The Essential Enterprise SEO Audit [An Ultimate Guide]
With an enterprise SEO audit, you can uncover hidden issues and prioritize fixes to maximize your website's visibility.
August 24, 2023
If you’re the marketing director, sales manager, or CEO of a large company, you know how competitive the marketplace is. This is especially true if your brand competes online.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a marketing technique that enables your enterprise brand to gain an online competitive advantage. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to implement effective SEO strategies.
Let’s look at a few reasons. As you read, see if any of these resonate.
First, the vast amount of content and data involved can make SEO overwhelming. An enterprise website could have hundreds, even thousands, of pages. In contrast, many small business websites only have two dozen or so web pages to manage.
SEO can also get technical. Even if you’ve heard terms like backlinking and keyword cannibalization, you may not know how they affect your website’s SEO health.
Of course, I can’t ignore one of the biggest issues in the SEO industry…the SEO industry itself. Marketing agencies and SEO consultants have perpetrated much of the confusion around search engine optimization.
When many of our brand audit clients come to us, they’re exhausted by SEO. Most have had mixed experiences, mostly bad. Some companies gone through more SEO agencies than they can count.
Perhaps agencies aren’t to blame. Sure, some “black hat” SEO consultants will keep clients in the dark so they can continue charging fees. But most SEO experts are trying their best to do a good job.
The reason you hear so much conflicting information about SEO is because the search engines themselves are good at keeping secrets. Google, and other search engines like Bing, don’t reveal their formula for ranking websites. So, in many ways, SEO is an experimental process.
But there’s a big problem with that. Companies—like yours—don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in an “experimental” SEO strategy. Instead, they want results.
In this blog post, you will learn what it takes to get those results. We’ll explore the ins and outs of an audit so you can make better decisions about your enterprise SEO strategy. While you’re at it, you may even save a little money.
How Is an Enterprise SEO Audit Different from Other Audits?
An enterprise-level SEO audit often requires different strategies and tools than a standard audit. For example, an audit for a small business may consist of content optimization and a revision of metadata. But enterprise SEO involves comprehensive, top-down assessments of multiple websites, markets, and products.
Enterprise websites usually have a complex site architecture, diverse content strategy, and hundreds or thousands of pages. This creates a larger scope of work that is more challenging to manage.
Another unique characteristic of enterprise SEO audits is the level of competition. Large organizations typically compete against other big brands that have comparable resources and use sophisticated SEO tactics. This means enterprise clients usually need to implement advanced SEO strategies, including:
What Does an Enterprise SEO Audit Include?
I’ve listed the primary areas of an enterprise audit below, in no particular order.
The first step is a keyword strategy. Keywords are the words or phrases people use to find content related to their search query. So, SEO keyword strategy should optimize a website’s content with targeted, relevant, and high-ranking keywords.
During an audit, explore the keywords and phrases your target audience uses to search for your content. The goal is to find high-traffic, low-competition keywords relevant to your business and audience. SEO tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google Keyword Planner can help you with keyword research.
The auditor will prioritize selected keywords based on their search volume and competitiveness. The higher the search volume and lower the competition, the more ideal the keyword is for optimization.
Once you have reviewed the keywords selected during the audit, compare them to the ones you’ve been using. Incorporate any that are missing into your content creation plan. These terms should be placed in key areas, without "keyword stuffing." Titles, headings, alt text, the main content of your web pages are examples. Even making small additions can improve your website's position in search results.
Companies should strike a balance between incorporating keywords and creating high-quality content that is valuable to your audience. Focusing only on keywords can result in content with poor readability. The secret here is to use keywords wisely while considering context, user intent, and search engine signals.
SEO competitor analysis is an important part of an audit. It involves researching and analyzing the SEO strategies used by competitors. As a result, you can identify where you fall short or where you can improve your current efforts.
Competitive analysis helps you discover the keywords and phrases your competitors are targeting with success. Then, you can refine your keyword strategy for increased website traffic.
Analyzing competitors can also help you identify the backlinks they’re using to boost their search engine rankings. Auditors do this by analyzing competitors’ link profiles. From these, you can determine the quality of their backlinks and which would be right for your own website.
I should add that this process is not simply a matter of copying your competitors’ strategies. Instead, use it as a starting point to develop a better SEO strategy for our clients.
A content audit is a comprehensive analysis of a digital platform’s content. This includes text, images, videos, and other media. The purpose is to assess the quality and relevance of the content. It’s also an opportunity to remove outdated or duplicate content. This will help you make sure the overall content strategy aligns with your business goals.
