Professional SEO Audits – Questions & Answers
We sat down with Angela, our in-house technical SEO specialist to explore the ins and outs of a professional SEO audit.
Now we don’t mean to brag, but we’re pretty proud of our 1st on the List team. We work with many talented individuals that are both experts in their field and all-around great people. Today we decided it’s about time you got to know us a little better.
A 1st on the List veteran, Angela is one of our top SEO consultants and has been with the company since the late 1990s!
We sat down with Angela for this article to ask her your burning questions about professional SEO audits and how they can be vital for your business.
Meet Our SEO Expert: Angela
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A: My name is Angela and I’ve been in the SEO industry for about 25 years. I was 1st On The List’s very first employee back in 1997 when our founder, Chris, decided to take a chance on me. At the time I knew nothing about SEO but was fascinated at how Chris had figured out the field when it was still so new. Keep in mind that this was BEFORE the advent of Google ladies and gentlemen. I was lucky to learn it all from one of the very best. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe how far the field has come. Now, 25 years later, I’m still with 1st On The List and loving it. When I’m not working, I like to spend time with my family and enjoying outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, and long walks.
Q: What is your experience in technical SEO audits?
A: Technical SEO audits have certainly come a long way since the beginning of my career. I start the process by troubleshooting websites and searching for issues on both the servers and the website back end. Back when I started creating Technical SEO audits in 2005, reports were about 2 to 6 pages on average. Now with the evolution of search engine algorithms, professional SEO audits can be up to 100 pages depending on the size of the website, the issues found, and the details enclosed.
Q: What is your favorite thing about doing professional SEO audits?
A: My favorite part is seeing the difference it can make for our clients. Clients will come to us with a great website that isn’t getting any traction in the search engines, and they don’t know why. Doing a technical audit allows me to find the key issues and come up with solutions. Implementing these changes and watching the traffic, positioning, and ROI improve is such a satisfying process. I love helping clients maximize the effectiveness of SEO for their business.
More About Professional SEO Audits
Angela here! Now that you know a little more about me and what I do, I’m going to break down the process of SEO audits and how they can improve ROI for your business.
A technical SEO audit is the process of searching for any possible crawlability and indexing issues for a website. These issues are typically not visible from the front end but can have a big impact on how search engines crawl your website and rank it in the SERPs.
By identifying and correcting issues that might be impeding search engine crawlers from viewing and indexing your site, you have a better chance of ranking for relevant search results. There are over 200 ranking factors that Google’s algorithm takes into consideration. Eliminating any impediments lets your website put its best foot forward and makes it easier for Google to find and store your site’s data in its index.
Why Should I Do An Audit? Is It Worth It?
New web design, server upgrades, and plugins updates can all potentially create issues with search engine crawlers. If you’ve never had a professional SEO audit done before, you should get one. You might have the best on-page and off-page SEO in the world, but if technical problems are sabotaging Google’s crawlers, you can forget about showing up on the first page of SERPs.
Once you’ve pulled the trigger and committed to an SEO audit, the following step will be to implement the changes and fixes identified. Remember, good SEO is about ongoing work and maintenance. By staying on top of your technical SEO, you’re giving your website its best chance of success.
How Much Does A Professional SEO Audit Cost?
The cost for a technical SEO audit varies depending on the size of the website and the number of technical issues. If your website is very large with many errors the cost could go up as the time I it takes to audit increases. We are happy to set up a consultation to review your website and provide you with an idea of cost and complexity.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring An Expert to Do An Audit?
If you want a high-converting website with healthy traffic, then you need to invest in good SEO. Conducting a technical SEO audit can help identify core deficiencies and give you the solutions to fix them. Here are a few key benefits of our SEO Technical Audit service:
- Better user experience
- Increased website traffic
- Improved crawlability and indexing by search engines
- Improved organic positioning in SERPs
- Increased ROI
- Boosted site performance (very important for Google!)
3 Professional SEO Audit Case Studies
- One of my first audits was for a worldwide distributor of medical, dental, and veterinary supplies. They had a great website, with the major downside that no one could find it anywhere. After completing an SEO audit, we determined that their site structure, along with several other areas, needed to be reworked so that the search engines could crawl and discover what each of their services were about. Thanks to the audit, we were able to correct the issues they were having and bring their business to the forefront of the SERPs for the services they offered.
