Conducting an SEO audit: How your small business will benefit

Image by chetan kotadiya from Pixabay

By Henry Brown

Growing your business should be a continuous process, as we can surely all agree. Without a doubt, any bonus lifts you can get along the way will certainly help, but steady growth is the best kind – it allows you to manage the growth as it goes. With that said, a lot of businesses can stall and plateau within a few years of their launch because a certain level of success has made them complacent.

As we can all agree, the last few years have been an object lesson that you cannot take progress for granted. Any business that was coasting on its early success at the end of 2019 will have got a short, sharp shock when the pandemic hit, and will have had to come to terms with the fact that progress is a lot harder to get going again once it’s been stopped than it is to just keep it going. It is for that reason that you should always be looking for simple ways to progress.

If your business is moving along well, it’s easy to assume that the magic ticket is just to keep doing more of what you are already doing. A smarter business will, however, also keep looking for 1% of improvement in various areas of its marketing. Because while 1% of anything might not seem like a lot, when you keep finding another 1% here and there, it soon adds up. This is why your business should conduct regular SEO audits to see whether there is anything you could be doing better.

What is an SEO audit?

There is no specific road map for an SEO audit, but any audit will begin with two key questions:

-Where are we?

-Where do we want to be?

Like any plan for the future, without knowing your starting point and your aims, you’re going to struggle to put together the key steps of how to get there. In terms of a marketing audit, the implied additional question needs to be: “Are there gaps in our SEO that we could boost our business by addressing?”. That’s what you will find out during an audit, and what you will be able to build on.

So your first step will be to look at what is available to you as a business, and where it is realistic for you to market. Remember that a lot of 1% improvements adds up to a large overall improvement, so don’t rule any part of your inventory out just because it seems minor or basic.

What you can improve

When you began marketing your business, the chances are you were aware of the power of SEO. Probably, you will have done your best to harness SEO in building your business’s website and its general online presence. It is to be hoped that you, or whoever did your SEO in the first place, was fully aware of the fact that the world of online marketing is not static. Great SEO in 2017 might have helped you a lot in that year, but it’s probably not doing so much for you in 2022.

So you need to be thinking of all of the areas of SEO that you addressed in the first place, and looking into whether your efforts there could be improved. The good news is that there are a lot of areas where you can make changes for a little boost:

What is your CMS?

The content management system (CMS) that you use for your website can make a significant difference to its rankability. It’s no huge surprise that most businesses these days use WordPress for their websites. Although there was a fashion for using more bespoke platforms a few years ago, WordPress has become the gold standard.

A major part of the reason for this is just how customizable WordPress is. There are innumerable plugins that can make your website’s SEO game stronger. One such plugin is Yoast, available in free and paid versions, which will make any WordPress site far more rankable.

Technology, of course, is always advancing, so to find out what’s happening currently on the CMS front, check out this article on CMS great for SEO to learn which systems are challenging the WordPress supremacy.

Remove out-of-date SEO information

One reason that the bloom can fall off the SEO rose is that information on your site and in other areas ceases to be relevant. Backlinks to sites, or parts of sites, that no longer exist will provide zero SEO juice for your site. In addition to this, you need to keep an eye on information away from your site that you may have been relying on for SEO power.

How often do you update business social media accounts? When you visit a corporate Twitter account and see it was last updated in 2018, does it make you more or less likely to click through to the main site? You should also take the time to update your Google Business listing, adding any relevant info and links to your site. There are free services that can help you keep your listing current and make it more beneficial for your SEO purposes.

Make the best use of on-page content

You can always tell when a website has been put together by someone with a basic understanding of SEO, or when it was put together in a previous era. You’ll recognize tricks that used to work well, like keyword stuffing and the use of overly-wordy, synonym-filled content. Content like that doesn’t fly with the search engines anymore, and quality is king.

That means taking time to write or commission new on-page content, and more importantly to make it diverse, and information-heavy. Tables and bulleted lists are important, and you’ll want to make the best possible use of video content as well. If you have an online store – and if you can, you should – then you should make use of shortcodes to pull information through to your blogs and other written content. If this is overly complex for you to do as a business, it’s worth paying an SEO specialist to take this work on; it will pay for itself.

Use social media tactically

The better you curate your social media accounts, the more followers they will attract, and the more the content in those social media accounts will work for you. Currently, not having social media accounts that are regularly updated and interesting to follow is like not having a phone line – or not having someone who knows how to answer a phone and talk to people.

Honestly, it is worth having someone on staff just for social media. A tweet is more than just 280 characters – you can append photos and video to drive more engagement. Instagram lets you do more than just post pictures – videos and stories can bring your business to life online, and making your posts shoppable makes so much difference. As new platforms spring up – TikTok being the most current example – having your social media team get to grips with their potential will drive more traffic than perhaps anything else.

If your SEO was last overhauled in 2017, then your business will be stuck in 2017, and you can’t hope to grow it organically without bringing things into the modern day. Making the necessary changes after auditing what you have right now will make an immediate difference, but it will also allow your business to grow steadily with the times. And the more often you audit things, the quicker you can react to new trends and the more time your business will spend benefiting from the tools the internet has placed at your disposal. It just makes sense to take as much advantage as you can.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop, he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.

Leave a Reply

The Self-Employment Survival Guide can help you succeed. Learn all about it here.

Self-Employment Survival Guide book cover