Wondering what an SEO audit is and whether your small business needs one? When it comes to small business SEO, an audit is always my first port of call and this blog tells you exactly why.
“Where on earth do I begin with SEO for my small business Aimee?”
“My website isn’t showing up when I search for my services, why not?”
“I read on Facebook that I should be publishing blogs so I can get to number one on Google, is that right?”
These are just three of the many concern-fuelled questions I get from Australian business owners when they come to me for small business SEO services.
They are usually said in an exasperated tone and accompanied with shrugs and confused expressions that scream ‘why is this SEO stuff so complex?!’
I get it.
It’s a big part of what I do for a living, so I know precisely how large and complicated the SEO world can appear to be.
In reality, the essence of SEO is pretty simple.
In fact, I can explain it right here, right now, in less than 200 words:
Search engine optimisation is about showing search engines that you are the most relevant, authoritative and trustworthy source on the topic your audience is searching for.
FYI, you should read ‘search engines’ as predominantly (but not completely!) Google.
In 2019, Google has an 89% share of the search engine market, so it tends to be the one we focus heavily on.
As an aside, that doesn’t mean we should ignore the 11% that’s made up of search engines such as Bing and Yahoo but that’s a topic for another blog post!
Small business SEO and Google
So, we want to show Google that your small business is the most relevant, authoritative and trustworthy source on the topics your audience is searching for.
Because Google intends to keep its strong market share and to do this, it needs to provide its users with the best and most exact answers they are looking for when they perform a search.
The better an experience a Google user has, the more they will use that search engine over another (and the more Google can monetise this through advertising… but I digress again).
How do I show Google that I am all three things?
We want to show Google that the website for your small business should be the first result they show because:
- It is the most relevant to the search
- It has authority on the topic being searched
- It is trusted by the internet community
Perhaps you know your website doesn’t tick all three of these boxes.
Maybe you think it does and you’re still nonplussed as to why your website is struggling to rank well.
Either way, the very first thing you need to do is stop hunting for things to do.
Forget the words of advice you’ve been given on social to
- Blog more
- Guest blog
- Get backlinks from other websites
These things all play a part in great SEO, absolutely!
Right now though, if you want to truly improve your website rankings and have more potential customers discover you online you need to take stock of your current website, any SEO efforts to-date and your organic performance.
When it comes to any marketing activity, my first piece of advice is to resist the temptation to start ‘doing’ right away and instead, work on understanding.
Step one to better small business SEO: Understand
If your website is going to be the relevant, trustworthy authority in your industry, you need to understand;
- your audience
- your competitors
- your current performance
Without understanding your audience and the types of phrases and questions they search online, how will you create relevant pages and content?
Your competitors are probably focusing on their SEO just like you. How will you outrank them long-term if you don’t have insights into their approach and their performance?
How will you show Google that yours is a trustworthy website that will provide a great user experience if it has technical issues and broken pages that frustrate a website visitor? Or if it’s simply hard to navigate?
In short, you can’t.
Which is precisely why an SEO Audit has to be the first thing you do if you want to improve SEO and attract more customers to your site.
Only once you understand, can you move on to plan and act.
I call this the ‘3 Steps to Successful Online Marketing’ and it’s the framework I apply to every single project I take on, whether that’s for SEO, Google Ads, a website build, or a holistic marketing strategy.
Following these three steps means you are more likely to plan marketing activity and action a marketing plan that will achieve a return on investment.
Your actions are focused, strategic and based on sound data, instead of sporadic and based on assumptions.
What is an SEO audit?
An SEO audit is simply a detailed review of your small business’ search visibility.
Just as you might audit your accounts or stock levels, an SEO audit will take note of your current SEO situation.
It will detail all the strengths and weaknesses present in your website and marketing activity that affect your ability to appear on the search engines results pages.
Its purpose is to uncover and document pitfalls that could be holding you back, as well as opportunities to improve.
A small business SEO audit won’t just be limited to your website either.
It will include other places your business can appear in search engine results pages (called SERPS in the marketing world). For example, your Google My Business account, online directories and so on.
What’s included in a typical SEO audit?
You’ll find marketing agencies, independent freelancers and consultants, and online do-it-yourself tools touting SEO audits for small businesses.
Each of these will vary slightly in what they include.
Generally, you can expect an SEO audit to include:
- Research into the keywords and phrases your potential buyers are using when they search online.
- A review of your website structure and the content you have on these pages.
- A technical crawl of your site to uncover any health issues like broken page links, slow load speed, duplicate content etc.
- Checks on your domain and page authority scores.
- A review of any links coming to your website from other sites.
- A review of your internal linking (between pages on your own site).