- Not long after the tragic events of 911, I had the opportunity to work with a tour company based out of the USA. The company had previously enjoyed a lot of success, but after 911 they were struggling as customers were no longer travelling overseas. This forced them to rework their tour offering to focus on Canada, the USA, and Latin America. We conducted a full site and server audit for them, reviewing both the technical side of things as well as the customer-facing content to identify what improvements were needed. We worked alongside their developers and owners to optimize all aspects of their website and within a year they were completely out of the red. They remain a client of ours to this day.
- A recent example would be an audit I conducted for a hugely popular entertainment gossip blog. Along with the professional SEO audit we also helped to train the blog’s writers about good SEO practices. In less than 2 years after the audit the owners were exceptionally pleased to tell us about the tremendous growth in search traffic that resulted. They enjoyed a 58% increase in search traffic in 12 months over the year previous, before they started working with us. The bottom line… 4.9 million additional visitors!
The Audit Process
What Does The SEO Audit Process Look Like?
Conducting a thorough SEO audit will vary depending on the size of a website and the complexity of the issues. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months and usually follows the following format.
- Obtain login credentials to Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Bing Search Console.
- Run reports on all the above.
- Check for search engine indexing and crawl issues.
- Check off page SEO and backlinks for problems.
- Compile technical SEO report with problem areas and suggested solutions.
- Implement and set up the client on necessary SEO tools.
An SEO technical audit seeks to uncover your website’s overall health and any technical issues that may be causing problems with a search engine crawling, indexing, and positioning in the organic SERPS. By identifying the problems that hold your website back, we can work together to implement solutions and maximize the ROI on your SEO efforts.
The Technical Audit Checklist For SEO Success
While there are many factors to consider, and ongoing maintenance required, here are the big-ticket items to look for when optimizing your website for SEO.
- Overall website performance (site and server)
- Mobile friendly
- Page load speed
- Crawl errors
- Server errors
- Proper setup of redirects
- Site structure
- Overall user experience
- Backlink health
- Site security & Maintenance
Once you’ve taken the step to conduct a professional SEO audit, it’s time to make some changes. We recommend having an IT team, web developer, or marketing team implement the recommended changes. Our team at 1st On The List is happy to help with every step of this process!
Professional SEO Audit Tools
I mentioned that an SEO audit often concludes with targeting the identified issues and setting up a client on any necessary SEO tools. Here are a few that we usually recommend adding to your SEO arsenal:
- Screaming Frog
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- PageSpeed Insights
- SEM Rush
What About Free Audits?
It’s not unsurprising that everyone wants a quick fix. Over the years we’ve had clients come to us after trying free SEO audits and free SEO audit tools. The bad news is that these free services can often do more harm than good. The worst part is that it can become very costly to fix the damage. Sometimes these free fixes can lead to a client losing nearly all of their indexing and positioning in the SERPs, which then necessitates a complete rework of their website by the time they come to us.
While it’s ultimately your choice, we recommend against using these free tools. Hire a professional to do it right the first time and reap the benefits for years to come.
Why Hire An Agency to Do An Audit?
If you have a highly experienced in-house SEO team with access to all the tools they need, you may be able to conduct your SEO audit in-house. However, it is our experience that even with a solid in-house SEO staff client’s will often ask for a third-party SEO company that has people who specialize in SEO Technical Audits. This is because the tools, time, and resources required are often easier (and more cost effective) to outsource rather than direct internally. Once a third-party SEO agency completes the audit, the work can always be handed back over to the in-house SEO team to correct the issues and continue with the ongoing maintenance required.
SEO Reports – What To Expect
Ready to pull the trigger on a professional SEO audit? Here’s what to expect in the final report.
- List of issues found (this part can be quite long)
- Suggestions on how to correct the issues
- Technical details in PDF, excel spreadsheets, and infographics where necessary.
An SEO technical audit and SEO content audit can be a lifesaver for your website. Not only does it provide you with a detailed ‘report card’ of your website’s overall performance, but it helps identify areas to improve along with specific suggestions on how to do it. Conducting a technical SEO audit can be the saving grace for your business’s SEO strategy. Enjoy higher ROI, better organic traffic, and a strong overall SEO strategy.
Contact 1st on the List
1st On The List is here to help! Angela and our team of experts would be happy to set up a consultation to learn about your business and help you achieve your SEO goals.
We can also be reached by email.