An SEO Audit provides an extensive look at how to get your business to rank in search engines. An SEO expert can do the work or you can.
An SEO Audit is a way of looking under the hood of a company's online footprint. The audit allows us to see the what, where, why, how, your business is ranking in search. We arent going to get too technical, but we do want to give you a clear understanding of what an SEO audit is so you will know if your company would benefit from an audit.
There are a few basics of an SEO audit you should understand; there are differences in local search engine optimization and national search engine optimization.
Local search engine optimization means that the business is trying to rank for local searches. These are businesses that usually rely on local traffic into their physical location or phone calls from a specific service area.
A company that needs traditional search engine optimization offers its products and services not based on a specific location or service area. Think of an online store that ships all over the United States, or a blogger that looks for readers everywhere. Basically, with traditional SEO, location does not matter.
Whether you are looking for local search or traditional search, one thing does remain the same, search engine algorithms are constantly changing. One thing that is consistent in all of the changes and that is Google's demand for quality and authority.
Google looks at the domain, the website, sentiment of the business, and the quality of links that point to the website to judge whether a website should rank or not. The audit looks at each of these elements, compares it to the company's competitors, and then offer recommendations on how to fix to improve the ranking of the website.
So let's dive in
It is easier to understand an audit if you know what it includes. As we mentioned before, search engine rankings have to do with the domain, the website itself, as well as links coming into the website. The search audit looks at both of these elements and then makes recommendations to improve search engine rankings based on sound advice.
A good SEO expert will use the recommendations based on experience as well as what is recommended by Google. We do not omit Bing in the audit. Google just has more traffic and searches per month so we look at Google and their recommendations first.
Google reps, as well as other search experts, state the website is the most important factor that affects rankings. The structure of the website, the images on the website, the website structure as well as many other factors that can affect both local and national search.
We are going to break down each on-site factor and do our best to leave the technical talk out. Our goal of this is just to give the small business owner a good understanding of if they need an audit. So if you hear these terms, you will understand their meaning and can feel more confident about making the decision.
The structure of the website is key to how it ranks in search. Google wants to link to websites that are well structured and will provide the best experience for its searchers.ul>
There are key features to the coding of the website. These include meta-tags meta-descriptions, as well as other elements that are vital to a website and how it falls in a search query. The SEO audit evaluates these important tags and recommends changes to help it rank better.
If it is a local website, there are tags that directly communicate with the search engine to let it know what type of business it is location, how to reach them, etc.
There are many elements that go into a search engine audit. Again, the website is the most crucial part of how a website ranks in search. It is vital that you know the things that may be causing your website not to rank.
Can a small business survive or rank without a website? Perhaps, however, sources like social networks are not owned by the small business owner. Therefore, the owner has no control. The more control the small business owner has, the better it will serve the company interests. We see this more with smaller, locally-based companies. The website is still the foundation and Google looks to it for confirmation that you are who you are and do what you do.
The off-site elements that affect a websites' search rankings are based on links from other websites linking to yours. Let's give an example. You set up a Facebook page for your business. When you are filling out your profile, you include your address phone number and your website address for your business. This places the link to your website on Facebook and is now linking to you. This example is simple but is just as simple to set up these basic links coming into the website.
The search audit will evaluate the links coming into the website. It looks at the number of links, the value of the link, and if it is a reciprocal link.
You want links and a lot of them, but not all links are good links. If the audit uncovers bad links, you will see a recommendation to remove/disavow them.
Building good quality links isn't easy. Outside of social media and basic citations, you will want links coming from bloggers, organization type websites. Depending on your industry, authoritative websites differ.
Companies that are relying on local searches will want local links. These links come from other locally-based websites. As an example, a restaurant would want a link from the blog of the local food critic. Bloggers and other authoritative people may charge for this.
For the SEO expert to do the audit, they will need access to a few things. The key is not to give them too much access unless they are working on fixing the issues that relate to the audit. We'll discuss that a little bit later.This would include
Richelle is the founder of Lighthouse and has over 25 years of experience in online marketing and website design. Richelle enjoys meeting with clients to pinpoint their goals and come up with a strategy to achieve them. She is active with many groups; including a mastermind group for business owners, a podcast, as well as industry groups to stay current with current marketing, search, and design trends. When not helping businesses, she spends time with family including her fur-kids which you may see pop in to say hello during one of her podcasts.