The SEO Audit ~
Of course, there are pros and cons to both types–internal or external–of search engine optimization audits. If you devote someone internally to SEO, you’re committing time and resources. However, this person will know your organization far more intimately than any vendor. The downside is that it’s nearly impossible for an internal person to stay on top of changing industry trends.
“SEO has gone through significant change since its origins in the mid-1990s when the search engines were cataloging the early Web. It continues to change at a rapid pace,” says CUES member Sharon Cook, SVP/marketing for $3.4 billion/339,114-member Mountain America Credit Union (www.macu.com), West Jordan, Utah. With a professional, you can tap into someone experienced in the changing dynamics of the online marketplace, she says. “At least consider an external resource to do the analysis of your site with a list of recommendations. Then determine which items are best suited internally or externally,” Cook adds.
Mountain America CU has incorporated formal SEO strategies into its marketing plan for more than five years, even before SEO was a popular term. Currently, the CU uses a combination of in-house and external resources to manage workflow and strategy. “We now rank in the top three spots for many of the potential terms consumers may be searching, but SEO is always a work in progress,” shares Cook.
SEO takes perseverance and patience. Whether you decide to handle it internally or externally, you should regularly track ROI and implement necessary changes. Create benchmark reports that stem from the SEO audit. Review these reports regularly, preferably weekly.
Examine which traffic sources and keywords are sending high quality traffic to your site. Also determine which pages are getting the most visitors and their level of engagement. How long do visitors stay on your site? What pages do they most often visit? How many pages do they view per visit? Watch for site movement with respect to the changes you’ve made in keywords and page content.
Consumers have moved into the driver’s seat of a shifting business paradigm. They’re seeking instant gratification. They’re making demands. And astute marketers are finding ways to meet those demands. Marketers who aren’t able to interact with consumers on their terms will be left behind. SEO is a valuable tool marketers can use to understand the consequences of their online marketing–and determine if potential customers convert to measurable business.