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It’s a phrase that evokes a lot of emotions: SEO (Search Engine Optimization.) For some business owners and marketers, it’s a continual bugbear, offering constant anxiety as they and their colleagues fight to keep their website well-ranked and relevant. For others, it’s not a source of worry but a necessary evil that requires precious time and resources.

For our team at M&R Marketing, it’s just another way we help our clients find their audience, convert leads, and grow their businesses.

Why is SEO Important?

Appearing near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) is even more critical than most business owners know. When internet users cast their nets for an answer, product, or service, 99.37% never scroll past the first ten search results. If you ignore your website’s SEO, you’re consigning your page to the barren wasteland of the Second SERP (or worse).

How does your website rank on search engines? How do your competitors’ sites rank? What can you do to improve your rankings? These are questions you need answers to, and your friends at M&R can help.

Choosing an SEO Audit from M&R gives you and your team valuable insight into your site’s current performance in the search realm and advice on improving your visibility for more internet users.

How Does an SEO Audit Work?

An SEO Audit from M&R comprises three main areas of research:

Current Performance

We review your site and determine what keywords and phrases return pages from your website to the results pages. We look at where those pages rank for each specific keyword and how often users search those keywords each month. We also perform the same analysis for up to three of your competitors to give you a good understanding of your relative strengths and weaknesses.

Technical SEO Issues

We run your site through a rigorous test that examines various technical aspects that affect SEO. We carefully scan for dozens of ranking factors, like:

  • Page load speed
  • Proper title and heading tags
  • Optimized code
  • Valid and healthy links and redirects

Any errors are detailed and categorized by severity for your team (or our team) to correct them.

Strategic SEO Issues

We review your site’s content through the lens of what search engines look for in a quality, highly ranked website. We examine your page’s user experience, the quality and relevance of your content, your use of keywords and key phrases in strategic locations, and other factors to recommend how your site’s content can rank higher in search results.

Once we’ve performed all these steps, we put our findings and recommendations in a brief, easy-to-understand report to help you make the right decisions for your business. We also ensure you have the data you need to back up those decisions. Our SEO audit service also provides you with granular raw data from our research so that you can know exactly where you stand with your current site and pinpoint specific areas for improvement.

We’ll sit down with you and review every document in your audit report, showing you how each piece of data can help you make the right decisions for your website’s design and content. We’ll also show you how web updates and other services from M&R can make improving your site’s SEO painless.

Four Reasons You Should Have an SEO Audit

1. You May Be in Better Shape Than You Think

Our clients are sometimes surprised to discover that they rank in the first few spots for a particular search term. If your test searches haven’t focused on these terms, you might never know that your air conditioning company is the top-ranking site for the term “Freon,” or that the blog article you wrote explaining your pool maintenance services is the internet’s top resource for people looking for saltwater pool advice.

An SEO audit can help you identify areas of strength you didn’t even know you had and allow you to capitalize on them to improve your rankings for other keywords important to your business.

2. Hidden Technical Faults May Be Hurting Your Rankings

Did you know that not having a meta-description tag on a page will reduce its rankings? That having two pages with the same title tag confuses Google and decreases your rankings sitewide? That broken links aren’t just frustrating for your users, but are also a big warning flag for search engine algorithms?

Myriad technical faults may not be apparent to a website’s users or the staff that maintains them. Each of these might have little impact on your site’s visibility in search engines, but combined, they can drag your site down into the depths of low-ranking pages and take your visibility along with it.

3. SEO Strategy Has Changed, Is Changing, and Will Always Change

Want to know how recently Google made an update to its search algorithm? Just talk to someone on your web team: the more stressed they are, the more recent the update was.

Over time, Google and other search engines have made their algorithms more and more sophisticated. At one time, ranking for a particular search term wasn’t any more complicated than ensuring your desired keyword appeared as often as possible all over the site. Those days are long gone.

