Checklist: What Needs to be Included in a Small Business SEO Audit
Not all SEO audits are alike. If you’re a small business owner, you need a very specific type of audit that checks for certain signals and provides a solutions-focused strategy that keeps optimizations in budget. Read on for what every small business owner needs to look for when they are hiring an agency to do an SEO audit.
1. Your small business SEO audit should include a strategy that flags problems & provides solutions
Your SEO audit needs to do two key things:
- Flag the areas on your website that need improvement and
- Provide the answers for how to fix them
Too often, agencies deliver audits that are a rundown of problems and they provide little or no resources for how to fix the issues.
On one hand, this is a very deliberate attempt to get you to hire them to fix the problems they found. If they don’t explain the problem and offer a solution, then you’re bound to them, right?
But you wouldn’t leave your doctor’s office with a dangerous diagnosis and no treatment plan or prescriptions. Likewise, receiving a long list of issues with your website and no map to fix them isn’t going to help you prioritize how to move forward with improvements. If you’re a small business owner who is used to hands-on problem-solving, you’ll want to know if your SEO audit turns up anything you can take on yourself. On the other hand, if you don’t think you have the expertise or time to take care of a problem yourself, knowing how the problem will be addressed can help justify investing in someone else to fix it for you. The audit and strategy you receive should empower you with solutions so you can make the most informed decisions for your business.
Digital Dynamo always provides solutions in our SEO audits. We provide clients with a rating level for each action item that reflects the amount of time and effort they will need to invest to pursue each recommendation. Digital Dynamo’s audits also include specific recommendations for tools and techniques that can be leveraged to address each problem, giving clients the opportunity to be as hands-on as they want to be.
2. The SEO audit should offer strategies that accommodate your small business’s budget and time constraints
The solutions presented in your SEO audit need to consider both the financial and time limitations common to small businesses and propose strategies that are in line with a small business’s budget and goals. Small business owners and their staff wear many hats – they are often the webmasters and copywriters of their own websites in addition to the myriad roles they play within their organizations. SEO audits should anticipate that most likely, your small business has a limited marketing budget and a finite amount of time to dedicate to SEO improvements and present you with realistic recommendations.
Consistent blog posting is a common SEO audit recommendation that we make for small businesses who are looking to increase traffic to their websites. Ideally, our clients should publish one blog post per week, but many don’t feel they have the capacity to meet that goal. If hiring a content creator to write weekly posts isn’t in your budget, then we might advise that the client do only 2 blog posts a month, but to ensure each post is hyper-focused with its SEO intentions. This smaller target usually feels more attainable for small business owners.
Writing blog posts becomes even less intimidating when I provide strategies on how to generate ideas for blog posting. I always tell my clients who don’t think they have anything to write about that one easy way to create an interesting blog post is to express your opinion about something newsworthy that’s related to your industry and the products/services you provide. If you’re an interior designer, you might write a quick post on the Pantone Color Institute’s newly announced colors of the year. As an attorney, you may have strong opinions about recently passed local legislation. The more passionate and knowledgeable you are about a subject, the easier it will be to write about it. What once felt like a chore to be crossed off a list can be transformed into an enjoyable and creative task that helps build your brand.
The most effective SEO audits include industry-leading strategies to improve your website’s SEO but are also inclusive of your small business’s limited resources. Digital Dynamo works with each client to ensure we are providing their organization with a realistic plan that aligns with their goals and budgets.
3. The small business SEO audit should analyze your Google My Business page
Google My Business optimization should be a part of any small business SEO. If you don’t already have a Google My Business page set up, you should bookmark this article and go create one now. Your Google My Business page is one of the most critical ways to get your business information indexed with Google and then served up to potential customers who are searching for your products and services.
Google My Business is a free and essential marketing tool small businesses should use to improve their search visibility. Big brands can afford paid ads and commercials to bolster their brand, but small businesses need Google My Business to help bolster theirs (in Google, anyways). When someone looking to send a sympathy floral arrangement searches “florist” on the internet, you’ll want to be certain that your flower shop appears in the local pack, and a Google My Business page is essential for that.
If you’re putting time and money into SEO improvements, make sure your audit includes a thorough review of your Google My Business page. Small business SEO audits through Digital Dynamo always include an analysis of your Google My Business page and recommend strategies that work with your business’s overall SEO optimization goals.
4. The small business SEO audit should always come with a meeting to review the results and strategy
Backlink analysis, keyword targeting, meta descriptions – what does it all mean? Even when your SEO audit includes a list of your website’s problems and the solutions to fix them, you still need to meet with your SEO specialist to examine the results. Chances are you hired a SEO specialist to audit your website because you don’t have the expertise to do it yourself. Being handed a list full of problems and technical jargon post-audit can leave you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated as you try to decipher where to start. A meeting with your SEO specialist post-audit will help put each recommendation into perspective, explain why certain steps are important, give you the opportunity to ask questions about the results, and arm you with the knowledge to decide which actionable items to pursue most effectively. Your post-audit meeting is the key to successful collaboration with your SEO specialist and your ability to nail down a course of action that is practical and tailored to your business’s needs.
After Digital Dynamo completes an SEO audit, we send a detailed report to the client and schedule an hour-long follow-up meeting. This process gives clients the opportunity to review and digest their audit results ahead of time and gather any questions they might have. During our meeting we will review each problem and its solution, clarifying information and highlighting priorities as we work our way through the results.
So when you’re on the hunt for an agency to do an SEO audit on your small business’s website, ask them if the 4 items highlighted in this post will be included. Additionally, ask them what items from the below punch list they will be auditing. If it isn’t all or most, consider finding an agency that does (like Digital Dynamo).