Essential Steps for Performing an Effective SEO Audit: SMX East 2015

September 30, 2015 | 3 min read
By Geena Nazareth

SMX_SEO Audit

Assuring that your website has achieved maximum search visibility is important. SEO audits must be performed to determine success.

The three SMX East 2015 presenters of “Essential Steps for Performing an Effective SEO Audit” explain the most important audit tactics and best practices for making sure your SEO efforts are having optimal impact on performance.

Jessie Stricchiola, founder of Alchemist Media, began the session with an overview of reasons to perform an SEO audit, questions to ask a new SEO client before performing an audit and how to plan a new audit.

Why Audit?

  • New site/startup
  • First time audit (no prior SEO)
  • Site redesign/CMS migration
  • Domain/subdomain migration
  • Diagnosing traffic drops/penalties
  • Site “checkup” audit (prior SEO)

New SEO Project  

  • Questions to ask:
    • Why did they decide to pursue an SEO audit?
    • Who was the driving force behind the decision?
    • What are the main concerns regarding SEO?
    • What are the short and long-term strategies for the site?
    • Has the client listed specific SEO questions at the outset?
    • What are their specific goals and expectations?
    • Is it a startup or established business?
    • Who will be the point of contact, and what is their skill level?
    • Is development and engineering internal, external, or both?
    • Does the company have prior agency relationships? If so, why did they end?
    • Have they provided historical SEO documentation? If not, request it.
    • Have you identified in-house SEO experts and resources?
  • Site background:
    • Subdomains
    • Mobile site
    • International presence
    • Prior SEO efforts
    • Major site changes
  • Page types/purposes:
    • Broad topic landing pages
    • Sub-topic focus pages
    • User account pages
    • Product pages 
  • Desired performance metrics:
    • Bounce rate
    • Pageviews
    • Tracked goals/conversions
  • Topics and audiences:
    • Prior keyword research
    • Paid search data
    • Topics supported by content
    • Personas

Planning a New Site Audit

  • Determine launch timeline
  • Acquire wireframes and site architecture
  • Determine site/product relationship
  • Establish plan for reviewing/crawling/editing staging site
  • Create URL 301 mapping spreadsheet
  • Ensure Google Analytics and other tracking codes migrate
  • Post-launch review

Benj Arriola, technical SEO director at The Control Group, follows with his tools of the trade for running SEO audits, which are shown below.

SMX_Tools

Bill Hartzer, senior SEO strategist at Globe Runner, ended the session with how to make sense of the data collected during your SEO audit, deliver the results and present your recommendations.

SEO Audit Data Analysis

  • Continuously make notes during data collection process
  • Brainstorm potential issues
  • Organize issues into categories
    • Web crawling
    • Content issues
    • On-page issues
    • On-site issues
    • Internal links
    • External links
    • Miscellaneous
  • Prioritize the issues
    • “Quick wins” and issues that have the biggest impact
    • Long-term fixes
  • Identify critical issues
    • Crawling issues
    • Webmaster guidelines violations
    • Over optimizations and spam
    • Negative SEO
    • Unnatural links
  • Avoid rabbit holes
    • Put time limit on issues you investigate
    • If over the time limit, list as an issue to check later

Deliver the Results

  • Create a formal document (if necessary)
    • Cover page
    • Table of contents
    • Overview
    • Website crawlability
    • Content optimization
    • Linking
    • Overall recommendations
    • List of priority issues
    • Present action plan for implementing
  • Create PowerPoint presentation (if necessary)
  • Determine who will implement your recommendations

What do you believe is the most important SEO audit tactic?  Continue the conversation below or find me on Twitter.


Protecting Your Brand from Online Fraud, Infringement & Other Emerging Threats: Live from SMX East 2015
Live from SMX East 2015: The Most Valuable Analytics Reports All SEOs Should Be Running
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.

