How To Conduct a Site Audit SEO?
Search Engine Optimization SEO Operations By Quality Standards
This article is intended for agencies that provide site optimization services, do audits, write marketing recipes, and raise customers in the TOP.
Today I would like to present you with the idea of how to sort out everything that we do in search engine optimization into various elements. Let’s call them “operations”.
Operations and project activities.
According to management theory, the activity can be divided globally into two different entities:
- operational activities
- project activities
What is the project activity?
This is when in the process of creating a project, each time you meet with something new. You do not know what result you will get at the entrance, you know roughly how to go there, what resources are needed approximately, what general rules this obeys. The fact that you need to take into account time, resources, lay a “corporal clearance”, manage the project, look at the status of the project and so on. And still, there is a large percentage of unpredictability.
In operational activities, we are faced with some routine, standard operations. In SEO, you can and should abandon the unpredictability of daily work. Make optimization a predictable, manageable, regulated, and clear process. And aerobatics is to work according to some GOSTs in SEO, professional standards.
Search engine optimization today has overgrown with many operations, there are literally hundreds of them. In each individual block, you need to collect dozens of different routine things.
For example, you can get a huge amount of information through the API, and each of them is actually a separate operation. For example, getting data:
- about search traffic.
- about specific searches.
- about user behaviour, per cent failure.
- about achieving a goal and so on.
Each operation as a team to a specific action.
Having compiled such a list of operations, you can move forward and plan what you can automate, regulate and prescribe.
Why is it necessary to transition from a chaotic process to an orderly operational SEO?
In order to reduce risks, make processes more manageable, regulatory. When you clearly know what you want, it’s easier for you to do your job, calculate, manage, delegate – and then show the client what you are doing for his project.
How to turn an SEO audit from a “service” into a “box”?
What is an SEO audit? This is when the optimizer checks the site for various parameters and criteria, makes a verdict on them, gives some recommendations. Indicates weak, sagging places.
There are a large number of versions of various audits, which differ in-depth, detail, the number of automatic and manual works. Quite often there is a surface automatic audit, which is performed by scanning and identifying some technical flaws. Some people, on the contrary, do very detailed work, actually calling strategies for promoting SEO-audit.
What have we done inside our company? We once took and decided that an SEO audit should no longer be such a pig in a poke, it should be an understandable and transparent product.
We described the audit composition, put everything on the shelves, came up with two audit options. The first one is the very technical one that I mentioned, where automatic scanning is performed, and
we show the main technical errors.
This type of audit sometimes leads to erroneous conclusions. The revealed trifle seems significant.
A global technical audit can show the state of a site: it is abandoned or is in a neat, working condition.
What is included in an SEO audit?
When tired of inventing to still cram into an SEO audit
If you have the number of typos, broken links measured in the tens or worse, hundreds, then the technical condition of the site is clearly poor. If you have met a certain number of looped redirects, a couple of broken links, then everything is almost normal, the state of the site is not critical. I do not propose in such cases to criticize the contractor, but ask to include this in the work plan.
The second version of the audit is no longer express, but a full-fledged audit, which is done manually by specialists after the site is crawled and checked by automatic scripts.
We laid out such a deep check on the shelves, and I will even give you the opportunity to look at a list of these elements. I advise you to show the client examples of such a deep audit. If you simply announce the composition of actions but do not show how it looks from the outside, there may be a discrepancy in expectations for completeness, details, detail of the answer, and so on.
Why is it important to regulate the deadline for work and how marketers beat it
The main thing is that we regulate the period for which we perform this audit and perform faster than we promise.
Why is it important? You did not notice that at the airport when you go to receive luggage, you can go after it for a long time. Get out of one building and by the time you get to the luggage, you are unhappy that you walked for a long time, but immediately get the luggage. This was done by cunning marketers who at one time noticed that people don’t like to wait for baggage, they negatively evaluate the work of the airport and airline. And due to the fact that they walked, a person psychologically perceives that he did not spend this time waiting for his suitcase to appear on the tape, but to get to this tape. while he was walking, they manage to deliver luggage.
One more example. My daughter and I were at Disneyland in Hong Kong for Halloween — great big attractions, costume shows, many who wanted to see, and a long line of endless snakes. I clearly remember the tablets. It was indicated on them that if you are standing here, you have an hour left before you get on the attraction, if you are standing there, you have half an hour left.
The trickiest highlight is that time was indicated with some margin. Where it says “hour”, you really got on the ride in 40 minutes. And the situation was better perceived, more positive. It turns out that the company gave you a certain promise, but fulfilled it in excess. It is very important to exceed deadlines.
