Starting a new business website can certainly be daunting. However, no modern business can do without a solid online presence, so it’s inevitable – for better or worse. Still, starting one is only the first step of many; having a minimal presence is worlds apart from having a strong website as a marketing asset. If you are seeking business growth, you can’t settle for half-measures; you need your website to perform flawlessly. That’s the primary, overarching reason your website needs an SEO audit, as we’ll explain today.
What are SEO audits?
First, let us delve into what SEO audits are, to explain their significance.
As you likely know, SEO is a series of practices that optimizes content for search engines – hence the name, Search Engine Optimization. In doing so, it lets it rank higher and enhances online visibility. In turn, it produces higher lead generation, benefiting lead acquisition and total lead conversions in the process.
To do so, SEO sees 3 main subdivisions, locally-focused local SEO aside:
- On-page SEO. This subset optimizes on-page elements like formatting, images, and so forth.
- Off-page SEO. In contrast, off-page SEO addresses off-page activities such as backlinks and social signals.
- Technical SEO. Finally, this subset secures websites’ technical health, for both improved SEO scores and better functionality.
Understandably, because of its vast scope, many sites still don’t engage in SEO to begin with. Others implement some DIY SEO but let oversights slip through the cracks. Finally, some fail to monitor its effectiveness over time, seeing sudden drops in online traffic. An SEO audit seeks to address all 3 by identifying where each website lacks, SEO-wise, and suggesting solutions.
6 reasons your business needs an SEO audit
With this context in mind, let us highlight 6 key reasons why an SEO audit may warrant your consideration.
#1 Monitoring SEO ensures business growth
The most common of the 3 cases above seems to be the second; unmonitored SEO half-measures. While that’s certainly understandable, as many businesses may lack the budget or time to perfect SEO, business growth often hinges on it. In this regard, consider SEO’s overarching benefits to the entirety of the customer journey:
- Lead generation. First, a great SEO score enhances visibility on search engines. This helps to both generate overall traffic, and convert said traffic into leads.
- Lead acquisition. Then, through matching user search intent and tailoring content marketing to each customer journey, SEO enhances lead acquisition rates. CRM can help with this phase, should you be using it.
- Lead conversion. Finally, SEO directly overlaps with Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Here, too, a robust CRM solution coupled with audience insights can visibly enhance overall revenue.
Thus, SEO is far from simply a visibility booster, and it lagging behind hampers growth. That’s, arguably, the primary reason your business needs an SEO audit, as we asserted in the introduction.
#2 Algorithms change…
The second reason an SEO audit is bound to help lies in the nature of SEO itself. That is, SEO primarily relies on search engine algorithms – and said algorithms change over time. That’s among the chief reasons behind sudden, seemingly unexplainable traffic drops, and an audit can reveal it by answering such questions as:
- Have on-page SEO criteria changed? Core Web Vitals is an excellent example of a relevant change in this regard.
- Have off-page signals changed? Google’s continued efforts against black hat SEO and ill-gotten backlinks is a notable example of this case.
- Is your website being penalized? Finally, manual actions will appear in Search Console, but algorithm-related penalties will not – requiring an audit to reveal them.
#3 …and so do keyword research needs
Similarly, consumer behavioral trends change over time. Optimizations aside, content primarily ranks through its keywords, seeking to match the user search intent as it does so. Thus, proper keyword research is imperative, and an SEO audit can inform it in such ways as:
- Long-tail keywords. First, simply targeting valuable keywords is not enough. You will need to know which short keywords to target through paid ads, which long-tail keywords to rank for, and which keywords to simply give up on.
- Local keywords. Similarly, local SEO requires an impeccable Google My Business (GMB) profile and a stronger focus on local visibility. An audit will help refine your priorities in this regard.
- Search intent. Finally, ranking for keywords does not suffice; you also need to match the user search intent. SEO holds that satisfying the user’s objective is paramount to lead acquisition and, in turn, conversions.
#4 Website technical health is paramount…
Content itself aside, your website’s technical health presents another crucial reason your business needs an SEO audit. Among other notable drawbacks of poor website technical health, consider the following:
- Slower loading speeds. On-page SEO does delve into page loading speeds, but a site’s technical health can also affect them. Google finds that loading speeds directly correlate to bounce rates, which can considerably decrease final conversions.
- An inferior UX. Similarly, a poor User Experience may originate from other technical issues. Consider the lack of breadcrumbs, poor site structure, and the lack of an HTML sitemap as great examples of harder navigation.
Decreased visibility. Finally, orphaned pages, a lack of a proper XML sitemap, and other technical issues will directly hamper your SEO score. In turn, lower rankings effectively decrease your online visibility, reducing lead generation rates.
#5 …and so is link-building.
Moreover, as regards off-page activities, few setbacks can outline the need for an SEO audit as well as backlink shortcomings. Backlinks are the proverbial backbone of SEO, as they produce referral traffic and contextualize your pages’ subjects. Finally, in the case of Follow backlinks, they also enhance your authoritativeness. Here, consider such link-building concerns an audit may address as:
- Link-building opportunities. For many, link-building entails the skyscraper technique. Between keyword research insights and competitor analysis, an SEO audit can reveal such opportunities to help bolster your link-building efforts.
- Unbranded mentions. An excellent example of the above lies in unbranded mentions, where someone mentions or cites your work without linking to it. Acquiring backlinks this way only requires that you identify unbranded mentions and contact marketers and webmasters about it.
- Lost backlinks. Similarly, losing backlinks for any reason may abruptly cost you traffic and decrease your SEO score. An audit will reveal lost backlinks, so you may take appropriate action to restore them.
- Follow/NoFollow backlink ratio. Having touched on penalties before, your backlink profile itself may unwillingly attract penalties. This occurs when a profile accrues too many Follow or NoFollow backlinks, appearing unnatural.
- Harmful backlinks. Finally, on the subject of backlink-related penalties, harmful backlinks do exist as well. Follow ones by untrustworthy sources will damage your SEO score, for example, and malicious enough competitors may deliberately use this against you.
#6 Monitoring your competitors can give you the edge
Finally, having mentioned competitors, competitor analysis presents the final reason your business needs an SEO audit. Keeping an eye on the competition presents undeniable benefits, as you can acquire insights into their successes and failures. SEO-wise specifically, an SEO audit can analyze them to answer such questions as:
- Which keywords do they rank for? From long-tail to local and LSI keywords, which ones do they prioritize? More importantly, how effective is each keyword for them, and which keywords have they abandoned?
- What search intent are they satisfying? Next, how does their content strategy frame their keywords? Put differently, what search intent does their content satisfy, and how can you do the same?
- Is it all SEO? Finally, different audiences require different approaches. How much of their success do they owe to SEO? Do they divide keywords between SEO and PPC, and if so, using which criteria?
Of course, copying your competitors to the letter will likely not produce the best results. However, such valuable insights can certainly help inform your efforts, SEO-wise and even otherwise.
To conclude, the 6 primary reasons your business needs an SEO audit lie in the significance of growth monitoring, changing algorithms, keyword trends, website technical health, backlinks, and competitor analyses. Naturally, the exact value of each of these factors will depend on your own, unique business. From your implemented SEO to your marketing activities, and from your budget to your market position, no two websites can be the same. Nonetheless, an audit will address them all, and help pave the way to continued success.