We get asked quite often: what tools do you do to perform an SEO audit? The short answer: we don’t use many tools, we mainly use our brains. The long answer: we use a bunch of different tools in conjunction with our knowledge to produce a manual SEO audit.
Before we go any further, I want to clarify that when we talk about an SEO audit, this varies greatly from an SEO report. An SEO audit is generally done before we start working with a client, while an SEO report is something that is generated weekly, monthly, daily, etc. Our full manual SEO audit is based off of our 24 point inspection that analyzes 24 very important indicators based on SEO factors we feel are important in conjunction with what Google says is important.
There are many great tools out there to do automated audits, we’ve used a few different ones over the years. That said, there is truly no replacement for a manual audit. A good SEO audit will take at least 60 minutes for a website under 100 pages and progressively longer the larger the site gets.
Project Management and Organization
From the moment we make the first phone call or email, everything is documented in our project management system. We do this for 2 reasons:
- so that we can stay organized across our entire team
- so that we can give our client a proper report any time they are looking for it.
Many companies don’t keep all of their information, analytics, logins, etc in a central location. At the very least, at the end of our contract we will deliver a proper “package” of information in one central location.
In order to perform a proper SEO audit, we need access to the website, amongst other things. The more access we have, the more thorough we can be in our audit.
Ideally, in order to do a proper manual SEO audit, we need the following access:
- Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools)
- Google Analytics
- Any other analytics they might have
- Server access (SSH, cPanel, etc) or Cloud Access (AWS / Google Cloud)
- CMS or eCommerce access (WordPress, Magento etc)
Sometimes, we don’t have any access. The potential client hasn’t been onboarded and we need to produce a report for them. Many times they will give us temporary access, but sometimes the trust just hasn’t been built yet. If we don’t have access, we’ll continue with the understanding that they know this report is a “limited access” report. If this is a current client, we normally send them an SEO questionnaire to fill out.
Step 1: Company Research
A lot of people skip this step. Learn about your client! At bare minimum:
- where is your client located (address)?
- what is their primary phone number?
- who is on their team?
- how long have they been in business?
- how many locations do they have?
- what is their phone number and address?
- lookup their corporation on their local state website
This phase doesn’t really have much weight on how well a site will do in Google or how they will rank, but it is necessary information nonetheless that we need..