Maintaining a robust digital presence as an online business cannot be overstated. This becomes even more critical for large-scale websites as the stakes and complexities are higher. SEO audits are laborious but necessary for businesses of any size – they help you spot any problem spots on your website and tailor your strategy based on the most recent data. Enterprise SEO audits are the same but on a much, much larger scale.
However, with the right processes and tools, these behemoth audits can become much more manageable and accessible. In this comprehensive guide, we delve deep into the intricacies of an effective enterprise SEO Audit.
We’ll explore the myriad reasons why such audits are indispensable for large organizations, and we’ll provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to conduct one with precision and finesse. Whether you’re looking to identify and rectify SEO issues, enhance your website’s visibility, or fine-tune your digital strategy, this article is your gateway to achieving SEO excellence on an enterprise scale.
Why Should You Perform an Enterprise SEO Audit?
Performing an enterprise SEO audit is imperative for larger businesses and organizations due to the complexity and scale of their digital presence. Since enterprise businesses tend to have numerous web properties, domains, and intended audiences, SEO audits of this size can be intricate and time-consuming.
The rationale behind conducting an enterprise SEO audit is multifaceted. Firstly, it maximizes return on investment (ROI) by identifying opportunities to optimize SEO efforts, ensuring that every marketing dollar is spent effectively. Secondly, it serves as a risk mitigation strategy, uncovering and addressing potential SEO issues that could lead to significant traffic and revenue losses.
An enterprise SEO audit also enhances the overall user experience by assessing site speed, mobile-friendliness, and other factors. It also aligns content strategies with target audiences, keywords, and business objectives, making content a more effective driver of results.
For organizations with international markets, an enterprise SEO audit uncovers opportunities for expansion and optimization across diverse regions, languages, and cultures. Moreover, it empowers data-driven decision-making by providing comprehensive audit findings that enable continuous improvement and a competitive edge.
An enterprise SEO audit is essential for organizations with extensive digital footprints, offering a holistic view of their complex online ecosystem and enabling optimization for maximum visibility, performance, and ROI.
Different Types of SEO Audits
When setting up your website for an SEO audit, it’s important to understand the different types of audits you can embark on. In an interview with Fox’s Senior SEO Director, Charles Taylor, we asked him how SEO audits have changed over time. One of the biggest changes? The different types of SEO audits that are available.
“There are now different kinds of audits now: basic/general, technical, content, linking and forensic. With each passing year, Google and the web in general become more complex. While “the basics” do not change, we’ve had to expand what we look at on a website.”
As Google continues to roll out algorithm updates, the factors that go into an effective SEO audit continue to change as well. Different emphasis on factors leads to new and improved ways to audit your website. Sometimes, a deeper clean will be required to remove a tough stain – forensic audits for sites that have started to tank without warning.
Get Our Free SEO Audit Checklist
Check out our free SEO Audit Checklist. It’s a spreadsheet that includes all of the main items you should look into when conducting an SEO Audit for your website
Which SEO Audit is Right for Your Business?
Selecting the appropriate SEO audit for your business is a critical decision that can significantly influence the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts. Several factors should be considered to ensure the audit aligns with your business needs and goals.
- Business Size: The main difference between a standard SEO audit and an enterprise SEO audit is scale. Bigger businesses with more digital content require larger audits that scrawl more web pages for content. These audits can take longer and require a more detailed view of the on-page SEO.
- Audit Goals: A well-defined set of goals and objectives will go a long way in determining the type of audit that best applies to your website. A technical or content audit will suffice if you’re embarking on a standard annual audit. However, a more in-depth forensic audit might be necessary if your site is beginning to see traffic drops and ranking decreases.
- Audit Budget: Your budget is a practical constraint that can influence the type and extent of the SEO audit you can undertake. While comprehensive, in-depth audits can provide many insights, they often have a higher price tag. Smaller businesses with limited resources may need more budget-friendly audits that effectively address their core SEO needs.