Essential Steps for Performing an Effective SEO Audit: SMX East 2015

September 30, 2015 | 3 min read
By Geena Nazareth

SMX_SEO Audit

Assuring that your website has achieved maximum search visibility is important. SEO audits must be performed to determine success.

The three SMX East 2015 presenters of “Essential Steps for Performing an Effective SEO Audit” explain the most important audit tactics and best practices for making sure your SEO efforts are having optimal impact on performance.

Jessie Stricchiola, founder of Alchemist Media, began the session with an overview of reasons to perform an SEO audit, questions to ask a new SEO client before performing an audit and how to plan a new audit.

Why Audit?

  • New site/startup
  • First time audit (no prior SEO)
  • Site redesign/CMS migration
  • Domain/subdomain migration
  • Diagnosing traffic drops/penalties
  • Site “checkup” audit (prior SEO)

New SEO Project  

  • Questions to ask:
    • Why did they decide to pursue an SEO audit?
    • Who was the driving force behind the decision?
    • What are the main concerns regarding SEO?
    • What are the short and long-term strategies for the site?
    • Has the client listed specific SEO questions at the outset?
    • What are their specific goals and expectations?
    • Is it a startup or established business?
    • Who will be the point of contact, and what is their skill level?
    • Is development and engineering internal, external, or both?
    • Does the company have prior agency relationships? If so, why did they end?
    • Have they provided historical SEO documentation? If not, request it.
    • Have you identified in-house SEO experts and resources?
  • Site background:
    • Subdomains
    • Mobile site
    • International presence
    • Prior SEO efforts
    • Major site changes
  • Page types/purposes:
    • Broad topic landing pages
    • Sub-topic focus pages
    • User account pages
    • Product pages 
  • Desired performance metrics:
    • Bounce rate
    • Pageviews
    • Tracked goals/conversions
  • Topics and audiences:
    • Prior keyword research
    • Paid search data
    • Topics supported by content
    • Personas

Planning a New Site Audit

  • Determine launch timeline
  • Acquire wireframes and site architecture
  • Determine site/product relationship
  • Establish plan for reviewing/crawling/editing staging site
  • Create URL 301 mapping spreadsheet
  • Ensure Google Analytics and other tracking codes migrate
  • Post-launch review

Benj Arriola, technical SEO director at The Control Group, follows with his tools of the trade for running SEO audits, which are shown below.

SMX_Tools

Bill Hartzer, senior SEO strategist at Globe Runner, ended the session with how to make sense of the data collected during your SEO audit, deliver the results and present your recommendations.

SEO Audit Data Analysis

  • Continuously make notes during data collection process
  • Brainstorm potential issues
  • Organize issues into categories
    • Web crawling
    • Content issues
    • On-page issues
    • On-site issues
    • Internal links
    • External links
    • Miscellaneous
  • Prioritize the issues
    • “Quick wins” and issues that have the biggest impact
    • Long-term fixes
  • Identify critical issues
    • Crawling issues
    • Webmaster guidelines violations
    • Over optimizations and spam
    • Negative SEO
    • Unnatural links
  • Avoid rabbit holes
    • Put time limit on issues you investigate
    • If over the time limit, list as an issue to check later

Deliver the Results

  • Create a formal document (if necessary)
    • Cover page
    • Table of contents
    • Overview
    • Website crawlability
    • Content optimization
    • Linking
    • Overall recommendations
    • List of priority issues
    • Present action plan for implementing
  • Create PowerPoint presentation (if necessary)
  • Determine who will implement your recommendations

What do you believe is the most important SEO audit tactic?  Continue the conversation below or find me on Twitter.

Share This Post
PREVIOUS POST

Protecting Your Brand from Online Fraud, Infringement & Other Emerging Threats: Live from SMX East 2015
NEXT POST

Live from SMX East 2015: The Most Valuable Analytics Reports All SEOs Should Be Running
Subscribe to the Digital Marketing Tip!
Get the latest insights and time-tested wisdom from veterans of the digital marketing industry.