Why Your SEO Project Will Fail Without an Audit
You probably get an unsolicited email almost everyday about SEO services. Some of these emails offer monthly SEO packages and some of them offer website audits. In a lot of these cases they are companies offering old school techniques which will get you in trouble with the animals at Google pretty fast.
Whether you have hired one SEO or none, getting an outside audit is essential to the long term success of your website and online marketing efforts. Now let’s learn why I believe this.
One thing that irks me about our industry is people who try to put out an entire strategy for a client based on the few tricks they know. Then they come to find out a few months later that they were underneath a penalty they never caught, or had a duplicate content issue that was never detected.
For example, when we take on an SEO project we always like to start with the idea of “How can we be the least imperfect?”. If there are over 200 different ranking signals we know that our clients need to have as many of those in line with Google’s requirements as possible. If not, you are ultimately hurting yourself in the long run and you will lose quick wins.
While you may not be able to beat your competition in every aspect right out of the gate, there might be some smaller wins you can take advantage of and ultimately become better in every area. The problem with SEO is that the number of these issues can be one of several hundred. In addition to this, keeping up with the algorithms and always knowing what best practice is will keep you sharp and ahead of your competition.
To stay on top of your game I recommend getting your site audited. Here are my top 7 reasons as to why you need an SEO audit.
Casey’s Top Seven Reasons Why You Need an SEO Audit
Reason #1: SEO’s can get tunnel vision
Let me tell you a little story. Not long ago a company reached out to me and asked that I review their website. They were happy with their results from their current vendor but they wanted to know if there was anything else that could be done. Since results had started to get a little stale they thought they could do more.
In this case I worked with the company and their SEO vendor to conduct an audit, find out where they were headed, why they were headed there, and how they were doing it. It was pretty apparent to me after some deep analysis that the client was focused solely on head keywords with a lot of competition. In this case they were completely ignoring long tail and localized keywords. While their old strategy had worked fine for them before the Venice update it was clear that they were not adapting to new search trends. They were so focused on the old strategy in this case that we were able to help identify the issues and create an on-going action plan that helped them increase sales by over 600%.
This is just one of many examples where an SEO can get too focused on one goal and not keep the main thing the main thing. If your goal is conversions or sales then your strategies need to be constantly enhanced to reach that goal.
Reason #2: Older Tactics Were Used
If you have been in the search game for a while and have run a website for years it’s important that you ensure older tactics were not used. If they were used you need to know about them and develop a plan to combat them.
A great example of this is a duplicate content problem. If you had run a website for some time and had duplicate content it may not have been a major issue for you pre-panda. However as Google continues to update their algorithm they try to deliver the best searcher experience. In doing this they have been knocking out duplicate content for years. Just because you used to use this and it worked does not mean you can have it anymore. If you get caught then your offending pages will not be indexed.
Another great example of this is old link building tactics. If you ever relied on a method on link building in any way it’s a good idea to get this audited and cleaned up. Google is taking this very seriously and just because it hasn’t hurt you for years does not mean it won’t happen tomorrow. This is a scary situation that is much easier to avoid then try to fix once you’re hit with a penalty.
Reason #3: Every SEO comes from a different background
This is something I have seen over and over in my career. Some SEO’s have been around the block a few times and some are brand new. Some focus on different areas and provide their experience.
We can’t be experts in every area so it provides great training to get independent feedback on SEO projects. Just because you work with someone who is an expert in Local SEO doesn’t necessarily mean they should be advising you on penalty recovery. If they don’t have that experience they likely can’t protect you from issues that may arise in the future.
Reason #4: Negative SEO is real and needs to be watched
Since I have seen the best and worst results that a link profile can cause to your website I am very cautious about these very real threats. Google is an imperfect machine and although they have indicated they are aware of negative SEO I would never leave this up to fate. If your site gets penalized you will be out of the game for some time. That being said, Negative SEO is real and I consider it a real threat.
Having a link expert look at your backlinks and conduct link removals and a disavow file is essential if you think you’re under attack. I have seen companies that don’t monitor their link profile and by the time they catch the negative SEO effort it’s already been going on a year and looks like they’re the ones doing it. You should be proactive with this and get it checked regularly. You can do this easily with Moz, AHREFs, Link Research Tools and other tools.
Reason #5: Small on-site changes can have a big impact on your rankings
Let’s face it. Earning links isn’t an easy process. It takes time and a significant investment of time and resources. While links are still a major driving force in rankings there are other items you might be able to implement that will give you a boost while you’re building up your link earning campaigns. After all if your site is the least imperfect you will look better in Google’s eyes. But how can you prioritize these efforts without knowing about them? You can’t. This is another reason why a full site audit is essential to your overall projects success.
Recently I was hosting an SEO Meetup group and we were conducting website audits for the visitors. I met a gentleman who has had a successful booming business online but also thought he could be doing more. He had strong rankings already but many of the SEO best practices were not optimized around target keywords. With a few on site changes he would be able to increase his visibility even more in competitive markets.
If your SEO has been doing a good job but is not striving to be the least imperfect they typically can let some of these things go. Finding every area that you can improve on and making a priority list to fix these items will take these potential issues out of play.
Reason #6: If you have ever had multiple SEO’s work on your website
I mentioned a bit earlier that every SEO comes from a different background. Having different minds with different strategies who have worked on your website over the years is typically one of the most tricky situations. While there are many great SEO’s, there are also an equal number of shady ones. Different minds use different methods and depending on how long they have been in the industry they could have entered at a time where a practice was acceptable, but then became unacceptable.
Reason #7: If you care about the long term success of your website
This one is a bit blunt but I feel its completely appropriate. If you have a lot invested in your website you really can’t afford not to have someone else look at it. Maybe its someone else in the same company you’re working with or a different company altogether. The fact is that if they are resistant on this they may have something to hide. Of course it could be a measure of pride as well. However in my experience I have found that the people who are willing to go this route always learn from the experience and increase their knowledge as well.
A Quick Recap
Whether it’s for insurance purposes, or just to make sure you’re on the right track, there are a lot of benefits of getting an SEO audit. Don’t be like many of the failed SEO projects I have seen over the years just because you never did your due diligence.
I also offer personal Law Firm SEO Audits for interested clients.