Where to Start the SEO Process
When taking on new clients one of the first questions I get asked is where do we start? In almost all cases that has to be with an audit of the site.
A thorough audit is like building a solid foundation from where to build from. It provides you with the blueprint on how to proceed. Although it takes some work, it always saves you time and money in the long term. Not only does it prevent you from carrying out unnecessary work, but it also provides you with the fastest possible route to SEO success. In short, it gets you focused on carrying out the work that really needs doing.
What is an SEO Audit?
An SEO audit is the beginning of the process of search engine optimisation. It’s a full analysis of the website where you can determine the overall health of a site.
An audit will look into both on page and off page factors. The audit is where you determine what needs to be done to get your site ranking well in the search engines. This includes determining any problems, opportunities and recommending any technical fixes. An audit should be accompanied by a fully comprehensive SEO action plan.
Why an SEO audit is so important
An SEO audit is where we establish what exactly needs to be done to improve the site. Without this, it’s impossible to put a clear and effective plan together. Although it takes time, in the long run, it will save you time as you won’t perform tasks that are unnecessary. An audit tells you what’s right with your site as well as what’s wrong.
Another useful part of an audit is checking out the competition and learning what they’ve been doing. It’s very effective in SEO to replicate those who have been most successful. Finding what keywords they are ranking for is especially useful. A word of warning. This does not include copying their content.
How long does an SEO Audit take?
An audit is something that needs to be done with great care. It is the foundation of any SEO plan. If you start with shaky foundations then it’s difficult to build a successful campaign. For that reason, it shouldn’t be rushed. An audit can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the website and what exactly the client wants to achieve.
Some audits can be done mainly using software. For those more complex jobs, you’ll need to carry out a more extensive manual audit. Some people ask me why it takes so long? The simple answer is that it’s a complex task. It involves looking at far more than just a website audit. You also need to do a user experience, webmaster tools, and keyword audit as part of the package. Only when all of this is completed can you then put together an action plan based around your findings.
What will an SEO Audit Tell You?
That’s a question with many possible answers. An SEO audit should tell you everything you need to know. As there are over 200 SEO ranking factors, the list potentially can be pretty exhaustive. However, here are some of the most important factors that often need addressing:
– Duplicate content
– Title tags
– H1 – H6 tags
– Meta tags and descriptions
– Technical repairs (HTML fixes)
– Keyword analysis
– Sitemap check
– Page load speed times
– Link analysis
The listliterally goes on. However, once it’s been completed, you’re now ready to go onto the next step and get the SEO process started.