In our previous post, What does it take to get on the 1st page of Google we discussed how important the first page of Google SERP is and how a website can get there in three cases: if the website is new, if it is old but not optimized and if it had been penalized in the past.
There was a certain to-do action that repeated in all three cases – the site has to be audited. We are going to elaborate a bit further on this part, making sure we make it clear that without the site analysis, there won’t be any successful strategy later.
So, let’s begin. How do we transform a website with an average online performance into a website with successful online visibility? And by success, we mean to rank high and convert well?
The answer lies at the very beginning – in the process of setting it up. It is all about how powerful it is. And to check how powerful it is, it needs to be examined thoroughly to see whether it is optimized to give the desired results. This is achieved by performing an SEO audit. Without it, you can’t have a strategy that will bring success.
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What Is an SEO Audit?
Let’s see it from another perspective – a simple real-life comparison: when you are not feeling well, you go to the doctor. They examine you, and based on the results; you get diagnosed. Then, the doctor gives you a prescription of medicine to treat your diagnosis. After the therapy, you recover/become better, and you are feeling healthy again.
This is precisely the proper analogy when it comes to the importance of the SEO audit. If your website isn’t performing well, meaning it doesn’t attract enough visitors / organic traffic and even if it attracts enough, these leads still don’t convert into sales, this means that something is not right with the website. If this is the case, you contact the website doctors’ (so to speak) – the SEO experts, who will perform a thorough examination and reveal the problems your website is dealing with. It will be diagnosed – if you will. Once it is clear what the problem is, the SEO experts will suggest solutions that should be implemented to get rid of the errors, mistakes, and weaknesses. Finally, they will plan a short or long-term strategy to help the website recover and become attractive.
So, yes – the SEO audit is a website analysis that pinpoints the problems with your online visibility and offers recommendations and suggestions for fixing the pain points with one clear goal – to set up a strategy that will cover the on-page and off-page SEO activities and will launch its online success.
If you are running your business online, you are already in the clear how important it is for your website to be healthy and strong and bring quality leads that will convert. Without the SEO audit, it is simply impossible to start building and implementing an SEO strategy because it will all fall through the cracks if there are invisible problems with the optimization of the website. So, what is the next step?
SEO Audit: The Details
Now that you have understood what an SEO audit is (simply explained) let’s take a closer look at how it is defined, the types that can be performed, and what it consists of.
SEO Audit is an extensive website analysis in order to explore the performance of all the pages. It also identifies the problems with the structure of the site, and it goes deep into the analysis of backlinks and social media activities. It focuses on keyword density and the nature of the content – whether it is duplicate, original, unique, and contains the relevant keywords. It tackles the architecture problems of the site, the set up and the tech pain points and delivers an on-point presentation of the content issues analyzed against the strongest and weakest points of the competitors’.
The problems it resolves enable the long-term success of the website, and it is highly recommended to have it performed before starting to compete in the online world.
Types of SEO Audit
There are several types of SEO Audits that can be combined with each other depending on the way the agency/SEO expert works. Generally, there are three different audits: the tech SEO audit, the content SEO audit, and the competitors SEO audit.
Tech SEO Audit
This is the first and crucial audit. Without it, the other types can’t be completed successfully. It helps to identify the technical problems that the website has, which issues are a severe obstacle for search engines to crawl the site and understand its content. The SEO Tech audit finds out why Google doesn’t rank your website high.
What Does the Tech SEO Audit Cover?
- HTTP Status Codes of all pages on the websites
- Broken links
- Canonicalization and duplicate URLs
- Robots files
- Meta Robots
- Sitemap Syntax
- XML Sitemap
- Sitemap Index File
- Optimization of Mobile Responsiveness
- Rich Snippets and Structured data
- Targeting Multiple Languages
- Crawl Budget
- Website speed analysis & Core Web VItals
- Image Optimization
- Security (SSL) of Website
The solutions for this audit can be implemented instantly as all the work is done on-page.
Content SEO Audit
The Content audit scans all the content on the website, on all pages, and checks if it is optimized to give the relevant info to the potential customer. It analyses the keyword density, the prompt answers it contains to probable questions, and the overall quality of the text. It also checks the originality and uniqueness and whether other websites duplicate the content. As the saying “Content is King” is still valid, the audit of the content is significant for the analysis to come full circle.
