#FreeAdvice: The Truth About SEO Audits

Jun 17, 2020#FreeAdvice

What is an SEO Audit and Why Does Your Website Need one?

Website audits are a foundational part of any Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. An audit shines light on current site issues and opportunities for growth. Organic search improvement is dependent on a site working and communicating with search engines at an optimal level, otherwise all content and on-page changes could go unnoticed.

We get a lot of questions about what an SEO audit is, what an audit looks like, why your website should get an audit and more. Check out some of the most commonly asked questions below and feel free to reach out to us for any questions we may have missed!

Why Would A Site Need An SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is essential for any website. The goal of an audit is to review any and all problems with the site that may impact a site from showing up in the search results pages for sites like Google, Yahoo or Bing.

Some of the most common reasons we complete an audit for a website include:

  • A concerning loss of traffic that is greatly impacting business (this is commonly because of new site launch)
  • An increase in online competition.
  • A desire to grow the business online.
  • To determine the viability of an SEO program.

What Is Reviewed During An SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is typically made up of four sections:

  • Technical Website Concerns – This includes concerns like redirects, XML sitemap and meta robots
  • Content Opportunities – We look at what content is currently on the site and what could be better or added to improve rank
  • On-Page Improvements – This section evaluates meta data and on-page headings.
  • External Links and Competitors – We do an evaluation of external links and competitors in the market.

Where Can A Business Get An SEO Audit?

Tools like SEMRush will provide basic audits and technical recommendations; however, they don’t give the importance or how for the concerns listed.

Here are the benefits of an online-tool provided audit:

  • Lowest cost
  • Quick output

The negatives to an online tool audit:

  • Basic information found with a crawler, won’t notice user issues
  • Difficult to understand without SEO training
  • Little to no prioritization of tasks
  • No service of communication of how to implement

You could also get an SEO audit from SEO professionals like Transistor. We are able to use a number of tools to pull more information as well as use the human-eye and experience to lead the recommendations and benefits.

The benefits of using an SEO Professional for an SEO audit:

  • Expert advice
  • Prioritization of tasks
  • Data from multiple tools rather than just one
  • One-on-one meetings and/or emails to help guide implementation

The drawbacks of using an SEO Professional for an SEO audit:

  • Higher cost than a tool
  • Longer lead times

How Do You Know If Someone Is Qualified To Give A Professional Audit?

It’s important to partner with the right SEO agency or professional to complete your SEO audit. To make sure you are partnering with the right person, as these questions about the audit:

  • What will the final audit look like?
  • Do you have examples of previous audits to share?
  • Will there be implementation instructions or support?
  • What tools are you using to develop these recommendations?
  • Have you ever completed an audit for a site using our CMS? (Audits should vary based on CMS. A site using Magento is going to have much different issues that a site using WordPress)

Once An SEO Audit Is Completed, What Is The Next Step?

When the audit is complete, our team will set up a time to walk through the issues and plan the next steps for implementation. This planning process may include recommendations for a long-term SEO program or short-term project to get the site in better working order.

It’s important to note that an audit is only the first step in the process, once it’s complete there is still a lot of work to be done to improve the site for search engines. SEO is not a one time thing, it’s ever evolving and always moving, so it’s important to keep a site’s health top of mind.

What about companies offering free audits?

Many agencies offer free SEO audits as part of their sales process. Plenty of them offer them unsolicited to go along with cold emails. Some of these are just running your site through an online tool and lack any amount of context for your business. Some are halfway decent. It’s tough to know what you’ll get. Our audits typically take 10-20 hours to complete, sometimes longer. Even if we had a very high success rate in closing new business by giving away audits, that’s time that isn’t going toward our existing clients. It’s just not worth the trade-off, so we always make our audits part of a paid engagement.

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