Are you planning to improve the organic search visibility of your website? An SEO audit is the answer to do it. An SEO audit can produce valuable insights. It reveals your SEO strategy and tactics. The best audits are done in-depth and focused on aspects across the key areas of SEO:
They use keyword or goal-oriented focuses to compare against. This allows a deeper analysis of keyword performance and competitor comparison. You’re doing SEO because of return on investment or to get high-ranking, traffic and conversion goal improvements. This makes SEO audit an important part.
Here are some specific next steps that you should take after the audit is completed to build momentum and ensure your time and invested isn’t wasted.
- Develop a List Insights
A detailed audit report includes:
- The list of SEO items audited.
- The status is of those items weighed against best practices, audience, and competitive filters.
- Recommendations of aspects to correct or improve.
These are often knitted throughout the report and sometimes are summarized in an executive summary or conclusion section.
For automated audits, this section of findings might be lacking clarity or depth.
The first step after the SEO audit is to get to the short or possibly long list of specific insights and things that need action.
- Prioritize Based on Level of Impact
Using the list that was included in the audit report, or the insights you’ve gathered, it’s time to begin the planning phase.
If you have the option to go back to the person or team (internally or externally) who conducted the audit or do a post-audit meeting, this is the time to learn and understand the expected level of impact of each of the items on the insights list.
Not all corrective actions will have the same degree of impact. While SEO professionals are required to avoid promises due to the uncertain nature of the industry, there should be a scale and objective way to prioritize the list based on how big issues are.
Setting expectations of what the impact could be, even when they are based on benchmarks and where you want to be will be helpful later for measurement of actual impact.
- Determine Necessary Resources
With a prioritized list of action items based on the level of impact, you can now determine the necessary time, budget, and resources needed to tackle each item.
Few updates can be made within minutes by a single person with little training. Others might require the assistance of other departments, individuals, or outside vendors.
Something like the use of a sophisticated canonical tag strategy require a good technical SEO mind plus the skills of a web developer. Such resources may cost some money and have to be slotted into schedules.
The moment you know how long it will take to implement each item, what it will cost in time and resources, coupled with the level of impact from the previous step, you can filter the list and re-prioritize.
- Develop a Timeline
Now you have an outline of the work and needs in front of you. This is not the time to take your foot off the gas. Pushing forward on the SEO plan can be daunting due to time, resource, and budget constraints. However, SEO is a long-term commitment that is fueled by short-term activities and tactical execution.
At this point, you should be able to see what the all-in investment is for implementing all of the items on the list.
Based on budgeting, pacing, and the ability to work, it should be possible to know how much time overall it will take to work through everything.
With this, you can develop a timeline with specific milestones, goals, and reporting cycles to measure the impact of the effort.
- Create an Action Plan
Putting the plan in motion, you’ll need to find the right systems to ensure that:
- Collaboration is easy.
- Tasks are scheduled and assigned.
- Accountability is attached.
Whether it’s a workflow program, SEO tool, or project management suite, treating this as a real project or campaign following the audit is one of the best things you can do to give it a fair shot.
Heaping a big stack of tasks or assignments on an individual, team, or group of roles with no expectation or accountability is a big risk for failure.
It’s important to set the tone with a plan and an expectation of it being organized and completed on budget and on time.
Not all stakeholders and roles will understand the potential impact of improving SEO if they only have a small role in certain pieces.
Without some education and a clear assignment with a due date that tucks into the plan, it might go into an IT queue with low priority and never get done.
- Achieve Success
It’s not easy to know what SEO success looks like and that this effort was worthwhile.
You can measure performance by tying back into the goals and expectations you set in the first post-audit step of assessing the best estimate possible of the level of impact of the action items identified.
You can identify the project schedule and see where average position, impressions, traffic, and conversions changed during the project or campaign, using baseline or benchmark data,
If you’ve a dedicated plan and concerted effort then you should be able to track specific improvements.
You also need to be sure of using the annotation feature in Google Analytics and have regular reporting cycles monthly or weekly depending on how long your timeline is for implementing the plan. This is really a great way to track improvement over time and understand the actual impact versus the estimated level of impact and to make any agile revisions to the plan or to keep going with the original schedule.
The process of SEO audit can be overwhelming. Depending on the type of audit, and how much support and education you receive at the end of the process, it can be challenging to use the audit as a powerful tool to improve the optimization of a website. Through working from insights to fully-actionable and measurable plan, you can achieve success and find ROI not just for the audit investment itself, but in leveraging SEO as a valuable digital marketing channel.