Organic traffic is a vital part of enterprise marketing strategy, but you could miss out if you never do an enterprise SEO audit.
Here, you’ll find:
- What an enterprise SEO audit is
- How audits can aid in your marketing decisions
- Experts’ tips for conducting an enterprise SEO audit
- The top 10 things to include in your audit checklist
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a lot like the stock market. You invest and play the long game. If you expect to see results overnight, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
A lot goes into a successful enterprise SEO strategy. There are lots of moving parts to optimize, from keywords and backlinks to schema markup and site speed.
Even for the most seasoned experts, this is a lot of work, and without a plan, you’ll likely miss vital optimizations.
According to the Inside Enterprise SEO Report, only 17% of enterprises rate their SEO as “very successful,” whereas 28% rate it as “not successful.” A major factor for this can be knowing what skills to hire for and where to place the budget and resources.
You won’t get far if you approach enterprise SEO with a haphazard strategy. Instead, you need to tackle it with data.
By monitoring and collecting data about your enterprise website’s SEO performance, you can help your team effectively direct time, resources, and budget toward the optimizations that will be most impactful.
What is an enterprise SEO audit?
An enterprise SEO audit is an in-depth evaluation of the many moving parts that impact your business’s organic search rankings.
A full-scale and comprehensive approach is needed for enterprise SEO, as websites can include thousands of pages, multiple languages and regions, and highly competitive keywords.
One of the things that makes enterprise SEO both complex and interesting is that it requires both broader, high-level strategies and more granular ones. But, in general, if you’re managing an enterprise SEO marketing team, you should have robust resources on your hands and an excellent talent pool to tap into.
Typically, an enterprise won’t need to wear as many hats as SEOs in smaller organizations. Your team may be made up of specialists that will each focus on a particular area of SEO, such as technical SEO or content strategy.
Because of this, in your enterprise SEO audit, you can gather more comprehensive data for assessing your site’s elements than a smaller organization would. You will be able to check numerous factors that affect your rankings and examine how effective your SEO strategy is.
What are the benefits of an enterprise SEO audit?
Audits take time and take your employees away from their regular marketing tasks, so is it worth it? The answer is most certainly a yes! Why? There are many reasons, like finding areas of concern and developing a plan, but they all essentially come down to this.
When you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your enterprise website, you can create more effective SEO campaigns that better align with your business and marketing goals.
The insights you gather from your enterprise SEO audit will help you manage your time, team time, budget, and resources more efficiently. You’ll be able to ensure that the optimizations you focus on will have the greatest impact on reaching your set goals.
How often should you conduct enterprise SEO audits?
One thing to consider with enterprise SEO audits is how often you should do them. They should definitely be more than a one-time occurrence.
You will want to continuously monitor your rankings using tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMRush, Ahrefs, and so on. But continuous monitoring doesn’t mean an audit every other day.
SEO audits take a lot of time and resources. Ideally, you should conduct one every six months.
But between audits, you should still have tracking in place to be able to quickly monitor the metrics relevant to the campaigns your teams are working on and your overall SEO strategy.
With that being said, if you make any major changes to your site – such as a redesign – you should conduct an additional SEO audit.
How to conduct an enterprise-level SEO audit
Remember you should perform a technical SEO audit as well as off-page, content, and on-page SEO audits. Covering all of the bases will ensure you get everything that could be tanking your website’s ranking.
Below we list ten essential factors for any enterprise SEO audit and a quick explanation of how and why you should monitor them.
1. Know your keywords
Keywords are, well, key to SEO and should be a top priority in your SEO audit. You will need to examine what keywords you are targeting and whether or not they are bringing qualified leads to your site.
As an enterprise site, you will typically be targeting a range of short-tail and long-tail keywords with informational, commercial, transactional, and navigational intent. But you will want to examine how that is spread.
The Inside Enterprise SEO Report found 1 out of 5 enterprises cite finding new keywords as their biggest SEO challenge. An audit will help you overcome this and establish where your gaps are.
As an enterprise website, you probably want to target many short-tail keywords that will bring you a lot of traffic. But those also have a lot of competition, meaning you have a lot of work to do if you hope to rank on the first page for any of them.
Examine whether or not you are targeting the right keywords for your industry, company, products, or services. And do they have a substantial enough search volume and the correct intent to make them worth the time and resources you put into targeting them?
You should also review how you are using the keywords you are targeting. Perform keyword research to ensure you’re not missing out on highly relevant keywords. Just make sure you’re not using any black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing.
Pro tip: If you have a site search, you can mine it for the most popular search queries. This will give you long-tail keywords to research. You can also use them to write content addressing people’s questions, giving you better authority.
2. Index pages
For your SEO efforts to have any impact, search engines need to be able to access and understand your website. Make sure that Google and any other search engines your audience uses are indexing your pages.
When your pages aren’t indexed, they won’t show up in search results.
And an audit may quickly bring to light some indexing errors that are costing you traffic. There may be some indexing errors, or if it’s a new page on your site, it may not have been crawled yet.
A simple way to check for indexing errors on Google is to go to Google Search Console. You can use the Index Coverage report to see what pages are indexed quickly.
If the issue is that the page is new, you can simply submit it to Google within Search Console. If it’s not, it may be more of a technical issue, like something in your robots.txt file is blocking it from being indexed or having that pesky “noindex” in the page’s metadata.
3. Write relevant URLs
URLs help both search engines and site visitors understand what your webpage is about.
