What is an SEO Audit, and Why Do I Need One?
If you’ve never sat through an SEO audit review meeting,
you may be wondering what benefit your organization might see from performing one. You may even be wondering what information you could expect to learn. In this post, we’ll outline information you should expect and some of the technical specifics that will likely be included.
Web Chat Audio: SEO Audit
On Page Analysis
Most reports have a section that outlines page-specific technical aspects.
These things might include:
There is a character count sweet spot that will allow you to make the most of the space allowed for a Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page) page title. We want to use as much of that space as possible, without writing a title that is so long that key words at the end get cut off.
This is a snippet of code that indicates the size of the text on the page. H1 is the largest font size on your website. Because it’s the largest, search engines recognize it as the most important text on the page, usually the title. An SEO audit should let you know if your site makes the gaffe of using this font size in multiple places on the same page.
This section could and probably should outline several different pieces of information. These include word count, which for most pages should be at least 600 to 800 words (with a few exceptions like your Contact page), keyword density and Flesch reading score.
This information is a little description of the specific content on each page. This content was originally meant for search engines and isn’t published anywhere on your site that visitors can view. However, meta descriptions are shown on SERPs under the page title. I frequently refer to this content as “clickbait,” as I want my team to think of it as the description that will convince qualified visitors to click through and visit a site. An SEO audit should alert the team to pages that have missing meta descriptions or meta descriptions that could be improved to best use the space Google allows.
This is usually a short section filled with technical things.
This area might outline some quick-and-easy wins for your SEO implementation plan, such as:
Your Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate costs about $250 a year and keeps Google from flashing the “unsafe” tag in front of your URL in the address field of the browser. (JEFF CAN WE SHOW A PICTURE HERE?)
This would include any HTTP errors on your site that return a code between 400 and 499. You are likely most familiar with the 404 error, which usually shows “Page Not Found”. (For a quick laugh, check out Vela’s 404 page; if you’ve read Carly Lawson’s blog post ”3 Good Ways to Use GIFs in Marketing,” you won’t be surprised to find out that she was the brain behind ours.)
This section of the audit would review your site’s redirects, which could fall between any of the codes 300 to 399. You may be most familiar with the 301 redirect, which is a permanent redirect. It’s the type we use when we remove content from a site and need to forward that old URL to updated content.
Your SEO team may include a section about pages or content that are not indexed in the site.
When content is not indexed that means that the search engines either cannot find it or are directed not to return that content in a SERP. Here are some examples:
A little snippet of code tells the search engines not to include these pages in SERPs. Great examples of content like this may be your website’s sitemap. If you have a WordPress site, it could include automatically generated pages such as category pages.
These are pages that have a snippet of code on them telling search engines not to crawl the content. Consider this one step further than a Noindex page.
This term refers to a snippet of code that tells the search engines not to follow links on a specific page of your site.
This information might also be presented in this section of your report. This term refers to any pages of your website that require four or more clicks to access information.
This is everyone’s favorite part of an SEO audit.
A good SEO audit presentation will include information on keywords for which your site is:
- Ranking in the top 10
- Receiving the highest number of impressions
- Earning the highest click-through-rate (CTR)
Comparing the terms that show up on all or more than one of these charts will help identify areas where your site is experiencing the most success.
If you already have a list of keywords that you have been targeting or should be ranking high for, make sure to provide it to the team performing your SEO audit. They can include the metrics for those search terms as well.
If this SEO audit is meant to kick off a new SEO strategy for your organization, this section may include a discussion guide or worksheet. This will allow your SEO team to hear common terms in your industry and help ensure that they test those terms as part of the research in the next step, which would be developing an SEO strategy plan. Often, business owners or managers know the best terms in their industries. However, we have found that there are valuable B2B prospects out there who don’t know the terminology and are searching for solutions to their problems. A good SEO partner will help you identify those issues as part of their keyword research.
For organizations that have never gone through an SEO audit, this type of information usually provides a lot to consider. It can also create a laundry list of “little things” that can be done quickly to kick-start an SEO project.
If your marketing plan is missing a strong digital component, the digital team at Vela would recommend getting started with an SEO audit. That document and keyword work sessions can guide organic optimization, paid campaigns and content marketing strategies. Your SEO plan can be a firm foundation to build your digital presence on.