The main reason to do SEO is to get results and show a positive ROI. The best way to understand why you aren’t getting your desired results from SEO is to conduct an SEO audit.
At Matchbox Design Group we conduct an SEO Audit before we bring on a new client.
I know what you are thinking! An SEO audit sounds boring, mind numbing and definitely not something you are worried about. Let your accountant handle it right?
But, the truth is an audit is extremely important and that’s probably why you are here reading all about SEO audits.
It doesn’t matter if you are a numbers nerd, a computer nerd or someone who just wants to make money. An SEO audit is definitely not boring and you should take them very seriously if you want your website to succeed.
When we do an SEO audit we make sure we do a deep dive into a lot of technical and some people would say geeky sides of SEO. The reason we do this is to make sure your site is running and performing exactly the way it should. We have done audits and have seen powerful results, some would even call them game-changing. You can see an obvious revenue impact and the items from the audit are all actionable changes.
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What Is An Easy Way To Explain An SEO Audit
Doing an SEO audit is a process that will evaluate your sites search engine’s (Google) friendliness in many areas.
This is not your traditional audit, we are not just looking at numbers. This audit is done exclusively for the marketing purposes of your website.
At Matchbox we do SEO audits the correct way. This means we give you a better insight into your website. This includes all pages, not just the home page and includes your overall traffic.
Our goal is to improve the performance of your website which leads to better rankings in search engine results, more leads and hopefully more money in your pocket.
We believe that an SEO Audit should be performed:
- In the beginning of a new project
- When a new quarter begins
- Or at least once a year
SEO Audits And Different Ways To Do Them
If you are performing an SEO audit, you always need to do some things. There are different ways to do audits which include simply doing a brief audit and checking a few things. Doing a deep dive and being extremely thorough or somewhere in between.
Matchbox falls on the side of being extremely thorough and believe us when we say there are some things that need to always be done which include:
- On-Page Analysis
- Technical Analysis – Which includes accessibility and indexability
- Off-Page Analysis
- Competitive Analysis and Keyword Research
But, before we dive into the complete SEO audit, here are the must do’s in 2017. We believe these 4 things are must do’s that mainly fall on the technical side. They have become very important in 2017 and should remain that way for a long time to come.
Four 2017 SEO Audit Must Dos
1. Mobile Crawling
As we know Google is starting to lean more and more on the mobile side and have created a mobile-first index. Making sure your website is ready for mobile is critical.
This includes using the Google page-level mobile validator. We do this for every site to make sure Google’s mobile crawler is seeing all pages on your site. You need to make sure Google is able to see your top pages on mobile. This also reports usability issues on the mobile site that might not show up on the desktop side of things.
Using an SEO crawler with a smartphone Googlebot option is an effective way to check your mobile status. This means we use software such as SEMRush to simulate a Google mobile crawler. This tells us if your site is showing up correctly on mobile phones and tablets.
3. Structured Data and Optimization
You have probably noticed that when you do a Google search you are not just seeing 10 links with some words underneath them anymore. There are things popping up like images, videos, and something called the local pack. Now with the introduction of features such as rich cards, knowledge panels, rich snippets and answer boxes. You will see all of these features in search results, however, Google isn’t giving up the exact percentage of times they will pop up.
What does this mean for your website and for anyone doing an SEO audit? It means you can attract more clicks in more ways. Not only will you see clicks from organic listings, but by optimizing your site for all of these other features. The way to do this is with structured data, answering questions with your content and making sure you use the right modifiers.
4. Amp Configuration
Amp has slowly started to become the norm for media websites, blogs, and news sites. It is slowly starting to spread into other areas as well. What is AMP? It’s supposed to provide an easier HTML version of your posts as it optimizes your resources using its own cache which will serve your posts faster in mobile search results. If you have mobile speed issues, AMP might be the answer to your problem.
Google is already requiring AMP in order to be included in Google’s news carousel. If you pay attention to Google News then you have seen more and more AMP pages pop up in the mobile search results. It is expanding daily, it is getting preference over app deep links and is expanding into image results. AMP is now supported by an Asian search engine called Baidu.
It is essential that your technical SEO audit make sure your website has AMP implementation and verify that your pages compile correctly with Google’s requirements.
This All Leads to a Good User Experience
Accessibility and good user experience go hand-in-hand with search.
Image by Paul Veugen on Flickr; some rights reserved
The Deep SEO Audit Dive Without Getting Too Deep
Again let’s go over a few reason we are doing the SEO Audit in the first place. First and foremost you are going to find ways that you can improve your SEO campaign. We want to identify the weak points in your site and your campaign which are only hurting your performance.
We are going to give you a list of items that need to be done and fixed for a deep SEO audit, but not get into too many details about each one. We know We know, audits are boring. Once an action is taken on these items you will see vast improvements in your SEO performance.
When We Do Your SEO Audit – Check/Setup/Explorer/Investigate
- Talk to our client
- Define Buyer Personas
- Conduct Keyword Research
- Conduct Competitive Analysis
- Define our client’s goals
- Setup Google Webmaster tools
- Setup Google Analytics
- Make sure the site is mobile (See Above)
- Do A Site Crawl – Comparing this to your XML Sitemap
- Site Speed
- HTTPS Status
- Domain History (If This Applies)
- Know how the site was built (WordPress)
- Site Architecture and Site Structure
- Keyword Research (What words are currently being targeted)
- Have LSI Keywords
- Keyword in URL
- Keyword in the title
- Keywords in the first paragraph
- Check the Content (Keywords, Length, Spammy, Duplicate)
- Meta Tags
- Title Tags
- Image Titles
- Alt Images
- Image Size
- Citations or Business Listings Uniform
- Conversions (Visible Forms/Phone Number)
- Incoming Links Audit
- Internal Links Audit
- External Links Audit
- Are the links relevant
- Are your links diverse
- Is the sites anchor text diverse
- Social media accounts connected
- Social Signals
- Keyword Cannibalization
- Redirect Issues
- Indexability and accessibility
- Is your content useful
- Is your content better than your competitors
- Is your website engaging
- Is your site providing a good user experience
- Is the site completely SEO Optimized
Why Matchbox Design Group’s SEO Audits Are Important
Again this is the short version of the Matchbox Design Group SEO Audit. We can’t talk about the process step by step because that would take us days to write and possibly weeks for you to read. There is simply too much that goes into it. There are between 6 and 10 tools that are both paid and unpaid that we have to use to complete the audit and large amounts of time.
When we do an SEO audit and present it to our clients, you are probably thinking you would say what is this mess and how do I read it. That’s not what we want and not what we do.
We Make Our SEO Audits Easy To Read And Easy To Understand
- Matchbox Design Group make our SEO Audits visually appealing. The last thing we want are your eyes to glaze over when you are looking at an audit that can end up making you a lot of money.
- We include charts, screenshots, images, graphs and more to help explain our analysis.
- We provide a short summary that explains your audit.
- We provide a checklist of things that need to be fixed and links on how to fix them.
We ask that we have a meeting after every audit so we can help explain the potential impact the audit can have on your website and your ROI.