Some tips for ensuring your URLs are SEO and user-friendly include:
- Accurate description of page content
- Don’t use a random string of letters and numbers
- Use the primary keyword you want to rank
- No longer than five words
- Use hyphens between words
- Lowercase letters only
4. Pay attention to title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s
H1, meta descriptions, and title tags are prominent in the syllabus for SEO content 101.
Title tags help search engines find your page’s title, which is then displayed as the blue linked text in search engine results pages (SERP).
Meta descriptions are brief descriptions of your page’s content and should be at most 155 characters long.
While Google does not always use your meta description within the SERP results (it uses many sources to generate the best snippet for a user’s search term), they are still valuable blue, and Google does keep a close eye on meta tags when working to provide the most relevant search results possible for users.
Your H1 tags (and all headings) are used to help organize your content. These subtitles make it easy for users to skim your content, and your H1, specifically, will be used as the title on your page and give a search engine an understanding of its topic.
And all three (title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s) should include the primary keyword for that page.
Pro tip: Be sure to add some of your target keywords to this metadata for optimal results.
5. Take time to establish quality backlinks
Your backlink profile is an important part of SEO, but when conducting your enterprise SEO audit, it’s important to remember it’s not a numbers game.
The quality of your backlinks is what you should focus on. You will want to make a note of any toxic/spam links to disavow (which can be done with most SEO tools).
Then, make a note of where your quality backlinks are coming from. What sites are linking to you, and what content are they linking to? Do you have high-quality content that is not gaining backlinks? How can you remedy that?
Pro tip: Use data from your audit to better understand your link building strategy’s effectiveness. You may find you need to revise your strategy to improve the quality of your backlinks.
6. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
When it comes to mobile-friendliness, you need to carefully conduct your audit. Many enterprises have large websites have thousands of pages. So updating them can take a lot of time.
This can mean that as your website has been updated (which may have been a months or years-long project), it is already outdated by the time it’s live.
More than 50% of all website traffic now comes from mobile devices, so Google prioritizes the mobile versions of websites when indexing them.
You need your website to be mobile-friendly for it to rank, even if the majority of your organic traffic comes from the desktop.
7. Check your Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are all about page performance. Specifically, it addresses your page load time. It measures metrics like largest contentful paint and first input delay.
Site speed is just as important for enterprise websites as it is for small business sites. While it’s easier and cheaper to keep their websites loading quickly, it doesn’t mean enterprises should put it on a back burner.
A slow website creates a poor user experience, which in turn increases bounce rates and has a negative impact on SEO. If your website doesn’t load fast, users will abandon it for a faster one.
This is why Google uses page speed as a ranking factor.
8. Audit your images
And speaking of site speed, you will want to audit all of the images on your enterprise site too.
Images not only add a splash of color and improve the aesthetics of your content. But they can also impact SEO.
The first reason for this is that large images take a long time to load and slow down your site. Compressing your images can make them load faster, and converting them from PNG to JPEG also helps.
The second way your images impact SEO is with filenames and alt tags. File names should be short and include your primary keyword.
For example, if you have an ecommerce store and the image is a person wearing a pair of red high heels, and you want to rank for the term ‘red high heels,’ then naming the file red-high-heels.jpeg will be a much better option than IMG_00001.jpeg.
Search engines then use your alt tags to understand the image. But these are also used by screen readers, so they need to make sense to a human, not just a computer. For example, a good alt tag for the image above would be “women wearing a pair of red high heels.”
9. Check site security
An SSL certificate should be best practice and activated on your website. But it’s always good to ensure you have it when conducting your audit. You’ll see a small padlock icon to the left of the URL in the address bar when on your website if it’s secure.
10. Double check your sitemap
The last item on your enterprise SEO audit list should be double-checking your website’s up-to-date sitemap. An XML sitemap helps search engine crawlers find pages on your site and index them and can be submitted to Google through Search Console.
Sitemaps are essential for enterprise sites as they have such high volumes of pages, so it’s possible that Google’s crawler may miss some.
SEO audit tools
Website audits are best done with tools like Screaming Frog. Finding issues like broken links, redirects, and missing metadata can be nearly impossible without tools to aid you in the process.
Many of these tools have free versions, but beware, if you have a large website, you’ll need the pro versions to properly survey every inch of your website (including subdomains).
Enterprise SEO Audit Checklist
Now that you’ve got a handle on things, it’s time to audit away! Here’s a handy checklist to help you keep track:
▢ Review your keywords
▢ Perform keyword research to ensure you’re not missing any highly relevant keywords
▢ Ensure your pages are indexed and correct any indexing errors
▢ Check that URLs are SEO- and user-friendly
▢ Optimize H1s, meta descriptions, and title tags
▢ Check your backlinks and make note of any toxic/spam links
▢ Ensure your site is mobile-friendly
▢ Check your Core Web Vitals (namely site speed and page load time)
▢ Audit your images and compress as needed to improve load time
▢ Check site security
▢ Ensure that your sitemap is up to date.
And there you have it! You’re ready to conduct a thorough enterprise SEO audit.
Enterprise SEO strategy thrives when it’s built on data-driven insights and dies when you become complacent. Regular enterprise SEO audits that include reviewing things such as keyword rankings, site speed, mobile friendliness, and all of the other above-listed 10 steps will mean you are never left complacent.
Insights from your audit will then help you better direct your time and resources to ensure that your SEO strategy delivers qualified leads to your business and meets other goals.
Not sure you want to go it alone? HawkSEM offers SEO audit services — learn more today.