Website optimization is an ever-important aspect of having an SEO website. As such, you need to optimize the site from time to time if you wish to keep it on a high level. However, many business owners aren’t sure where to start when it comes to website optimization. If you track your numbers, you’ll know whether you’re getting traffic to your site, but it’s a little trickier to determine where you could be doing better.
An SEO website audit can help you figure out your next steps, but unless you’re a professional, you’ll need help. And when it comes to website audits, there are plenty of things to be on the lookout for. Here’s what you need to know about SEO audits:
Free or Paid?
You could find plenty of offers online for a free website audit, but you should exercise caution if you decide to take one. As you’re probably aware; “free” in this day and age either comes with strings attached, or it’s entirely useless. In a small number of cases, it might even be a scam designed to get you to pay or to use your analytics data. Never give out access to your website or analytics to someone who offered to do the audit for free. They don’t need to access the back end of your website to provide a basic audit.
Website audits are usually expensive for a reason — they require time and significant expertise to show you a clear way for best website optimization. It’s a considerable investment, but it’s usually worth it if you can find a good, reputable auditor.
How to Choose an Auditor?
If you have to pay between $500 and $5,000 for a website audit, you want to be sure that you hired the right person for the job. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts in this process — you’ll have to research each candidate thoroughly. Unless someone you trust is willing to recommend a credible auditor who provided excellent results for them, try asking the auditors for a sample audit.
You’ll be looking for a list of your SEO website issues with recommendations and explanation of the steps required to solve it. Ideally, there’d be multiple SEO solutions listed, punctuated by screenshots that reference specific examples. The sample you receive probably won’t include all the information a regular audit would, but it should give you a good idea of whether the review you’ll receive is specific to your website. What’s more, you’ll know whether it provides information that’s going to be of use to you.
If you intend to hire an SEO company to implement the recommended changes found in a website audit, you may be able to get a good audit as part of the SEO agreement. In other words, you may have to pay to get the initial audit, but if you also buy SEO services from the same company, many suppliers will offer to credit the amount you spend on the audit towards your monthly SEO program.
What Should You Avoid?
If the sample audit you receive seems designed to get you to pay without providing much value – steer clear. You’ll know this type of sample by the language and presentation: saying that a stat is bad without explaining why without spreadsheet resources and only basic charts. A proper audit gives you a choice on how to tackle any issues the website may have, and most auditors will want to present it in detail.
Improving your website ranking is virtually impossible without SEO. However, it might take a few months for you to see the results of your website optimization efforts via SEO.
Don’t hesitate to contact me if you wish to see your efforts come to fruition more quickly. I’ll be happy to discuss your marketing strategy with you and help in any way I can.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.