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How to Conduct a SEO Audit

You can’t rely on just creating great content and performing technical SEO audits to get your site higher up in search engines.

The reality is that with two-thirds of all clicks go to top 5 Google search results. Developing an effective strategy to rank above the fold on page one of search results is necessary for traffic and ultimately, success.

It's crucial to analyze your own site's data, identify your audience, research your targeted keywords, and analyze your competitors in order to full optimize your website.

1. Key Metrics On Your Site

These are metrics that give you an overall view of how your efforts are paying off, allowing for easy demonstration and identification if any issues arise.

Organic Visibility (Impressions)

This is one of the most easily data driven items you can track - head on over to Google Search Console and check your impressions! This is a great way to show the growth in your site's visibility as impressions matter even if they didn't result in clicks.

Organic Sessions (Traffic)

Engagement Rate (The New Bounce Rate)

Keyword Rankings (SERP)

Link Profile (Backlinks)

Domain Authority (Relevance)

Page Speed

Return on Investment (Revenue)

2. Pinpointing Your Audience

There are many ways to identify your key demographics from analyzing your current customer base to identifying competitor audiences or conducting market research to utilizing your existing google analytics. Understanding your ideal clients drives your SEO strategy.

Audience Identification Benefits

  • Allows relevant keyword research and optimization

  • Improves relevant traffic from potential customers and clients

  • Allows you to generate relevant content to improve user experience

  • Converts more of your organic traffic into leads or sales

Tools to Help Identify Your Audience

  • Google Analytics

  • Analyzes your existing traffic and allows you to glean audience insights, explore benchmarks, and user behavior on your site

  • Google Search Console

  • Facebook Audience Manager

  • Proprietary Systems that Record Data

  • CallRail (Cloud based phone system)

  • User Generated Data from programs like JotForm or Google Forms

  • Company CRM Systems

  • Professional Agencies (like Brigantine)

3. Content Review

Inventory Your Existing Content - Pages, Articles, Images, Etc.

When performing an SEO audit, it is crucial to have a comprehensive overview of every content item on your site in order not only determine how well it is optimized but also if there are any issues. Inventory and analyze:

  • Your pages

  • Articles or blogs

  • URLs

  • Media

  • Embedded content like HTML

  • Downloads

Quality and Diversity of Content

Content is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign. It's no secret that backlinks and technical optimization are important, but if your content isn't engaging enough to rank, then all those efforts don't help.

The easiest starting point is to identify which pages or articles are NOT ranking in the top 10 and start to optimize them first. Take a look with the following questions in mind:

  • Is the content unique?

  • What is its readability according to Flesch-Kincaid?

  • Are there clear calls to action?

  • Does the information flow naturally?

  • Is it easily navigated?

  • is it relevant and accurate?

  • Are there typos?

  • Is it up to date?

4. Conducting Competitor Analysis

Determining Direct Competition

Knowing your competitor's is less straightforward than you might think. Fortunately, there is one way sure fire was to identify competition - use available data.

When you look at what sites are ranking for similar keywords as yours and how they rank, then you can identify the competition. At Brigantine, we use SpyFu and SEMrush to pull the raw data to start forming a competitor list.

Explore Competitor's Strategy

Now that we have a competitor list, we need to go another step. What trends in the data are working for them? Are they sinking their time into just a few words and knocking it out of the park? Or, are they dropping money into fruitful PPC campaigns?

By identifying what is working (or not working), you can start to analyze trends in your industry.

Identify Which Methods Might Work For You

Whatever your competitor's strategy is, take a step back to think about what applies to your business goals. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery - BUT you don't want to copy someone else's strategy to the letter.

No matter how similar you may seem to your competitors, you are unique (and that's a good thing). If you're a local company with roots in the community, steer your strategies toward that. If you're new and exciting, point towards that.

With the power of data, you know what works - and layered with your point of difference, you now have a leg up.

5. Choosing the Magic Words

Now that your audience is locked in and you've peaked behind the competitor' curtain, it's time to dive into keyword and phrase research. Identifying the search terms that bring in visitors (or the ones you want to rank for) is the reason we did all this research in the first place!

In order to optimize, it's important to use keywords that are relevant, have high search volume, and are not too difficult to rank for.

Quality Over Quantity

Search intent is more Important than search volume. This is where 'semantic' SEO comes in. Picking your keywords and phrases needs to be based on two things, what will generate the most traffic with the right audience, but more importantly, determining how you're demographic thinks.

Explore Long-tail Keywords

50% of search queries have 4+ words so it's ideal to consider longer search terms. For example, the single word keyword "shoes” is high, returning more than 4,161,637 search results. Use more specific terms, like “birdies shoes”, or “discount everyday shoes", both of which are more descriptive with less search competition.

Keep An Eye on Your Keyword Ranking

SEO is a long-term investment so it's key to regularly monitor both your rankings and the search competition. The more you carry out these activities in order for them be effective over time as well as now

6. Technical SEO Review

Is it fun? No. Is it important? It's Crucial!

Poor metadata, bad sitemaps, and 4xx errors, oh my! All of the work you do on your site can come to nothing if you don't correct your technical issues. Fortunately running a technical audit is actually pretty straightforward with tools like MOZ or SEMrush.

  • Run your scan to identify technical issues

  • Identify and remove duplicate content

  • Confirm all pages only have one H1

  • Review your metadata and titles

  • Fix redirects - reducing redirects will optimize your crawl budget

  • Review and clean-up your sitemap

  • Provide Google with your sitemap manually and with your robots.txt

  • Make sure there’s only one browsable version of your site

  • Check your website analytics data to look for problems

  • De-index your low-value pages

7. Using All The Data to Optimize Your Site

Prioritize By Time and Budget -- Short Term Wins, Long Term Growth

Since SEO is a long game and different parts cost different amounts, it's important to know what are the most crucial targets are for your business. If you need traffic fast, then PPC is most likely the fastest route (but also one of the priciest). Ultimately, when gives you the quickest bang for your buck should be your desired starting goal.

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

The rules and algorithms are in constant flux, so you should be too. Come up with your strategy, implement it, learn from it, adjust it, and start over. The concept of experimentation is not new to business and certainly holds true to SEO.

The only way to determine what works for you is to gather all the available data, analyze it, and implement it - and remember perseverance is key!

The whole point of an SEO audit is to get all the data, analysis and intelligence to help you make informed decisions. It allows you to strategize how you will use this information - for your content strategy? product positioning? social engagement?

All aspects of a strategic SEO plan need to be aligned because they all factor into your visibility, relevance, and ranking - so keep those thoughts flowing!

Brigantine Can Help

Brigantine Service

We're a full-service add-on agency with the brains to help you get ahead. We act as an in-house growth marketing team.

Regardless of your company's size, our specialized team crafts a targeted strategic plan that seamlessly connects website design, analytics, SEO, and digital marketing.

Start Growing Your Business Today

If you're ready for data-driven online marketing, contact us at

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