This is a small life hack, but it is very valuable. And now there will be one more.
According to the link, download the template, after seeking access. You will see the standard of our state of SEO audit, which I propose to use. If you do not have your own developed standard, how you will do an SEO audit, you can take our finished file and use it in practice. Or take our template as a basis and refine it in a way that is convenient for you and your customers.
The main thing is a standardized document in which everything is clear and regulated.
Work plan for a client with an SEO audit
Imagine that each of the stages that you do for clients can be decomposed into some elements. It turns out a plan for a week, a month, six months. What is this for? To figure out how much work you can do. Sometimes it happens that you incorrectly assess the labour costs or the capacity of the task.
I can give an example from my practice.
I recently talked with the client on the project and assumed that the task was simple, that we would do it instantly. But as a result, when we began to calculate how much time a specialist spends on performing this one routine operation, it turned out that we needed much more time. It is physically impossible to speed up the process. It was necessary to connect either several specialists, conducting processes in parallel. Or unfortunately, do the work longer.
But subjectively, before a detailed calculation, the estimate is incorrect.
Take, for example, a text relevance check. What does this process include? Checking whether a sufficient number of keys or, conversely, is excessive when there is a risk of falling under some filters. If we reveal the fact of filter imposition, we prescribe the most detailed recommendations for getting out of it.
The result of this work: verification and compliance with certain recommended indicators, which are calculated by our scripts and recommendations are given by a specialist manually, to change the text or content. Or on the implementation of information inserts inside the page in HTML code. One way or another, all the same, these are prescribed parameters without surprises. The client understands what he will receive at the exit.
What are the quality criteria in SEO?
For example, we guarantee that in the semantic core there will be no queries with toponyms that are not related to the client’s geography or homonyms when the query is not related to the client’s business.
We had a case when we collected semantics for grocery hypermarkets. I got a section related to cakes, and toy cakes made of plasticine, children’s toys got there. We deleted them manually, thank God, we noticed them before sending them to the client. But this is a quality criterion.
The fact that such homonyms and ambiguities should be excluded from the semantic core, and that we guarantee it, and then demonstrate that the promises are true, is good. Warranty – Formulated SEO specialist engagement.
When you paint each of your volumes of work in detail, detail all your forces processes in the form of small blocks, even individual operations, it’s easier for you to formulate quality criteria and somehow regulate the processes. If your work looks like “we need to deal with internal search engine optimization,” then in this general vague wording you can miss a lot of important and critical things for the client.
What is the agency responsible for?
It is important to write to the client a list of what you are responsible for, so that there are no conflicts in the future. Let me give you some simple example.
The client can tell you what he sees in the top sites – He wants to change this picture. But! If this is not included in your scope of work, then you can not do such a job. Then, in advance, on the shore, agree on what you are responsible for and whatnot. The keyword is “in advance.”
What is the trickiest nuance? This list cannot be compiled if you try to write it right now after reading this article. You will either have it short, or you simply won’t even move further than the white sheet with the title.
It makes sense every time you conclude an agreement with a client, look at your checklist of “areas of responsibility” and add or modify it to the client’s task.
For example, then you are responsible for:
- the site will not be closed from indexing through robots.txt. (If you are responsible for this, of course. Our scripts automatically check the availability of indexing or making any changes to robots.txt.)
- the site is available as a hoster;
- technical garbage will not fall into the snippet.
If you assume these obligations, then you enter in this list. And vice versa, if you are not going to be responsible for this and in the future do not want a conflict with the client due to the fact that he had any high expectations, then prepare the second column.
Write the operations for which you do not undertake to answer as part of the result of the work.
A large company, a boutique agency, can make the list of areas of responsibility somehow large, redundant. A small agency or a separate freelancer who does not want to answer at all will probably reduce this list for everything related to the site. You can design it for yourself.
What does an SEO agency check?
The second item that we recommend doing is a list of what you check and how often you check. Trite in the first place, the check of positions is immediately remembered. But, besides this, there are many other indicators that it makes sense to check: closing indexations of the main page, monitoring certain tags, changing robots.txt, site ping ability, and so on and so forth.
We regulated all these processes, automate them with scripts, and checks in most of our cases are automated.
The exception is things that already relate not so much to inspections as to the periodic review of something. For example, the same SEO audit that a specialist does manually, it makes sense once a quarter to review whether the data is still relevant. Or, once every six months, revise the development strategy and the strategy for creating new content.
Most technical operations can be automated using scripts and existing SaaS services to receive API data from external systems starting from Webmaster, Google Console Search, Google Pagespeed and so on.
