The word audit, in most cases, has a negative connotation, especially now as Tax Day is exactly one month away. For the purposes of this blog post, however, the word “audit” isn’t something to shy away from. I also want to point out that “audit” is a versatile word. While some may fear it as an impending tax procedure, marketing companies may use it to refer to a process of content analysis or content evaluation. At StrataBlue, whenever we take on a new project (or when we’re evaluating an existing one) we focus on what is currently in place before starting a new strategy: our own “audit” of sorts.
Here’s a glimpse into the first 5 things we at StrataBlue keep in mind while analyzing existing content during our audit:
Benchmark site traffic
First things first: you must understand how much traffic the website is currently getting. Assuming the site has Google Analytics set up, gain access to the account and pull a couple different reports to get a thorough benchmark. Also pull different date ranges: it’s most common to look at previous 30 days, three months, six months, or even one year. In the event the site does not have analytics set up, create the account and begin collecting data. An example of some reports to pull are: behavior (overview) – which will inform you of the most trafficked pages on the site and acquisition (overview) – which will tell you how they got there and on what device.
Staying in Google Analytics, pull a report to understand which search queries were you entered when users found the website. In order to do this, Google Webmaster Tools must be set up for the account. That’s one way to go about it. Sometimes clients will provide a list of keywords that they want you to focus on. That’s always the best case scenario. If that happens to you, use that list in the following steps…
Set up the client in moz
If you don’t use moz, disregard this step but it’s highly encouraged to set up an account. I’m yet to come across a more insightful and powerful tool to analyze keywords and on-page SEO. I’ll also analyze top keywords using semrush – which is another tool for understanding competitor keyword usage and cost. Per the previous step, this is when you can upload the client given list of keywords into moz and after a few days of propagation, moz will provide in depth information of how the website ranks for the focus keywords. It will also tell you where you rank for those keywords in comparison to your top 3 competitors (as well as other amazing things…) In the event where your on your own for targeting keywords, see next step for guidance.
Google Keyword Planner
Have you spotted a trend yet? Keyword usage is of utmost importance. When performing the initial content audit, understanding them and how they’re currently being used and how you plan to use them is where you can really make an impact in search rankings. When you’re on your own for keyword research, take a deeper look at the industry which your targeting.
For example, I recently completed a content audit for a client in the manufacturing and building products industry. Going into it, I thought, “Man I’m never going to find keywords in this industry that relate to his business that actually have significant search volume.” And I couldn’t have been more wrong… Using simple Google searches to discover different variations, I compiled my list and went to work in the keyword planner. There were around 15-20 that had significant search volume with a low level of competition – which, as I explain in my last blog (read here), equals the perfect opportunity. Which is a nice segue to the next step!
Pick the low hanging fruit
On-page keyword optimization in and of itself IS the low hanging fruit. After thorough and careful keyword research and selection, begin placing the keyword phrases where they make the most sense on the website. Update SEO titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags, image titles, alt tags … you get the picture. Your search traffic will take a temporary hit as Google reindexes those pages but they will bounce back and perform better than they did before. There’s no point in delaying the inevitable; if you know your keywords, place them now while you’re ahead!
We’re searching for a content lovin’ fool to join our growing team!
Are you as passionate about content as me? If so, I want you to join our expanding team of account managers! To apply, simply email me a short paragraph about why you’re right for the job and attach a resume. Send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to learn more about the position first, click on the image below!