SEO Audit – what is it, for whom, how and when?
Let’s start with a little inquiry. Why exactly do you have a website, a blog or online shop? “Money, money, money” as ABBA once sang. It’s that simple. You want to earn lots of it as fast and as easily as possible. But what if you really did your best and put so many long hours into making it the best website ever and it still wouldn’t work?
It means that SEO Audit probably is the one thing you need to do.
SEO Audits have been my bread and butter for a few years now. During these years of auditing websites and implementing necessary upgrades into them I’ve noticed that most of my clients – websites owners don’t have any clue on how to make their website better in terms of SEO.
FYI most of these clients have really tried to get into SEO by diving into many online publications, although the result was quite the opposite. I don’t blame them. They are experts in their respective fields, as I am in SEO.
So just for the heads up know this: SEO is something really difficult and although it’s good to know the basics, most of SEO related activities should be left to pros.
SEO Audit – diagnostics
When is the best moment for SEO Audit
SEO Audit – list of ingredients
SEO and more…
Necessary tools for SEO Audit
SEO Audit and its outcome
Free SEO Audits?
How to begin and what are the SEO Audit costs?
Sorry to break it to you but you can’t jump start SEO.
You need to start at the beginning and be aware that SEO Audit itself is only a way of summing up your previous actions and their results (or lack thereof). And no matter who created your website, there is always a room for improvement – even if you hired the best professionals ever.
SEO is just too dynamic a field to be done once and forgotten – one needs to keep up the good work. For example, multiplying the same content used to be common and acceptable, whereas now it’s immensely harmful.
On the other hand, there are some cases where there was no “good work” to begin with. Instead many cardinal errors were made due to the lack of understating of particular SEO mechanics. As you probably imagine – the more errors are made, the worse is the website’s online presence. The less people visit such a website, the less satisfying your income gets…
SEO – one may run from it, but can never outrun it
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is just a fancy term for making websites more visible, “shinier” than others in vast fields of the World Wide Web. There are many various procedures affecting Google algorithms that SEO consists of. Some of them seem as perfect, instant solutions, while being actually harmful. Others need some time to kick in, but they actually provide results.
Hopefully, more and more online businesses opt for investing into long term solutions, in spite of being lured into choosing shortcuts, which hardly ever provide any positive results.
No traffic, no income and no one to blame…
Theoretically, it is all so simple. Well designed websites should thrive and obtain a higher position on Google’s ladder. Consequently, at the same time organic traffic as well as income should also become higher.
Unfortunately, there is more to it. As always the devil lies in the details. In the case of SEO these little things are extremely hard to be seen with a bare eye. We talk about issues with the very structure of the website; incorrect configuration Google-wise or underestimating the
value of keywords and good headlines.
SEO Audit – diagnostics
At this point, you know that SEO is a rather complex system, a living organism so to speak. Modifying it entails consequences concerning your website’s well-being. Neglecting it (even for a short time) may bear huge losses. It applies both to brand new websites and these more experienced.
No matter how well optimized a website is at one moment, as the time (not so long time, frankly speaking) passes it will become obsolete and in result unfruitful. In order to stay ahead in this dynamic field of online businesses, one needs to run diagnostics from time to time.
That’s exactly what SEO Audits are. It will tell you what works just well and what needs to be taken care of. All shortcomings and weak spots shall be revealed.
But when is the best moment for SEO Audit?
At the very, very beginning. Once your website is online, it becomes a subject to Google algorithms – even if it’s incomplete. SEO auditing at this point means that you still have time to learn about SEO in general and online marketing from a professional.
All the more, you should run SEO diagnostics if you’ve already placed your website online and made it fully operational. There is still time to have an absolutely successful launch of your project. It’s only logical that SEO Audit should be repeated a few months later in order to check if assigned changes turned bountiful.
And finally SEO Audits are deemed necessary for everyone who focused solely on the “practical” side of things, while neglecting the website almost completely (Adding new products and content doesn’t count). In many such cases the number of mistakes made may be astronomical.
SEO Audit – list of ingredients
Now that we know when to get a SEO Audit, we should talk about what it should consist of. This won’t be an exactly closed and finished list, but I will try to elaborate on as many components of good SEO Audit as it’s possible.
First part of SEO Audit is Onsite Analysis:
- Analysis of keywords, resulting in evaluation of used keywords as well as choosing new, more suitable keywords
- Analysis of content:
- Analysis of content in terms of orthography, typos, other mistakes and wordsmithery
- Analysis of substance with regard to its trustworthiness and unique qualities
- Analysis of the structure of text (headlines etc.) and its length
- Analysis of graphics
- Analysis of website structure with a special emphasis on the depth of crucial subsites and 3-click rule
- Analysis of HTML code, proper usage of tags with regards to social media, schema/org and HTML5
- Analysis of website efficiency and productivity both mobile and desktop
- Analysis of availability (robots, txt, tags) and xml mapping
- Analysis of internationalism
- Analysis of multiplying content and wrong forwarding
- Analysis of “clicks heat map”
- Analysis of website usability
- Analysis of website configuration in terms of Google Analytics and Search Console
Second part of SEO Audit is Offsite Analysis:
- Analysis of external links in context of its value (other independent websites, social media etc.)
- Establishing linking profile of given website
- Analysis of competition
To sum up this “recipe”, SEO Audit is one huge evaluation of all – not only technical – issues concerning a particular website from a point of view focused on this website visibility in search engines (or truth be told – Google).
