If you’re reading this, chances are your site is underperforming. That’s okay! It happens to the best of us. But do you know you can audit your search engine optimization (SEO) to mitigate the underperformance?
An SEO audit will take a long look at your site and determine why it isn’t performing well. Since there can be a lot of different factors involved in poor marketing performance (and often, several are to blame), the SEO auditor will have to do some serious digging into your website’s metrics. This is why it usually takes 2-3 weeks from start to finish before all problems are identified and fixed.
But before you break out the pitchforks, here is what to expect before and after an SEO audit:
1. Know How To Select and Price the Best SEO Agencies and Consultants
When selecting an SEO consultant, there are some essential factors to consider. First and foremost, make sure that they have extensive experience with the type of business you run. Remember: The way your site is set up today might be different from five years ago, resulting in inaccurate information or recommendations for improvement. You want someone who knows how to recognize changes needed for a website as it evolves.
And if you’re going for an agency, learn how they function within your niches and environment. Ensure the companies are familiar with your direct target audience. For instance, hiring SEO agencies London would be more intentional for your UK audience than consulting an American agency.
Another thing you’ll want to look for is the price. While an SEO audit can be relatively affordable depending on what you’re looking for, from free estimates to fully automated reports and analysis, other companies will charge by the hour or day for their work. If your budget allows, choose this option so you know exactly how much time an SEO audit will take before signing up with that company.
2. A Thorough SEO Audit Will Review Your Site From Top to Bottom
SEO audits are some of the most important things to improve your website’s ranking on search engines. Not to mention, they’re a lot of fun. For this reason, many companies have internal SEO teams that conduct these types of audits and then send out the results in various forms, ranging from quick email notifications to hard-copy reports with colorful graphs and charts.
3. A Good Audit Is Objective, Thorough and Actionable
The first thing most people think of when a search engine optimization audit is, “How much do they cost?” While this question’s answer is necessary, consider other factors before setting aside some cash.
For starters, the most crucial element here is the entire site and its pages. An audit should provide recommendations that can be applied across all aspects of your business: the website, submission scripts, back-end systems, social media campaigns, email marketing programs and more.
The second factor to consider is what you’re looking for in an audit. Is the goal simply increasing your rankings? Or are you looking for something more specific, like ensuring your content ranks despite duplicate content or a lack thereof? Make sure these things play into the reasons for doing an SEO audit.
And lastly, remember what makes an SEO audit worth its value is not just whether it provides actionable recommendations but also the results from this process. The goal of any audit should be to see how well your current practices match up with search engine algorithms and ultimately provide a better user experience overall.
4. An Audit Can Take Anywhere From a Few Days to a Few Weeks
An audit can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of your website. If you’re dealing with something relatively small, it may only take a day or two for your SEO professional to complete their audit. But if you have an expansive site, this process may take up to several weeks. A vast site could even require several months of work before the audit is complete.
5. There Are Many Different Kinds of Keyword Audits
In a digital world, it’s essential to think of your website not as merely a product or service but as an ecosystem. In this digital ecosystem, the number one factor to consider when choosing the right keyword and long-tail terms is how they affect each other.
For example, if you’re in the business of running on-site SEO audits for your clients, knowing which keywords are essential for them to be ranking is paramount. One of these keywords could have a lot of juice in terms of traffic and conversion. If you want to rank high for specific keywords (especially long ones), another keyword will probably need to be dropped from the priority list.
In an SEO audit report, there’s a place where this type of thing can be noted under “Keywords.” The “keywords” field is divided into two sections: short-tail keywords (those with less than five characters) and long-tail keywords (those with more than five characters).
Short-tail words appear often enough on search engine results pages (SERPs), so they can start hurting your rankings if they become overused too much. Long-tail words rarely appear on SERPs, so they don’t hurt rankings too much.
6. Expect an Audit To Uncover Lots of Problems
Most audits will uncover existing issues with a website, but don’t let this discourage you. The whole idea of an SEO audit is to offer a fresh perspective and identify issues that may have gone unnoticed. Once the problems are identified, it becomes easier to prioritize your efforts and improve your overall website performance.
An SEO audit can help you avoid making common mistakes that could be holding your website back from reaching its full potential.
7. An Audit Should Provide Recommendations for Fixing Those Problems
An audit should provide recommendations for fixing problems. These recommendations should be clear, actionable and based on data. Your auditor shouldn’t just list the problems; the person should explain what to fix and how to fix it, with links to relevant resources.
As you go through your website, you’re likely to spot any potential issues. But not all of them are equally important or even have the same impact. Since your auditor knows your business goals, they should include recommendation priorities (e.g., high, medium, low) as an easy guide on which issues to address first.
8. Fixing Some Problems Can Be Complicated And Expensive
Several factors can affect the cost of fixing problems:
The size of the website: If your site has 1,000 pages or more, it will take longer to fix problems than a smaller website.
Types of problems found: Some SEO issues have simple fixes, and others have complex fixes. For example, if you need to update meta descriptions on 700 web pages, it will take less time than if you need to update HTML coding on 700 web pages.
Type of fixes needed: Sometimes images and copy (text) need to be updated on the website for SEO purposes. These updates aren’t as difficult or time-consuming as updating HTML coding or the back-end server settings for your site.
The complexity of the fixes needed: Some issues may require extensive troubleshooting and problem-solving before solutions can be implemented into the website’s code.
The number of people working on your project at once: If only one person is working on implementing fixes, it will take longer than if two or three people are working together simultaneously on different tasks within your project plan.
9. Once an Audit Is Complete, It’s Important To Keep Up With Maintenance Tasks
Broken links are all over the internet, and they can pop up on your site without you realizing it. 404 errors or broken pages cause issues like wasted crawl budget and a poor user experience that could lead to users leaving a site. You should regularly review your site for broken links and perform 301 redirects to give users (and search engines) an idea of where they should go instead.
It’s also important to regularly review your site for broken redirects. In many cases, these are set up as temporary solutions later forgotten about. But if too many reside on your site for too long, it can hurt performance by creating multiple URLs that link back to the same destination. This can also confuse search engine crawlers with conflicting information about what is considered ‘canonical’ content.
Next, you should regularly review your site for broken images and make sure they load correctly. A missing image tag can cause duplicate content issues on a page that might otherwise be ranked higher in search engines. If an image isn’t loading correctly due to incorrect path settings, this will create more problems because users won’t see what they expect when clicking through pages within your website.
The process of an SEO audit can be intimidating. However, it doesn’t have to be. By understanding what to expect before and after an SEO audit, you can simplify the process. Before an audit, you should expect to set aside some time with the team to conduct the audit. After an audit, you can expect your website to perform better than before, converting more viewers into customers. You can also expect improved search rankings thanks to the site’s higher performance.