How and why do you conduct an SEO audit of your website?
An SEO audit is a snapshot of a website’s performance at a given point in time. The aim of an SEO audit is to first uncover all the possibilities that need to be used on a page in order to define a strategy for referencing the page in search engines over the next few months.
So be careful not to simply deliver an audit that lists hundreds of errors and opportunities without offering a personalized solution to each of them.
- We will first see why we should conduct an SEO audit;
- We then provide an overview of the tools (free and paid) to conduct a professional SEO audit;
- Finally, we will explore in more detail how an audit is conducted following a methodology based on 3 pillars: Technique, Content, Popularity.
Why an SEO audit?
It’s important to start with the “why” because too many colleagues are still conducting audits without providing clear solutions. It’s just disheartening for a client to receive an independent audit without knowing where to start, how to prioritize tasks or just deal with them.
The primary purpose of an SEO audit will therefore not be to list a website’s mistakes, but to develop a concrete strategy to fix these mistakes in the short, medium and long term.
Goal #1: Short-term fixes and optimizations to the website
First, an SEO audit allows you to revamp your website. To do this, your audit will find and list all the errors your website contains, page by page.
If the website in question doesn’t have many errors (which can sometimes be the case with large e-commerce or press sites), you only need to fix them one at a time.
This kind of optimizations called ” a shot are often performed for flagship sites or for modestly sized e-commerce sites.
They allow you to immediately send a positive signal to Google, which will see the great improvement in your website the next time its robots pass.
Goal #2: Medium-term prioritization of technical tasks
For a page with many pages, e.g. B. an e-commerce site or a press site, it will simply be impossible for you to correct all errors and optimizations in a so-called “one-shoot” job.
The idea here will be more like prioritizing the tasks on a simple scale: time spent / benefit.
After the most important tasks have been selected, you have the opportunity to create a correction plan for these tasks over the next few months. Then it’s a matter of pursuing and implementing an agile method sprint for each of them.
Goal #3: Content Creation Strategy and Long-Term Public Relations
The third and final goal of an SEO audit is to create a timeline for creating relevant content on their website over the next 12 months, as well as a strategy for digital press relations (white netlinking, in other words).
Unlike the first two objectives, which required more of a technical audit, this content strategy depends on a semantic audit.
To do this, you need to look at the existing content of your website, the content of your direct competitors and finally the behavior and search queries of the visitors of the biggest websites in your niche.
After this semantic audit, you can offer your client an editorial calendar on topics that are relevant to your target group and semantically optimized for SEO.
It is ideal to find both search queries with high search volume and low competition.
The best tools for an SEO audit
One of the questions I get asked the most is what tools to use to conduct an SEO audit.
In fact, choosing the right tools is essential to a successful audit. A good tool gives you access to interesting and accurate data, but also saves you as much time as possible in evaluating and analyzing it.
There are both free and paid tools. The best free tools are those provided by Google (Search Console and Analytics). In addition, the data extracted from paid software comes from The Search Console and Analytics.
For paid tools, SEMRUSH is a reference in this area. However, colleagues sometimes use other tools like Ahref or Screaming Frog.
Google implements tracking tools that give you an overview of the most important data on your website. The two tools we can use to conduct an audit are Google Search Console and Google Analytics.
By far the most powerful tool is the Google Search Console. It is the essential tool of any good SEO. A veritable goldmine of information from both a semantic and a technical point of view. With Google Search Console, you can highlight the keywords that generate the most traffic and impressions on your website and the average position of these different keywords in the SERPs. It is therefore the perfect tool to come up with ideas for keywords to optimize and generate reports that will allow you to track the SEO evolution of your website on the different keywords.
Google Analytics is a well-known tool. It allows you to get a pretty accurate view of your website from a performance perspective. In other words, it’s a tool that’s more of a KPI than content or technique. It allows you to know in real time the number of visits, the average visit time, the number of sessions or the number of conversions. It is therefore a very interesting tool to monitor the evolution of your website, but it is less efficient than Google Search Console to carry out an audit.
The paid tool of choice: SEMRUSH
First of all, it is important to point out that there are other very powerful paid SEO tools out there. This is the case with Ahref or Screaming Frog, for example. If we had to pick just one, it would be SEMRUSH. On the one hand because the cost of a single software is already very high (between 100 and 600 euros per month), but also because it is already very complicated to fully master a single software like SEMRUSH. On the other hand, this software is a reference in this field and the tool most used by SEOs today.
SEMRUSH is above all a digital 360° marketing tool. It has SEO functions but also other more general functions such as SEA, Facebook ads or community management.
SEMRUSH also allows you to crawl your website. So a little robot comes to all pages of your website to list all technical errors. In addition, you can conduct an off-site audit. SEMRUSH can list all sites that are sending links to your site, creating an inventory of netlinking.
Finally, from a semantic point of view, SEMRUSH will collect all the data from the Google Search Console and store it in a way that will save you as much time as possible in your search for keywords. The software also allows you to partially check the semantics of your competitors’ websites.
How to conduct an SEO audit?
General presentation of the brand
- Present the universe of the brand;
- Create an initial competitive benchmark.
- Conduct a semantic audit of the 3 most direct competitors;
- Conduct a semantic audit of the current positioning of the client’s website;
- Find 10 conversion words;
- Make a 10-page proposal for prioritization;
- Design a detailed semantic cocoon;
- Create an editorial calendar for the first 10 blog posts.
- List all technical errors by URL;
- Run a site speed and load time audit;
- propose tools corresponding to the CMS used to correct these errors and optimize the website;
- Submit a technical schedule for the next few months;
- Prioritize optimization tasks over the next few months.
- Examination of digital press work;
- Digital press calendar for the coming months;
- social network testing;
- Facebook/Instagram/Linkedin post schedule for the next 12 months.
In conclusion, it is imperative to start your SEO service with a full audit otherwise you will end up messing everything up.
This audit must have an operational benefit and not just an advisory role. That is to say, a good SEO audit must not only uncover the problems, but above all, offer a series of personalized solutions to solve all these problems one by one.
Usually the audit is delivered 3 weeks after the start of the SEO service. This audit therefore takes a lot of time and is not an automatable task, since the human must constantly interpret the results of the machine.
(Image credit: istock)