2017 Edition: Your SEO Checklist for Success

SEO is an ongoing process. Every day brings different challenges. Trust me, I understand how overwhelming it can all feel.

You don’t want to get so caught up in the daily challenges that you forget about the larger picture. Every quarter, I perform an SEO audit on all of my sites. Also, I perform an audit whenever I take on a new client.

An SEO audit gives you a complete overview of how your site is currently performing. Obviously, larger sites take a longer time to audit, but this is often time well spent. After all, you can’t plan for the future without a thorough understanding of the present.

Here’s my complete guide to performing an SEO audit, including all the questions you’ll need to ask.

SEO Audit Explained

SEO campaigns have many moving parts. An SEO audit is a way to identify what’s working and what isn’t. You can then improve on the weak spots and, in turn, improve your position in the search results.

Performing an audit at the start of each quarter is a great way to ensure your site stays on track with your customer engagement goals. Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Set Clear Goals

Specific types of content only work in specific situations. In order to determine the right content format, you need a clear understanding of what you want to accomplish. Some examples of measureable goals include:

  • Increase organic search visibility by at least 40% in the next six months
  • Increase overall lead volume by 25% in the next year

You want to include an actual timetable, percentages and other numbers you can objectively measure.

Step 2: Analyze Your Current Keywords

Once upon a time, you devoted a lot of resources to determining which keywords you needed to include on your site. This doesn’t mean those are the best keywords to use today, however. You’ll want to make sure these keywords still align with your goals.

Step 3: Analyze the Competition

Using Buzzsumo, you’ll want to search for popular blog posts which are similar to your own content. Who is publishing this content? These sites are likely your competition.

You’ll want to analyze your competitors’ sites in the same way you do your own. What keywords are they using? You can find this out by searching through the Meta Tags on their pages. Here are 15 Ways to Check Your Competitors Backlink Profile.

Check out the social media pages of your competition, too. How often do they post content? What’s their level of engagement with visitors? Different social media platforms appeal to different types of audiences.

Step 4: Check for Any Technical Issues

If users have issues accessing or navigating your site, they’re likely to leave and never come back. On the other hand, a smooth experience on your website encourages user action and creates a sense of trust in your brand.

You can check the speed of your site with Google’s website speed tool. Ideally, you want your site to load in under a second. This can be a tall order at times, however. At the very least, you want your site to load in under three seconds.

Check on various mobile devices, too. Your site should be optimized for mobile already. This means shorter content, clear images and nothing which slows down loading times.

Step 5: Compare Your Current Audit to Previous Audits

Did you have any success in correcting any mistakes you discovered in the previous quarter? Use the current audit as a way to measure your progress.

Audits grow even more valuable the more of them you perform over time. You can spot trends both good and bad. Quarterly audits are a great way to get an expansive picture of how your site is performing as a whole.

The individual steps of an audit are fairly straight-forward. I’ve found that many SEO pros don’t perform regular audits not because of a lack of know-how, but because of a lack of time. They feel they’re too busy with the day-to-day operations, and don’t want to commit to a site-wide audit.

Truthfully, a quarterly audit is always worth your time. Otherwise you risk becoming too bogged down in details. An audit allows you to see the big picture.

Do you audit your sites on a regular basis? What do you look for? Share your audit tips in the comments below:

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