You’ve come a long way in learning about search engine optimization, or SEO. You’ve learned that SEO is all about making sure that your business, your website, social media platforms, and all the content that comes with them are the first things people see when searching specific keywords online. You’ve learned about the three types of SEO: onsite, offsite, and technical SEO. You’ve learned how to optimize your content so that it lines up with what both you and your audience want to get out of your business. Now, you’re ready for the fun part of the process: learning where to start with SEO. This has been touched on slightly in the previous two parts, but today you will finally fully learn where to start with SEO and be able to put it into practice with your own business.
What is an SEO Audit?
The word “audit” sounds intimidating, but in simple terms, an SEO audit, according to an article written by Erika Varagouli on the SEMrush Blog, “is the process of identifying issues that could prevent your site from ranking on Google and other search engines.” Such issues she mentions are as simple as your business’ content not holding up well compared to your competitors, or as complex as your site not being able to be crawled or indexed. In short, it’s making sure all of your SEO avenues, most notably your website, are in working order.
You will want to do an SEO audit of your website if:
- You bought a website for your new business and want to figure out what to do next.
- Your business’ website is experiencing a drop in organic traffic, and you want to know the reasons why.
- You’re looking to improve your digital marketing strategy.
There are many elements involved in an SEO audit, and to get a good picture of your SEO performance we recommend taking a look at all of these. Here are the main elements of an SEO audit that you should concern yourself with.
Are the keywords you’ve been using on your website and in your content not resonating with your audience like before? It’s time to take an in-depth look at them and how they rank with Google. You can do this with SEMrush’s Position Tracking Tool, Ahrefs’ Site Explorer Tool, or any other number of tools to do this quickly and effectively. If you find during your research that some or all of your keywords are ranking lower with Google than they should be, you should begin the process of finding keywords that will bring you back to the top of search engine results. We recommend identifying 10-20 keywords that are a good fit for your goals.
Linking back to other websites in your content is an important step to ranking higher on Google. However, not all backlinks you use may be helpful in your SEO efforts. According to Varagouli, “if Google considers a link to be an attempt to manipulate your search rankings, it violates their Webmaster Guidelines.” Such backlinks are known as toxic links. SEMrush has a Backlink Audit tool designed to point out your toxic links, which you can then remove and replace with new ones.
Comb Through Your Content
You may find that your content is harming your SEO efforts and keeping you from ranking higher on Google. Per Varagouli, you could have what’s known as duplicate content confusing search engines, or what’s known as thin content, which “is typically of little or no value to both users and search engines, yet spreads your site’s authority thinly.” You may find that your competitors’ content is ranking better than your business’ content which up to a certain point you thought was doing well. Regardless, it may be time for a content shakeup. Maybe it’s no longer relevant to your target audience, or maybe you haven’t gone deep enough (or even too deep!) into a topic. Be sure to go over future content pieces with a fine-tooth comb. For more in-depth information on optimizing your content check out part 2.
Audit Your Competitors
If you find that your competitors are doing better than you content and website-wise, find out what is making them do so well and then work that knowledge to your advantage. Auditing your competitors is an actual thing you can do. According to a blog entry on Moz, “the idea is not to copy your competition, but to leverage data to improve upon them, and use this knowledge to create better experiences for your visitors.” By using tools such as Moz’s Free Domain SEO Analysis and Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can learn who your true competitors are and the keywords they use that cause them to rank higher than you on Google. Sometimes you’ll find that you already use similar keywords, and you then must optimize your content with those keywords in a way that will get customers to visit your website over your competitors.
An SEO audit is time-consuming, but if you’re starting a new business, it’s a good way to figure out the direction you want to go in with your website and content. Not wanting to do an SEO Audit yourself? At Kevin Brown Design, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can deliver a done-for-you SEO audit.