How To Run An SEO Audit and Competitor Analysis

This summarises the key aspects of conducting an SEO Audit and Competitor Analysis for existing websites. It must be noted that this processes differs from that which would be recommended before a new site is implemented.

SEO Process Overview

The key stages of the SEO process for existing website are summarised as:

  1. Target audience identification
  2. Audience intent definition
  3. Keyword research
  4. Site technical audit
  5. Site content audit
  6. Competitor analysis and comparison
  7. Technical optimisation
  8. Content strategy
  9. Promotion and link acquisition
  10. On-going evaluation and reporting

Audience Identification

Who is the site intended to reach

  1. Where are they located
  2. Devices used
  3. Search engines used
  4. Time of day
  5. Etc.

Audience Intent

  1. What forms of audience intent is the website required to support (information seeking, transactional, navigational, entertainment etc.)
  2. What forms of content support the types of intent to be targeted by the website?

Keyword Research

  1. Identification of:
    • Navigational queries…
    • Transactional queries…
    • Information seeking queries…
  2. Search volumes – how much traffic
  3. Competition – how difficult will it be to rank
  4. Types of content – what forms of content / landing pages are optimum for each query
  5. Identification of long-tail, fat-tail, body and head terms.

Site Technical Audit

  1. Use of multiple tools and manual examination to gain a full view of the technical site status
  2. Assessment of Google webmaster tools reports
  3. Comparison with Google’s webmaster guidelines
  4. Definition and prioritisation of fixes required
  5. Backlink audit – essential that backlink profile does not put the site at risk

Site Content Audit

  1. Keyword analysis – for which target terms is the site not indexed?
  2. SEO gap analysis – what is the current market share of searches for target terms?
  3. Content gap analysis – what content is needed to achieve indexation and potentially rankings for desired target terms?
  4. What forms of content are required to meet the identified audience intent?

Competitor Analysis and Comparison

  1. Which websites and pages are currently ranking where this site would like to be?
  2. What forms of competitor content are ranking?
  3. How does the website compare with these high ranking sites and pages – the following are just some of the attributes that need to be examined and compared:
    • Site architecture / page structure
    • Content assessment (word counts, page layouts, keyword use, topical focus, LSI keywords etc.)
    • Frequency and nature of site updates
    • Indexed pages
    • Domain age
    • # Top Ranking keywords
    • Paid search targeted keywords
    • Top ranking terms / landing pages
    • Site performance
    • Extent / presence of structured markup
    • Volume of technical issues
    • Presence of HTML / XML sitemaps
    • Backlinks (# links, # linking domains, location of linking sites, topical relevance of links, authority and trust of inbound links)
    • Social media – accounts, frequency of updates, distribution of links, audience sizes
    • More…

Technical Optimisation

  1. Fix all high priority technical issues
  2. Ensure that performance at least matches competitors
  3. Ensure that site is responsive (good for mobile)
  4. Ensure that site complies with accessibility requirements

Content Strategy

  1. Define the content needed to achieve indexation targets
  2. Define content needed to appeal to target audience
  3. Content required to support the various forms of audience intent
  4. Landing page design and optimisation
  5. Content calendar based upon relevant events

Promotion and Link Acquisition

  1. Routine use of all social media channels
  2. Ongoing development of social media properties
  3. Engagement and interaction via social channels
  4. Definition of a target link profile based on competitors
  5. Identification of link source targets
  6. Establishment of high authority links

On-going Evaluation and Reporting

  1. Are technical fixes in place?
  2. Are there any new technical issues that have arisen?
  3. Is content being routinely introduced and updated?
  4. Is content being effectively promoted socially?
  5. Is the site matching and ideally beating the competition with all important SEO attributes?
  6. Is the site outperforming the competition?
  7. Is the site content recognised by the target audience as more engaging, informative, relevant – by the target audience?
  8. Is the site gaining more extensive indexation for target terms?
  9. Are the organic search rankings of the site improving?
  10. Which elements of site content are performing well and which are underperforming?
  11. What authoritative links have been acquired?
  12. What needs to be done next in order to remedy any identified issues and ensure that the site remains technical optimal?
  13. Much more….

If you would like to take advantage of an SEO audit for your site or one of your clients sites, fill in the form on the right or call us on 01892 506 893 and ask for Mike Lowndes