SEO Audits: Why Your Business Needs Them
Regular SEO audits are the lifeblood of your business.
If your site is stuck in a traffic plateau or you start to see a steady decline then it is time to get auditing.
Not only that but by conducting routine audits you can find issues that you didn’t even realize you had, and once fixed, can give your website a traffic boost you weren’t even expecting.
SEO audits delve deep into your website and if you follow the correct steps to identifying what you need to fix, what you need to start doing and what you need to stop doing…
This not only can give you an instant lift in traffic but can put you on a positive trajectory for a long time to come.
My most recent audit gave me really valuable insight into what my audience wanted and how I can make it much easier for them to get it. Meaning I could build a new strategy to ensure I not only kept my current audience hooked but I attracted more visitors I may previously have been missing out on.
And the best of it was…
I saw an increase of 45% in organic traffic!
Ok so we have covered just how valuable SEO audits are to your business, now I am going to take you through my common sense approach to an SEO Audit.
Most people associate SEO audits with fancy auditing tools that scan your site and spit out your problems. And, well that is part of the process, however, there are a bunch of manual audit checks you need to do first…
These manual checks can be broken down into 3 stages:
- Get feedback from your audience
- Manual site observations
- Perform technical spot checks
Let’s delve a little deeper…
Get feedback from your audience
Who better to get feedback from about your site’s usability than the people who are actually using your site! Remember if your visitors love your site… so will the search engines!
This step is really easy to do. Just jump on social media, conduct a reader survey or however you feel is best to communicate with your followers and ask them some simple questions like:
- Tell me the things you dislike about my site
- Tell me what content you want me to write about
- Tell me the best way I can show you that content
This feedback will help you to fix existing issues and maybe even change your website a bit more drastically to meet the needs of your customers. It can even help you build a new content strategy which is designed with your visitors in mind (who are the bread and butter of any website).
But don’t do anything just yet, instead make a note of your findings and move onto the next step.
Manual site observations
This step is all about putting yourself in your visitor’s shoes.
You need to go and review anything already on your list from the previous step and add any observations you make yourself.
Just have a click around, see how easy/difficult it is to reach certain content. Is your content presented in the best way for you as a reader? Take your SEO hat off and really observe what you see. You will probably be surprised.
Add them to your list and move on to the last stage of your manual checks.
Perform technical spot checks
Next you will need to perform some technical spot checks that highlight the most common problems that occur on websites that are struggling to rank and attract organic traffic.
These checks are:
- Mobile & desktop speed
- Mobile indexing
- Review data
- Check performance metrics
You need to pick 5x URLs from your site. This should include your home page, a category page and a page that is image, content and video heavy.
You can find a helpful spreadsheet that will allow you to record your findings and track the results in my full SEO audit guide.
- To check your mobile and desktop speed you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights
- To check your mobile indexing just use Google Search Console Mobile-Friendly testing tool
- Check if your site has structured data with Google Search Console Structured Data testing tool.
- Then use GTmetrix to check performance metrics.
That’s all your manual checks done!
Use An SEO Audit Tool
Now for the easy part. Pick your tool of choice…
They come with some pretty good trials so this isn’t going to cost the earth to complete this stage.
As you can see… this really was the easy part!
Creating A Solid Plan Of Attack
The final stage before it is time to start fixing the issues is to bring all your findings together and build a robust solid plan of attack. Don’t underestimate how important this step is. If you execute this right, you’ll see a difference in traffic fast!
So once you have consolidated your list, you then need to rank each point. You need to do this in the order of what is going to make your audience happiest.
Remember… happy visitors equals a happy search engine.
I used this exact strategy on my blog and saw an increase in my traffic by 45% compared to the worst month in my previous year. I have seen a steady decline in traffic over that year and decided to do something about it.
I had a very long list of things to fix. These were some of the more important problems I needed to action…
- Redesign of my homepage
- Improve my website speed
- Add 3 new portal pages to improve navigation
- Optimize all my content and bring it up to date and more reader-friendly
- General site structure needed work
- Simplify overall site navigation
- Fix technical SEO problems found.
You will find a different set of problems to fix, some may be similar to mine but the principles remain the same for carrying out an SEO audit.
Matthew Woodward is an award-winning internet marketer who publishes detailed tutorials, reviews and case studies which help people build a successful online business. After leaving the corporate world, he started his blog in 2012 and since then has helped thousands of people to reach their marketing and SEO targets.