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How to Perform an In-Depth Technical SEO Audit
Read this in-depth guide and learn a step-by-step process for creating a comprehensive technical SEO audits for your clients.
Conducting an in-depth SEO audit is a major deal. And, as an SEO consultant, there are a few sweeter words than, “Your audit looks great! When can we bring you onboard?”
Even if you haven’t been actively looking for a new gig, knowing your SEO audit nailed it is a huge ego boost.
Your primary goal is to add value to your customer with your site recommendations for both the short-term and the long-term.
I’ve put together the need-to-know steps for conducting an SEO audit and a little insight into the first phase of my processes when I first get a new client. It’s broken down into sections below. If you feel like you have a good grasp on a particular section, feel free to jump to the next.
When Should I Perform an SEO Audit?
After a potential client sends me an email expressing interest in working together and they answer my survey, we set-up an intro call (Skype or Google Hangouts is preferred).
Before the call, I do my own mini quick SEO audit (I invest at least one hour to manually researching) based on their survey answers to become familiar with their market landscape. It’s like dating someone you’ve never met.
To begin, I always like to offer my clients the first month as a trial period to make sure we vibe.
This gives both the client and I a chance to become friends first before dating. During this month, I’ll take my time to conduct an in-depth SEO audit
After that first month, if the client likes my work, we’ll begin implementing the recommendations from the SEO audit. And going forward, I’ll perform a mini-audit monthly and an in-depth audit quarterly.
What You Need from a Client Before an SEO Audit
When a client and I start working together, I’ll share a Google Doc with them requesting a list of passwords and vendors.
- Google Analytics access and any third-party analytics tools.
- Google and Bing ads.
- Webmaster tools.
- Website backend access.
- Social media accounts.
- List of vendors.
- List of internal team members (including any work they outsource).
Tools for SEO Audit
- Screaming Frog.
- SEO Browser.
- Wayback Machine.
Review Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Google Search Console.
- Bing Webmaster Tools.
- Sublime Text (or any text editor tool).
Review Google Analytics
- Google Analytics.
- Google Tag Manager Assistant Chrome Extension.
- Annie Cushing Campaign Tagging Guide.
- Google Analytics.
- Access to client’s server and host.
- You Get Signal.
- PageSpeed Tools.
- Wayback Machine.
Core Web Vitals Audit
Core Web Vitals is a collection of three metrics that are representative of a website’s user experience. They are important because Google is updating their algorithms in the Spring of 2021 to incorporate Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor.
Why Is It Important to Include Core Web Vitals in Your Audit?
Improving Core Web Vitals scores will not only help search ranking but perhaps more importantly it may pay off with more conversions and earnings.
Improvements to speed and page performance are associated with higher sales, traffic, and ad clicks.
The purpose of a Core Web Vitals audit is to identify what needs fixing and handing that information over to a developer who can then make the necessary changes.
Screaming Frog for Core Web Vitals Audit
Screaming Frog version 14.2 now has the ability to display a pass or fail Core Web Vitals assessment. You need to connect Screaming Frog to the PageSpeed Insights API (get an API key here) via a key.
Crawl the Site With Screaming Frog
Once the URLs are fully crawled, you can click on the PageSpeed tab and read all the recommendations and view the pass/fail notations for the various metrics.