This could be phrased “why wouldn’t you consider an SEO audit?” for emphasis, but I don’t want to create any confusion over the value of the service. While the word “audit” conjures up bad IRS memories or sounds like a snoozefest to some, it can be one of the most insightful online marketing tools available and I’m going to outline why it is hard to say “no” to doing an audit.
- Organizations that have limited or no experience with (or exposure to) SEO
- Organizations that want to do SEO, but haven’t started to do so internally or with a vendor partner yet
- Organizations that have done SEO in the past–or still are currently–and are content with the current status of their search engine rankings, traffic, and conversions.
- Organizations that have done SEO in the past who had a negative experience and stopped trying.
- Organizations that are still doing SEO and need an outside review or ideas to take performance to the next level.
Do you or your organization fit into any of these categories? There are many benefits of doing an audit, but first, let’s unpackage the type of audit I’m talking about so we’re on the same page because not all SEO audits and services are created equal.
A quality SEO audit will look at key areas of search engine optimization, puts appropriate emphasis on ranking factors, and provides a wide range information and insights. Ideally, the audit should do three key things:
- Introduce ranking factors and supporting information regarding the level of importance of each factor in an educational manner and easy to understand format.
- Report on the current status of the website audited related to each ranking factor with supporting details of the observation.
- Provide detailed recommendations for improving or addressing areas of need identified in each ranking factor.
Two important, and critical attributes of an audit should be the inclusion of an abbreviated keyword research process and the use of competitors in the review and comparison. Without performing some level of keyword research there’s no way to objectively measure the site’s performance in areas of opportunity. Keyword research will provide an initial justification for whether SEO is a good idea or not for the organization (based on searcher demand for the organization’s products/services) and will create an objective set of criteria to measure the site against throughout the rest of the audit.
Using competitor performance is important as it provides a baseline in areas such as authority status, link building metrics, and more. Without high ranking competitor comparables, the audit recommendations are left to best practices that assume a one-size-fits-all SEO strategy that no longer works effectively in SEO today.
There are many options for SEO audit services and if you fit into the criteria of an organization that should consider an audit, you’ll want to make sure you select one that covers the range of factors noted above and provides meaningful data in the final deliverable. The benefits in many cases include no obligation, fixed pricing without a retainer. It is a great try it before you buy it service that can be used by internal teams to attempt to improve a site’s performance before making a decision whether to go with an outside vendor or not.