The Perennial SEO Audit – Creating an Effective Framework for Keeping Your Campaign Running at Peak Performance

Hearing the words perennial and audit together might seem unlikely or possibly even groan-worthy, but combining these two concepts is actually a very good thing when it comes to SEO. A few simple mini-deep dives at specific times throughout the year can dramatically benefit your campaign.

SEO audits are immensely popular. Especially when an agency is newly hired by a company, the first few weeks are inevitably spent in performing audits, reviewing existing strategies, and finding elements to fix, in order to create solid ground for new efforts to take root. In the majority of cases, this is an excellent time investment; a lot of quick wins (and averted disasters) can be achieved as a result of this audit.

There’s no need to wait for rare or one-off occasions to do this type of review of your account. It’s hugely beneficial for us SEO types to periodically helicopter up from the daily grind and survey our campaigns from a top level. As we work in the weeds on a daily basis, it can be surprising to find the number of items that need to be fixed when looked at from this top-level view every once in a while.

Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment when done regularly – just an hour or so at a time is usually sufficient.

Here’s how to create a framework for giving your SEO campaign a thorough check at regular intervals, protecting your efforts and strengthening your foundation. All time estimates are averages based upon the usage of tools and for a site that is small to medium size.

Every Week – Total Time 15 Minutes:

# What Why? Estimated Time
1 Review Webmaster Tools report for Google and Bing Use this to check on messages, issues such as crawl errors or URL errors, index status, traffic trends, and some keyword insights. 15 minutes

Every Month – Total Time 60 Minutes:

# What Why? Estimated Time
1 Review authority metrics Do a monthly check on authority metrics such as Domain Authority, as a good SEO leading indicatoron the quality of work being done and trust for the site being built.

Be sure to compare your top three to five competitors as well each month.

10 minutes
2 Review links built Review not only the links acquired, but also keep a check on:

  • The diversity of your link profile
  • The number of home page links vs. deep links
20 minutes
3 Perform a Screaming Frog Crawl Quickly catch any issues or errors on the site to nip them in the bud. 20 minutes
4 Check on SEO visibility changes If you use a tool like Searchmetrics, review how your site’s SEO visibility has been trending on a month-over-month basis to quickly identify any areas of success or slippage which may need more investigation. 5 minutes
5 Check Page Load Speed Check on page load time for a few key pages to see if the site could benefit from any coding optimizations to make it faster. 5 minutes

Every Quarter – Total Time 110 Minutes:

# What Why? Estimated Time
1 Review unlinked mentions Inevitably there will be mentions of your site/company online where the link back to your site may be missing or incorrect. These are low-hanging fruit for link-building campaigns. 35 minutes
2 Check all image alt attributes For continued usability optimization, add on any alt tags that may be missing. 10 minutes
3 Check for any duplicate content Check for duplicate meta tags, duplicate content on pages, incorrect canonical tags, or possible accidental duplicate content as a result of URL issues. 30 minutes
4 Review external links Crawl any external links to ensure they are not linking to 404 pages or resulting in errors. 15 minutes
5 Review social engagement stats How is your content being shared? Is there engagement with your brand on social media sites? While the direct impact on SEO is very low, these metrics are worth tracking as they can help with outreach campaigns and online promotions. 20 minutes

Every Six Months – Total Time 175 Minutes:

# What Why? Estimated Time
1 Internal link audit
  • It’s easy to link to different pages in the site with the same keyword or use different keywords to link to the same page, which can be confusing and counterproductive.
  • Check to ensure there are no forced attempts to use too much rich anchor text or have too many or too few links.
  • Check for any broken links that may need to be redirected.
40 minutes
2 Review meta tags and structured data markup Peruse your meta tags to ensure they meet length requirements and don’t keyword stuff. Most importantly they must be compelling, especially when comparing them to those of the competition who rank on the same page. Additionally, check to ensure all components of on-page markup are rendering properly. 35 minutes
3 Content review Analyze the content on your site – could it do with re-writing? Is it of high-quality? As you’ve added more, does it all fit well with the current site architecture or can that be improved as well? Ensure it is easy to navigate and appealing to users. 45 minutes
4 Review of targeted keywords Review your targeted keywords – are you still going after the right terms? Are there additional opportunities to pursue? It’s worth checking to possibly unearth new areas for expansion. 40 minutes
5 URL redirects Check to ensure there are no 302 redirects (unless specifically needed) or accidental redirects. 15 minutes

While the lists of tasks may seem long to add to already busy workloads, these are worthy time investments to catch any issues early before they have a chance to negatively affect your effort. Plus, when done regularly they will yield fewer items that need to be corrected and will barely take any time at all.

Here are a few tools that can help save time:

How do you monitor your performance regularly? Please share your thoughts and tips in the comments below.

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