Your FAQs, answered
Why are SEO audits important?
Since the introduction of search engines, SEO has grown from a practice savvy market leaders implement to a necessary practice for all businesses with a digital presence. With so many businesses hoping to raise their website through search engine rankings, it can become difficult to create actionable SEO strategies and see the results of your SEO practices. An effective way to create an SEO implementation plan and analyze your existing SEO is an SEO audit.
An SEO audit is a method of analyzing how well a website is performing to SEO best practices. The audit will reveal any foundational issues affecting a website’s search engine ranking, such as website structure, content gaps and any potential off-site issues. Many businesses fail to improve their search engine ranking as they view SEO audits as non-essential. SEO audits, however, should be conducted on a regular basis and be viewed as a regular doctor’s appointment for a website, rather than a one-off or non-essential event.
Without an SEO audit, implementation plans may not be as effective as what areas a website needs to improve will not have been identified accurately. For example, an SEO strategy based on keywords may ignore the high drop-off rate a certain webpage has – this will continue to lower the website’s SEO ranking even if the keyword strategy isn’t executed perfectly.
In general, the more detailed a website is, the longer a proper SEO audit will take. Checking in periodically during the process is always a good idea for any business website owner, to gain a thorough understanding of the results.
Can audits drive keyword strategy?
Keyword analysis, also known as keyword research, is also an essential component of any website. It involves determining the keywords consumers will use in an online search. When a website contains the same words consumers are searching for, it will show up higher in the results for any search engine. The higher a website ranks on a search engine, the more visitors the site will attract.
There are three solid steps that can be used to create a keyword strategy. The process starts with brainstorming potential keywords, themes and ideas that are related to the business. The brainstorm must then be refined into keywords that accurately relate and are associated with the website, as if a website targets keywords that aren’t relevant to their site, this can higher their drop-off rate and lower their website ranking.
Once a list has been created, each word on the list needs to be tested. There are online tools that can be used to test those words, including Google Adwords. This tool shows how popular a particular word is among those who search for topics of interest on the Internet. The higher interest a word has, the greater focus should be placed on the word.
After the primary and secondary keywords have been established, the content must be rewritten in a way that uses the words naturally. Keywords should ideally be included in a website’s title page, as well as in both headers and sub-headers. They also need to be included in the content and even the links to the website. This, however, is just a general keyword outline and different keyword implementation templates can be created to meet the unique goals of a website.
SEO is not an overnight achievement. To find out if newly placed keywords are working, it helps to periodically run the online tools listed above. However, it takes time to see results. This can be weeks or even months, depending on the website in question. Increased traffic to a website shows that the keywords are working.
As previously mentioned, SEO audits must be conducted on a regular basis to ensure your website and keyword strategy remains effective. For example, due to the rise of AI devices in homes, voice searches are becoming increasingly more popular. Voice searches are often phrased in different formats than standard online searches, making their keyword patterns different. Without an SEO audit, this would be hard to identify and implement.
Do audits help with competitive analysis?
No matter how high quality a website is, SEO efforts will go to waste if a competitor continues to have search engine dominance. This is why competitive research is so important. An SEO audit, therefore, does not exclusively look at one website, it analyses the market in general and identifies why rival websites are succeeding.
The audit also identifies where rival websites are underperforming. For example, if a competitor is failing to release engaging, quality content to its audience, greater focus can be placed on the blog or social media platforms of the website being audited, helping the company to rank higher and beat its competitors.
What is technical SEO?
Although content and keywords have a strong influence on your search engine ranking, technical SEO is an equally important practice to implement. Technical SEO, such as meta descriptions and XML sitemaps, refer to how easily search engines can crawl, understand and index your website without any delays. Different search engines have different sets of criteria they use to rank websites, so business owners must decide whether to appeal to all search engines generally or find out which search engine their target audience use and focus on one specific search engine.
Just some of the technical features an SEO audit can analyze include how mobile-friendly your website is, the loading speed of your webpages and how reliable the internal links you include are. These factors all have a strong influence on your SEO ranking as if a search engine crawls your website and find your technical structure has errors, it will lower your ranking. It is, therefore, essential to analyze your technical SEO structure with an SEO audit.