April 2, 2022

Purpose of SEO Audits and Why Your Website Needs One

Wondering what SEO audits are and how they impact your online business? You’ve landed on the right page. 

In this blog post, we’ll talk about the purpose of SEO audits and how an actionable audit can improve your rankings to generate qualified leads for your brand. 

What is an SEO Audit?

An SEO audit is an analysis of your current organic search standing, taking into consideration your industry & competitors. It uncovers opportunities to increase your rankings and visitor numbers.

If you have recently launched a website, are doing a migration, or are making major tech changes, you’ll need an SEO audit to spot challenges early so that you can take immediate action.

What is the Purpose of SEO Audits?

Google loves a well-optimized website. Your site performance is the driving factor to improve online visibility.

The purpose of an SEO audit is to answer 3 questions: 

  • Is my website hindering my SEO objectives? 
  • What SEO issues should I optimize? 
  • How much scope is available for SEO improvement post optimization?

You can say that an SEO audit is like a “health check” for your website and needs to be done on a regular basis. 

It presents the big-picture of your current organic status and inspects both structural and content components that affect your SEO. 

But, what problem does it solve? Is it even important?

If done from a strategic standpoint instead of being checklist-driven, an SEO audit can be a gamechanger for the marketing initiatives of most businesses today. 

Challenges you may face without an SEO audit

You may relate to the following:

  • Many pages are added or removed multiple times in a year.
  • Sometimes, many people handle a single website and make numerous changes.
  • Much of the work is rushed to wrap the work quickly at that moment.
  • Once the campaign ends, those pages are neglected, leaving behind some digital footprints.
  • The management isn’t aware of such website pages and most of the time doesn’t care due to lack of awareness.

These things are normal and happen in every company. These things slowly pile on and often, there are some pages you don’t want to show your audience.

The thing is, Google easily detects the flaws that “low quality” pages have. For this reason, it reduces your overall website’s “reputation”.

As you would have guessed, websites with higher “reputation” rank easily.

Unless you do an audit, it becomes very difficult to uncover these issues.

SEO Tools like Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMRush have created their own metrics to try and estimate the “reputation” a website may have in the eyes of Google.

Missed inherent issues:

There may also be issues on your web pages from the day they were developed.

Some of these may be caused due to UX issues.

There are also pieces of code on every website whose purpose is to give instructions to search engines on how to how these pages in the SERP.

External entities causing issues:

A few years ago, WP Bacon, a WordPress podcast site became victim of negative SEO. The website noticed thousands of links coming in with the anchor text “porn movie”. In the next 10 days, “WP Bacon” fell 50+ spots in Google for the majority of keywords it ranked for. Fortunately, they were able to detect the issue – disavowed the spammy links, and eventually, recovered most of their rankings.

As sad as this may be, these attacks aren’t as uncommon as you may think.

A Typical SEO Audit 💩

Many agencies provide a typical SEO audit that only highlights your website’s issues. If you take a general view, the reports may seem perfect, but they aren’t.

Wondering how?

Let’s understand this-

A typical SEO audit consists of the following kinds of analysis:

1.  On-page

2.  Off-page

3.  Technical 

4.  Others (InterNations, Local, Voice, language, etc.) 

They can’t provide in-depth on-page and off-page analysis and therefore include technical and other aspects to complete their audit report.

Sometimes, these details are so vague that you’ll end up wasting a lot of time fixing issues. And the recommendations aren’t even categorized and prioritized, which may leave you baffled at a certain point. If you try to implement the recommendations, you may thus find clear overlaps.

Real Examples of SEO Audits:

Suppose you approach an agency to get an SEO audit done for your website. They will assure you of observing the best practices in the industry, use some readymade online audit tools, and present you with a mainstream analysis report.

For example, if you want a list of SEO keywords, a typical audit sorts out keywords based on volume and difficulty and gives you a list of the most popular 100-200 keywords.

Seems pretty easy, right? But, the fact is that 95% of the time, this method won’t work.

Why? Because 99% of the marketers out there are following the same approach and creating similar content with variations. If you follow the crowd, Google can lose sight of your uniqueness and you stay behind on SERPs.

Need a clear picture? 

