Despite rumblings from critics, SEO is far from dead.
In fact, from a marketing perspective, there’s arguably no better time to take stock of your business’ SEO staying power to understand where you stack up in the SERPs. Why does this matter so much now, though? Consider the following:
- Facebook’s recent algorithm change is putting pressure on marketers to return to the blogosphere in the wake of today’s “pay-to-play” social marketing landscape
- Search queries continue to go through the roof year-over-year, especially given the rise of rabid mobile searchers
- Google’s next algorithm shift could always be around the corner: staying in line with the best practices of SEO is always a safe bet for businesses
This is why every business owner needs to conduct an SEO audit of their business’ web presence. Much like companies undergo audits to better their businesses, online businesses should put themselves under similar scrutiny when it comes to search engines.
With all of this in mind, assessing your own SEO presence doesn’t have to be a lengthy, expensive headache. Below we’ve broken down the steps to conduct a quick SEO audit for free to better understand where you stand and what you can do to improve.
This first step might seem elementary, but it’s easy to overlook if your idea of SEO is confined to analytics. When you a run a Google search for your brand, take a quick assessment of the following:
- Is your brand’s homepage popping up first? If not, what’s beating you out?
- Are you social pages ranking, including Facebook and Twitter? Is the information on those sites relevant and up-to-date?
- Do your meta descriptions look up to snuff? Due to the recent character extension, you might be able to squeeze in an appropriate keyword without coming off as spammy
Analyze Your Content
Spending some quality time in Google Analytics can clue you in on the entry points of your visitors, what pages they’re spending the most time on and what pieces of content are receiving the most clicks. Based on this, you can determine what sorts of keywords people are actually searching for and related low-hanging fruit instead of punching above your weight.
As an added bonus, you might consider applying new keywords to your low-performing pages. Reviving your old SEO content is a smart move that’s often overlooked by businesses, as existing pages are prime real estate for ranking given their age and the fact that they’re already indexed.
Check Out Your Competitors, Too
One of the most important aspects of your audit is looking at what your competitors are ranking for and likewise what content represents their top performers. Using the free versions of tools such as SEMRush, BuzzSumo and Similarweb, you can plug in competing URLs to see what’s working for them. Based on this, you can better carve out your own niche content.
Understand What You Rank For
As noted, you should have a keen understanding of what keywords are driving traffic and piggyback off of related terms. Google’s Keyword Analyzer and Wordstream’s Free Keyword Niche Finder are two great tools for uncovering related terms that you might not already be going after. As a rule of thumb, long-tail keywords are often a smart area of attention for smaller businesses rather than going after keywords that are already dominated by high DA sites.
This simple sort of audit can inform you what next steps you should take in terms of your content and what you might be missing. While there’s obviously a lot that goes into SEO and ranking, a simple audit can work wonders if you actually take action.