One of the things I want to talk to you about today is what to do before you start doing SEO. Website and SEO Audits are a very important step in an overall marketing plan. If you don’t have that information before you start doing your SEO, you’re basically just shooting in the dark. There are lots of parts to an Audit, so we’ll break them down here for you.
Be sure to check out the video on YouTube for more information than what’s posted below!
Base Audits and Advanced Audits
When we first start working with a client, and actually it’s the step BEFORE we build a marketing plan, we require a website audit. There are two main styles of Audits that we perform.
A Base Website Audit is a preliminary audit to figure out just what’s happening in, or on, your website. Some of the things that it will cover are the structure of a website both from a code level and from a usability level. We dig into the website and review the Titles Tags for the websites, Meta Descriptions, On-Page Content, Broken Links, Images and more. Between these, and the code audit, we get a fairly clear overview on just where your website stands.
The next level audit is where we really start digging deep into the website and finding out what is the core problems within the site and then building a roadmap on how to actually fix it. I’ve seen SEO reports from agencies that are 80 and 90 pages long. These kinds of audits are just been dumped out by a generic automated system. Really, they’re not all that useable. They look pretty, they’ve got charts, they’ve got colors but they don’t really give the full picture. And worst of all, most people never read them.
We use different software to search through your site, but the actual reports are written by us.
Build An SEO/Marketing Road Map
The whole goal in executing an advanced audit and performing the research is figuring out a map on where to go. For instance, right now I’m in Omaha, Nebraska. If I want to get to California I have a basic idea that I should get on I80 and go west. And somewhere out towards Ogalala, the far eastern area of Nebraska I need to make a decision. I can continue on I80 and go through Wyoming or go South into Colorado. So, without at least an overview plan, I have a vague idea on how to get to California, but I really don’t have a map beyond Eastern Nebraska.
Audits are the same way! You more than likely have a general idea with what needs to be done, but there aren’t any specifics. What’s going to make a difference? What’s the best route?
Without having that roadmap, you’ll end up in Sacramento when you’re trying to get to San Diego!
What We Include In Audits
Some of the things that we include in an advanced audit are keyword research and competitor analysis. Finding out what your competition has done is one thing, but we also need to find out what you’ve done on your website/marketing. A lot of times the work that you’ve already done is beneficial…maybe just needs to be tweaked. Or maybe you’ve done something bad and that needs to be addressed. Bad links, junk pages being indexed, that stuff needs to be cleaned up. All of that research being done on your own website is important.
The next step is the competition research — what have they done right, what have they done wrong? For instance, let’s say you’re a roofing company in Omaha and you’ve got a big competitor in Elkhorn. While you list them as competition, in the eyes of Google and Bing, they may not really be your competitors online. They can be within 2 miles of you and you consider them a competitor, but Google doesn’t.
When we do a competitor analysis we always review the competitors that the clients provide to us. But there are also additional competitors that we add to the list, the ones Google and Bing consider to be online competitors. From there, we pull all that information, put it into a big Excel file and figure out what’s going on. Some of it could be where they’re getting their links from or what business directories they’re listed in.
We review what keywords the competition are going after, and if those words actually get any traffic.
We review how many pages they have in their site, and how many pages Google indexed.
We review the competitors Adwords, check up on their social media campaigns, and much more.
These are all parts of the advanced audit.
Before Working With Any SEO, Get An Audit!
One of the things you don’t want to do when working with SEO agencies is to just order one of their plans or packages. They’ll tell you “oh yeah everybody does this,” and hope you go for it.
Simply put, that usually doesn’t work.
If the SEO package says you’re going to get “x” amount links for a handful of keywords, and that they will increase your rankings for “X” many positions – they’re blowing smoke!
There’s just no way they can determine any of this unless there’s an audit performed.
You have to know where you are, before you can figure out where you’re going.
Get An Audit Before You Do Anything Else.
Know where you are, so you can track things and figure out where your destination is.
When possible, work with a SEO company to generate an audit. You can do the work yourself after they provide a roadmap, but get an audit on things first.
If they don’t perform an advanced audit of just where you are and where you are in relationship to your competition, you need to find a new SEO company, and that’s where Big Red SEO comes in.
We have an office in Omaha Nebraska, and if you’re in the area, we’d love to chat face to face. If you’re not local to Omaha and wish to chat via Skype or Google Hangouts, we can do that too. Of course, unlike many SEO Companies, we also answer the phone and emails! So check up on your website, get a basic audit performed and then when you’re ready, we can help with an Advanced Audit.