How a SEO and Social Media Audits can Ignite your Digital Marketing
We provide a variety of services for our clients. Like many agencies, we tend to get the more complex tasks like developing content strategies and processes, managing ads and contests, developing higher-end creatives, or performing analytic measurement and calculating Return on Investment (ROI). But before we do anything, complex or mundane, we go back to the fundamentals. We perform a keyword audit, a site audit, and a social media audit. Some clients bring us in and say, “We’ve set our goals, so we know where we want to go. Give us a map to get us there.” I usually respond by saying, “A map isn’t going to do any good unless you know where you’re starting from.” In this article I’ll share what’s involved in a keyword, website, and social media audit. I’ll share some of the common issues that audits identify so that you can look for some of them, and see if it might be time for you to run and audit. Finally, I’ll share some of the insights and benefits an organization can gain from running regularly.
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Keyword Audits and Why Should You Care?
A keyword audit focuses on two things, discovering the best keywords for your business, and making sure they are properly used. Keywords are how search engines categorizes your website and content. Keywords are how people search for the things you’re offering. By selecting and using the best keywords you’re helping search engines categorize your site, and that, in turn will help your customers find you. Having the best keywords is critical for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and for social media profile optimization. You want to use keywords the right way any place that you have copy online that describes your business. That includes your website and social media profiles.
Keyword discovery examines keywords you use now, as well as keywords commonly used in your industry, local area, and by competitors. From this list a business can select the best keywords for use in website, profile, and ad copy. Keywords that are relevant and widely used, but that illuminate the unique value a business offers.
Some of the common issues discovered in a keyword audits include:
- Using the wrong keywords (keywords no one else uses, or keywords that are too specific, or keywords search engines don’t categorize).
- Inconsistent use of keywords on web pages, social profiles, and in ads.
- Outdated keywords.
Once you’ve determined the best keywords, you can revise web, social, and content copy using those keywords. This will make your copy more consistent and focused on stating core value propositions, and help ensure search engines and people and find your business wherever it is online.
Site Audits and Why Should You Care?
A website audit is an exhaustive crawl of your site to find anything that might be wrong with it, and to identify potential improvements. Website audits look at a number of things including:
- Visibility issues such as pages not found.
- Metadata issues such as missing meta descriptions.
- Content issues such as high or low word counts, or missing text.
- Broken links.
- Image issues such as missing ALT text.
- Semantics such as improving use of headings in site content.
- Speed and rendering on desktops, tablets, and phones.
We discover issues that fall into all those categories, but the most common are:
- Broken links and missing pages. As sites age, and content is added, moved, and removed, links break and pages disappear.
- Missing meta descriptions and ALT text. While not the most important thing for SEO, too many people just don’t bother to include them.
- Meta and Semantic problems like improper use of titles, low, or high word counts, or missing meta descriptions.
- Slow sites.
- Non-mobile friendly sites.
Once you’ve audited your website, you have a to-do list of problems to fix, and optimizations to try. Some executives worry about getting a site audit because, if they find that something's wrong, they'll have to fix it, and that’s going to cost! But fixing and optimizing your site doesn’t have to be expense. In many cases, web administrators can fix the problems. A web administrator and designer can often implement many of the optimization recommendations. If your site is old and slow, or you need a new mobile site, that’s something you may need to outsource. But if your online presence is that bad, you need to spend that money anyway.
Similar to performing regular keyword audits, performing website audits regularly will help administrators stay on top of things, keep the site cleaned up and uncluttered, and be able to work with designer and web developers to ensure new pages perform well in terms of speed, SEO, and device compatibility. That will help make sure your customers can find you, and once they do, that your website works well for them!
What is a Social Media Audit and Why Should You Care?
A social media audit is an examination for your social media channels. It looks at messaging about your brand, products, and services, as well as the content produced, engagement with the community, and conversations that are happening about your brand online. A social media audit looks at the following:
- Profile optimization for SEO, brand messaging, and cross channel promotion.
- Content to find the most popular topics, and types of content.
- Engagement to see how the brand is interacting with the community, and to determine the best ways and times to engage the community.
- Mentions of the brand online to track sentiment, to determine how brand messages are received by the community, and to look for additional engagement opportunities and insights.
Like a website audit, a social media audit can find problems that need to be fixed. Common issues we run into include:
- Profiles incompletely or improperly filled out.
- Little or no cross-channel optimization. Those things like follow buttons on your website, or links from your major social profiles to your other major social profiles.
- Poor SEO optimization and keyword use.
- Inconsistent messaging.
The benefits of doing a social media audit are huge. You see how you’re doing, what’s working, and what’s not and you can use that information to optimize your social media marketing, content, and engagement strategy. You can discover the following:
- Which topics get the most shares and likes in the community.
- Which content generates the most buzz for you in the community.
- The most popular types of content.
- Best times to post.
- Keyword and hashtag effectiveness.
- Influencers who you might be able to engage with to help market your brand.
- The value of ads, contests and other special engagements in achieving goals.
You can also listen to what people are saying about your brand, products and services by tracking mentions through brand monitoring. I’ve written another article on the benefits or brand monitoring, and all those benefits apply to this discussion. Regular and effective brand monitoring can help you artfully respond, direct, and control the discussions about your brand that are happening online. In many cases it will give you insights about content to create, how to engage the community, and may help you identify sales opportunities.
This information can help you focus your messaging so that it’s consistent across your channels, and help your community locate your different online channels. A social media audit provides insights that can inform content strategy, topics, and the types of content you focus on. The result, you’ll get better results from each piece of content, keep your community more engaged, focus your marketing to get the best results on each channel.
Benchmarking is a Must!
Benchmarking is a comparison of a business or organization to similar or competing businesses or organizations. We think it’s a must for any effective keyword, website, or social media audit. In each type of audit, competitor information can be extremely illuminating:
- For keywords audits, benchmarking can tell you the keywords your competitors are using!
- For website audits, benchmarking shows you how competitors’ websites compare to your own in terms of rankings, trust, citation flow, domain authority, and page authority. It can give you an idea of what you need to do to have the best website.
- For social media, benchmarking lets you see how your competitors are interacting with their community. It also shows their content strategy, including the types of content they are producing, and topics that are working well for them. These insights can inform your messaging, product positioning, and content strategy. It can also identify potential competitive opportunities.
Benchmarking can help you position your products and service better, target your audience more effectively, and develop a digital marketing strategy that helps your brand stand above the competition.
Added Benefit: An Informed Content Marketing Strategy.
Another benefit of performing these audits is that you don’t have to stop at the obvious issues you discover. You can do deeper analysis that can inform, or transform you entire content marketing strategy:
- You can engage people with negative mentions to resolve problems and defend your brand. You can also engage people who have expressed neutral comments and provide more information in the hopes of creating a fan. You can reward fans with thank yous or special offers to create brand advocates!
- You can choose to focus on types of content, such as video, or creative engagement that set you apart from other competitors in your space.
- You can address topics that are frequently discussed in your community to accentuate the benefits and value or your products and services.
The information from a keyword, website, and social media audit, coupled with benchmarking data, provides insights and opportunities that touch all aspects of your online presence and digital marketing efforts. That information may prompt you to make radical changes in some aspects of your marketing, but are often smaller tweaks that your digital marketing team can address. If you perform audits regularly, changes will be less drastic, your content marketing strategy will be well informed, and you’ll see better results from your digital marketing.
Over to you
If you’ve had an experience where a keyword, website or social media audit has surprised you, or provided insights to guide your marketing, let me know in the comments.