Seo audit – what do we need it for?
Here we move on to the most important issue – is it worth spending $ to obtain some pages of report, which does not say much for many people. We will try to explain in some words, why it is worth:
- thanks to the audit of website we will find out, what are potential possibilities to increase traffic
- we will obtain information about errors in optimization of website for Google internet search engine
- we will find out, which links lead to our website
Of course for person who is not positioner, technical information can say little. Therefore all recommendations from audit recommendations should be forwarded to the company, which deals with maintenance of website.
Professional audit of website
Above all the basic feature of good audit is that it can’t be free. I will try to explain in some words, why. While many companies from seo industry tempt their potential customers with free audit of their website (in the majority of cases this audit is not worth much) – in order to conduct professional analysis of website in the aspect of seo, at least 30 working hours should be devoted to it. Time is money – automatic audit generated by the tool is not able to cover many essential elements.
When should seo audit be implemented
Three the most common situations, when in our opinion it is worth to order service of analysis of website in the aspect of its conformity to Google guidelines.
Implementation of new website or the stage of its designing
It happens very often that companies that design websites, although they offer seo themselves, create website, which chances of gaining good position in Google and thereby traffic are very low. It is worth considering, why it happens so ? It results from our experience that in the majority of cases at the stage of designing website the adaptation of website to internet search engine is almost completely omitted. What does it result from?
- the lack of knowledge
- the use of customer ignorance
Carrying out seo audit at the stage of designing website it is possible to save as well time as $ . Why? If appropriate assumptions are adopted at the stage of creating mock-ups of particular subpages (i.e. for example we will create groups of keywords, which are assigned to given subpage and the copywriter will prepare us at this stage appropriate contents), the company designing our website will not have to go back to this stage again. We saw many implementations of websites, which of course would be visually very nice and aesthetic but from the viewpoint of content they were very poor, because:
- they did not contain practically any content
- the weight of website was 20 mb, what caused slow loading on the phone
- they did not contain practically any optimizations to Google (the lack of h1 headings, the lack of saturation with key words)
From the viewpoint of customer, the solution, which is more cost-effective (with regard to costs and time) – is close cooperation between interactive agency creating the design of website project and positioner who already at the stage of designing website makes his comments.
The change of the company carrying out seo for website
In the case of taking over the service of positioning website, the audit is very important for many reasons. First of all algorithms of Google are changing, what worked in 2012, in2019 may be even harmful. It is also worth knowing, which mistakes were made by previous agency. Well conducted analysis of website will allow to increase traffic and conversion of users.
It is worth to think together with the company, which prepares the audit, what are long-term aims set for the company, which so far carried out positioning activities? Were these goals achieved? If not, for what reasons. In many cases the lack of achievement of objectives is related to it that the budget of customer was inadequate to expectations. Let us imagine that Mr Peter runs small advertising website in small town. Having the budget of about 10,000 PLN /year he would like to be in the top3 regarding the phrase of advertisement. It is inadequate objective with regard to the nature of website of customer and his budget.
The audit of website can also make the customer aware of it, how high the costs of gaining desired positions and verifying potential objectives with real possibilities at this stage can be.
The intention of improving current visibility in Google
The intention of improving current visibility in Google
If we deal with already operating website – where traffic occurs, carrying out audit is mainly aimed at improving current visibility of website in Google. We focus here mainly on technical aspects of website (optimization for Google) and also on the analysis of key phrases, on the basis of website is or could be visible. Sometimes there are situations, when website is on the second subpage of Google results (positions 11-20) and small changes made within internal linking or structure of given page are completely sufficient to appear in the top10.
What is needed to begin the audit and how long does it last
The duration of the audit is dependent on the comprehensiveness of website and its preparation lasts from 5 to 30 days. The basic tool, which is useful for carrying out the audit is the access to Search Console. It is completely free tool made available by the company Google.
Illustrative list of information, which can be read from the tool Google Search Console:
- number of clicks on the link to our website
- number of views of our website in results
- the average position of our website
- does the website work well on mobile devices
- phrases, on the basis of which we appear in internet search engine
- subpages, which appear in results of searching
- list of links leading to the service
Ask Yourself the question, in what way good audit can be carried out without this type of information? Red light should appear immediately at the moment, when the company, which carries out the audit, does not ask You for the access to Google Search Console. It is a sign of the lack of professional approach and such company should be avoided from afar.
What elements should good seo audit contain
Each audit should contain at least the majority, if not all, of elements from following list. In our opinion it is worth to provide customer comprehensive analysis of it, what happens with website and not selective information.
Carrying out the audit of website we use many paid and free tools supporting our work. In the case, if we want to check, which links lead currently to given domain or which links lead in the past, we make use of 4 tools.
