Just like your vehicle regularly needs its oil changed, so does your site regularly need an SEO audit. You should have an SEO audit conducted at least once year on your site in order to ensure it’s up to par with Google’s best practices.
Ranking Factors Change
Google’s best practices for SEO change often. Their algorithm for determining rankings goes through tweaking and sometimes large overhauls yearly. You’ll often hear about these updates in SEO news and you may remember some from the past: penguin, pigeon, rank brain, panda, possum, and badger.
These updates can drastically change the way your site ranks. The Penguin update penalized spammy websites. The pigeon update was designed to provide better local search results. Panda penalized sites with poor quality content. Possum impacted map listings. And finally Badger, which didn’t do anything, because it’s not real. I made it up. But I bet you didn’t know that, and that’s why you need an SEO audit conducted by an SEO professional.
An SEO professional will know exactly what to look for on and off your site to ensure it’s ranking to the best of its ability.
What an SEO Audit Will Look For
A professional SEO audit will look at and ask questions about the following factors of your website:
- Structure: Is your website optimized for users to easily browse? Is information presented clearly, in a structured way? Are there broken links? Does the site structure work together in a way that is optimized to Google’s standards?
- Metadata: Are your title tags and description tags for each page up to Google’s best practices and written in a way to attract visitors?
- Content: Is your content duplicated from another site? Is it relevant or outdated?
- Crawlability: Is your site optimized to allow Google crawlers to index your site? Are you indexing the correct pages? Are you no-indexing the correct pages?
- Speed: Is your site loading fast enough to meet Google’s standards? Does it load quickly on desktop and mobile?
- Mobile Responsiveness: Is your site mobile responsive? Do all the pages look and function correctly on all mobile devices?
- Off-Page Factors: Are the social sites for your business pointing to your business website? Do you have any harmful links pointing to your site? Is your site in the relevant directories? Is your business NAP (name, address, phone) information correct and consistent across the web?
- These are just some of the many questions an SEO audit would answer. There are over 200 factors that decide how pages rank on Google. Are you sure your site is covering all of them? Covering all factors is your best way to rank, and while you might not be able to cover them all, an SEO audit will certainly determine the ones you are covering and any important ones you are missing. You may be covering 199 of the factors, but none of that matters if your site isn’t crawlable.
Use a Professional from a Reliable Company
SEO professionals have access to many tools that allow them to properly audit your site. These tools are usually complex and require costly subscriptions in order to use. So don’t expect to find a cheap SEO audit. While prices may vary from company to company, like just about everything, you pay for what you get. Cheap SEO audits may give you basic information about your site’s SEO health, but don’t expect detailed summaries of problems or how to go about fixing them.
When it comes to your website’s SEO, don’t settle for something cheap that can provide useless information or, worse, wrong information that could end up hurting you. Don’t ignore red flags. Go with a company you can trust. An SEO audit can be the first step in not only determining if your website’s SEO is up to date, but also in finding an SEO company you can trust.