The SEO site audit is a process for periodical identification and strategic prior prioritization of issues on a website. It is vital to know where you are at, so you know where you need to go.

During the SEO site audit, we assess a site's search engine compliance and technical factors one of the most important things to look at in avoiding costly penalties that hold back your site's organic ranking. We also determine what keywords each of your main pages Google thinks your page is about, especially your homepage. This often produces some surprises and we often find pages are accidentally SEO'ed for terms that are not useful for building traffic. We then identify competitors keywords and opportunities for your site to grow its organic traffic.

This creates a solid foundation from which to direct your SEO marketing. This process alone can change the course of your business's future.

Enjoy this interview on this topic in podcast and text format.

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Dr. Stephie: Hello, everyone. This is Dr. Stephie Althouse, CEO of Top-Notch CEO. Welcome back to our interview series of top experts called Top-Notch CEO Geek Radio. As you may know, by geek we mean top experts who are both very passionate and extremely knowledgeable in their craft. It's my pleasure to introduce to you again Robert Donnell from P5 Marketing. He is an absolute SEO wizard and extraordinary in SEO-based online marketing. Welcome back, Robert.

Robert: Thanks for having me, Dr. Stephie. It's great to be here.

Dr. Stephie: Yeah, thank you so much. We have been talking a little bit about search engine optimization — SEO — from an introductory standpoint. We then talked in a second interview, which you were kind enough to come back for, about the return on investment. We carved out that if you really want to increase your revenue and your profits through online marketing, and not just have an online business card, so to speak, then you need to invest in SEO. Presumably, I mean, as we distinguished when your items that you sell or your services that you sell are high-ticket enough or you sell enough volume, then it's absolutely a no-brainer to do this and you must do this, so that's where we ended those last two interviews. Am I right?

Robert: That's perfectly said.

Dr. Stephie: Great. This time, let's go to step one of the processes and give our audience a little bit more a feel for what happens. The first step is the SEO site audit, so what is an SEO site audit and why do you need it?

Robert: Okay. Thanks for asking. That's really the foundation of everything you might want to do with SEO, is the SEO site audit itself. In a nutshell, it's a pretty detailed analysis of where you are today with the search engines. You know, how do they see you, what things, technical errors you might have on the page that are stopping the search engines from properly indexing you and understanding what your content is all about. We take a deep dive into that. We try to understand, you know, what your customers are searching for, what keywords you think you want to go after, what keywords do you think your customers are searching for, what keywords are you actually ranking for today to see if there's a gap, and there usually is.

We also do an analysis of all the websites that are linking to you because toxic links are becoming kind of a problem and we just need to clean that up. It's not a serious piece of work, but we want to make sure you're in all the local directories or in the right directories for your business. We look at the keywords of your competitors and we start to present a short list of possible keyword opportunities, so it's a good, concise understanding of where you are today and it can serve as a benchmark as you move forward.

Dr. Stephie: Thank you for saying that. Yeah, so actually I wanted to share something sort of funny and sort of horrifying at the same time that happened as you were working on my website a while ago. As I recall, when you did the analysis, it came up with X many errors and warnings and notifications. It had well over 100 errors, and also the site was actually ranking for none of the keywords that we wanted it to rank for or that I wanted to rank for, but it was inadvertently ranking for someone's name who is actually a client and gave me a testimonial, so that's the kind of thing that can happen and that you uncover every day, all the time when you do these SEO site audits, is it not?

Robert: It is. It is, and that's usually what happens when a website is built without a focus on SEO.

Dr. Stephie: Right. We ended up doing a lot of cleanup work there, but the result is phenomenal. Just today I got an awesome compliment. We sent out an email pointing to a blog post with an interview that we had done and I got an email back saying, "Wow, your website looks just fantastic." Anyway, I just wanted to pass that on. Let's talk a little bit about measures. I've heard you say in the past, "Stephie, you know, in our field a lot of the providers are search engine optimization. They don't measure often enough and they don't measure properly, and sometimes they don't even show you the same data over and over, but they just show you what makes them look good." Can you explain a little bit how does that show up and what do you do differently?

Robert: Sure. Sure. You know, the SEO information that you can find out is almost overwhelming. I mean, there's too much available data, and part of the job of a good SEO is to sort through and sift, and only show the meaningful data, but it's only fair if you declare in advance what you're going to measure. I think that that's the discipline we bring, which is, we're going to measure these things. We're going to look at these keywords and we're going to look at them month-to-month, and we're going to show you the changes from month to month.

Dr. Stephie: I have to say my inner geek smiles about that and is very happy with that because that's how it should be.

Robert: Oh, absolutely, but it's so tempting when you have a lot of ... SEO is a process of looking at things that go up and looking at things that go down. It doesn't always go up all the time, so it's very tempting to show all the up data because it makes you feel so good. It's human nature, actually, to want to look at the good stuff, want to look at the fun stuff. We just feel like you have to declare in advance what you're going to do and report it. You can make a change. You just need to do so in concert with the client so they know you're changing your data measure points.

Dr. Stephie: Right. At the end of the day, making you feel good about something that is artificial doesn't really help you because at the end of the day, you want the phone to ring or your email box to be filled with leads or requests for your services or your shopping cart to be filled with orders and things of that nature, so you want, in other words, you want results, eventually.

Robert: Correct. I'm glad you said eventually because it does take a little while to develop results with search engine optimization, but the audit is certainly key to the start. You wouldn't ever want to start without an audit. I also want to say that an audit should be whole and complete. What I mean by that is, you should be able to go to an SEO provider, purchase an SEO site audit for a fixed cost and that audit, you shouldn't have to go forward with that SEO to understand what the problems are, what the opportunities are, and a basic view of your strategy going forward. I think you should have all that in an audit.

Dr. Stephie: Excellent, and that's exactly what people are getting with you.

Robert: I hope so.

Dr. Stephie: Yeah. Well, that was only a pro forma question mark because I've experienced it and I can vouch for the quality of work that you do. Thank you very much. I think it's nice to keep it kind of short. Next time we're going to go to the next step of it, which is the strategy and to say, "Okay. Now we audited your situation. We understand where you want to go. Now let's really go into the strategy," so we'll talk about this next if you'll come back. Will you, please?

Robert: Absolutely. Will see you next week.

Dr. Stephie: Awesome. Thank you. Have a good one.

Robert: Okay. Thanks, Dr. Stephie. I appreciate being on the show.

Dr. Stephie: Thank you.

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Robert Donnell

Robert Donnell