Look at the following snaps:

Example 1: On-page analysis snippet

  • Now, this report indicates that there are 275 pages with duplicate title tags and 272 pages with too short title tags.
  • It backs those claims by sharing a couple of screenshots related to title tags and concludes its analysis.
  • The report lacks clarity on where exactly those titles went wrong in writing and how they must be rectified according to Google guidelines.

Of course, rewriting 272 titles isn’t a joke. It demands a lot of time and effort, and you can’t afford to sit for days and rewrite those titles.

In contrast, an ideal audit must provide a prioritized list of pages that need urgent changes to correct duplicate and short titles. This will save you from spending hours on rectification tasks so that focus on those business pages that have the potential to drive leads and conversions.

Example 2: On-page example (2)

Here, the audit only shows missing meta descriptions. Of course, it has done a good job of offering tips to write good meta descriptions. However, it lacks showcasing the exact number of meta descriptions, the list of pages without those descriptions, and the priority list. 

That’s what a typical SEO audit offers you – A document full of screenshots from tools that agencies have, outlining what the obvious gaps are.

No matter the size of your company, incorporating those audit suggestions is a daunting task. 

You don’t need to waste time on such mediocre reports. Besides, all your competitors out there are already following these checklists.

So what will make you stand out from the competition?

SEO Roadmaps: What you actually need

SEO Audits lack two major aspects:

  1. They don’t help prioritize the opportunities based on potential business impact.
  2. They are not actionable at all.

Ishaan Shakunt, founder of Spear Growth shared his experience with this when he was leading the SEO team at a Unicorn Fintech SaaS company.

When you outsource an audit, you receive a 40-180-page document with a list of things that just tell you “yes, you have a problem.” 

That’s it? Just a ‘yes’? What about the remedy to the problem?

You DON’T need just an audit. You need a roadmap.

Let’s start by recognizing that there are 4 parts to SEO and each part has different stakeholders involved.

You first need an actionable overview of your current position in the organic search landscape. 

Then, each of your teams needs a prioritized roadmap of tasks to perform. The priority is based on the urgency, ease of implementation, and level of impact they can bring to your business.

This is Spear Growth’s Agile SEO model.

Break down of an SEO Roadmap

Document 1: Executive summary

This section presents a brief overview, along with a prioritized approach, in short, snackable bits.

It’s a short narrative about your site’s reputation, competitor analysis, technical analysis, and on-page SEO with an actionable result-oriented conclusion.

Therefore, you straight away get a clear picture of how your current SEO is working for you and what should be the next steps. The report also comes with easy access to all the relevant links so that your task is further simplified.

Document 2: Template Audit (On-Page)

Here, we go through each template on your website (for instance, your blog page or product page) and highlight the changes with suggestions to improve them. 

We submit this in a task tracker format with exactly what to change with marked screenshots where necessary.

Moreover, we list and prioritize all the templates, irrespective of any changes, so that you’re aware of those templates that don’t need attention at the moment. 

Document 3: Technical Audit

We go through a list of technical issues using different tools and manually to ensure no major technical issue has been missed site-wide.

These issues are prioritized based on business impact and have clear action items on how to resolve them.

This contains both the what and the how. With a dashboard that clearly showcases the summary and progress of the changes.

Document 4: Backlink Analysis

We analyze your existing backlinks and suggest what should be retained or removed. 

We also analyze your competitors’ backlinking strategy. We use it to find backlinking opportunities & tactics they’re using but you may have missed them.

Document 5: Competitor Gap Analysis

This helps you get insights into what is working for your competitors and which of those initiatives can you also leverage. We analyze both business & SEO competitors.

These are the reports we provide:

  1. Content category gap analysis
  2. Keyword gap analysis
  3. Backlink gap analysis
  4. Site structure analysis

Speak with us

We don’t provide retainers and deliver our audits within 3 weeks every time. 

If you’re a B2B SaaS company, schedule a 30-min call with us. We’ll help you understand what can be achieved using SEO (No, not just traffic), and what the best next steps are for you. If we’re a good fit, we’ll recommend ourselves. Otherwise, we’re happy to send you a list of better-fit agencies for you.

Here’s a testimonial:

“Spear Growth takes an in-depth approach to SEO. They suggest strategic SEO plays that are aligned to marketing objectives.”Shreyansh Surana, Digital Marketing Program Manager, HARMAN International, B2B Enterprise

Let’s TalkSchedule a 30-minute call with us today!

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