SEO and more…
While we are still talking about what SEO Audit should consist of, it is worth taking a short look at three other SEO related factors, which play a huge role in determining whether your page will be successful Google-wise or not.
First of all, all high quality websites should have a Beneficial Purpose. This is a concept that suggests that a good page should have a true intention of helping users by a variety of means. It may make them laugh, teach them, offer products to buy, share knowledge etc.
As long as website content is useful for society it has a Beneficial Purpose. On a contrary, the lowest quality pages are created solely to make money, without offering anything somewhat meaningful instead.
The second factor in the game is hidden in an acronym YMYL, which means “Your money or Your Life”. This refers to the issues mentioned in your content. If you talk about happiness, health, finances and general safety, your page is YMYL.
And for all YMYL pages the bar is set higher than for others, due to the very significance of issues mentioned. If you talk about such crucial things, the higher level of expertise is demanded from you.
The last but not least is another acronym: E-A-T. This stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness or shortly Page Quality. This is connected to the YMYL factor, since non-YMYL content doesn’t have to score as many E-A-T points as the YMYL one.
Expertise is kind of self-explanatory. In many cases you don’t need a diploma. If you review restaurants, you don’t have to be an expert chef – frequently visiting restaurants is enough. On the other hand if you give medical advice, going to the doctor’s 3 times a week won’t be enough.
Authoritativeness. The very definition of the word found in a dictionary explains very well what it means in the Google dominium. Having a widely accepted authority. If people know you (and/or your page) and perceive your thoughts, knowledge etc as something valuable then your website has the quality of Authoritativeness.
Trustworthiness is a factor determining whether people actually believe that your content consists of true information based on accurate research.
Okay, but how exactly does one make a SEO Audit?
With the use of tools, duh. Or actually with the smart and accurate use of special tools, without unnecessary haste. No SEO Audit can be finished in 24h and if someone tells you otherwise – it’s a scam.
There is no “SEO Auditor’s magic pencil” and working with the actual tools takes time. It’s only an estimation but smallest SEO Audits take about 5 working days to complete, whereas the complex ones may cover as much as 21 working days in your calendar.
Auditor takes these tools – both provided by Google (Google Analytics, Search Console) and others (Senuto, Ahrefs, Seostation for ex.) as well and the digging begins. FYI if these tools don’t ring a bell, don’t be worried – they don’t have to if you aren’t a SEO specialist.
When the digging is finally done, the Auditor takes rough data and makes conclusions. These conclusions lead to a number of recommendations. The SEO Audit is complete. Implementing these recommendations is another thing, although SEO Audits and implementing recommendations often come in pairs.
What exactly is the outcome of a SEO audit?
I won’t lie to you, there are no immediate effects, but you get knowledge. And knowledge is power. It’s like going to the doctor’s office with something more complicated than a cold. They do tests, diagnose you and the treatment takes place.
From my professional experience, most of my clients took these SEO recommendations to heart and due to – not to brag – high quality of service combined with detailed, yet easily understandable diagnostics decided to choose my agency to implement these changes.
To make a long story short, all of them saw highly beneficial results of such complete cooperation with my agency.
Great online visibility brings more and more visitors to given websites. Higher traffic directly translates to the rise of interest in client’s products, services and such. As a result income increases and everyone is happy.
But what if someone offers SEO Audit for free? And in a 10 minutes rush?!
Well, ask them if they can throw in a unicorn as a gratis souvenir… Miracles happen only in fairytales, definitely not in the vast sphere of online marketing. Immediate rise in traffic won’t happen, no matter what promises are made.
SEO-related work takes time and so traffic on a given page also should increase steadily over time. This concept may be easily checked if you look at monthly statistics from a few continuous years. On the other hand let’s say we take a page that’s only at the startline under consideration. In such a case one should take a look at organic traffic at your website.
All this talk and I still haven’t told you how to start. My bad.
So if you are interested in having a real SEO Audit all you need to do is reach out to a professional online marketing agency like mine for example (wink-wink). “Hello there, I am having some troubles with my website” – is all you need to say.
From there you shall be taken care of and the parade of questions will start. One may say that the entire FBI,CIA-like interview takes place as your contractor needs as much information as possible. I would ask about the page’s history, ups and downs, current status and plans for the future.
At this point costs of this particular SEO Audit are also estimated. Depending on what you and the auditor decide combined with the complexity as well as the size of your website costs will differ from around 200 euros (small online blog) to as much 2500 euros (huge online shopping center).
Once the deal is agreed upon the sides, the real work begins, which in many cases consists of the vast majority of ingredients listed in an acapit above. After the work is done and the client receives the SEO diagnosis as well as recommendations, the time for implementation comes which is yet another, separate thing.
At this point some agencies offer extra consultations in addition. Spiders Agency, where I work, offers them for 199 PLN/50 euros per hour, but they are not something necessary. You always get what you paid for first, which is a 100% complete SEO Audit. These consultations are facultative.
And now you know it all. Perhaps not all, but I still hope that the image of SEO Auditing you get is much less blurred after reading this article.
A few last words to the wise: if you are experiencing problems with your website and don’t know why, you shouldn’t hesitate and get yourself the explanation – SEO Audit. Remember though that knowledge you get needs to be put to use for the results to be seen.