In a recent survey, 82% marketers reported that the effectiveness of SEO is increasing significantly mainly because SEO leads have as much as 14.6% close rate. This is the number one reason why small, as well as large businesses, have increased their SEO budget significantly in the recent times.
To your surprise, the SEO spending in the US (not global) will reach $80 billion by 2020.
It is time to ask yourself, are you spending enough on SEO?
Is your website ranking well in search engines?
Are you getting enough (expected) traffic from search engines?
If the answer is NO to these three questions, there is something not right.
The easiest way to quickly scan and see what’s working and what isn’t working for your website (in terms of SEO) is to do an SEO audit.
A website audit is defined as a process for evaluating your website’s health for search engine ranking. In simple words, it tells you one thing- how to improve search engine ranking of your website.
What SEO audit monitors
A true full SEO audit should monitor all of the following:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
Signs your website need an SEO audit
How to tell if your website needs an SEO audit? Should you really spend money on an audit in the first place?
If your website has any of the signs below, you need an SEO audit – now.
- Less or no organic traffic
Not every website needs an SEO audit. For instance, if your website ranks at the first place for your target keywords, you do not need an SEO auditor to see how you can improve ranking. There is no need for it.
However, if your website doesn’t receive any organic traffic at all or if organic traffic has decreased significantly or is still decreasing, this means ‘fishy’.
There could be several reasons for a decrease in traffic from search engines. You cannot tell for sure without an SEO audit.
It could be something minor related to on-page SEO or you might be acquiring fewer backlinks as compared to your competitors, who knows. Only an SEO audit report will tell.
- Website health
This is a proactive approach to SEO auditing.
Instead of waiting something bad to happen, you just go out and do a quick scan of your website’s current ranking, SEO loopholes, red flags, competitor analysis, backlink opportunities, website link structure, technical elements, and more.
Most of the businesses do a regular SEO audit of their websites only to inspect the SEO health of their website. The idea is to have an audit once a year or maybe twice a year.
- Before initiating an SEO campaign
Are you planning to start an SEO campaign?
If so, a website SEO audit is a must.
Because it will show you and the SEO agency the current SEO standing of your website. Most of the SEO consultants begin with a full audit. This helps them with tracking the progress of the new campaign, SEO planning, and budgeting.
For instance, you have been working with an SEO agency for two years but the results haven’t been encouraging. You are now moving to a new SEO agency. The new agency will an audit for following reasons:
- To see what previous agency has done.
- What they have to do.
- How they have to measure the effectiveness of their SEO strategy by isolating it from the older strategy.
As a webmaster, you should ask the SEO consultant to do a complete audit before starting the SEO campaign. This will help you monitor and measure the effectiveness of the SEO campaign individually.
- Red flags and penalties
Is your website penalised by Google?
Are there any red flags shown in Open Site Explorer and other spam analysis tools?
MOZ spam analysis is very helpful in identifying spammy links with the help of Open Site Explorer.
In case if there are major red flags for your website, you need to get it inspected. This calls for a complete pro website SEO audit.
Else, you will find yourself in deep trouble.
Similarly, if you suspect that your website has been penalised (for whatever reason) or if some of the web pages have been de-indexed, you need to get it checked before it gets too late.
Whenever you feel that your website is being flagged or is about to be flagged, you need to find out the reasons. You must stop doing what you are doing and to do so, you need an SEO auditor to tell if your website is really spammy, why it is penalised, and how to get it fixed.
Nobody can guide you with an SEO audit – not even Matt Cutts.
- Google algorithm has updated
Yes, whenever Google algorithm updates or something new (and big) is introduced (like Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, etc.), you need an SEO audit.
Because it will show you whether your SEO strategy has been rewarded or punished after the update. If it has been rewarded, you need to do what you are doing.
If it has been punished, you need to update SEO strategy and must stop doing all the things that you have been doing.
For instance, if your website lost ranking after an update in the algorithm and the audit report shows that it is due to spam links. Now you should disavow the bad links and meantime, you should acquire high-quality links to move up the SERPs.
SEO audit tools
You can do your own SEO audit in a few minutes. If, however, you need a full in-depth audit, you need to seek help from an expert.
If you prefer doing it yourself, here are a few tools that will help you get started.
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Open Site Explorer
The list can go on and on. The more tools you use, the better it is.
Website SEO audit is the beginning. It is a diagnosing stage. The real game begins after the audit has been completed.
How you tweak your SEO strategy to address issues reported in the audit is what makes all the difference. Eimear is the Marketing Manager for Powerpoint Engineering. She has overseen website audits on ten company sites during the last year.