If we’re talking to you about an SEO Audit then it’s likely we’ll have been through the first two stages in our SEO procedure. These are the pre-consultation briefing where we’ll have established there is room to work together, and the SEO consultation where we would have addressed the questions required to establish the objectives and key performance indicators for the project. There is a set fee of £500 for our SEO Audit. For an additional £250 we’ll benchmark your position against your three main competitors. The template for our Audit was established after reading Steve Webb’s amazing post, How to Perform the World’s Greatest SEO Audit, and is comprised of five parts.
The SEO Audit
The first two (Accessibility and Indexibility) are all about the technical performance of your site, how it’s functioning and how well Google ‘index’ the pages. The next stage drills down further into the existing content (on-page ranking factors) and assesses whether there are opportunities here. We then move on to look at backlinks and the other off-page ranking factors. We finally take a look at your competition.
I’ll run through each in a little more detail now…
How easy is your website to find? I suspect your concern is that it’s not easy and that’s why you’re here! We first look at how accessible the content on your website is. It may not be the reason your content is not ranking on the search engines, but it’s important to rule it out first. We’ll crawl your website, in the same way as the search bots would, to get a better understanding on how easy your content is to find. We’ll look at the robots.txt file and meta tags to see whether crawlers are being blocked. We’ll check the most up-to-date sitemap has been submitted to Google and Bing, and if it hasn’t we’ll create it and submit it. We’ll also provide some analysis on the overall architecture of the site. The ease with which visitors can find the content they’re looking for within your site is becoming an increasingly important ranking factor. How close your most important pages, aka your Cornerstone Content, are to the homepage, and how well linked they are within your site is pretty significant. We’ll go on to run a site performance report which will highlight ways to improve the time it takes for your pages to load.
Yes that is a word! Alongside accessibility, we’ll assess how much of your content is actually being indexed by the search engines. The content may exist, but if you haven’t told the search engines about it, they can easily miss it. Part of this could be attributed to a dated sitemap, but it may also be that the site has been penalised previously. We’ll compare our crawl with a report that will show the content indexed by Google and assess whether a penalty has ever been applied. If necessary we’ll then attempt to establish what has happened and rectify it.
On-page ranking factors
Even if you know nothing about SEO you’ll probably have picked up on the fact that creating compelling, unique and timely content is a good thing to do. If not, you do now! Writing the content is one thing, presenting it in the best possible way to the search engines is equally important. We’ll review the content you have created and check the urls, page titles, meta descriptions for each. We’ll also look at the images loaded into your content, as these are as searchable as the text is. We’ll be looking out for keyword cannibalisation, where you’re targeting the same keyword on more than one piece of content on your site, and duplicate content, which is frowned upon generally.
Off-page ranking factors
The popularity of your site influences your position on the search engine results pages. Search engines promote big brands ahead of the minnows. That’s not to say that you can’t rank as a smaller organisation, but it’s going to take a bit more work, or time to establish the domain authority required to compete with the big guns. You may feel that you have less control over the off-page ranking factors, and to an extent that’s true but there a series of good practices you can follow which can improve your return in this area. Backlinks are as important as ever – that is, other sites adding links in their content to yours. The quality of those links has become increasingly important – the better the link, the better your content will rank. We’ll look at your existing links, and the links of the closest competitors you’ve identified, and look for opportunities. We’ll also scrutinise your social media activity.
There is much we can learn by looking at your competitors businesses. We can find out who is linking to their sites. This may inform your link-building strategy. If there are reputable companies directing traffic their way, it may be they’ll do the same for you if you build a relationship. We can also identify keywords they are targeting. If you’re looking to attract the same traffic it may be you need to be targeting the same key words through your content strategy. It’s sensible to keep an eye on their blogging and promotions as well, as well as their activity on social media. Don’t forget, attracting links via social media is an important ranking factor.
And that’s about all there is to it! We’ll deliver our recommendations through the report you’ll receive and provide estimates where possible, as well as highlight items which require further discussion. Once you’ve had a chance to digest this we’ll look to agree a schedule for implementing the work we believe needs to happen to improve your ranking. The planning and implementation stage is the one we’ll look at next time.
Why not contact us now to discuss your SEO project?
Many thanks to Felipe Lima on Flickr for allowing us to use his photo on this page