What Does the Content SEO Audit Cover?
- Meta Data (Meta Titles & Descriptions), H-Tags
- Internal Linking
- Analysis of the whole content on the pages (thin, duplicate, rich, etc)
- Analysis of type of content (informational, selling, etc) and whether it corresponds to the phases of the buyer’s cycle (awareness, consideration, buying)
- Quality of content
- Quality of Images / Video
- Comparison to Competitors’ content
Website Competitor Analysis
“Poor Firms ignore their competitors; average firms copy their competitors; winning firms lead their competitors.”
Philip Kotler – an American marketing author, consultant, and professor.
Well, to be ahead of the competitors, you need to know them inside and out. Which keywords they target, what their strengths and weaknesses are, their social media activity, their advertisement machinery, and generally, the full picture of how they run their businesses. All of this can be found by performing the competitors audit and will help you figure out what the competitors do will give you a head start in the rivalry. You will stand out and beat them by becoming a more popular and trusted solution for the customers.
What Does an SEO Competitor Analysis Cover?
- Focus keywords for which they rank
- Do they appear in Featured Snippets / People also ask
- Competitors’ Metrics analysis (Domain rating, URL rating, Referring domains, backlinks)
- Website traffic analysis of the competitors
Extra: Local SEO Audit
This type of audit is performed when the website in question is of a business operating locally. Performing a local SEO Audit will direct you to some key optimizations, including local listings, local citations, local search rankings, and reviews as well as on-page and off-page local activities. Particularly for small businesses, this audit is essential as local rankings are all that matters.
Where to Start?
The same way you won’t let someone who is not a professional treat you when you are sick, you shouldn’t leave your website in the hands of people who are not SEO experts. It would help if you had someone who is up to date with the current trends in online optimization and ready to tackle different challenges because each challenge is unique, and it needs a different set of skills to come up with a solution.
For that purpose, hiring an SEO expert is the first step. Of course, SEO experts use several website analysis tools and programs to do all the analyses, such as Screaming frog, Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Search Console, and others, and all of these pinpoint the problems with the website.
So you might think, “Why would I need an SEO expert when I can buy the program and do the analysis by myself?”
The answer is pretty much straightforward: OK, you can do that. But what is next after finding the problems? Can you resolve them? Our guess is No.
Hence, expert skills are needed. The programs show the problems all right, but the SEO experts are those who will suggest to you how to get rid of them, and better yet, they do it for you. Plus, they always do more than just running a program. Often, manual research must be conducted, and the solutions are of “think outside of the box”-nature.
SmartClick, for example, uses programs like Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, Google Adwords to get to the problems fast, but going the extra mile and looking for more info is always a part of the audit process. Making sure that every field is covered and all the essential details are extracted is all that matters for the next step – the planning of an SEO strategy.
What Comes After the Audit?
We will repeat this again, every agency has its own strategy and streamlined process of how they conduct their audits and the following activities. What we do next at SmartClick is prepare a presentation in which our potential clients are notified briefly about the problems of their website, SEO opportunities, and suggestions in simple English. It is easily understandable even for people who don’t know much about the process. The audit is prepared as a ready-to-use tool for the in-house team of developers, digital marketing specialists, or content creators in the client’s company, while the presentation is mostly for the owner or the manager of the company to get briefed about the basics.
Will the Audit Keep Your Website on the First Page of Google?
But it is the first and most important step to creating an SEO strategy that will bring the website to the first page of results and hopefully, keep it there.
For a website to get the high-ranking positions on the first page, a team of both SEO and Web Dev experts must work hand in hand to deliver superior user experience and the wanted online visibility. It is a process that lasts and a process that instead of instant results, gives long-term but everlasting results.
Online success doesn’t come easily. It doesn’t just happen because you are lucky. It won’t happen even if you have paid the most followed influencers to make a post/story about your brand. Even though the last trick might have an instant effect, it will wear off in a couple of days or weeks. Then, you are left with no aces in the sleeve.
On the other hand, having an extensive audit with all the relevant information is the stepping stone for your business online. Based on it, a long-term strategy will be planned and executed, and the fruits of success will be available for a long time.
Also, look at it this way – your website will be healthy and strong to overcome any challenge on its way to success and achieve popularity, reliability, and organic traffic that converts.
So, is your site feeling OK today?
Does it need a doctor to diagnose its problems?