Outline your goals and the benefits you wish to reap to determine the type of audit that works best for your website. An enterprise SEO audit will almost always be a massive undertaking, as more pages must be scrawled, logged, and analyzed. After this, your team will need to ensure that everything is not only technically sound but cohesively fits into a major or minor content pillar.
When getting ready to audit an enterprise website, meticulous pre-audit preparation is crucial. In this phase, you define your goals, gather essential resources, and create a well-structured plan. Here are key steps to ensure your SEO audit gets off to a strong start:
1. Define Clear Goals and Objectives
Begin by outlining your goals and objectives for the audit. What do you aim to achieve with this audit? Are you looking to boost organic traffic, improve conversion rates, address technical issues, or enhance your content strategy? Defining clear objectives will help you stay focused throughout the audit and measure its success once completed. Ensure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
2. Gather Resources
Both digital tools and real-life team members are essential for a successful SEO audit:
- SEO Tools: Invest in or ensure access to comprehensive SEO tools. These may include website crawlers, keyword research tools, rank-tracking software, and analytics platforms. Having the necessary tools at your disposal will enable you to collect and analyze data effectively.
- Team Members: Assemble a dedicated team with expertise in various areas of SEO. Depending on the scope of your audit, you may need experts in technical SEO, content creation, link building, and analytics. Collaboration among team members is crucial for a holistic assessment.
When asked about SEO tools and programs that he recommends, Charles Taylor offered this tidbit of advice:
“In the last few years, I have found the software Cora SEO Software by Ted Kubaitis of SEO Tool Lab to be extremely helpful. While it is certainly not for a lower or mid-level SEO, the wealth of data the software supplies can be very helpful. Ted has identified over 2000 different tested and potential ranking factors, and the software identifies how your page stacks up against the competition.”
For larger companies looking to start an enterprise SEO audit, a program like Cora SEO could be just the tool you need. The size of your audit will determine which SEO tools will suit the job, so always plan ahead when considering the technology to be employed. Generic SEO audit tools will undoubtedly help, but dedicated software might be necessary to speed the process of an enterprise SEO audit along.
3. Create a Timeline and Plan
Develop a detailed timeline and plan for the audit process. A well-structured plan should include:
- Audit Scope: Clearly define what aspects of your website and online presence the audit will cover. This may involve on-page SEO, technical SEO, off-page SEO, and local SEO, among others.
- Task Assignments: Assign responsibilities to team members for specific audit tasks. Ensure everyone knows their role and the deadlines they need to meet.
Audit Duration: Determine how long the audit will take. Remember that the timeline may vary based on the audit’s complexity and your website’s size.
“A general audit is probably not needed more than once every 18 – 24 months for a well-performing website. Obviously, if you see a traffic drop, a forensic audit is needed to find the site’s deficiencies and correct them.”
Checkpoints and Milestones: Establish key checkpoints and milestones to track progress. Regularly review your progress to ensure you’re on track to meet your goals.
4. Developing a Cohesive Pre-Audit Tasklist
Before commencing the audit, gathering baseline data on your website’s performance is useful. Metrics such as domain authority, organic traffic, keyword rankings, conversion rates, and user engagement should be documented. This baseline data will serve as a benchmark, allowing you to assess the impact of your audit accurately.
Ensuring your website is technically prepared for the audit is fundamental. This includes verifying that your site is accessible for search engine crawling, addressing any indexation issues, and confirming that your analytics and tracking tools are correctly configured. Without these technical prerequisites in place, the audit’s findings may be skewed or incomplete.
Effective communication within your audit team is paramount. Regular meetings and status updates facilitate transparency and keep team members informed and aligned throughout the audit process. Open lines of communication ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities and the overall progress of the audit.
Documenting audit findings, recommendations, and actions taken is not just good practice; it’s essential. A well-structured system for documentation will aid in implementing necessary changes and serve as a valuable reference for future audits. Comprehensive documentation ensures that insights gained during the audit are preserved for ongoing optimization efforts
Key Steps in Conducting an Enterprise SEO Audit
Enterprise SEO audits can quickly consume a company’s resources. To handle this efficiently, break down the workload into smaller, more manageable segments. In this section, we’ll outline the various steps necessary for an enterprise audit, organizing them into smaller tasks to make the process more approachable and easier to complete.
