All you need is an audit of your search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your organic search performance, right? Wrong. There’s so much more to SEO than an initial audit. Here’s why you need an SEO expert to guide you through the process.
To kick off an SEO program, most agencies and consultants do an SEO audit to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a site’s SEO program. The audit should cover technical SEO, content optimization, and link authority and conclude in a strategy designed to improve your organic search performance across all three of those areas.
However, no audit, no matter how in-depth, can help you through what comes next: implementation, management, and triage.
When you receive your SEO audit, there will be many projects and strategies to implement. You’ll be faced with everything from optimizing individual pieces of content to expanding or contracting your indexation levels to acquiring more links from other valuable sites. In every instance, you’ll have choices to make that will affect the performance of your organic search campaign. Making one of the less optimal choices could mean that your SEO performance stays flat or even decreases.
For example, let’s say that an SEO audit identifies that your header navigation isn’t working hard enough to drive link authority deeper into your site so that more pages can rank. The recommendation might be to revamp your header navigation to expand the number of pages linked to.
That sounds easy enough.
However, which pages you add and which you remove will impact your organic search performance — you might remove pages that contributed to your current performance levels or miss adding pages that were critical to include. In the process of deciding what labels to use for pages in the header, you could choose less valuable terms, thereby limiting future performance. In the coding process, your developers could make coding decisions that render the navigation uncrawlable.
That’s just one example of the decisions that multiply to affect the outcome of your SEO implementation. An SEO consultant is there to make recommendations every step of the way to improve organic search performance.
Let’s say that you’ve accomplished all of the items from the SEO audit. Your work isn’t done. SEO management ensures that the optimizations you make have the desired effect or that they’re further modified to have a stronger effect. That takes consistent measurement, as well as training and continuous education to know how to react to that measurement data.
The optimization part of SEO is never complete because the digital world your site lives within is never static. Algorithms change, competitors optimize their sites, new players burst onto the scene. All of these things have an impact on your organic search performance as surely as the projects and optimizations you implement yourself. An SEO consultant takes these things into consideration and develops defensive strategies to improve performance.
Even with the most careful SEO management, though, there will be times that you come into the office on a random Tuesday, and organic search performance will have plummeted overnight. Did IT release something new on the site that caused the issue, did someone forget to remove a robots.txt disallow, or was there an algorithm update? It may be one of those things or something completely unrelated. How do you find out what happened and what to do next to fix it? That performance triage is part of the SEO consultant’s job.
SEO is not a one-and-done project. It doesn’t end with an audit. You need an SEO consultant to recommend optimization strategies, write or optimize content, diagnose technical SEO issues and test fixes, measure and react to performance, and do triage when the worst happens. A seasoned SEO consultant can do all of those and more to keep your organic search performance trending in the right direction.
For more on working with SEO consultants see our previous post, “10 Things Your SEO Consultant Wants You To Know.”