The auditor will create a list of all your content assets. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have a lot of pages, posts, or files. However, it’s essential to get an accurate picture of what you have and what you don’t.
With the inventory complete, you can analyze each content piece individually. Content should be relevant, accurate, readable, and have visual appeal. You can also categorize content by type, such as blog posts, product descriptions, social media posts, and so on. This will help you understand which types of content perform better than others and which ones need improvement.
An SEO audit includes a content quality check. A content quality check involves evaluating the overall SEO factors found in your site’s content. The aim here is to identify anything that may be missing, such as metadata, keywords, and sub-topics. An analysis of competitor content is an effective way to close any gaps.
User Experience (UX) Review
User experience often determines whether visitors stay or leave. Good UX means the visitors will find your website easy to navigate, visually appealing, and user-friendly. Likewise, an enterprise site with poor UX will lose organic traffic and credibility.
There are several factors to consider when auditing the user experience of a website. First, the website’s design must be visually attractive and visually consistent throughout all pages. An aesthetically pleasing design holds visitors’ attention longer and makes your website more interesting.
Second, evaluate the website’s accessibility and functionality. All website elements should be accessible and easy to use. The website should also be responsive, which means it displays properly on all devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
Then, you must assess website speed. Even though Google dismissed this as a ranking factor early in 2023, visitors still like websites that load quickly. A slow website will irritate people, which means they will leave your site and look for a competitor.
Finally, audit your website’s security and privacy protection. Visitors expect their personal data to be kept safe while browsing websites. Therefore, websites must have security protocols in place.
Technical SEO Audit
As the term implies, this step of the audit checks for technical SEO issues. These improvements make it easier for search engines to index content. This stage of optimization has a profound impact on how well your website will rank. Examples of technical issues that inhibit SEO performance include:
- Missing meta tags
- Broken links (external and internal links)
- Sites that are not optimized for mobile devices
A technical audit—and subsequent fixes—can be complex. Most SEO audit steps are fairly straightforward—this one, not so much. However, technical SEO should be an ongoing process. Changes occur all the time that affect the way search engines crawl the site.
In the sections that follow, I’ll walk you through some of the most common technical audit steps.
Indexed Pages Audit
Indexed pages are web pages search engines have detected and listed online. When a user types in a search query, these indexed pages will be included in the search result. Pages are displayed in order of relevance and authority. So, it’s important to make sure all of your site’s content is being indexed properly.
You can reference the Index Coverage Report on Google Search Console to check if pages are being indexed correctly. This report will list any issues with the indexing process and potential solutions. If a page isn’t being indexed, there could be an issue with code or links. It’s also possible that Google has yet to discover the page. In that case, you can update the sitemap to speed up the indexing process.
Keep in mind that Google decides whether to index a web page. So, Google may not index every page of your site. If this happens, continue to make improvements to the page’s content quality and relevance. After each update, resubmit the page for indexing in Google Search Console.
URL structure should be descriptive, relevant, meaningful, and concise so search engines can understand what the web page contains. URLs should contain one target keyword with a length of around 60 characters or fewer.
An ideal URL is easy to read and is short enough to remember. URLs generated by default are typically long strings of letters or numbers with no relevance to the content on the page. Avoid these. Craft structured URLs with hyphens between words.
You can use the URL inspection tool provided by Google to check each website URL.
Meta Titles and Descriptions
Title tags critical elements of every web page and should be part of your SEO audit. They are the first thing search engines and users see when they look at a search engine result page (SERP). So, be sure they accurately describe the page’s content and contain related target keywords. Title tags should be no longer than 60 characters.
Major search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yandex display meta descriptions in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). We recommend including at least one keyword or phrase in the meta description tags to boost the page’s ranking potential.
Keep descriptions to 160-character snippets. Prioritize clarity and conciseness when crafting meta descriptions. Good web copy will often increase click-through rate (CTR). Further, each page within your website should have a unique meta description to avoid confusion with similar pages.
Using structured data markup or schema language to define features such as titles, images, or descriptions also helps optimize title tags. This also improves the page’s chances of being picked up by Google’s algorithms and increasing organic traffic.
Headings are another essential part of enterprise SEO. They make it easier for readers and search engine crawlers to understand websites.
The most important heading is the H1 tag, similar to a title of an article. The H1 should accurately describe the principal theme of that page. Further organization with H2s, H3s, and H4s can improve page navigation. Heading tags should also include specific keywords related to the topic.
