SEO Audit for Successful Search Engine Optimization
“What’s the difference between a successful SEO Audit and a doomed one?” That is right. My name is Steve, and sometimes I’m a little bit of both. Like any great junkie, I have read every keyword-rich audit-themed article; I have coded my fair share of audits, and most importantly, I have done audits on a lot of people and, for the most part, have had very positive experiences.
What I do best, however, is analyze what went wrong, fix what needed fixing, analyze whether the client was in fact interested in our offering, fix the stuff we did right, and expand on that. Let me give you an example. A few months ago, this organization performed an SEO audit. During the audit, they determined that their meta tags were too optimized for search engines and not user-friendly. They immediately began to look at how they could optimize their meta tags to make them more user-friendly. Within one month of beginning the audit, they realized that they were over optimizing for search engines, had several pages that were crawling slowly, had misspelled keywords everywhere, and were on the third version of their site, all of which represented problems with the design and construction of their website, not necessarily in their functionality.
The client was also unhappy with several elements of the page layout: the homepage was disjointed, there was no navigation, the search bar was placed above the fold, internal linking was poor, etc. In addition, there were inconsistencies in how they presented the logo, the navigation was unorganized, the formatting was inconsistent, the link structure was ill-defined, etc. This organization had some initial success, but it was apparent that SEO audit and improvement of the website were not being considered. This organization then hired a consultant to improve the page speed, usability, visual branding, content, etc.
SEO Analyzing is the process by which these two organizations found their solutions. The first step of SEO Analyzing is to determine what are the issues? What is the status? How is the organization progressing in improving these issues? These questions are important as SEO audits are based on how SEO works. Therefore, if SEO is not being analyzed, the organization is not improving SEO.
An SEO audit report should first address the question of what are the current issues? As discussed above, Google has introduced several changes to the indexability and ranking process. However, organizations have not yet incorporated these changes in their websites. Organizations need to analyze how they are impacting their businesses.
The second step is to analyze how these changes affect the websites? This includes observing how search engine spiders work when crawling a site. Googlebot, the Google’s indexing program, includes a number of different metrics that it can use to analyze the crawling behavior of the search engine. These metrics include crawl numbers, crawl interval (CP), total crawl count, percentage of total pages scanned, maximum crawl depth, percent of source documents scanned, source tree depth, the ratio of deep and shallow Crawl Codes, source index size, link popularity, link duration, link type, link path, link popularity percentage, page rank, and last-modified date/time. Google Webmaster Tools offers several different metrics to analyze these factors.
Once the Google Webmaster Tools has these metrics, an organization can start analyzing how they affect their SEO measurement tool. Google introduced penalty codes that appear when a website is penalized. Organizations need to identify which specific page(s) they want to be penalized for, how this affects their ranking, and identify whether the current penalty affected their ranking.
Finally, organizations need to focus on keyword research. Google, in particular, is particularly fond of the targeted keywords associated with particular products and/or services. One way to make sure that a site is getting the right targeted keywords for analysis is to study what other successful sites are doing in terms of their keyword research. Google provides information on their Keyword Tool as well as a wealth of information on their Squidoo page.