What Is an SEO Audit?
SEO audits are vital for any serious Internet marketing campaign. The first step to audit success is defining the problem. What does your online presence mean to your customers? What do your competitors do to stay ahead of the curve? How can you make your business more effective at getting found?
An SEO audit is usually defined as the process of comparing the current state of your web presence to what you wanted it to be at the beginning of your search engine optimization journey. An SEO audit is more than just comparing present rankings with what was set to happen; it’s looking ahead to what could have been. SEO is an ongoing process and long-term investment, and organic audits (on-page and off-page) will serve as your virtual roadmap to SEO success. The first meeting is the most important.
Your first meeting is always designed to provide an opportunity for you to get to know each other better, identify areas of SEO concern that aren’t being addressed, and use tools to address the issues. In an audit process this is not an in depth discussion about ranking factors, links, or organic placement. This first chat will provide you a chance to get to know one another, identify areas where SEO is falling short, and devise a plan for addressing these issues.
During the audit process, you will review each of the pages in your website that make up your entire SEO portfolio. You will focus on the individual page for each individual keyword, as well as the major keywords within each individual page. You will also review your competitor’s pages to identify content gaps, competitor analysis, competitor intent, competitor optimization, search engine optimization factors and algorithms, and competitor analysis. It is important to look at all of these factors, but reviewing them in isolation is almost never fruitful.
In addition to reviewing each page independently, you should also create a summary of the audit findings for each keyword. These summary reports can be shared with management, or you can submit them to a content analytics service that is providing you with traffic indicators or trending data. If you publish the summary report via a blog or article, you can also gain additional insight from other bloggers and experts. If you publish it through an official site, you can get additional insight from search engines, internal IT staff, and other web professionals.
From the summary reports that you develop from the audit, identify two or three main points. Your first point should be to ask why the keywords are not ranking very well, and what you can do to remedy the situation. Your second point should be to ask what you think the future goal should be for each of the pages, and how you can move forward towards this future. Your third point may be to completely revise your url structure and keyword research.
Often, there will be multiple ways for users to access your website, and it can be difficult for a human being to figure out which URL structure and keyword research will benefit you most in the future. Using a software tool to analyze the URL structure and search engine rankings for each of your pages can help you eliminate these issues early on before they become too big. You can also develop off-page processes that make it easier for human visitors to navigate your site, such as a search box to provide users with easy access to the information that they need.
SEO audits should be performed periodically. The internet evolves quickly, and you want to stay ahead of the curve by incorporating the latest best practices into your SEO strategy. SEO campaigns should always target organic search results, but you need to balance off that with off-page SEO. By creating inbound links from quality authoritative sites, and testing those links on a regular basis, you can improve the success of your SEO campaign. You can monitor trends in keywords, determine what components work best to promote your brand, and utilize the insights from your audits to fine tune your inbound SEO efforts.