How To Run An SEO Audit and Competitor Analysis

How To Run An SEO Audit and Competitor Analysis

SEO Audit and Competitor Analysis Process

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:

Target audience identification
Audience intent definition
Keyword research
Site technical audit
Site content audit
Competitor analysis and comparison
Technical optimisation
Content strategy
Promotion and link acquisition
On-going evaluation and reporting

Audience Identification

Who is the site intended to reach?

Where are they located
Devices used
Search engines used
Time of day

Audience Intent

What are your audience looking for?

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

Keyword Research

What keywords and phrases are they using?

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

Site Technical Audit

Checking your site out for sub-optimal design and layout

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

Site Content Audit

Checking your site out for sub-optimal content

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

Competitor Analysis and Comparison

Checking your competition with tools like SEMRush

Which websites and pages are currently ranking where this site would like to be?
What forms of competitor content are ranking?
- 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
- Number of 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

Now it's time to get working on your findings

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

Content Strategy

Now it's time to plan your content and landing page for sales funnels - NOTE: Use a content planner

Define the content needed to achieve indexation targets
Define content needed to appeal to target audience
Content required to support the various forms of audience intent
Content calendar based upon relevant events

Promotion and Link Acquisition

Getting your updated site seen and acquiring backlinks from high authority sites

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

On-going Evaluation and Reporting

Once you have completed what you need to do you should be in good shape and now the ongoing work of evaluating and documenting any changes to keep on top of things. Documenting any updates or changes you make is useful for referencing back to traffic fluctuations, and smake and adjustments going forward.

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

If you would like to take advantage of a full SEO audit for your site or one of your clients sites, just get in touch

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