Technical SEO Analysis
Technical SEO analysis is the process of evaluating and optimizing the technical aspects of a website to enhance its visibility and performance in search engine results. It focuses on a website’s backend structure, coding, and configuration rather than its content. The primary goal is to ensure that search engines can crawl, index, and understand the site effectively, leading to improved rankings and user experience.
Technical SEO optimization ensures that search engine crawlers navigate large and complex sites efficiently, leading to accurate indexing and enhanced visibility in search results. Moreover, optimizing site speed is crucial, especially in the era of fast-paced online interactions. Technical analysis identifies speed-related issues, such as slow-loading pages, and addresses them, ultimately providing better user experiences and bolstering SEO rankings.
Additionally, the mobile-friendliness of websites is paramount as mobile devices begin to grow in use when accessing the internet. Technical SEO analysis verifies that websites are responsive across various devices, catering to a broader user base.
Implementing structured data markup can result in rich search results, such as featured snippets and knowledge panels, which are highly advantageous for enterprises. Lastly, addressing technical errors, like broken links and 404 pages, enhances site reliability and user satisfaction, further boosting SEO performance.
How to Conduct Technical SEO Analysis
Here are a few tips on conducting and getting the most out of technical SEO analysis for your enterprise.
- Crawl the Website: Utilize specialized tools like Screaming Frog, Ahrefs Site Audit, or Google Search Console to crawl the website. This process identifies broken links, duplicate content, and missing metadata.
- Check Site Speed: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to assess site speed and identify opportunities for improvement. Compress images, leverage browser caching, and optimize code to enhance loading times.
- Mobile-Friendliness: Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and user-friendly across various devices. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can help confirm this.
- Structured Data Markup: Implement structured data markup to provide search engines with more information about your content. This can lead to rich snippets in search results.
- Technical Errors: Regularly monitor and address technical errors such as 404 pages, server errors, and crawl issues. Google Search Console is a valuable tool for identifying and fixing these issues.
- XML Sitemaps and Robots.txt: Verify that your XML sitemaps and robots.txt files are correctly configured to guide search engines on what to crawl and index.
- HTTPS Implementation: Ensure your website uses HTTPS for secure communication. Google favors secure sites, and HTTPS is a ranking factor.
- Canonicalization: Set canonical tags to resolve duplicate content issues and indicate the preferred version of a page.
- Structured URL and Site Architecture: Organize your website’s URL structure and architecture logically for users and search engines.
On-Page SEO Analysis
On-page SEO analysis focuses on optimizing individual web pages to improve their visibility in search engine results. It involves fine-tuning various on-page elements to ensure they align with search engine algorithms and user intent. Key areas of on-page optimization include content quality, keyword usage, meta tags, headings, and internal linking.
On-page SEO analysis holds substantial advantages for enterprises across various aspects of their online presence. With extensive content production, enterprises can benefit from ensuring that the quality, relevance, and value of their content remain top-notch. On-page optimization is the linchpin for this endeavor, leading to improved rankings and higher user engagement.
When it comes to on-page analysis, effective keyword usage is like the secret sauce. It’s all about strategically weaving those keywords into your content, meta tags, and headers to supercharge your search engine visibility. But it’s not just about the search engines – it’s about your visitors too. By fine-tuning on-page elements like headings, images, and internal links, you’re not just improving your SEO; you’re making your website more user-friendly. Think of it as tidying up your digital space, making it easier for your visitors to find what they need.
Furthermore, delving into on-page SEO analysis can open doors to implementing structured data markup. This move translates into more enriched search results, complete with coveted featured snippets and knowledge panels. For enterprises, this translates to enhanced visibility and authority in the digital realm. Moreover, for organizations with multiple locations, on-page analysis plays a pivotal role in ensuring that individual location pages are finely tuned for local search.
