What are SEO audits and what should a good initial SEO report contain?
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is a process of making your website more visible to search engines, and helping them to understand your content and direct more potential clients and customers your way.
In the old days, search engines used rudimentary measures such as “number of times each search term appears on the site” or “number of relevant links”.
But nowadays, search engines are becoming increasingly sophisticated and adept at judging high quality relevant content (for the reader), so search engine optimisation has become much more about designing a website (content, layout etc) with your target audience in mind, and less about trying to trick search engines through keyword stuffing.
But there are still a number of technical aspects of websites that – no matter how good your content is or how pretty your website looks – can prevent a search engine from finding them.
An SEO audit will help you to:
- find out what’s stopping search engines from finding your website
- benchmark your website against your competitors
- discover the keywords that people are searching on to find companies like yours
- get an actionable ‘to do’ list of technical fixes that your website needs
- write better content and metadata for your website so more potential customers can find you
SEO audits should comprise of:
- Keyword Research – Lets you know which keywords people are searching on most regularly to find your products, and a list of unique keywords that you could achieve high search engine rankings on (to inform your content strategy).
- Competitor Analysis – What your competitors are doing well, and what you could do better, including analysis of keywords that are working for them.
- Ensuring Webmaster Tools, Google Local and Google Analytics (including goals/conversion) are set correctly – If set up properly, they can help deliver a lot of new website traffic and help you to track, report and improve your website traffic.
- Technical Recommendations Report – How to set up the back end and CMS of your site to make it more search engine and reader friendly.
- Content / Anchor Text Suggestions – Informed by the keyword research, this section gives advice on what your content should focus on, and which words/terms you should set up as internal and external links.
- Meta Data – What words and terms you should write in the CMS metadata to act as markers to search engines to rank that particular page highly for a certain topic
An initial SEO report alone will give you a lot of advice about what you could do to improve your existing site. To achieve better results, you can also implement an organic SEO campaign. To assist you, search for an SEO consultancy that specialises in organic SEO services. (Whereas some SEO consultants focus more on paid advertising routes such as PPC – it’s like the difference between and advertising agency and a PR agency.)
From the results of the SEO audit, we will be able to identify areas of your website that require development from a technical SEO point of view. We will incorporate this with our knowledge of CRO and user-friendly design and content to undertake a website development project.
What SEO mistakes do people make?
Your initial SEO report should highlight any mistakes and provide recommendations on how best to resolve them. As an example, some of the obvious SEO mistakes that ecommerce website owners make are covered in this video.
What keywords should I be using?
It’s a time consuming process, but those on a tight budget and a bit of time can do basic keyword research themselves. I explain how to do keyword research here.
What next when I’ve done an SEO audit?
SEO is a three-stage process. The first is to find out how well your website currently performs for organic search by carrying out an SEO audit. The second involves setting the technical aspects of your website up so search engines can read it properly.
The third is about crafting high-quality, regularly updated content that visitors will value, and search engines will score highly.
Offsite SEO campaigns
In order to drive traffic to your website and increase the visibility of your site to search engines, we recommend that your website development activity is supported by an offsite SEO campaign.
This includes generating and posting numerous high quality articles both onsite and offsite and listing in all the main directories.
A good SEO consultant should offer – alongside the generation and posting of content – link-building, regular analysis and reporting to identify issues and improvements (then actioning them), fixing broken links and addressing any technical website issues that occur and affect your SEO.
SEO takes time to work. Anyone promising immediate results will either not deliver them, or will employ underhand SEO tactics that will give you quick wins but are likely to land you with a Google penalty (where you will be penalised and completely removed from search engine results).
If you’re going to invest in SEO, I advise a 12-month programme of the above activities. This time period allows for good quality natural, organic search results that will stand the test of time.
If you are looking to invest in SEO for your website and would like to talk through the options, give me a call on 01133 20 21 21.