Links, which lead to website, are divided into following groups :
- Brand links
- Exact match links
- Partial match links
We do not want to go here into technical details.
What can link analysis give us in the case of using the tool Google Search Console:
Above all many seo agencies assert that they will not show the links – which they built for the customer, because it is their know-how. Often after the analysis of all links leading to website using the above tool it turns out that they have very low quality or, what is interesting, there are no links at all. Unfortunately in the Polish market there are many positioning companies, which rely on the ignorance of their customers, sell them services, which give nothing. We focus on long-term cooperation and education of our customers.
Next tool, which we apply for the analysis of links is Ahrefs.
For me it is one of the most convenient tools, which I use. Such must-have of professional positioner. In the case of creating the audit this tool provides a lot of interesting information about the links, which lead to website. For example these are:
- domains, from which links lead
- the age of links
- the power of linking domains
- used anchors
Analysis of key phrases
In the case of examining website of the customer with regard to seo audit and selection of appropriate key phrases or estimation of so far selected phrases we use several tools. One of the basic tools is Google Ads Planner:
Thanks to such tool we are able to estimate, which phrases are phrases, where purchase intention of users is high. We can also check the level of competitiveness of given phrase and also the number of searches of given phrase.
Analysis of current behaviour of users
It happens that the audit of analyzed website also contains some elements of UX analysis (user experience). Why is it worth in our opinion focusing on such basic elements as clear menu or unambiguous path of transitions between pages? It increases the conversion on website and also in the majority of cases it leads to the decrease of rejection rate.
Analysis of website with regard to optimization for Google
In this aspect within the audit the structure of website and particularly the use of meta tags (title,description) and also such aspects as in h1-h6 headings are analyzed. We also examine, if internal linking of website is consistent and logical. We also check, if contents on website meets following conditions:
- they are unique
- they cover key phrases
- they contain multimedia elements – the text itself does not attract the attention of user
We also check if graphics on website are optimized in appropriate way (if their size in kb is proper, if they have alts).
Analysis of competition
Here we rely above all on such tools as Senuto, Ahrefs, Majesticseo – we use them to :
- check, which links are acquired by the competition, which is ahead of positioned website
- we seek phrases, for which the competition positions itself
Having such knowledge, we have a chance to fight for traffic from seo, which is taken over currently by the competition.
Seo audit, which company should be chosen
It is not possible to state in unambiguous way, which company carries out the best audit of website. It is worth to ask the company a few questions before ordering the audit:
what exactly does the audit contain
how much does possible additional consultation with the company, which will implement recommendations from the audit, cost?
Seo audit – traps, which should be watched out
The first problem, which can be encountered is the choice of the cheapest company. Unfortunately carrying out good audit requires three things:
- appropriate tools
- knowledge and experience
Many entities offering the service of analysis of website appeared in the market. How can such type of problems be avoided? Ask for the example of carried out and implemented audit – and then ask, what effects it brought..
Next trap – many companies order the audit and then it goes on the shelf. As well we can go to a dietitian for advice and then go to Mc Donald’s and eat mega set.
I have the audit and what next?
Here the biggest problem appears. Large part of recipients of the audit do not do much with received document. How is it argued:
- the lack of assets for implementation of changes
- if it is well, what do we have to change something for?
- two years ago we were in the top10, so why do we have to change something now?
Google algorithms changes all the time, putting more and more emphasis on the quality of website – here unfortunately we do not have the choice. If we care about traffic from Google internet search engine, we have to adapt website to the requirements of the giant from Mountain View.
What can we gain thanks to implementing the audit of website:
- the increase of traffic on website
- avoiding penalties from Google
Can I carry out the audit myself ?
Of course it is possible even using free tools. However some problems appear, which the person carrying out the audit for the first time will not be able to overcome. The problems, which we mention, are :
- the lack of experience causes the difficulty with interpretation of the results
- the lack of proper tools, which improve the work
- erroneous conclusions, which can arise on the basis of such audit
However if current budget does not allow to carry out the audit of website positioned by external entity, we recommend performing following actions:
- The audit of current positions of domain in Google internet search engine
- Analysis of subpages of website with regard to correctness of meta tags Title, Description
- Analysis of addresses of subpages – if there is not the duplication
- The audit of optimization of subpages for given keywords
- Checking time of loading website
- Examining the correctness of displaying website in version for mobile devices
- Does website have unique contents?
- Internal linking – is it carried out correctly
Performing these basic activities and then introducing the changes should result in significant improvement of visibility of website in internet search engine within 1-3 months. However in many cases it is worth considering that the audit of website, which supposedly theoretically is free, because it is carried out on one’s own, is very time-consuming occupation. Performing even the simplest tasks by the layman consumes time, which is also the cost. Therefore we recommend for everybody who wants the audit to be carried out professionally, to order it to external companies.