This optimization, in turn, simplifies the process for customers seeking the nearest branch or store. In essence, on-page SEO analysis stands as a cornerstone within an enterprise’s strategy, allowing it to harness the full potential of its online content, resulting in improved search engine rankings and an enhanced user experience.
How to Conduct On-Page SEO Analysis
Let’s take a look at some of the things you should consider when conducting an on-page SEO audit for your enterprise.
- Keyword Research: Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases for each page. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush to discover high-impact keywords.
- Content Optimization: Review and optimize content for quality, relevance, and keyword usage. Ensure that content provides value to users and answers their queries effectively.
- Meta Tags: Craft compelling and keyword-rich meta titles and descriptions for each page. These elements are the first impression in search results and influence click-through rates.
- Heading Tags: Use heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to structure content logically. Include target keywords in headings to signal content relevance to search engines.
- Internal Linking: Create a logical internal linking structure to guide users and search engines to related content. Internal links improve navigation and distribute link equity.
- Image Optimization: Optimize images by compressing them for faster loading times and adding descriptive alt text. Images can enhance user engagement and provide additional keyword opportunities.
- Schema Markup: Implement structured data markup to enhance the display of search results and provide context to search engines.
- Mobile Optimization: Ensure pages are mobile-friendly and responsive, as Google prioritizes mobile-first indexing.
- Page Speed: Monitor and improve page loading times, as faster sites lead to better user experiences and SEO rankings.
With an enterprise SEO audit, many different web pages need to undergo on-page SEO analysis. This can be one of the largest timespends of the enterprise SEO process, so allocate a fair amount of bandwidth for this task.
Off-Page SEO Analysis
Off-page SEO analysis focuses on optimizing elements that occur outside your website but still substantially impact your search engine rankings and online reputation. It primarily involves activities related to backlinks, online mentions, and social signals. The goal is to build a strong, authoritative online presence that resonates with search engines and users.
Link building and backlinking through off-page SEO analysis offer several key benefits for enterprises. It enhances backlink quality by removing irrelevant or toxic links and helps build a strong online reputation, establishing authority and trust.
Moreover, it expands brand visibility through activities like guest blogging and influencer collaborations while driving traffic and influencing search engine rankings via social media signals.
Lastly, it plays a crucial role in reputation management by monitoring and managing online mentions, reviews, and comments, safeguarding the brand’s image and credibility in the digital space. In essence, off-page SEO analysis strengthens an enterprise’s online presence, authority, and reputation, positively impacting search rankings and customer perception.
How to Conduct Off-Page SEO Analysis
- Backlink Audit: Use tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush to conduct a backlink audit. Identify and disavow toxic or irrelevant backlinks. Focus on acquiring high-quality, relevant backlinks from authoritative websites.
- Link Building: Develop a strategic link-building plan to attract natural, high-quality backlinks. This can involve creating exceptional content, guest posting, collaborating with influencers, and participating in industry forums and discussions.
- Social Media Presence: Optimize your social media profiles, ensuring they are complete and consistent. Regularly post engaging and shareable content to foster audience engagement.
- Online Mentions: Monitor online mentions of your brand or products using tools like Google Alerts or Mention. Respond to comments and engage with positive mentions while addressing negative ones promptly and professionally.
- Content Marketing: Create valuable, shareable content that encourages others to link to your site naturally. This can include blog posts, infographics, videos, and industry reports.
- Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with influencers in your niche to expand your brand’s reach and credibility. Influencers can help promote your content and products to a broader audience.
- Reputation Management: Develop strategies for managing your online reputation. Respond to customer reviews and feedback on review platforms, Google My Business, and social media. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
Continuously reviewing backlinks and checking that they’re still functioning/relevant can be a simple way to maintain growth and reputation online. Charles Taylor provided us with an in-depth look at his preferred method of backlink analysis:
“[Backlink analysis] is actually a relatively straightforward process:
1. Identify the page and the keyword footprint for that page.
2. Identify the organic competitors for that page.
a. I.e., who is ranking for your target keywords? Calculate the number of backlinks for each page, including your own.
