3 reasons to get a detailed SEO audit

If you’ve just launched a website, or if your search ranking has suddenly fallen, put in the time, effort and money to uncover issues that are diminishing your visibility.

Ever wonder why you aren’t getting as many visits from Google or Bing as you used to?

Perhaps you’d like to make sure that SEO specialist you’ve been paying is worth the money.

The answer to these challenges (and many more) is likely to be a thorough audit of your website. Before we get into the details of what you can learn from an SEO audit, let’s look at three surefire signs you need one in the first place:

1. Your search rankings have fallen off.

If Google visits are dissipating and you can’t pinpoint a reason, it’s better to find out sooner rather than later. Some basic technical problems with your website can be easy to miss with the naked eye, and they can cost you dearly in the rankings.

One website our team reviewed found that a team member had renamed a file folder using two words, which included a space in the URL path. That minute mistake was affecting their SEO. The potential is high for corrupted files, broken links and a multitude of seemingly minuscule mistakes.

Dropping to the second page of Google’s search rankings can mean the loss of thousands of visits per week. That’s likely to translate into a big drop in inbound leads, and it could eventually cause your traffic to dry up.

If you’ve dropped off Google’s first page of results, don’t ignore it. You won’t get back to page 1 without strategic interaction.

2. You’ve launched a new website, and you want to be sure it was built correctly.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve secured a great deal on a website redesign. It looks great, but you aren’t sure how SEO-savvy the designer is.

Over time, updates to plug-ins, fresh content and new staff can worsen underlying coding issues—all of which can sink your SEO.

An experienced team can help you find the kinds of problems that might slow down your website and diminish your search visibility.

3. Your SEO pro isn’t 100 percent sure he caught everything (or you aren’t).

SEO strategy requires meticulous attention to detail, and it takes a broad array of skills to account for all the moving parts.

Many search consultants are good at finding keywords, tweaking content and ordering citations, but they might lack technical aptitude needed to dig into the coding side of things. In any case, there’s a chance your SEO pro is not accounting for every detail that affects your visibility.

If you’re unsure, an in-depth audit can uncover issues that editing content or rewriting page titles can’t fix.

What can you discover from an SEO audit?

A website checkup is essentially an intensive look at the underlying code on your website. It’s a way to see things through Google’s eyes.

An SEO audit should identify any issues that could be preventing you from ranking highly in search engines. Common problems include:

  • Internal or outbound links that don’t have a valid destination
  • Links that can’t be crawled by search engine spiders
  • Page resources that redirect away from your website
  • Multiple variations of files in use on the same page
  • The many different forms of duplicate content
  • Special characters that can’t be properly read or indexed
  • Hidden files and missing access issues

The above is by no means an exhaustive list. This small sample of common errors is just a reminder of how easy it is for marketers to miss issues that can cause extensive damage to search visibility, digital marketing and inbound lead generation.

These kinds of errors live “beneath the surface” of your website, so you aren’t likely to detect them unless you know where (and how) to look. Your talented web designer or search engine optimization consultant might not know to look for them, either.

Ready to elevate your website’s potential?

Why guess whether your website is as visible to search engines as it could be? To get started toward SEO success, here are four helpful tools for conducting technical audits:

  • Screaming Frog, popular among experienced SEO professionals, lets you run your own audit. It offers free (up to 500 URLs) and paid versions. There is a desktop app.
  • SEOAudits is a pay-per-service tool that provides detailed SEO reports and recommendations.
  • SEO Spyder lets you run your own audit. It’s a nice resource for DIY types.
  • SEMRush offers a subscription service, which comes with loads of help and support.

Randy Milanovic is CEO of Kayak Online Marketing. A version of this post first appeared on Kayak’s blog.


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