SEO audits are a service that we normally provide for clients, both current and prospective. We often bump into companies who have never even heard of them, let alone had one completed for their site(s). Yet, for sites that are powerful and rank well in their industry, an audit is regarded as a regular and essential function .
We decided we would decode and demystify any questions or misgivings that a company might have about these efforts.
Two Types of SEO Audits
There are software audits and there are manual audits.
Software Audit: There are many SEO tools out there that can look under the hood of any website to understand:
- Who is linking to your site and how valuable those links are
- Determine duplicative content and duplicative meta data
Likewise, these tools can help find site errors, dead links and many other issues that could be plaguing your site without your awareness.
Some of the more popular and trusted ones are Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz, and, of course, Google Search Console (GSC), which is a free tool from Google. These tools range from $1200 – $2500 a year, so expect agencies to charge anywhere from a couple to a few hundred dollars for your individual audit. A few-hundred dollars for an audit is a small fee compared to the cost of owning these.
Manual Audit: A manual audit is having a SEO specialist go through every page on your site or, if you have a big site, high-level sections, and cross check the software audit. In addition, manual audits typically have a narrative discussing:
- What issues are most important
- Which ones can be triaged for now
- Competitor audits
- Other areas that are descriptive to your particular issues or are prescriptive work that the software detects
Where as a software audit is Jiffy Lube, a manual audit is like your personal mechanic. Both valuable, but different tools. You don’t need to pay for a full audit if your oil light is on. It won’t help much to change your oil and replace belts if your transmission is locked.
It’s important to note that all manual audits will have a component of a software audit. The software can pull in links and anchor text and link value that are too difficult and time consuming to do by hand. However, the point of a manual audit is to dig beneath the findings from the software audit. The most important of these findings are unlikely to be contained from the software report, such as new traffic opportunities.
If you have any of these tools, and most companies have a subscription to Moz as well as GSC, you can check every day to see your site’s Domain and Page Authority, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, number of pages, number of errors, traffic, impressions, etc. You should be able to know straight away if there is an issue.
We aren’t knocking software audits. They are invaluable. We do them all the time and we have tools, such as GSC, Majestic, and SEO Powersuite. Just like annual physicals or dental checkups or oil changes, it is important to have professionals who look at sites for a living to make sure there aren’t any lethal mistakes and that you are getting the most out of your site. We totally understand that it is not a fun cost, but it is preventative medicine.
We have had more than a few companies come to us after they have lost 50% of their traffic or had some other issue that could have been uncovered by regular audit work. Even with GSC, it can be hard to read the tea leaves if you don’t have access to tons of other sites and know what’s normal behavior.
While Google’s main function (to rank the best content for the keyword) has never changed, its tactics have. There wasn’t social media when Google first started. There wasn’t YouTube or link farms or image search and many other things they’ve had to adjust to, find value in, and weigh properly. Small algorithm changes can sometimes have big impacts on sites, both negative and positive.
What’s more, new competitors can enter your space and eat into your traffic. It’s vicious out there. Everyone is competing for a finite amount of traffic. You can’t afford to miss something critical before your heavy season if you are depending on organic traffic to hit your numbers. Having regular SEO audits—both kinds—by experts is just a smart way to keep your site’s health in check.
We would be more than happy to do one for you.