Now, search engines have moved to a model known as “intent-based” search. Search engines use machine learning to parse searches and ask, “What was the intention behind this user’s search?”  They then comb through their index to find the pages that best serve that intention. A search for “pizza” from a user in Seattle probably isn’t best served by ads for a pizza joint in Charleston, and someone searching for “air conditioner repairs” probably isn’t looking for a Wikipedia article on the history of air conditioning.

In the era of intent-based search, your web content needs to be helpful, highly legible, and very clearly focused on serving the search intentions of your audience. An SEO audit can reveal areas where your web strategy can be improved to hit this target. And shifts to the search landscape happen continually, so re-auditing regularly can keep you from mistakenly relying on outdated practices.

4. The Other Guys Are Playing to Win, Too

Unlike so many other things in life, SEO really is a zero-sum game. Only one website can claim the coveted top spot for a highly valued search term, and competition for these rankings can be fierce.

If your competitors are already leveraging SEO tactics and strategies to improve their rankings on the web, you need to be in the game to keep yourself competitive. If they’re not, they will be soon – now’s the time to step up and claim those profitable #1 rankings for yourself before the other guys get a chance to beat you to it.

How Often Should You Have an SEO Audit?

SEO is a continually changing beast. A page that’s consistently ranking highly one day can be suddenly dropped in the rankings for no apparent reason. A Google update can throw the entire search landscape into upheaval, forcing a major re-envisioning of your site content. As your website undergoes occasional bandages and quick fixes, you may negatively impact your search results. Even the best-laid plans of SEO specialists can take months or even years to effectively move the needle in competitive verticals.

Remember, SEO is a long game – a large-cap investment marked by slow growth, not a volatile penny-stock game played for quick returns. Overanalyzing your page’s SEO results can quickly overload and overwhelm you and lead to snap decisions that hurt more than they help. Daily fluctuations are common and sometimes panic-inducing, even when everything is going exactly to plan.

While it’s perfectly fine to perform a few test searches every few weeks to make sure things are stable or improving for your site, a full site audit is something you should undertake 2-4 times a year, depending on the size and complexity of your website. The more pages you have, or the more often those pages get updated, the more frequently you’ll want to run an audit to ensure things are moving in the right direction and catch any errors that may have popped up.

What Can You Do With an SEO Audit?

Your SEO audit will reveal a wealth of information about your site and its technical and strategic health. With the various reports and data from your audit, you can guide your web team as it makes the updates you need to bring your site to the top of the SERPs. Or, you can contract with M&R to lend a hand – our talented copywriters, designers, digital strategists, and developers have years of experience repairing, editing, or even completely revamping websites to improve their search engine performance.

Regardless of whether you handle your improvements in-house or through M&R, your audit will inform you as you take your next steps:

Current keyword and competitive analysis will reveal the strengths and weaknesses of your existing content. They will provide you with information on what keywords and phrases your target audience is searching for online. This information will help you decide which topics should be the focal points of the various pages on your site, which areas need more or less attention, and subjects where you already have a strong head start toward keyword domination.

Technical SEO auditing will steer your website’s technical staff as they take steps to make your website more accessible for search engines and users. The details in your technical audit report are highly granular and detailed, providing your web team with the locations of potential trouble spots and the best remedies for bringing your site back into compliance with SEO best practices.

Strategic SEO auditing will provide our expert SEO team’s recommendations on how best to shape your content to fit your goals. Improving your site’s SEO strategy may be as simple as punching up the content on a handful of pages, significant revisions across the site, or developing a dedicated blog where specialized monthly articles target specific high-value keywords. Your SEO audit will help you better understand how the words and images on your site translate into improved search rankings.

Need Help Getting to the Top of Search Results? We’ve Got You Covered! Call Today: 478-621-4491

SEO isn’t just important; it’s vital! Our team has the tools and the knowledge to give you a clear picture of where you are and how to get where you want to be. A detailed technical audit from M&R contains every detail you need to start moving your website into the coveted top spot in the SERPs.

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