General SEO Audit Insights
What makes the difference between a paid subscription report or a free SEO audit from a website crawl? Nothing … they both need human interpretation which is where an audit includes critical thinking and problem solving…AI is fantastic and sure it has math and logic down but in everything their is a little creative thinking and often the break throughs come by thinking outside of the box.
Skip ahead if you just want SEOProfiler info read along to understand what an audit is and does.
Audits Are Essential First Steps To Any SEO Campaign
Where are we going and why are we in this hand basket?
I like data, I’ve never been detail oriented but I think my years on a help desk taught me how to efficiently step back consider all the facts and determine what the simplest answer to a problem is … ( turn it off and back on ) and that is the foundation of a good audit, observation based solely on the facts. We can teach anyone the rules of SEO or technology but it’s that inquisitive nature and problem solving part that people just have or they don’t.
If you find yourself trying to discover the why in things then you’re the kind of person who will enjoy auditing and these next articles are for you. If you dont care why something is just that it is, then you need to hire someone else to figure it out.
In the audits I do I use SEOprofiler among 7 or 8 SEO tools. I like their reporting and how portable their data is for clients. A printable PDF copy is easy to generator or a generic url is available for live web reports.
SEOProfiler.com Web Based Client Reports
https://www.your-report.com?d=seandelahanty.com&p=ykepps9434 is a webbased report for an old election 2018 site I made. If you visit it you’ll see an example of the data available.
The link can be shortened using a service such as bitly. Ultimate SEO uses the domain urlink.rocks with bitly to make shorter links for clients. https://urlink.rocks/2Hf19QS is an example of the same link but now it goes to the report.
All Ultimate SEO audits center around these reports. I think Moz, AHREFS SEMRush have bigger names though and people like knowing you are using a tool they’ve heard of when auditing their site. I do agree that some of these provide perspectives worth considering.
SEOProfiler of course provides competition to these other tools at a fraction of the expense.
I also have found that no single tool is infallible and no client wants to accept something hard to stomach without a second opinion. For those reasons I always back up my audits with Moz , SEMrush data … that data is not the center piece of my audits but it supports it. This also helps weed out oddities, I’ve seen one tool say every page is missing a meta description while the other sees descriptions. Using two tools weeds out being wrong when you tell your clients what you’ve found.
I also always insist on Google Search Console data even though I’m often presented with Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a measure of how people get to your content and how they interact. Search Console focuses on how Google visitors found your site in the searches. The later is what I care about.
What Goes In An SEO Audit
- Technical SEO – page speed, CDN, SSL, Gzip compression … all of the fun techy stuff many forget play a direct role in SEO and SERP.
- Keyword Discovery – I say discovery because I seek out what Google views their keywords as, what they intended is a different matter. I had a client who ranked high in “Does Ginger Make You Poop?” she was surprised but thats the highest ranking phrase she had on Google so it was worth noting in an audit.
- Based on those keywords I decided who I felt were their competitors. Often clients tell you who their competition is for customers but in an SEO audit thats irrelevant your competition is who you are fighting over a keyword with and often you’ll be surprised. Google a keyword for own business and marvel at the sites competing with you for that keyword.
- A Ranking section then reviews the keywords how often they are searched, how high the site ranks, how many pages actually rank? What kind of pages rank? These questions are important, I’ve found in WordPress that “tags” and “categories” generally rank better than the actual posts. I suspect it’s because these are composite pages automatically created and often not over optimized for a keyword. FAQs do well too.
- On Page audits which are the part most often thought of when discussing SEO. Keywords in H1 headers and H2 headers. IMG tags that are required but often empty. URL text, meta tags and page errors all fall within this group. Its interesting how much people focus on this section considering it is one of the lesser important. Consider the “Google Bomb” Miserable Failure. George W Bush and the White House didn’t spend a moment optimizing his page to rank number one for the keyword Miserable Failure but using only Off Page SEO thats what he did rank as in 2006.
- Backlinks begin to roound off the second half of my audits. How many they have, foolow or not and what anchor text is used from what topical relevant sites. Do these backlinks include varied domain names and are the IP addresses unique? Do these backlinks have targets still or might a redirect be required?
- I do comparison reviews of competitor sites, what keyboards are they ranking under that this site is not.
- I explain what I think are the biggest issues that need to be addressed and what are the easiest fixes that can have an impact the quickest.
- Theres more but these are the big focus of the audits.
I also always provide the raw data reports which often include hundreds of pages of information. Any one can run a report but my audit is the Cliff Notes and I present the way out.
Wrapping up this first post on audits I’ll include the reports from SEOprofiler on this site, feel free to check them out and keep in mind when you see the number of errors on this site…I dont get paid to perfect my own site. So there are some areas where I plan to do this or that and I haven’t yet.
