You can’t sell products or services without leads and in the online world you need a solid SEO strategy to bring potential clients knocking (so to speak). Search engine optimisation is only one of many aspects to a successful marketing campaign, but without it the sales process never begins.
It doesn’t matter how great your brand is; if the traffic isn’t coming then you don’t get a chance to prove it. So when your website isn’t performing the way you had hoped, the first place to start is with an SEO audit – so you can diagnose the problem and improve results.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is a comprehensive assessment of your website that checks the vital requirements for ranking on search pages, as well as accessibility for users. The aim is to gain insights into the performance of your website from a search marketing perspective and, above all, learn how to improve results.
A certain search engine in particular keeps moving the goal posts (yes Google, we’re talking to you) which means DIY audits have become increasingly difficult. You’ll find a number of guides online to point you in the right direction, but with all the changes Google makes to its algorithm the self-help guides are soon out of date.
That said, any good SEO audit wants to look at the following:
- On-page ranking factors
- Off-page ranking factors
- Competitive analysis
What makes these factors so important?
At the very least a website needs to be accessible to both search engines and users – otherwise what’s the point? If search engines can’t crawl your content, there’s no way for them to index you in search results. And if users can’t access your site (or you have a poor user experience) you’ll never turn them into paying customers.
By investigating indexibility further you’ll be able to see how many of your pages rank in search results and pinpoint any specific pages that need looking at. This process should also help you rule out (or identify) the possibility of any search penalties you may have been hit by.
Once you know there are no more accessibility or indexability issues with your website or pages it’s time to assess the on-page factors for each page. Although many of these factors change for every page you create, it’s essentially a case of knowing how to format them correctly – something you’ll use on each page you create.
Meanwhile, off-page factors include your backlink profile, a number of social signals and the extremely subjective metric of trustworthiness. These off-page factors are some of the most influential signals Google uses to rank pages so you want to get them spot on.
Finally we have competitive analysis, where you assess the performance of your competitors. You’re doing this for two reasons: to see what they do well, but also spot any weaknesses you can exploit.
Putting your finding into actions
Even with all the above covered (and those are extremely brief overviews) you still need to put your findings into actionable SEO tactics. An audit should point you in the right direction and tell you if your link profile is holding you back or your social media engagement needs to increase – the next challenge is creating a new strategy that can turn things around.