SEO Analysis – What is an SEO Audit?
1. SEO Goals: Why are we optimizing? What are the client’s goals?
The first step in a search optimization analysis is to understand our goals and objectives for performing SEO. Not all types of SEO are needed for each client. Some clients may benefit more, for example, from local SEO than organic SEO. The first step in an effective SEO strategy is understanding the client’s reason for search engine optimization.
Understanding Client’s SEO Objectives
The most important step in an SEO analysis is to understand why we’re optimizing. It is insufficient to simply think the sole purpose of SEO is to increase rankings. We focus on website optimization to improve rankings so that a website acquires more traffic from organic search. But, what if a client only needs customers, say, within a 20-mile radius around their location? Organic SEO may not be the most beneficial type of search optimization for this type of client.
Rather, a local SEO campaign would make more sense because it is typically shorter in duration and, therefore, cheaper. It saves the client money. Additionally, when done properly, the client may realize more local traffic faster because they are only competing against other businesses in their geographic area.
Beyond SEO for better rankings and more traffic, an SEO professional should be focusing on user experience optimization to improve important metrics like time on site, click-through-rate (CTR), website conversions, website speed, efficiency of code, image optimization and many other factors that have an influence on gaining new business for the client.
Perhaps the client feels they have sufficient traffic to their website, however, the problem is with the exit or bounce rate of particular pages on their website. An important part of an SEO expertswork is to conduct A-B testing to determine what on-page changes improve time spent on a page and, ultimately, lead to a conversion for the business. Types of common conversion are responding to Calls to Action (CTAs) like completing a contact form, placing a call or signing-up for a newsletter.
Each client’s needs are different depending on their type of business (service vs product), industry and target audience. It is the responsibility of an SEO consultant to guide the client through the necessary optimization strategy process. Often, this require the website optimization consultant to challenge the thought processes of the client, who may have preconceived notions about the best way to approach improving online business.
2. Keyword Research & SEO Landscape: How much potential traffic? How competitive?
Once we understand the client’s SEO goals & objectives, our next step is to identify the potential size of our optimization opportunities and the level of competition. Some websites are so niche oriented that there exists little online search and/or limited competition. The level of online search volume, variety of available search terms and number of competitors are all factors in building a proper search optimization strategy.
It is common for inexperienced SEO professionals to immediately target keywords and phrases with the highest search volume. Terms with high search volume tend to be more generic terms that may drive traffic, however, do not have intent associated with them. By “intent” we mean terms and phrases that lend themselves more toward a website conversion.
A simple example might be keyword research for a landscaping company. While the term “tree” may have 246,000 searches per month, the intent of why people are searching for it vary. Some might be researching trees for any number of reasons without any intent to sign-up or purchase anything.
Breaking down this example a bit further, we might target the phrase “tree trimming”. This term has a greater likelihood of resulting in business for the landscape company. It has roughly 15,000 searches per month.
Finally, “tree trimming Denver” would likely result in even more targeted traffic ready to learn more about our tree trimming services and schedule an estimate. With the geographical modifier added, the total monthly searches drop to 480.
Keyword research is an art and science based on...
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