Have you spent piles of cash and more hours than you can count trying to drive web traffic to your site but aren’t seeing the results you want?
It’s probably time for an SEO audit.
SEO helps drive traffic and leads to your website. That way leads can interact with all of your compelling content to build awareness of and relationships with the brand. The ultimate goal, of course, is to convert those leads into customers.
So naturally, for businesses to succeed online, SEO must be a priority.
61% of companies agree and say that their top priority is SEO. It’s safe to say that those companies are on top of their SEO game.
Are you on top of your SEO game?
An SEO audit can be a powerful way to begin.
What Is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit will tell you how your website is doing and uncover opportunities for improvement. It doesn’t require much time or effort, but a website audit does deliver significant results.
Performing SEO audits regularly will help you keep pace with search engine demand.
When a consumer is searching for results, search engines like Google and Bing crawl through each accessible page on your site and determine how useful, legitimate, secure, fast, and easy-to-use your site is. But at the end of the day, quality is king in the eyes of Google.
Current, informative, and well-written content is imperative for optimizing the visibility of your site.
Your site is then ranked on the search engine results page (SERP). Websites that are more valuable to the user will appear on the first SERP, which typically includes the first 10 results.
Every marketing campaign strives for visibility on the SERP. Google realizes this fact and consistently alters the algorithm that determines SERP rankings. The former holy grail was called position one, but in 2014 position one was superseded by position zero.
Position zero sounds great, but the bad news is that the criteria for determining position zero, and ranking order in general, seems to be quite volatile. A site that ranks well on one device, might not rank on another. And a site that ranks today may not rank tomorrow.
The algorithm changes often. Marketing teams must be agile and adapt to new SEO metrics by keeping content current and aligned with the ever-changing criteria.
If something is off and disrupting traffic flow to your site, an SEO audit can help you uncover the problem and move forward.
Why Are SEO Audits Important?
You probably already know that an SEO audit is important. But really understanding why it’s important will help ensure that you commit to performing one on a regular basis.
Everyone is talking about SEO.
You know what it means. You know it’s important. But what exactly needs to be optimized is usually where confusion exists.
Is it website design?
Is it website analytics?
Is it site content?
Is it the links?
The short answer is yes. These items and several others need to be optimized in order for your business to move closer to Google’s front page.
An SEO audit will help your business do just that by:
- Establishing a routine for taking inventory of your website
- Improving the technical aspects of your website
- Understanding where your site is performing well and where it can be improved
- Identifying low quality or under-performing pages that can be combined, improved upon, or removed from the site
- Gaining insight into your competition
How Often Should Businesses Perform SEO Audits?
Full SEO audits are conducted annually by some businesses and quarterly by others. Audits should also happen every time a significant change is made to your site.
On a monthly basis, also consider performing what is called a mini-audit to understand how well your site is performing in real-time.
The 6 Step SEO Audit That Drives Web Traffic
Just the word audit causes many people to break out into a cold sweat. However, an SEO audit doesn’t have to be stressful if you know what you hope to learn from the audit.
When you understand what you are looking for and that tools are available to help perform the audit and implement the recommended changes, the entire process becomes much easier.
Here are 6 easy steps to get started with SEO audits:
1. Compare Your Goals Against Your Website’s Analytics
Using the goals for your website, identify a list of metrics to evaluate. Gather analytical data about your site content. This might include data about keywords, traffic, users, etc. Assembling this information into a dashboard can help identify trends and areas in need of further attention.
2. Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly
People search on their mobile devices more often than on their desktop. This trend is likely to increase. By optimizing site content for mobile users, you optimize their user experience. Sites that don’t get this right run the risk of users leaving before they have a chance to learn anything about your brand.
3. Spot Check for Linking Concerns
Broken links, whether internal or external, can negatively impact SEO.
Within your site, it’s important to ensure that no broken links exist. You can do this by performing a periodic spot check to ensure all links are still functional. This is especially important for places on your site where content is older.
There are many tools that can perform this same type of check for links that exist on external sites. When a problem is identified, simply contact the external site and request that they remove or update the link.
4. Check Page Speed and Load Times
When pages load slowly, visitors can become frustrated and click away from your site. During your periodic audit, scan through your site to test speed. While correcting major malfunctions will likely require an investment with a web developer, there might be low hanging fruit that you can easily correct.
Large, high-resolution images increase the likelihood for your site content to appear in Google Discover, but be sure to eliminate obvious time drags like images that aren’t properly compressed or are in the wrong format.
5. Review Your Competition
Have you ever wondered why your competitors seem to come out ahead when it comes to search results?
Find out which sites are linking back to your competitors, but not to you. Then, publish better content that gives these sites no choice but to link to you.
6. Document Everything!
We have all experienced regret when our documentation is lazy or nonexistent. After you perform your audit, write down every step that you performed and every issue that you found. This way, you won’t have to recreate the wheel when it’s time for the next SEO audit.
Now for the Content
SEO drives the traffic to your site. Now it’s time to focus on content. You want your content to engage the audience and address their pain points. That content needs to:
- Provide accurate and innovative information
- Be relevant to the answers your audience is seeking
- Deliver a return on investment (ROI)
Too often, marketing teams rely too heavily on educated guesses when it comes to content ideation and as a result squander the opportunity that the SEO has provided.
In order for content to produce an ROI, it must achieve its goals. Goals should focus on the customer and:
Understand the audience and their pain points. Meet them where they are. Seek out the vocabulary they are using in online forums. That vocabulary should drive not only keyword research but site content as well.
Write for the customer, not the search engine. Shocking? Maybe. Effective? Definitely. When you create content that helps customers and solves problems, the search engine will reward you for it in the end.
Communicate often. Regularly posting quality content and updating content is important for SEO, but it is also important in developing brand loyalty with customers. How often varies from business to business. Smaller companies can find success posting just one or two times per week, while large companies tend to generate content on a daily basis.
Use data to guide content strategy. A recent study indicates that companies are only analyzing 12% of available data. Considering that today’s consumer is becoming accustomed to being presented with the right information at precisely the right time, this simply must change. Data-informed content is expected by today’s consumers. Brands that take advantage of the deep sea of data will gather the lion’s share of consumer attention.
For your first few SEO audits, maintain a big-picture perspective. Because it is easy to become sidetracked or bogged down with overly granular details, do you best to keep the first audit simple.
Focus on the most important metrics in order to accomplish the most important business goals. And, of course, ensure the content on your site is of the highest quality.
SEO is a serious business and it’s here to stay. Businesses that understand it, respect it and leverage it will come out ahead in the end.