How do you know if your SEO delivers the results you want or fails to live up to expectations? You conduct an in-depth and comprehensive audit.
Just like the tax authorities would conduct an audit into your finances if things go wrong, the same logic applies here. You need an overall view of how your SEO campaign is proceeding to ensure that you can make the necessary changes to turn it around.
If this is your first time, you might be wondering: what does an SEO audit include? What do you do after you complete it? How often should you conduct one?
With our local and trusted SEO experts at GrowME Marketing, we answer all these questions in our comprehensive guide to SEO audits.
Your Only Comprehensive SEO Audit Guide
What is an SEO Audit?
Just as we mentioned above, an SEO audit is a process in which you analyze how effective your SEO is in achieving your desired results, assessing all the foundational issues that affect your website’s organic search performance.
An audit can highlight potential problems such as:
- On-page, off-page and technical SEO
- User experience
- Content gaps and opportunities
- Competitive marketplace
- Website structure and design
- Lead generation
- Conversion results
In regards to how often an audit should occur, we recommend every 6 to 8 months.
Why conduct an SEO audit?
It’s essentially a “health check” for your website, so if you ignore it, you could potentially waste time, resources and money the longer the issues go on.
The goal is to provide you with a “big picture” view of what is happening in your current state so that you can devise a new strategy, or if successful, slightly tweak your current SEO campaign.
The audit should be simple to digest, with everyone being able to connect the dots as to how SEO issues are affecting your online priorities, goals, or revenue.
At the end of the review, all the recommendations should be actionable, meaning that there is a clear path to completion, where each projected impact is assessed.
How long does an SEO audit take?
Something this important should not be rushed. You need time and resources to uncover the root causes of the issues affecting your SEO campaign. Depending on your audit size – it should not be a “one size fits all” approach – and what you are specifically looking for, the timeframe can range from two to eight weeks.
Due diligence, correct information and in-depth analysis are required to ensure that the website is performing as expected. Rushing this process might produce poor results that don’t give you an entire scope of how the website and SEO campaign performs.
Allowing bi-weekly or weekly check-ins keeps you informed about the audit process (unless you’re conducting it yourself). As you learn about what is happening during the audit, you can begin the process of assessing what changes you would like to see in the future.
What is analyzed during an SEO audit?
As we mentioned above, it depends on what you’re looking for during the audit. But if you are thinking about the complete review, then get ready; there’s a lot to unpack.
Before we get to that, it’s important to break down your review into three distinct sections: on-page (what’s happening on your site), off-page (what you’re doing off your website) and technical (the development of your website).
From there, you can assess each element on its own merits (using a baseline in what you hoped to have achieved) and then determine which needs improvements (because they don’t reach the baseline) and what is working as expected (because it has succeeded expectations).
- Website Design & Content Structure
- Keyword Research, Implementation & Use
- Unique Content, Usage & Duplication
- Meta Data (Page Titles, Meta Descriptions, Heading Tags)
- Schema Assessment
- User Experience, including Mobile Optimization
- Bounce Rate
- Images & Video Quality, Size & Engagement
- Internal Linking & HTML Sitemap
- Crawler Analysis
- User Agent Analysis
- Current SEO Practices
- Potential Blackhat Tactics
- Link Building Quality
- Number of Backlinks
- Domain Authority
- Local Directories & Citations
- Off-Page Guest Posting
- Social Media Platforms & Usage
- Use of Keywords Off-Page
- Competition & Marketplace Analysis
- Website Speed
- URL Structure
- Indexation & Status Codes
- txt & XML Sitemap
- Canonical Tags
- Crawlability & Redirects
- Legacy Domain Issues
The information collected during the auditing process allows your team to make accurate, impactful recommendations to improve your SEO campaign.
What to do after the SEO audit?
After the audit is completed, you’ll have a list of recommendations on what to do next so you can improve your SEO campaign.
For example, if duplicated content is found, you might have to rewrite sections of your website or replace the content completely. If the website speed is too slow, you might have to remove plugins and reduce the size of images and videos. Those with problems with user experience and site structure, might have to redesign their website or specific pages to generate better results.
Recommendations will be based on what you want to achieve for your SEO campaign and how you can go about doing so.
Should I do it myself or hire a professional?
There is no harm in conducting an audit yourself. But if you don’t know what you’re looking for, what needs improving and don’t have the resources and time (remember, it can take up to 8 weeks), it’s best to leave it to a professional.
An experienced SEO agency can undertake the complete assessment of your website (which will be customized to you and your specific situation), talk through the findings and recommendations, and if needed, do them for you. You’ll have a roadmap on when the audit will be completed and what to expect during their process.
Remember that your website and SEO is the lifeblood of your business. It’s important to have regular checkups to ensure everything is in order and that you adjust your campaign so that you continue to experience the results that can grow your business.