Backlinks have become an essential factor in SEO for enterprise businesses. Quality backlinks from higher ranking, authoritative websites can increase the credibility and relevancy of a website. By analyzing competitors’ backlink profiles, brands can develop strategies to gain links.
The focus then shifts to the quality of backlinks. Companies must flag spammy links (i.e., toxic links) to avoid search engine penalties.
When companies prioritize quality over quantity, they will have a better chance of strengthening their online presence and bolstering website authority. This makes natural link building preferable to shortcuts such as purchasing or getting links unethically.
When it comes to the user experience and search engine rankings, Google prioritizes mobile sites over desktop sites. So, websites must be optimized for mobile devices.
Responsive web design allows a website to adjust its layout to fit different devices, such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out whether a page meets the criteria for mobile-friendliness.
Optimizing for both desktops and mobiles opens up even more opportunities for getting noticed online. So be sure your web development team understands design best practices to stay ahead of the curve.
Slow website speeds can hurt your search engine rankings. Users have expectations of pages loading quickly and are likely to give and leave if it takes too long. So, to provide the best user experience and rank higher on SERPs, websites need to load faster.
What is fast? Google’s Core Web Vitals guidelines state pages should load in under 2.5 seconds.
Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights are available for site speed testing. The final SEO report will provide optimization suggestions. Image compression, minimizing code, and reducing the number of redirects are examples.
Large image files are the primary cause of a slow loading website. So, compressing images can significantly reduce the image sizes and speed up a website.
Images filenames should be descriptive and include a target keyword. Also, include keywords in “alt tags” to let search engines know what the image is about.
Images make content aesthetically pleasing and help communicate concepts to website users. Proper image optimization ensures a smoother user experience and adds SEO value.
A robots.txt file is a text file on a web server directory which provides instructions to web crawlers or “robots” about where to find content.
When setting up a robots.txt file, make sure it includes only the pages or files that you want Google to crawl and index. This acts as a safeguard for any private data. Depending on what kind of information you want to protect, there may be better methods available. Password-protected web pages or “no index” directives are examples.
Security is a major consideration for enterprise websites. Security includes brute-force attack prevention, bot protection, secure authentication, encrypted data storage and transmission, and access restriction protocols.
It’s also important to monitor user activity on the site. Businesses can protect themselves from fraud and cybercriminal activity by tracking website account activities. You should make sure that any users with administrative privileges are using strong passwords and two-factor authentication as added security measures.
Sitemap Indexation Issues
A sitemap makes it easier for user and search engines to find your site’s pages, posts, images, and other content. Indexation issues on the sitemap could also prevent certain pages from being indexed.
An SEO audit will reveal indexation problems with your sitemap. This process allows you to identify any potential errors or issues in the structure of your website’s sitemap setup.
How Often Should You Conduct Enterprise SEO Audits?
Experts recommend that brands conduct regular SEO audits every six months.
Maintaining a routine audit schedule allows you to optimize your website’s user experience and visibility with more accuracy. By staying on top of what works and what doesn’t, you can implement more effective strategies for the future. Conducting audits on a recurring basis makes it easier to catch problems that could damage your business.
How Much Does an Enterprise SEO Audit Cost?
The cost of an SEO audit varies depending on the depth and complexity of the project. Businesses that need larger, in-depth audits should budget $5,000 to $10,000. Custom plans for large websites may cost more.
Typically, SEO audits take between 4-8 weeks to complete. Several developers, strategists, UX consultants, and editorial staff will likely be involved.
A final audit report should include a thorough review of individual pages, including a link profile and other SEO recommendations.
A Custom Enterprise SEO Audit
At The Brand Auditors, we offer comprehensive SEO audit services that go beyond free audits and superficial analysis. We use a multi-layered approach to uncover hidden issues in your enterprise SEO strategy. Our experienced team of auditors will analyze your on-page and off-page SEO tactics while uncovering undervalued opportunities that could dramatically accelerate growth.
If you want to know how an enterprise SEO audit can help your company, click on the button below.
Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?
Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies increase ROI and reduce marketing expenses.
- Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
- Reduce marketing expenses.
- Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.
We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.
How to Create a Web Strategy for Digital Brands
Turn visitors into customers by developing a website strategy. Drive engagement, conversions, and revenue on your digital channels with a strategic website.
Measuring Brand Equity with Key Performance Indicators
Learn how measuring brand equity can drive profitability. This guide will show you how to use brand awareness and other metrics to increase equity.