Interviewing SEO Vendors Via an Audit

When you’ve exhausted the interviewing Q&A for a new Search Engine Optimization provider, a good way to proceed is by having them do an audit of your website.

We’ve said before (and will again) that audits are good things to do for your online marketing. Every aspect of your marketing strategy should be reviewed at regular intervals, and having a 3rd party perform it means a higher level of objectivity.

By engaging in a one-time SEO audit, you’ll get a sense of what it’s like to work with the SEO company, and your website will receive a “bill of health” you can use to determine what’s ailing it. If the audit indicates further work is required on your website, you’ll be able to more confidently decide if they are the right fit for the job.

What Should an SEO Audit Look Like?

From our perspective an audit should not be exhaustive or require a ton of time (although that’s somewhat relative to the size of the site). I would expect an audit of this type to take 20-40 hours, and the findings returned to you in 1-3 weeks.

The findings of an audit like this should indicate some specific action points, but may also include things like, “Further research into Area A is needed to better understand initial discovered [pain point].”

SEO Audit from an SEO Company in Nashville - Pryor Consultation

What Should an SEO Audit Include?

Let’s run a quick and dirty list of some top items you should expect to see reviewed:

  1. Title tags and meta descriptions

  2. Page headers (h1, h2, h3, etc)

  3. Meta robots and canonical status

  4. Indexation health of pages in a search engine

  5. Sitemap file(s)

  6. Robots.txt file

  7. Top landing pages (from organic traffic)

  8. Ranking for valuable keywords (in terms of potential return, not vanity)

  9. Website code (HTML)

  10. Page copy and structure - this should also be a place where keywords are addressed

I stopped at 10 to make sure we don’t get carried away. The audit should also include a qualitative evaluation of how well your website matches with your business goals and your target audience.  

And then there are links. Links could very well merit an audit of their own. If you’re paying for a standard SEO audit, you should expect to see information about your website’s link footprint and the quality of those links. However, it’s probably unrealistic to expect deep-seated link issues to be uncovered during a standard audit.

In Summary

Remember, the audit shouldn’t be the end-all be-all of knowledge about your website, but it ought to give you a good “first date” sense of how well you like working with the SEO company who performed it. Ask yourself:

  • Did I get what I was told I’d receive?  (even if the news was painful)
  • Do I know more about my website and SEO condition now?  
  • Do I have a clear sense of what the next steps should be?
  • Did the audit provide me with insight to my business goals?

If you’re in the process of looking for an SEO agency to analyze your website, we hope you’ll consider Pryor Consultation’s SiteCheck SEO audit package. We’d love to take a look under the hood and see what can be done to get your site running at peak performance.