The SEO Audit is a fundamental aspect of marketing your website. Like your annual physical, or a check-up at the doctor’s office, this core SEO deliverable assesses the overall health of your website. Just like a doctor, your SEO team will assess your website’s overall health, risks and provide prescriptions, advice and tips to treat weaknesses as well as recommendations for preventative care or maintenance. And, just like a visit to the doctor, sometimes you walk out of the office having heard something that you really didn’t want to hear, but something that was absolutely necessary to hear.
When an SEO firm provides an SEO audit, keep in mind that it is pretty easy to “hole punch” any SEO effort. So, be sure to take any audit with that in mind. If you are using this audit to double-check the work of an in-house SEO or to audit another agency, there are always going to be things that an SEO can find to “do better”.
To fully prepare for an SEO Audit, your search team will require the following:
- access to historical data from your website analytics (Google Analytics, Omniture, etc.)
- access to webmaster tools accounts (Google Webmaster Tools / Bing Webmaster Tools)
- an understanding of your target customers and top competitors
- a history of your primary domain and a list of secondary domains owned
- any plans to add, change or delete content on the website within the next six months or so
- URLs for any blogs and/or social profiles that you’ve established for your brand/company
An SEO Audit from Vizion Interactive would look at three core areas, generally speaking :
- Indexing – Put simply,we would analyze whether or not the search engines find your content, of all types. We would assess whether the search engines can correctly identify the websites’ language and country. We assess whether the search engines have identified the correct URLs for your site and have avoided indexing the same content in multiple locations. We also look at technical server issues such as the speed at which your site loads – all with an eye towards evaluating whether the site delivers to both engines and visitors.
- Content – Having high quality content which is relevant to your visitors is critical. Content is important in first attracting users to your site via keywords, which represent what you sell or offer. It is also important that the content on your website be capable of not only being palatable to your visitor, but also help to move the visitors from reader to client/prospect. Vizion Interactive would look at your content to see how well the content is optimized, what keyword coverage (or gaps) exist, as well as how existing content performs in the search engines (visibility and traffic) as well as with visitors (time on site / conversions). Vizion Interactive would also seek to understand what forms of content exist (Text / Image / Video / PR / Social) to see how this content is being created (is there a plan?) and how this content is being used (synergistic, or is each on its own island?).
- Authority – A well optimized website with good content is a great start, but it takes a site with credibility to rank well in the engines. Search engines want to display the best possible result to a searchers query. To evaluate “quality”, search engines look at things such as your domain’s reputation (what do other sites say about yours, in linked text), your domain’s authority (how many/which sites link to yours) and how many pages of quality content you have on your domain. They may also consider things such as whether visitors click and stay on your site, and whether your site has any malicious code, viruses or spyware. It’s also important to evaluate some off-site factors such as whether your brand has authority in real-time search channels such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. Also, is your site connecting with a community and earning “likes” / votes via Facebook and Google + 1?
This is certainly not the entire process that we follow for creating an SEO Audit, but it gives you a sense as to some of the things that one should consider when developing an SEO Audit. I hope you found this helpful.
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