3. This is the “link gap” analysis.
4. Analysis of the anchor profile for each page.
5. You now have a template for how many links and what kinds you need to build.”
Content analysis in an enterprise SEO audit involves optimizing website content for search engines and user experience. It includes keyword research to target relevant keywords, ensuring content quality and accuracy, and improving content structure for readability. Keyword integration into content, meta tags, and headings enhances search engine visibility.
This form of analysis delivers multiple benefits for enterprises. High-quality content attracts and retains users, earns backlinks, and boosts search rankings. Strategic keyword optimization aligns content with user intent, driving organic traffic. Well-structured, engaging content reduces bounce rates and increases user engagement. Consistently producing authoritative content establishes the enterprise as an industry leader, enhancing credibility and conversion rates.
Local SEO Analysis
Local SEO analysis is a critical part of an enterprise SEO audit, concentrating on enhancing online visibility for local markets. Optimizing elements like Google My Business profiles, local keywords, online reviews, and local citations ensures the business stands out in local search results.
Local SEO analysis offers several key advantages for enterprises. It boosts local visibility, attracting nearby customers searching for specific products or services. With the rise of mobile searches, local SEO ensures businesses are easily discoverable on mobile devices, increasing foot traffic and conversions. Positive online reviews and a well-optimized Google My Business profile enhance trust and credibility, while local keywords and citations provide a competitive edge in target market.
Reporting and Documentation
The reporting and documentation process is pivotal to a successful SEO audit, as it bridges the gap between findings and actionable insights. A comprehensive SEO audit report serves as the cornerstone of the audit’s outcomes.
This report combines all the insights gathered during the audit, encompassing various facets of SEO, including technical, on-page, off-page, and local SEO aspects. It offers a detailed snapshot of the website’s current state and performance.
Key components are carefully outlined within the audit report. This includes an executive summary for stakeholders seeking a high-level overview, clearly defining the audit’s objectives and goals, and an in-depth analysis of technical, on-page, off-page, and local SEO findings.
However, a precious audit report goes beyond mere data and insights. It incorporates prioritized recommendations and action items, categorizing them based on urgency and potential impact. This prioritization ensures that critical issues are addressed promptly, optimizing the efficiency of SEO efforts.
Additionally, the audit report provides the groundwork for the next steps in the SEO journey by crafting a clear and actionable roadmap for improvements. This roadmap should articulate the actions to be taken, designate responsibilities, establish timelines, and define key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure progress. With this structured approach, an enterprise can systematically tackle SEO challenges, enhance online visibility, and drive meaningful improvements in website performance.
Implementation and Follow-Up
Implementing the recommendations outlined in the audit report is critical in the SEO audit process. These recommendations are the roadmap to improving your website’s SEO performance. The process of implementation typically involves the following steps:
- Task Assignment: Assign responsibilities for each recommended action item. This ensures that specific individuals or teams are accountable for their successful execution.
- Priority Focus: Start with high-impact, high-urgency recommendations to address critical issues promptly. Gradually work through the prioritized list of tasks, steadily improving the website’s SEO health.
- Timeline and Monitoring: Create a timeline for implementation, setting realistic deadlines for each task. Regularly monitor progress to ensure tasks are on track and adjust timelines if necessary.
- Quality Assurance: Prioritize quality over speed. Carefully review and test changes to prevent any unintended negative impacts on the website.
- Documentation: Maintain precise records of all changes made based on audit recommendations. Documentation helps track progress and serves as a reference for future audits.
Continuous Monitoring and Follow-Up
SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. Once the audit recommendations are implemented, it’s essential to establish a system for follow-up and ongoing optimization:
- Performance Tracking: Regularly monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the impact of the implemented changes. This includes tracking organic search traffic, keyword rankings, and conversion rates.
- Analytics and Reporting: Use web analytics tools and SEO reporting software to track and analyze website performance. Regular reporting allows for data-driven decision-making.
