When was the last time you conducted a thorough review of your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy? An SEO audit is a fantastic method for ensuring your SEO strategy continues to provide an acceptable return on the investment your marketing team puts into it. An SEO audit should be a standard practice for any brand and one that happens on a consistent basis. SEO is not a “set it and forget it” ordeal; you need to be responsive and agile to account for shifting market trends and consumer behaviors.
Best Times to Perform SEO Audits
After configuring your SEO strategy, determine a timeline to track your progress and benchmark your results. Remember, this is an ongoing process, so think of each SEO audit as a single step in a greater journey toward your ultimate marketing goals of steady growth and a consistently successful SEO strategy instead of a one-off project aimed at fixing a specific set of issues. The problems you encounter with your SEO strategy will evolve over time, so your methods for addressing them must evolve as well.
Most brands find that the best times to perform SEO audits include:
- Prior to launching a new marketing campaign.
- After implementing a new SEO marketing strategy.
- At the beginning of each quarter of the fiscal year.
- After noticing any significant decrease in website traffic.
Every brand has different business strategies and marketing variables with which to contend, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to organizing SEO audits. Whenever you decide to perform your SEO audit, you should know how to do it and what you can expect from it.
What Should an SEO Audit Cover?
To start your SEO audit, compile several data streams, including the historical data from your Google AdWords and Microsoft Advertising accounts and website analytics, a history of your primary and secondary domain ownership, and a firm understanding of your top competitors and your market base.
An SEO auditor must complete four different types of analysis:
- Technical analysis of the nuts and bolts of your SEO strategy, such as site indexing and site functionality.
- On-page analysis of the SEO elements contained on the webpages owned and operated by the brand. This pertains to the content published on your website, landing pages, and other on-page SEO elements.
- Off-page analysis, which includes the link profile of external backlinks connected to the target website. While you may have no control over which websites link to your own, you can use the Google Analytics toolkit to disavow questionable links, so Google does not index them with your website’s rankings.
- Competitive analysis. Tools like SpyFu and BuzzSumo are fantastic assets for competitor and keyword research, helping you identify the SEO strategies that appear to work for your biggest competitors. While you want to remain competitive and strive for top rankings with the most sought-after keywords in your niche, bidding on competitive keywords is expensive. Strive for a healthy balance of competitiveness and affordability with keyword bids.
SEO auditing is a complex process, and it’s essential to conduct this process repeatedly at regular intervals. If you’re uncertain how to begin or how to uncover the data you need for your audit, a few helpful additions to your SEO toolkit can be tremendous assets.
Tools to Assist With Your SEO Audit
- Google Keyword Planner. This portion of the Google AdWords platform allows for intuitive keyword research, offering suggestions based on the content of your website. Find suggestions for new keywords and use the bid estimate tool to determine how much your targeted keywords will cost.
- SpyFu. This fantastic platform allows you to perform through competitive analysis. Find out which trends your competition is trying to capture and the keywords working best for them.
- BuzzSumo. Similar to SpyFu, BuzzSumo allows for in-depth competitive research into specific topics or competitors.
- Ahrefs. Monitor your market sector more carefully with data-driven insights to guide your SEO strategy with Ahrefs, a comprehensive competitive analysis tool that will help you determine which keywords work best for your content.
- Semrush. This versatile content marketing management platform enables swift and accurate competitive analysis while offering a suite of additional features ideal for any digital marketing team’s arsenal.
If you’re performing an SEO audit in response to a recent drop in search traffic to your website, these tools are ideal for identifying where your SEO is strategy needs the most attention.
Use what you learn during the SEO audit to inform future strategies. You may find that certain keywords or keyword strings are simply too competitive to be fiscally viable for your marketing budget. Other possibilities include poorly worded keyword strings or a lack of negative keywords. If certain terms or phrases would have a negative connection to your content, list them as negative keywords, so your content won’t appear in searches involving those terms.
Ultimately, the goal of an SEO audit is to fix what isn’t working with your current SEO strategy and to capitalize on your potential advantages over the competitors in your market. Use the insights gained during your audit when crafting future strategies. An ongoing schedule of regular SEO audits will enable your marketing team to make more data-driven and impactful marketing decisions in the future.