What is an SEO audit and when/why do you need one? Let’s start with the definition…
The Definition of an SEO Audit
An SEO audit scrutinizes your website to address issues that pertain to search engine ranking and organic search results as well as user experience. During this process, and SEO specialist hones the backend of your website (meta tags, site speed, and indexing or linking issues), and polishes the front end from an SEO and user-perspective too.
When You Need an SEO Audit
Here is the timeframe and the telltale signs your website needs an SEO audit.
Conduct an SEO Audit Every 6-12 Months
An SEO audit should be treated like a visit to the dentist or doctor—check-ups need to be done every six to 12 months. Why? Because search engine algorithms constantly change (they switch up best practices and potential SEO penalties and violations), other websites can hurt your account without you knowing it, and SEO audits reveal trending keywords and insights to help you outrank competitors and win more business. Depending on the size of your site, your SEO audit can wrap up in a couple days to weeks and cost several hundred to thousands of dollars. Usually, we can take care of client SEO audits for under $1,000.
After You Update Products, Services, or Your Website Template or Design
If you add a significant amount of new products or services to your website, you should conduct an SEO audit. The same goes for a new website design or template. You want to make sure your new product or service pages rank and index in Google and search engines. You also want to ensure your SEO from your old site transfers smoothly to your new template. Why? So qualified customers can find your business and do business with you!
If You Notice Dwindling Website Traffic and Sales
If your website traffic or sales take a nose dive for no apparent reason, SEO may be to blame. An SEO audit will reveal issues with search engines, possible penalties, and ways to improve your site.
If Web Pages Aren’t Indexed
An SEO audit will tell you which pages need to be indexed—or crawled for relevant keywords by search engine algorithm spiders and ranked accordingly in search results. When a page is indexed, it means it’s on deck to shoot into search results when someone types in for relevant long or short tail keywords. You want your pages to index so your content rises to the top.
8 Reasons Why You Need at Least One SEO Audit in 2019
There are myriad reasons to conduct an SEO audit. Here are our top eight reasons why.
1. Opportunities and Shortcomings
When Witty Kitty conducts an SEO audit, we look at the backend of your website to make sure everything functions optimally. This includes image tags, keywords, site speed, page functionality—you name it. An SEO audit gives you a grade and tells you what’s great and what needs to improve. For instance, you might realize some of your pages have 404 errors and need redirect links; simple fixes that make a huge difference in customer experience and conversion.
2. Organic Search and Outranking Competitors
Have you heard the marketing joke, “Where’s the best place to hide a body? On the second page of Google.”? Well, that’s true. If your website content doesn’t rank on page one of search results, your brand won’t be found.
3. Keyword Research
SEO audits identify a list of long and short tail keywords—ranging in high to low search volume. This tells you what people search for and give you ideas for blogs and website content. We recommend doing a content strategy optimization after an SEO audit to add keywords to the front end of your website and SEO-friendly places—like blog headlines, cross-headings, and peppered throughout the content. Learn how to write SEO-friendly content that readers and search engine’s love.
4. Site Speed
Over half of people will bounce from a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. That means you’ll turn off potential leads, sales, and customers. An SEO audit will determine which pages of your site perform slowly on mobile and desktop so your website developer can improve these issues and speed things up.
5. Content Optimization and User Experience Improvements
An SEO audit determines the infrastructure and messaging hierarchy for your website’s content. In short, a good SEO audit helps you organize your content and main CTAs into a user-friendly format.
6. Algorithm Best Practices
Your site may be flagged for an SEO violation and you don’t even know it! For instance, we had a client come to us who had dozens of external links on each page. While that was once acceptable, it’s now a red flag for Google for spammy content. The fix was simple. We restructured links into a footer with footnotes, and doing so helped this client avoid a near-penalty situation. During an SEO audit, you may also learn if you’re under penalty because of other websites that link to your website. This is called black hat SEO. An SEO audit can help you formally disavow these links to Google to remove you from penalty and downgraded rankings.
7. Link Building
If you focus on link building, an SEO audit will track your backlinks. That allows you to add trust signals or an “as seen on” section to your website. Showing you’ve been featured in prominent publications and mentioned by influencers establishes instant street cred and trust with your audience. These press mentions fast-track your customer journey to a sale because you’ve cleared the biggest hurdle: trust.
8. Return on Your Investment
If you made the world’s best pizza, but no delivery staff to bring it to people, what good would it do? What does that metaphor tell you? That I’m hungry for some za while writing this (been on a za bender lately), but also a longwinded way of saying this: SEO is the vehicle your content travels on to organically find relevant audiences. In even simpler terms, SEO helps people find your content! You may spend thousands of dollars on your content per year—blogs, website copy, and more—but if your SEO isn’t up to snuff, your website works against itself.
A search engine optimization audit reviews the user experience and search ranking performance of your website. That’s why an SEO audit is so important! Conduct an SEO audit ASAP if you haven’t in the past six to 12 months, or get in touch and we can take over.