- Algorithm Updates: Stay informed about search engine algorithm updates and industry trends. Adjust SEO strategies as needed to align with evolving search engine guidelines.
- Competitor Analysis: Continuously assess the SEO strategies of competitors and adapt your approach to maintain a competitive edge.
- Content Updates: Keep content fresh and relevant by regularly updating and adding new content. Content is a dynamic aspect of SEO that requires ongoing attention.
- Technical Maintenance: Periodically audit and maintain the technical health of the website, ensuring it remains accessible, secure, and user-friendly.
- Feedback and Adaptation: Encourage feedback from users, customers, and internal teams to identify areas for improvement. Adapt SEO strategies based on feedback and evolving business goals.
- Regular Audits: Conduct regular follow-up audits, typically on an annual or semi-annual basis, to assess the effectiveness of ongoing SEO efforts and identify new opportunities and challenges.
Effective implementation of audit recommendations, continuous monitoring, and follow-up are essential to maintaining and enhancing your website’s search engine visibility, user experience, and overall online performance. SEO is an ongoing journey, and staying committed to optimization is key to long-term success. As great as it would be to implement and then walk away, constant Google updates require constant attention from enterprises.
Other Factors to Consider with an Enterprise SEO Audit
The niche of your business will likely play a big part in determining where your time spend should be with an enterprise SEO audit. Certain niches will be much more competitive and require a hefty focus on onsite content. Other niches can simplify keyword ranking as fewer companies compete for the juicy search terms, allowing you to focus on backlinks and link building. Charles Taylor discussed the impact of niches on an SEO audit:
“Niche, or more specifically topic, is very important. The ranking factors and their magnitude or optimization varies greatly from keyword to keyword. As most SEO understand intuitively, it takes much more to rank a site for “injury lawyer” than, say, “Duluth wedding planner.”
But niche isn’t an excuse to cut back on the other parts of an SEO audit. Taylor continues,
“With that said, that same technical requirements are needed, so a solid technical audit is always needed, regardless of how easy (or difficult) a niche may be.”
Google Algorithm Updates
One tricky part of keeping up to date with site audits is the constantly changing landscape of Google’s ranking factors. As a company, it is their goal to provide the best product possible to their users, and one way they do that is by constantly updating the factors that determine the best sites for their audience.
Whether to prepare for a Google update or react once they come out doesn’t have a concrete answer. It’s not helpful to be reactionary in the world of SEO, but there are very few indications about what will change from update to update.
“The best strategy is to try and understand their goals and align your website with that. For example, make your site very easy (i.e., cheap) to crawl, index, and rank – you will be rewarded.’
Play by Google’s rules, and Google will reward you with each update. The best way to prepare for the unknown is to prepare for what you already know!
Enterprise SEO Audit Template
Performing an SEO audit can be a daunting task. Scrawling through every page of your enterprise, analyzing the keywords, reading through your content, checking external backlinks – it’s a major time spend.
Google continues to change its algorithm – changing priorities, adding new ranking factors, blacklisting immoral SEO tactics – it can be difficult to know just how and where to get started with an enterprise SEO audit. Here is a quick enterprise SEO audit template to help guide you through your audit. It should act as a roadmap and a guide to make your SEO audit more accessible!
Summing Up Your SEO Audit
Building a solid and authoritative presence online requires constant work to address and maintain the quality of your website. In a dynamic digital landscape, SEO health is an ongoing concern, and only through consistent monitoring and adaptation can you maintain and elevate your digital presence. Managing technical SEO analysis, maintaining quality on-page content, addressing off-page representation, and having a proper backlink profile are all imperative features of your next enterprise SEO audit.
You gain valuable insights into its strengths and weaknesses by meticulously examining every facet of your website’s SEO performance. By building a comprehensive enterprise SEO audit template, addressing technical issues, optimizing content, and aligning your strategy with the latest search engine algorithms, you enhance your online visibility and ensure that your digital efforts remain competitive and sustainable.