For the marketing managers out there, when the time comes that you know you’re going to need an SEO audit - these are the questions we all know your boss is going to ask. Here’s how to answer them…
WHAT IS AN SEO AUDIT?
An SEO audit is a project working through all the items that affect how visible a website is in Google’s search engine. Think of it as like an MOT for your car. The recommendations we get from the audit can then be implemented, potentially making a big change to the amount of organic traffic we receive.
Typically an audit looks at a website’s:
Technical SEO - for instance the architecture, code and loading times of a site
On Page SEO - analysing the keyword usage, headings and meta data of a site
Content - understanding gaps, duplication and usefulness of a websites copy and content
Offsite SEO - analysing the quality and quantity of links and mentions from on other websites back to ours
Local SEO - understanding how our business appears when someone searches for ‘service + location’
International SEO - understanding how our business appears on Google in different countries and languages
There are many more elements which are looked at than just these but collectively they can play a huge part in where in website appears on a search engine results page.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PERFORM AN SEO AUDIT?
Because change happens. Specifically:
Our website might not be working as hard as it should to generate new business
We may have unintentionally done things that have negatively affected our website on Google
Google’s algorithms regularly update and we need to be sure we’re doing all the right things
So many people have worked on the website over the years and we need an outside expert to understand what’s going on
HOW MUCH DOES AN SEO AUDIT COST?
It varies - you can expect to pay anything from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands. If you take your average Shopify website for example, which carries a few hundred products you could expect the price of an SEO audit to start from around £2,500-£3,000. It all depends on the size and complexity of the website, the technology the website is built on and how competitive the industry is that we’re operating in. If you know an SEO audit is on the horizon then make sure you factor it in to your SEO budget planning.
IS AN SEO AUDIT WORTH IT?
In financial terms, the ROI of an SEO audit is almost always worth it. While the initial price of say £2,500 can be a big cost for some we need to ask ourselves how much a customer is worth to the business? If we can find mistakes, errors and improvements that can really make a difference to our website traffic and sales in the long term then the audit quickly and easily pays for itself.
SHOULDN’T WE JUST USE A FREE SEO AUDIT TOOL?
We could. But you could also cut your own hair. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
HOW LONG WILL AN SEO AUDIT TAKE?
Between initial sign off and final handover we can expect an SEO Audit to take between 4-6 weeks to complete. A decent SEO consultant will always give us an estimate how long a project will take and a date for when you can expect to receive results. The results are delivered as a written document and normally involve a presentation of the results.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE COMPLETE AN SEO AUDIT?
You can approach auditing websites in 2 ways:
The first is choosing to complete an audit after a set period of time. Let’s say 18 months. During that time there will have been:
Changes to the website
Change to the level of demand for products and services
Changes to our competitors
Changes to Google’s algorithm
So it’s important to know that you’re still doing the right things.
The second is choosing to complete an audit after an important business milestone which could happen at anytime. These could include:
The launch/redesign of a new website
Merging with another website
Moving to a new CMS/platform
Rebranding and repositioning projects
Significantly changing the products or services sold
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM AN SEO AUDIT?
In practical terms we’ll expect to see a detailed, actionable report about the changes our website teams, content teams and web developers can implement on our website that will increase how often it appears on Google giving us more traffic in the long term.
In business terms the audit will give us a clear roadmap of what we need to do to improve our SEO which will sales as part of our wider marketing activities. Here's how to prioritise an SEO audit if it doesn't arrive with any structure.