SEOProfiler Example Audit Reports
We’ll look over 4 reports that SEOProfiler creates for sites below. You can download a copy of each of these four areas and follow along as we trend and tweak our SEO Strategy.
How Do I Read The Ranking Report?
Well, first piece of advice…with SEOProfiler its going to only search the position of the keywords you’ve decided to track. In conrast SEMRus.com will sell tracking of keywords that you list, as well as keywords as they are discovered. So more than just what you go after.
These self proclaimed keywords will remain largely static unless you add more or remove some. But be cautious as changes will alter the reporting as the dataset changes. This means the trended data is no longer accurate.
Adding Keywords Can Show False Growth
I recently added keywords discovered by SEMrush.com to our site that we were tracking in SEOProfiler. Since they are keywords we already rank for …. it showed a steep climb in visilbility. Now that trend wasn’t as overnight as youre going to see in the charts and graphs, its a fair correction but cant be adequately compared.
SEOProfiler Ranking Report - Tracking SERPs
In the Ranking Report we move straight into Ranking Distribution. Ranking Distribution is just that…how your rankings are distributed across the search engine’s results pages.
I feel that a good indicator of health SEO is Page 5 having the most….the far fetched outliers, then page 4 having less and page 3 having less still. Page 3 I consider the possible keywords you should be building on.
Then Page 2 are the second least number of keywords and the first set of keywords you should be improving.
Page 2 represent your near misses, keywoods that with greater effort and some anchor text backlinks for could become page 1.
And then finally page 1. These are the keywords you have entered tht you are ranking on the first page with … pushing them to the top 3 results is your ultimate goal here.
I like to find high volume keywords that are relevant to my goals here in page 1, 2 and maybe 3. Then Google your site with that keyword.
Improve Existing Content for a keyword
I say google your site as in limit your Google search to only your site. Its easy to do and helpful in identifying pages already suited for the keyword.
If I search the above text, including site all the way to matt I’ll get the pages Google associates with the word matt.
Expanding on content already ranking for a keyword is a great way to improve your performance on that keyword.
Making New Content for a keyword
If you decide to make all new content for a keyword this search will help you identify what pages may compete with your new content on your site.
I suggest pplacing a link to your new content in the old page’s content with the anchor text of that keyword. Its essentially passing the keyword relevancy towards the new linked page.
Then Google the keyword and study the first 3 results. What do they do well? How can you do better?
Ranking Changes is another chart on that first page that is highly useful. Its an indicator of momentum. Most keywords should fall in the center, labled as “same” this is to say that the search engines rankings on holding steady.
If more keywords are to the left or to the right that direction is the momentum of your site. More keywords to the right is not a good sign.
Last Visibility Score shows how noticeable your site is within those given keywords.
SEOProfilers Ranking Overview
Each search engine will provide a similar table with a line graph for trending results as the Google Desktop version above.
Pay attention to the specific metric. Ranked Pages are pages that rank for any keyword. In this example there are 11. Notice ranked Keywords has 24. That indicates that some pages are ranking for multiple keywords.
Total rankings is not just the ranked pages and ranked keywords but also if you have an image for instance that is ranking well then you have an additional ranking in your total.
Keep in mind that these line graphs are really only accurate if they continuously use the same data set of keywords. You’ll notice an improvement in the line for pages and keywords in the example half way into the line graph.
Thats where I added like 70 keywords to the existing keywords. The rankings didn’t improve its just the data set expanded.
The next section of the SEOProfiler Ranking Report is by keyword. We see the Keyword, how often it is searched, how hard it will be to rank high, what your regular position is in the SERPs, it you have additional pages ranking for that keyword you may find Extra Positions and depending on the competitors you entered into SEOProfiler you may say a competitor if they also rank for the keyword.
A quick note on competitors…Don’t necessarily think of the companies you think are competing with you in business. This should be who is competing with you in the keyword.
Lets say you make computers. When you search your computer line if Intel is beating you they are your competitor … never mind they don’t make computers, they are out ranking you.
After the keyword rankings we find ourselves toward the end of the report. Top pages are displayed and again, I encourage you to improve these pages to help them improve performance of the desired keyword.
Some basic competitor info is then displayed followed by the unsuccessful keywords. Keywords you have entered into SEOProfiler that are not getting attached to a page.
If you see high volme keywords here that you feel are relevant you should design a new page all about that keyword.
SEOProfiler Audit Report
More will be added to this page soon.
The audits I do consider more than Google. The top 4 search engine indexes are covered with Google, Google Modile, Bing and Yahoo all being invluded. Sure Google gets the most searches but did you know that Bing searches are more likely to become paying customers?