase the rankings for each of these keywords.
    2. Website optimization problems & opportunities. These are typically sent to the Web Developer to be fixed. 
  3. Off Site Opportunities
    1. Current Backlink profile
    2. Potential Backlink opportunities
    3. Potential AdWords opportunities
    4. PR Brief – this is provided by a PR agency and based on the results of the SEO assessment and unique company goals

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