You may be asking yourself, why bother with an SEO audit. As it turns out, there are numerous benefits to an SEO audit! If you are already investing time and money into search engine optimization (SEO) or even thinking about it, this is the first step. Similarly, if you currently have an SEO strategy, you should be having an audit done regularly to monitor your standing. Some of the benefits of an SEO audit include revealing current weaknesses, identifying competitors’ strengths, and improving conversion rates. This article will give you a brief look at some of these benefits. It will also give you steps to follow to find the best SEO firms and how to decide between them.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is essentially an evaluation of how optimized your website is for search engines. It is many times the first step a company will take before starting an SEO campaign. It should also be done periodically after to ensure your competitiveness. Some recommend having an SEO audit performed twice a year or more depending on your goals. Having an audit done regularly is important because guidelines are always changing. Google makes around 500 updates to its algorithms every year. In some cases, recommendations a few years ago are actually harmful to your SEO ranking now. It’s important to note that although search engine optimization is important, user experience is equally as important. If your website ranks well, but offers a lousy experience to actual users, your ranking will be useless.Many companies will offer a free SEO service audit to get you started. After that audit, they will offer you advice and provide you with guidelines to follow going forward. The best SEO firms will have a checklist that they follow to complete their audit. First, they will review your company’s SMART goals. This will help them understand what you are hoping to get out of your SEO strategy. Next, they will review your keywords and evaluate how relevant they are to your business. Then they will evaluate your competitors, analyzing how successful their content is. They will also look at whether they are duplicating your keywords. Following that, generally will be technical analysis. This involves rating how compatible your website is with mobile devices, its loading times, etc. Finally, they will review how easy it is to share content from your website and review your content for relevance and authenticity. Below are just some of the benefits of an SEO audit.
Reveal Current Weaknesses
The first of the benefits of an SEO audit is that it will reveal where your current SEO weaknesses are. For a company without a current SEO strategy, many of these may be simple things. For example, many websites have the address of their physical location buried at the bottom of their website. Adding a specific webpage that lists your current address will improve your ranking for local searches. For companies getting one of their regular audits, this may mean creating additional content utilizing a certain keyword.
One of the most important benefits of an SEO audit is that it will identify your competition. Once they have been identified, you can find out what they are doing better than you. Are they using certain keywords that you aren’t? Which keywords are they ranking better on than you? How can you improve your ranking for those keywords?
Organic Search Visibility
Organic search visibility refers to how easy your website is to find by people simply searching on Google. This does not include paid advertisements. Your website’s organic search visibility is largely driven by keywords. Improving your usage of keywords has a direct impact on your organic search ranking. An audit will let you know which keywords you are ranking highly for. You can also find out which keywords you aren’t ranking for at all. Once you know this, you can see which keywords are actually driving traffic. Ranking high for keywords is great, but if it isn’t generating the traffic you want, it is pointless. Some keywords may not be providing the results you want, so it would be best to stop using them.
Improve Conversion Rates
So you are ranking highly in organic searches, great. Is your ranking turning into website visitors? Are they contacting you? Are they buying something? Improved conversion rates are one of the most tangible benefits of an SEO audit. Before you began, you likely discussed what you considered to be a conversion. Your SEO audit will be able to identify what is generating those conversions. For example, you can find out which keywords people are searching for that usually lead to sales. Then you will know you should be creating and optimizing content that uses these keywords. Or, you might have found out which specific webpages are producing sales and promote those pages more. Generating traffic to your website is only the beginning. You need to make sure that people are not leaving your site as soon as they get on it (AKA bounce rate). One important factor that determines that your bounce rate is how long your site takes to load.
Site Speed Analysis
The longer a webpage takes to load, the less likely you are to convert those visitors into customers. An audit will test loading time on various web browsers like Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer. Another aspect of this is mobile optimization. More and more users are visiting websites on their mobile device instead of a desktop device. It is essential that your site works well on a mobile device in order to reach as many people as possible. An SEO audit will tell you whether your site is functioning properly on mobile or not.
A backlink analysis is one of the benefits of an SEO audit many people are not familiar with. A backlink is when one website links to another. This is usually done when one website cites you as a reference to what they’re talking about. Backlinks are important because they add credibility to your site. The more backlinks you have, the more authority Google is going to think you have. The most effective backlinks are organic, not paid. The best way to do this is through an effective link building strategy. An internal link goes to another page on the same website. An external link will take you to another website altogether. Both internal and external links are important. However, external links are generally favored by Google. Creating interesting, informational content is one way to gain external backlinks. Backlink analysis is one area where most free SEO service audits found online will only give you the bare bones information. It might tell you whether you are receiving traffic from backlinks, but not how you can improve it. Hiring an SEO firm will give you all of the necessary information to understand your current position. Typically, they will also be able to assist you in building backlinks.
Identify What’s Next
Finally, identifying what to do next is an important benefit of an SEO audit. An audit will also guide your next movements in your SEO strategy. The best SEO firms will provide you with a checklist that you can continue to refer to when updating your website. It will ensure that you focus your energy on the things that actually need work. That way you aren’t putting time into areas where you won’t see results. Regular audits will allow you to monitor your website’s progress and continue finetuning your strategy.
Finding the Best SEO Firm
Before you can reap the benefits of an SEO audit, you must find the right SEO firm for you. First, sit down with whomever it concerns and determine what your exact goals are. What are you hoping to get out of this audit and your overall SEO strategy? The more specific you can make your goals, the better. It is helpful to then create benchmarks that you will use to determine if your strategy has been successful. These goals and benchmarks will also be important to relay to any firms you are considering. Next, decide what aspects are important to you about any potential companies. Maybe you want local experts you can meet with in person, or maybe a remote partnership is fine. Maybe you want a company who can help you with all aspects of digital marketing including pay per click, email marketing, and content creation. Perhaps you want a company that only focuses on SEO.Third, you will want to gather recommendations. It might be tempting to simply search “best SEO firms” on Google, but many times these are unreliable. Companies can pay for their name to appear on a “best” list instead of it being backed by actual experience. Ask people within your industry and outside who they are working with. You can also ask the company itself for references. A good firm will be able to put you in touch with happy clients. Reviews from third party websites like Yelp and testimonials on the company website can also be used.Fourth, ask questions. Make the firm work for your business. Ask what their specific processes are and why they use them. How often do they communicate with clients? What do they do when clients aren’t seeing the results they expected? Some firms will offer you a free SEO service audit to get you started. Is that something they offer?Finally, you will want to compare what you found out about each company and make your decision. If you are currently in the market for an SEO firm, contact SEO Design Chicago today!