If you’ve never done SEO before or are considering scaling your Search strategy, but do not have a well-crafted approach as to how/when/where to do that then you should be putting together an SEO Audit before doing anything else.
Why Perform An SEO Audit and Why Do It First
An SEO Audit functions as a map that guides your SEO initiatives. Like anything else in business, it is best to start with a plan and a strategy before embarking on serious execution. Without an understanding of the landscape and how to best approach it, it is very easy to find yourself lost in the ocean of online search without knowing where, how or in what direction to swim. The answers to those critical questions – where, how and in what direction – are the core pillars of a really good SEO Audit and should be deeply informed by your business and the economics that matter to it.
At Minimum An SEO Audit Should provide:
- An overview of the current SEO efficiency of your website (i.e. how discoverable is your web property)
- Benchmark where you sit within the search landscape as compared to your competitors and other websites (non-competitors)
- An understanding around what your core competitors are (or aren’t) doing and how to best use this information to carve your SEO path
- Identify the most pertinent issues that need fixing or addressing
- Plan and prioritize for the future with a system for tracking KPIs and a feedback cycle to effectively adjust
Ideally What Should Also Be Covered
A comprehensive SEO audit would comprise a full and thorough canvas of all the errors and issues on the site that hinder the search discoverability on Google and other web search engines. More importantly, it should also reveal how to best rectify those errors.
This process can be broadly classified into three main areas:
Technical SEO uncovers developmental aspects on your website that are less than optimal for Search Engine discoverability. Some examples include broken links, 404 errors, site speed issues, mobile responsiveness and search engine accessibility.
On-page SEO factors communicate critical information to Google. By neglecting this aspect of SEO, you will miss out on significant ranking opportunities. This section of the Audit focuses on questions such as: Do your web pages have properly optimized SEO tags? Is the text on each page informative, substantial and rich in SEO relevant keywords? Does your website have a blog and is it being used in a search-optimized manner?
Off-Page SEO / Internal Link Structure
Backlinks pointing to a website are a core part of Google’s algorithm. The off-page audit catalogues all the links pointing to your website and analyzes the quality of your backlink profile. This also looks to analyze the growth or shrinkage of your link profile, concerns around spam links and identifying where link opportunities exist going forward.
A lot of audits that we have seen stop there. In other words, even after the audit is complete, there is a lack of clarity and direction on what is required to strategically prioritize keywords and to systematically gain rank on keywords that matter in a meaningful way.
The problem is it’s one thing to identify errors and understand where you sit; it’s another to spell out exactly how to move the basketball up the court, which plays to run and why (depending on the desired objective). That’s why, at Pedestal, when we perform an SEO Audit we don’t stop at the above, we also perform a comprehensive Opportunity Assessment – the strategy guiding the approach to search engine discoverability.
What makes An SEO Audit by Pedestal Search Special
With fifteen years of experience in helping businesses grow their online presence, we have time and again observed a critical handicap that stifles most companies at this early stage of SEO. Even after performing an “SEO Audit”, they still lack a strategy guiding their approach to search engine discoverability.
That is why we call our first step towards engaging with clients the Audit & Opportunity Assessment. It’s that last piece which is both so important and so often forgotten.;
The Opportunity Assessment – A Critical Piece of the Growth Puzzle
- Pedestal’s Keyword Efficiency Matrix – This is our proprietary method by which we analyze multiple data points such as search volume, difficulty, the entrenchment of the incumbents and align them to your business’s overall SEO Strategy to formulate a prioritized approach to keywords by honing in on the keywords that are most important and most attainable.
- Timelines & Investment – The Pedestal Search AOA provides a clear and realistic timeline of how long it will take to hit certain rank levels for different keyword priority groups and what measures need to be taken to achieve those goals. It will also answer the question as to what are the realistic investment(s) required to unlock those ranks.
- Backout Forecasting Analysis – At Pedestal Search, we also consider how important search rank is to your business by actually tying SEO efforts to the economics of your business. Search ranks should back out into actual business – and as part of the Opportunity Assessment, we show you how the two are connected and why certain initiatives should be prioritized over others based on the unit economics of your business in conjunction with search ranks achieved.
When we speak to partners that have had what they consider to be unsuccessful SEO forays (i.e. SEO engagements that didn’t meet expectations), there is overwhelming evidence it is due to the lack of an Opportunity Assessment. This leads to a “groping in the dark” situation, where they were not clear on what mattered, what didn’t, and how to execute SEO on a timeline that is detailed with goalposts clearly detailed and understood.
While this approach requires some investment out of the gate, we have found that it is more than worth it. It sets the foundation for a productive SEO engagement because everyone knows what matters, what to expect, what the timelines should be and where the goalposts are. By working that out in advance, we all know what it looks when we score. As those achievements rack up, it’s great for your business and the creation of long-lasting business partnerships – which is what we should all be striving for.
Start a conversation with us today to learn more about how our Audit and Opportunity Assessment can help get your Online Search strategy formulated or redefined.