Search Geeks Speak: Technical SEO Site Audits

Search Geeks Speak

It’s not often that you get a chance to take in an SEO discussion with some of the best minds in the SEO business. This Technical SEO Site Audit Panel shared a lot of information about the whole process from the initial contact and meeting to the delivery of the audit and follow up meeting. The panel answered user questions like Data Driven Vs. Business Driven Audits; Does the Panel use a roadmap/framework; Does the Panel look at usability; How much info do you Include in your technical SEO audits and more. Users also asked about Audit Deliverables and does the panel charge for meetings and more. Checkout the highlights below for topics and where they occur on the time line.

The Video:

Highlights

9:15 Kick off meeting –  Bill – sharing search information, issues, do they have questions
Dave, Doc and Terry – questions about the business like margins, closeouts discontinued
the panel discussed who should attend the kickoff meeting

16:00 Data Driven Vs. Business Driven Audit – Panel talked about what tools they used with Screaming Frog being the primary tool used to gather data for a technical audit. DeepCrawl and SiteBulb were suggested for larger sites. Bill mentioned the Google Knowledgegraph API as a tool he uses. Bill uses Screaming Frog to evaluate the site’s use of canonicals. Bill does SERP out evaluation and Terry uses SEMrush to find opportunities for rich snippets including looking at competitors.

26:40 discussion of including competitors in the analysis – Dave doesn’t include competitor info because he prefers to do it separately because he believes that is more strategical than technical. Terry and Kevin use the competitors because that provides him more info as he is also looking for opportunities to recommend going forward. Bill uses Knowledge databases to identify entities and words that should be included in content.

35:40 User question: Do we use a roadmap/framework for technical Audits – Terry & Kevin Started by sharing they start with a SF crawl before the meeting.  Consensus seemed to be they do things in the same way most of the time.

39:35 User Question Do we look at Usability? – Doc doesn’t look at it much for technical audit. Bill looks at links and other usability issues that could be affect ranking. Terry looks at it as part of content.

42:00 Prioritization of tasks – Dave does prioritize recommendations based on long term medium and short term goals. Kevin also prioritizes for many of the same reasons

45:20 How much info do you Include – Terry doesn’t disclose a lot of info pre-sale but will share lots after the audit. Kevin agreed with Terry that he doesn’t disclose much before the sale. Just enough info to let the client know you understand their site and goals.

49:30 Do You look at User search intent – Bill would not include it in audit but would include in the SEO campaign.

50:20 Doc discusses differences between doing audits where you implement the SEO and audits where you don’t implement – Terry does the same including he goes back and checks how work was implemented.

55:42: Getting Info from clients pre-audit – The consensus was that gathering info is an important part of the kickoff meeting. Terry David and Kevin indicated that sometimes that is a reason to pass on a client.

1:00:20 User question – Audit Deliverables – Bill includes an executive Summary which works well with the followup meeting. In the followup Bill makes sure that the client understands the document and answers questions. He believes these things are important to establishing relationships that help you stay in business.

1:05:20 User question – Do you charge extra for meeting etc. – Dave and Terry include time in the cost of the audit. Terry to Dave’s surprise is now doing a written report in addition to the phone call. All pretty much use Word or PDF’s and spreadsheets. Terry & Doc may use some video. Terry also mentioned that when he is trying to get the implementation work he will include his charges and time to implement in the audit recommendations.

1:11:00: User question – How careful are you with giving advice – Consensus was they are careful about the types of advice trying to match the abilities of the client with the task.

1:16:20 – Terry asked if they look at links – Consensus was it is Very high level look. Terry uses majestic to look at the incoming link profile to see if a forensic audit is needed. Terry sees it as an important part of the content review component of the audit.

1:20:10 – Conclusions of the panel regarding Technical SEO audits.

Show Notes and Links

Technical SEO Audit Tools

One of the tools not mentioned in the broadcast was Google Search Console. Terry uses GSC to verify issues he found in other analysis. For instance if Screaming Frog found a large number of duplicate titles. He would use GSC to see how many are in GSC HTML Improvements and to some extent determine how big an issue it is with Google based on the data in the HTML Improvements and then at indexation to see if there are correlations between the data and indexation.

Screaming Frog: Crawls a site and collects data and identifies issues. Screaming Frog will crawl M’s of URLs if the data is stored locally.
SiteBulb: For larger sites
DeepCrawl: For larger sites
Google Knowledgegraph Search API: Bill uses it to get entity information
Google Trends: Terry uses this to find audiences and better understand search intent
SEMrush: Terry and David use SEMrush for high level views of a site. Terry uses it primarily for SERP out analysis in Technical SEO Audits.

The Hosts

iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!