A review of search engine optimization can cover any number of components – technical, content, competitive, backlinks, mobile and analytics. Or it could be even more detailed. For example, a technical audit may include website speed, redirects, and crawl budget.
The risk of a generic SEO audit is that it repairs the surface, with little benefit. Depending on the site, several in-depth reviews can take hundreds of hours. But they can be worth it for competitive organic search rankings.
The risk of a generic SEO audit is that it repairs the surface, with little benefit.
Why an audit?
One entrepreneur once told me that he was looking for SEO services but was not interested in reviews. He had worked with SEO companies before, and I suspected that the commitments were not going well.
I read his previous SEO revisions. The suppliers had only touched on the broad issues. I explained that there was much more to reveal and that we couldn't run organic search performance without knowing the whole picture. Still, he was adamant that we do no SEO audit.
So I went ahead with the engagement.
The frequency of SEO audits depends on the circumstances.
For example, I recently worked with a brand that changed the entire site code. It required a new technical audit – for the second time in a year. Costly? Yes. Important? Very. The second revision revealed that the code was a major problem for Google.
But not all audits need to be done every year. It depends on your website and your competitors. If a competitor is implementing a new content strategy, you should probably perform a competitive and content gap review with a few months to see if you lose.
If your developers make routine code changes, you should review their work to make sure they don't add anything to Google. In my experience, code errors are very common and sometimes devastating.
If your competitors have invested in speed upgrades, you should routinely monitor and review your site's speed.
There are many good SEO tools. Sitebulb helps with technical SEO as it crawls a website and notices the changes. Run it once a month, and Sitebulb will provide "tips" to improve. I do this every month on both the company's website and competitors. (Conductor is a corporate platform with similar features to Sitebulb.)
SEMrush and Ahrefs help create meaningful content revisions. Both tools provide insight into what your competitors are publishing and their success. This data can help develop your own competing content strategy. Ahrefs is especially useful as it was originally a supplier of data links. It can therefore also help to create a competitive link building strategy.
Each review should provide a clear and concise review of problem areas, as in:
- An explanation of the issue. Thorough, detailed and easy to understand. The explanation should include descriptions from Google, case studies or what is needed to score.
- How to fix. An SEO practitioner can usually offer solutions for content weaknesses or backlinks, among other areas. He may not always provide a fix that involves code, especially if he did not build the site. In any case, an SEO provider should connect with developers when appropriate during and after the audit.
SEO tools can provide critical data, but the key is analysis by a knowledgeable person. When it comes to SEO auditing, there is not a single software that comes close to replacing the human element.