What Do we do during the SEO Audit and Visibility Audit?
Every website has a few holes. The reason we start an SEO Campaign with the SEO Audit is to ensure that we have identified these holes and have taking the time to patch them up before we begin the process of on going SEO and Content Marketing. So let’s dive into the SEO Audit and see what it’s all about.
1. Getting the lay of the land
The first thing we do when auditing your website for SEO is configure our crawling tools and start collecting data associated with your site to learn where you currently rank. We’ll review your Google Analytics and review your traffic patterns and consult Google Webmaster Tools free diagnostic tools. Having all of this data at our disposal we’re ready to begin the audit.
2. Auditing Accessibility
This part of the audit looks at how search engines are currently able to access your website. We want to make sure the basics are there and nothing is impeding the engines from crawling the pages. We’ll review the following:
- Robots meta tag
- HTTP status codes
- XML sitemaps
- Site architecture
We realize you may not be familiar with some of these terms. If you have any questions about some of what we’ll be reviewing, please let us know and we’ll be happy to explain in simple terms!
Once we determine that search engines can access your pages, next we want to make sure they’re actually indexing them (including them in results).
We do this quite simply by running search queries through Google, Yahoo! and Bing, and learning how many pages on your website are being indexed. We’ll run brand searches along with basic keywords (industry, product, location) and recording the results.
In the event you’re being blocked we’ll dig to learn why and then propose a solution for fixing any errors to get your site back in the rankings.
4. On-page ranking factors in the SEO Audit
Now that we’ve determined that your site is being indexed and crawled, we’ll review more about what factors on your site influence those rankings. We’ll look at the following items:
- Since a URL is the entry point to a page’s content, it’s a logical place to begin our on-page analysis.
- URL-based duplicate content
URLs are often responsible for the majority of duplicate content on a website because every URL represents a unique entry point into the site. If two distinct URLs point to the same page (without the use of redirection), search engines believe two distinct pages exist.
Content is the most important thing Google and other search engines look for when determining how to rank your site. We’ll analyze your content to determine whether your content is valuable to it’s audience and how targeted they keywords are, and make sure it’s not spammy or difficult to read.
Information architecture defines how information is laid out on the site. It is the blueprint for how your site presents information (and how you expect visitors to consume that information). During the audit, we’ll ensure that each of your site’s pages has a purpose. We’ll also verify that each of your targeted keywords is being represented by a page on your site.
Keyword cannibalism describes the situation where your site has multiple pages that target the same keyword. When multiple pages target a keyword, it creates confusion for the search engines, and more importantly, it creates confusion for visitors.
Your site has duplicate content if multiple pages contain the same (or nearly the same) content. Unfortunately, these pages can be both internal and external (i.e., hosted on a different domain).
The markup in the source code of your pages is extremely important for how pages get crawled. We’ll focus on the title tags and meta descriptions, while also paying attention to headings and images.
When one page links to another, that link is an endorsement of the receiving page’s quality. Thus, an important part of the audit is making sure your site links to other high quality sites.
5. Off-page ranking factors in the SEO Audit
While what’s on your website is important for SEO, what’s off the website is just as important. Your site’s quality is largely determined by the quality of the sites linking to it. Thus, it is extremely important to analyze the backlink profile of your site and identify opportunities for improvement. We’ll review it from many angles, including:
- How popular your website currently is compared to the competition?
- Are you getting backlinks from popular websites?
- Are you gaining or losing popularity over time?
- Is your website trustworthy?
- How many domains link to you?
- What is the Page Authority and Domain Authority?
- How is your social engagement?
6. Competitive Analysis
After we’ve reviewed your site in detail, we’ll also compare it against 3 competitors in all of the ways listed above, and compile the data down into actionable items.