If, like virtually every business in the 21st century, you rely on your website to attract leads and convert them into paying customers, you need to occasionally conduct an SEO audit. Regular, scheduled audits evaluate your website’s current strengths and weaknesses. You can, therefore, formulate strategies to rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs) and thrive in the online marketplace. SEO audits also identify issues that can create problems and attract penalties down the line. Not too long ago, ranking high on Google search results was a simple matter of acquiring backlinks, and adding keywords to your content, headers, and title tags. Those days are long gone — today, you need to know how to prepare an SEO audit report.
Once they perform industry-leading SEO audits, companies like High Voltage SEO create a document that clearly describes your website’s weaknesses and every step they’ll take to fix them. If you’re keen on learning the nitty-gritties of SEO and DIY your own audit report, you have to follow these steps:
Determine Your Objectives
An SEO audit report typically has to guide how you’ll go about improving your website’s SERPs ranking. In case you’re auditing a client’s website, the audit also serves to educate the client on good SEO practices and clearly explain the work you’re about to do. Before you do anything, you have to fully understand what you or your client is looking to achieve with their website. For example, you may want to rank higher on SERPs, improve user-engagement, boost traffic, or increase sales. Typically, businesses require all of the above. However, it’s important to identify which targets to start with and understand how each one affects the others. By clearly outlining your objectives, you give a lot more focus on your report and set achievable expectations.
Establish Your Key Performance Indicators
Once you determine your objectives, you have to identify the steps you need to take to meet these goals. For example, if you want to boost organic search traffic, you can focus on ranking for keywords and link building. You also need to determine the amount of ranking improvement or increase in organic traffic you’re looking to get in hard numbers. You or your client should be able to measure and track your progress over time. It’s also vital to highlight steps that you may have already taken to meet each goal. Besides traffic, other KPIs include conversion rates, user engagement, backlinks, page speed, and more.
Create Your Audit Report
Once you’ve cleared the ground, you can now create your SEO audit report automatically or manually. Automatic solutions may create impressive, colorful reports, but they are rarely as thorough as the manual approach. You have to use tools like Google Search Console and Google Analytics to gather all the data that’s related to your SEO objectives. A variety of tools are also available to organize the data you’d have gathered into an easy-to-understand format. Automatic SEO software may also create multiple-page reports that look professional but only serve to confuse the client. An audit report should explain each SEO metric and link the key performance indicator to the client’s business objectives. It’s not only a matter of using graphs to track the progress of each KPI over time, but also making sure everyone is on the same page. SEO experts usually start with the manual approach, then set up a system to periodically send a client SEO audit reports, with up-to-date data.