After the SEO Audit: Putting Valuable Data to Work

After the SEO Audit: Putting Valuable Data to Work

When we perform an SEO audit, we evaluate how well the website’s on-page, off-page, and technical SEO are working and provide insights for site improvements. Whether the audit report helps you feel empowered or overwhelmed, the list of to-dos shouldn’t squander your momentum (whichever camp you’re in). You won’t—and shouldn’t—have to handle making SEO updates on your own. Consult this list of next steps to know what to expect, and then worry about which tasks you’ll tackle yourself and which you’ll (gladly) leave to the pros later.

What You Should Expect To See in Your SEO Audit

I always think the word “audit” feels like a test, but I assure you, an SEO audit isn’t just a list of things you’re doing wrong. Think of it as a series of snapshots that communicate how well your on-page, technical, and off-page SEO are working for you. You can expect to see metrics describing the overall health of your website plus data for warnings, errors, and other notices.


Categorize SEO Issues & Prioritize Corrections

Not every broken link or missing meta description reported in an SEO audit carries the same weight. I don’t recommend that you start guessing or fixing until you understand how an issue affects your business. If you have an agency, lean on them for context and advice to help shape how you move forward. If you don’t, this may be a good time to start scouting.

Once you fully understand the audit results, the next step is to categorize the findings into meaningful buckets. I like to begin by separating the results into high- and low-impact issues and critical errors so it’s easy to see what items may require the most resources first. Use your company’s goals (e.g., purchases, traffic, email sign-ups) as filters to help determine which issues are affecting your growth most. Give critical errors the highest priority, followed by high- and then low-impact issues.

I urge you to keep in mind that any corrections you make won’t turn your site around overnight, so consider timing in your final priority list. Ahrefs’ study on how long it takes to rank in Google suggests two to six months (if you’re lucky), but most newly published pages can take a full year to achieve a top-ten position on the search engine results page (SERP).

Create An SEO Audit Action Plan

According to Backlinko’s study on organic click-through rates, only .63% of users click on a site that lands in positions 11–20 on the SERP. If you want your site to get traffic, take action on your SEO audit to boost your rankings, and do it sooner, rather than later.  If you’re feeling stuck, create a list to help you decide which items you’ll address in-house and which you’ll leave to the professionals, based on your team’s available time, resources, and technical skill. For every task, assign:

  • Priority ranking
  • Budget
  • Resource (department or individual)
  • Due dates and milestones

If updating header tags, writing meta descriptions, and optimizing images seem doable but are lower on the urgency scale, your team may be able to tackle those items while the professionals focus on expediting complex or time-consuming fixes.

Improve On-Page SEO 

On-page SEO refers to elements that appear on various pages of your website, including content, title tags, headers, meta tags, and images. The on-page audit is where we flag common meta tag mistakes and any copy-and-paste, duplicated content. While these issues seem minor, they make a big impact on your site’s performance and rankings. 

Some of the homework we do during an on-page audit includes competitive research. Getting outranked has a lot to do with how well-optimized your page content is. Our site audit’s competitive analysis can help identify your closest competitors and the keywords they’re ranking for, like this:

Comp Analysis Map Nike.PNG

Page elements, and the keywords used throughout, signal to Google what a page is about and what queries it matches, so these need to be in tip-top shape when you’re trying to rank. Errors commonly flagged in an on-page SEO audit report include:

  • Title Tags: Missing or duplicated page titles; insufficient title lengths; too-long titles
  • Duplicate Content: Copied or very similar content repeated across multiple pages
  • Meta Descriptions: Missing or uncompelling copy; similar or duplicate descriptions for multiple pages
  • Header Tags: Incorrect and missing tags; illogical tag hierarchy 
  • Images: Broken internal images and missing text descriptions

Though issues in these areas seem like easy ones to correct on your own, these page elements are crucial for search engine rankings and visibility because Google relies on them to learn what a page is about. If you lack the tools, technical proficiency, or time to address on-page issues, using an agency is an efficient, economical solution.

nike site speed.PNG

Update Technical SEO

If you’ve visited slow-loading sites or those not optimized for mobile, you know how important technical SEO is for the user. As its name suggests, a technical SEO audit reviews various technical parts of a website to make sure it is up to par performance-wise. This audit identifies errors that prevent Google and other search engines from crawling, indexing, and ranking pages on your site, plus issues that hinder visitors’ experiences. 

A good example of this comes from a recent technical SEO audit and updates we performed for a client. The report identified blog pages on their site that weren’t accessible through links (also known as orphans) because the referring pages were moved. Using the report, we identified all orphaned pages and updated the links to help the client’s content rank in the top 10 for 25 priority keywords.

Whether your site is slow or missing key elements, the technical audit provides a snapshot of what’s going on so we can determine the most effective fixes. The issues we see flagged most often on technical SEO audits include:

  • Crawl Errors: Broken links, 404s, and redirect errors
  • XML Sitemap: Incomplete or missing sitemap
  • Robots.txt: Missing descriptions on search results pages; blocking crawlers from accessing certain pages
  • Internal Linking: Broken links, orphaned pages, and improper anchor text 
  • Canonical Tags: Incorrect or missing tags noting master pages; tags pointing to the wrong URLs
  • Slow Site Speed: Poor performance due to unoptimized media; server or hosting issues
  • Mobile-Friendliness: Unresponsive design and mobile-specific usability issues
  • Structured Data and Schema: Missing or incorrect structured data or URL structures
  • Status Code Errors: Page errors (404, 301, 500) for redirects, load, and server errors
  • Security: Lacking HTTPS encryption

While it may be tempting to ignore the technical aspects of your site, especially if these terms aren’t familiar, allowing these issues to linger will only hurt your rankings. (A website that isn’t accessible to search engines won’t rank on the results pages, no matter how fantastic your content is.) If your team doesn’t have a proficient web developer or system administrator on staff, consider letting an agency versed in handling SEO hurdles take on these tasks.

backlinks nike.PNG

Build Off-Site SEO

An off-site SEO audit tells the story of your site’s authority beyond your own URL, reviewing citations, backlinks, and brand mentions across the internet and social channels. Think of off-page SEO as a testament to the expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness of your site content. When reputable websites link to or mention your brand, they are essentially agreeing you are an authority on the topic. With enough outside sources referencing your content through links and citations, search engines see your expertise and bump your site up on the search results page. 

Start boosting your off-site SEO using these tactics:

  • Link-Building: Collaborate with influencers and experts who endorse your site or brand; create original content (tools, calculators, in-depth guides) that earn mentions and backlinks.
  • Improve Site Content: Write for readers (and not search engines) to create engaging, optimized content that attracts backlinks from high-authority sites.  
  • Update Google My Business Account: Optimize the Google My Business page to correct inaccuracies and increase visibility locally; request customer reviews to gain credibility.
  • Marketing on Social Channels: Develop 10X SEO content to build brand recognition and authority.

I would be remiss in my duties as a marketer if I didn’t say that improving off-site SEO is a serious content marking undertaking. Truth is, to become an authority in your vertical, you’ll need to get the attention of influencers, news sources, and social channels, and that takes work. If your media is falling short, or you aren’t sure where to start, team up with an agency to create first-class media, videos, and photos worthy of shares, likes, and links.

Eight Oh Two is a proven leader in SEO and performance marketing, helping businesses find opportunities for improvement and growth. Contact us today for an SEO site audit and we’ll build an action plan together.

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