- Competitor site review for all of the above factors.
- Checks on your website analytics to understand user experience on your site.
- Off-site considerations like your Google My Business profile and Maps set up.
All of which should then be summarised for you in plain English with recommendations and priorities.
A good SEO specialist will take the time to talk you through what the SEO audit has uncovered and what your next steps should be.
Ordinarily, I break my SEO Audit findings down into:
- Immediate priorities
- Short-term focus
- Long-term strategy
As I mentioned, other marketers will do things differently. Hopefully, this information gives you enough detail to compare quotes from whichever freelancers, agencies, or companies you approach for your small business SEO.
What if I don’t invest in an SEO audit?
You’re skipping the ‘Understand’ phase, which means your trying to improve something without knowing what’s holding you back in the first place.
It’s like expecting a mechanic to fix a car without getting under the hood and taking a look.
Or asking a doctor to make you feel better without letting them examine you or run any tests to find out what’s causing your symptoms.
Or… OK, I think you’ve got that point.
Secondly, any time, effort, and budget you put into SEO from this point onwards could easily be money down the drain.
You can ramp up your blogging in an effort to give Google more relevant content but if your website has serious health issues, it’ll have little impact.
Think of your website as a bucket and the water inside as your visitors.
You want to fill your bucket with water, more water than all the other buckets. So you find more taps and you turn them on faster and for longer.
You get all sweaty running between taps trying to fill your bucket but it never fills because actually, there are holes in your bucket (dear Liza).
So all that effort was for nothing. First, you need to fix the holes in your bucket.
Can you tell I love a metaphor?
In short, if you don’t invest in an SEO audit first and foremost, you can end up costing your small business more in the long run.
Where to get an SEO audit for your small business
The summary is:
- An SEO audit is a detailed review of your small business’ online presence that uncovers insights about your audience, your website health and structure, and other factors.
- It is one hundred per cent the right first step if you want to improve your organic search rankings and, as a result, get more potential customers to your website.
- Trying to plan SEO improvements or ‘do more’ without an SEO audit first is like trying to fix a car without finding the broken parts first.
- Failing to understand your SEO performance before ‘doing’ can cost you more in the long run.
Now, on to where you can get an SEO audit.
There are literally thousands of SEO experts out there.
Some are agencies, which tend to come with higher costs and margins that mean less of your investment is spent on actual SEO hours worked.
Some are offshore companies, which tend to come with ridiculously low prices that should be a warning signal because SEO is not a cheap activity.
Good SEO that is compliant with Google guidelines (we call it ‘white hat SEO’) takes time and expertise, so many companies offering a quick fix or easy results for little investment should be judged suspiciously.
You can also find freelancers and consultants that offer SEO Audits and services for small businesses (I fit into this category, by the way).
Within the freelancer category, you’ll naturally want to make sure the person has significant experience in the marketing industry for many years and reviews that advocate their services.
Prices among freelancers will vary but generally, in Australia you can expect to pay anywhere between $500-$2000 per month for a good SEO expert.
Which brings me to…
Today’s SEO Audit offer!
An SEO Audit by myself, Aimee Binstead aka Trusted Online Marketer is an investment of just $560 AUD.
That’s right at the lower end of the average cost of a good SEO expert – I’m generous with my pricing because I know that for many small businesses cash flow is tight and sacrifices have to be made.
Plus, in the interest of transparency…
I hope that once I deliver you the findings of your SEO Audit, in a way that is easy to understand, you’ll be so happy to have found a freelancer you can trust that you’ll stick with me for all your small business SEO services moving forward!
I’m not afraid to say that because usually, it happens.
So, let’s get started.
Book an SEO Audit for your Small Business
Book an SEO audit by completing the form below today and I’ll contact you within 24 hours to set up a 15-minute Introduction Call.
Only once we’ve had that chat will you receive an invoice for the cost of the SEO Audit and I’ll get to work.
Organic traffic has a 14.6% conversion rate compared to 1.7% of traditional outbound marketing.
Can you afford NOT to rank well in search results?
My client MarCloud Consulting couldn’t and here’s what they have to say about working with me:
When you book an SEO Audit with me, you can trust that I’ll do the work efficiently and thoroughly, to deliver you the findings within two weeks in an easy-to-digest slide deck.
Your time is valuable. Hire a marketing freelancer here in Australia to do your SEO Audit and you can spend your time how you’d prefer!
About the author
Aimee Binstead is an online marketing freelancer based in Perth, Western Australia. She truly believes that time is our biggest asset and something we don't get to claim at the end of the tax year.
She spends her working hours supporting small business owners and the rest of her time exploring Australia in a campervan, watching sunsets, or jetting overseas for adventures.
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