Our special guest for Episode 329 of the award-winning EDGE of the Web podcast was Andy Drinkwater of IQ SEO. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Andy about various SEO factors and audit tools digital marketers should be aware of and using. Here’s what we learned:
Andy Drinkwater: His Background and Experience
Andy Drinkwater has been involved in SEO for more than two decades from his home base of Chester in the United Kingdom. He regularly shares great content with the SEO community and has contributed to some of the best tools out there, including SEMrush, Ahref, Search Engine Journal, Rank Ranger, Alpha 8, and many others. If you want to know how your SEO is doing, who better to ask than a guy who has developed a 209-point SEO checklist?
SEO Audits: Sharing is Caring
There was a time when SEO professionals kept their analyses “close to the vest,” but it’s important to understand the field has mostly evolved beyond that. Far more SEOs are sharing their techniques and building on each other’s successes so everyone can win.
Andy, for example, has shared his own 209-Point SEO Audit Checklist for a full website audit. Depending on the size of the site and desired scope of the audit, this can take up to several weeks. People who say they’ll an SEO audit for free probably aren’t doing a very rigorous or comprehensive audit. People can use this checklist to do their own SEO audit, or use it as a way of finding out if what an SEO consultant offers is good enough. And he keeps his checklist updated to reflect changes at Google that affect SEO.
What is an SEO Audit and Why is it Important?
An audit is basically looking at websites under a microscope, uncovering any technical issues you won’t necessarily see while you’re using the site, but ones Google might see and might be impacting your search positions. A good SEO audit will uncover those sorts of things.
A good SEO audit is invaluable, but it is also a lengthy process to go through everything. And you’re not always aware of why you need one either.
Key SEO Audit Area: Google
One key area many people fail to consider are brand issues. People won’t always Google themselves or have alerts set up for themselves. Is there anything negative that’s being said about them? You can do something about it. Is there anything negative in auto suggest? You have to look at what Google is contributing on a big-picture level to your SEO.
Are there any crawl errors through Google Search Console? Because manual actions, search errors, crawl errors, site map errors, problems with robots or text files or anything like that has to be studied in the search console. A good SEO audit will dissect things so you can reveal all these areas and any problems. Google Search Console and studying what is shown when you Google yourself is going to reveal a lot of the Google-related issues you need to address.
Key SEO Audit Area: Benchmarks
Benchmarks form another key area to look at, including things like indexed pages, number of pages indexed by Google, number of backlinks you have, and so on. It’s important to do an initial benchmarking of all these items because you have to know a starting point in order to know if your fixes are working. It’s always a bit surprising when some clients say they want an audit, when it’s very clear they have some serious work to do first around something like backlinks or terrible content. Address the obvious stuff first before doing an SEO audit.
When you start going through the various benchmarks in detail, you’ll quickly see a lot of different problems to address. When it comes to organic keywords, both Ahrefs and SEMrush are great tools to use. They’re also good for helping you understand keyword positions. You can use Ahrefs for a number of different things in an SEO audit. Full disclosure: Ahrefs is a sponsor of the EDGE podcast. Ahrefs is especially good for its internal linking tool, as well as its content gap analysis for seeing what your competitors are ranking for that you’re not. And also for backlinks analysis, and especially how that is changing over time.
Connect with Andy Drinkwater and IQ SEO
Twitter: @iqseo (https://twitter.com/iqseo)
Facebook: @iqseo (https://www.facebook.com/iqseo)
IQ SEO Audit Checklist: https://www.iqseo.org/seo-audit-checklist
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