As a result, you will get some number of operations. We have several hundred in our agency. You may have less or more. The client does not need a highly detailed list of work. There is a volume of work that the client perceives as some kind of result. For example, collecting SY from you can be detailed as a large number of tasks. Assemble the semantic core, check its depth, check the expansion in width, add a toponym, add a commercial query, and so on. This is specifically for your choice. But, one way or another, what the client perceives as one block and the result will be broken down into separate pieces, or blocks, in the list of jobs for you. This is not always convenient for the client to see. Think, before giving him access to your internal task manager, there can be a huge number of technical tasks, some carry intermediate meanings rather than the end result. And the client will not want to plunge into them, he will want to see the picture as a whole.
Sample reports for customer
I went in, it’s immediately obvious: in half, a second information is accepted, which colour is greater. Dominated by green – a lot of work done, dominated by red – a lot of problems and so on.
It is important that the client will not jerk constantly, without asking you for every little thing, for every obligation. It is especially good if you undertake that you update the data once a week on Mondays if you have already made the current status on Friday, then if you come in on Monday morning to see it, the data will be excellent and relevant.
What criteria do we have for each operation? By itself, the list of operations that I can give you, or which you write yourself, is not the key to success.
Why? Because, even after seeing items such as “assemble the semantic core” or “check for stop words”, the specialist needs more data. He needs information on what criterion for the success of this operation is, what are the checklists, stop-word lists. It is necessary to give him instructions with the help of which tools, external services, software, electronic plates this is done.
Sometimes templates are needed, in what format to provide this data to the client, and so on. Therefore, it makes sense to work out each point, breaking it into small, detailed steps and blocks. Each small element, if it can be distinguished and described, is worthy to be called a separate operation.
It is desirable that for each action there was a detailed instruction, regulation, perhaps some additional description for the client.
Certain quality standards, as I gave examples of stop words in the semantic core, indicate automation capabilities or the impossibility of optimizing a given SEO process, interconnection with other processes.
It is not possible to collect positions on the semantic core until you create a semantic core. Therefore, the operation to monitor positions is dependent on the operation to create a semantic core.
A large number of operations, for example, processing data from google analytics, cannot be performed if you have not gained access to this Google Analytics. This all seems to be logical, but if you write it in a file, then it will be easier for you to see where the narrow link is, without which you cannot execute a sufficiently large block.
It’s convenient to show the client when you ask for access to google analytics and explain how many operations you can perform after that. It is important to think about how much time you are going to spend on it. Especially if you are a company, not a private freelancer. What is the main nuance? People can perceive subjective evaluations such as “fast”, “good”, and so on in different ways. Sometimes it happens that a person works on a semantic core, physically, for example, for 4 days and believes that it is fast. And in some companies, it is standard to work out the semantic core for 8 hours, that is, one working day, and going beyond these limits is already a reason to condemn an employee.
Sometimes it happens that you know that this is a fast task, for example, it takes 5 minutes. And some experts carry it out for an hour, for example. Here is a signal for you – you just need to train this employee. Maybe he does it wrong or, for example, does not know some hotkeys, too, there are often such cases. Train, upgrade your skills, you can perform much more different operations in one working day.
But the indication of the standard allows both you and the employee to focus on how well, how quickly he performs this work and meets your expectations. In addition, even the commonplace thing – the summation of these standards over time, will help to suggest whether you are able to fulfil the plan.
Simple math. We have 8 hours of working time per day, 20 working days, 160 hours. One specialist who should work, for example, on four projects, can allocate about 30 hours. It turns out, for one project, no more than these 30 hours: with some losses in switching from other tasks, advanced training, training and so on.
At 30 hours not very much work can be shoved. Sometimes it happens that you want to do a lot or the project requires a very large amount of work, but this does not fit into the standard for the clock. Then there is the opportunity to sit down and talk objectively that you need to change something, increase the budget, attract other specialists, automate or outsource any work. Only through numbers and analysis can this be clarified.
Consider the internal cost. If you outsource something or use some kind of internal system, you need to understand how much you fit into the rate of profit.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) step-by-step plan
Here is an example of how this is done with us. Inside our corporate SEO digital tools system, processes are described that need to be executed, started, or which themselves automatically start in order for all operations in search engine optimization to work.
You can develop all this for yourself, but if you don’t succeed or want to save time, use our developed list of SEO operations. This is actually a kind of professional standard in search engine optimization. Please write to me on Facebook, referring to this article, and I will share with you a link to this list and additional information materials, instructions for it.
Thanks. Regulate everything, and in your search engine optimization business, instead of chaos, there will be order and control.