What does it take to have a successful website? 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.
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 diagnose. After the therapy, you recover/feel 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.
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 Defined
Now that you have understood what an SEO audit is in simple English 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 audit of the website in order to pinpoint the performance of all the pages and the on-page ad off-page activities. 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. 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 which can be combined with each other depending on the way the agency/SEO expert works. Basically, there are five different types of audits: SEO technical, content, SEO link, examining competitors, and local SEO.
SEO Technical Audit
This is the first and most 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.
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 a full circle.
SEO Link Audit
Checking all of the links – internal and external as well as inbound, wrong, or broken links will give the precise info on the situation of the website and whether these links positively or negatively affect the ranking.
“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 where figuring 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.
Local SEO Audit
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 tools and programs to do all the analyses, such as Screaming frog, Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Analytics, Search Console and others, and all of these show 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?”
Well, here is why,
The programs give automated data which doesn’t prioritise the problems according to their urgency. The data is collected in a couple of seconds and shown in tables. An explanation is given of the values but the interpretation is up to the person conducting the research. There are no recommendations.
Moreover, the tools don’t understand the type of business it is and what is relevant for its online success. They don’t know the business’ goals and don’t do any categorisation. Also, the results from the tools can show data that sometimes isn’t a real problem. Such example is duplicated meta content which doesn’t impact the ranking. It still is a technical issue that should be corrected as it helps to increase the CTR but how urgent it is is up to the SEO expert to decide.
What Comes After the Audit?
Once the data is extracted from the programs and tools, the complete look of the audit is finished. For this purpose, expert skills are needed. At SmartClicks we do a lot more than just running the program and collecting the data. We perform manual research, based on the info we collect during the talk with our clients and based on the brief we prioritise the adjustments according to their relevancy and urgency which is something the programs can’t do.
We use programs like Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, Keyword Planner from Google Adwords to get data, but “thinking out of the box” and going the extra mile to create the full picture is something that makes the audit a useful resource for further work. 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.
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 preparing 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 the 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.
The Bottom Line
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?