8 Sections You Must Include in a Total Online Presence Audit
For marketing consultants, conducting a total online presence audit for your prospects is a great way to get your foot in the door for a long-term engagement. The purpose of an audit is to do a deep analysis of your prospect’s online presence in order to find obvious fixes and recommendations. Once you’ve done your research, the audit culminates in a presentation by you, the consultant, to your prospect to review findings, priorities, and to make recommended suggestions (that could be fixed by signing on with you).
Putting this audit together not only establishes trust but if the prospect does decide to work with you at the end of the presentation, you’ll have already done your background research and will have a plan in place to move forward.
This process sounds great for most consultants, but it often comes along with the question, “what should be included in this audit?” That’s exactly what I’m going to show you today. Below are the sections I typically go over (note categories).
1. Strategy overview
During the presentation, before you dive into your findings, have a conversation with your prospect to let them know you have a good understanding of their business and their industry. Be sure to touch on:
- Who their buyer is and what their journey looks like
- What their point of differentiation is
Those are just a starting point, but essentially, make it clear to them that you understand them before diving into your findings and recommendations.
2. On-page SEO analysis
When it comes to SEO, on-page ranking factors simply can’t be ignored. While conducting your audit:
- Start with the homepage – If you find issues on your prospect’s homepage, odds are you’ll find issues throughout the rest of their website as well.
- Review title tag, alt text, meta description, H1 tags, and schema – Are they all keyword optimized and within their unique character limits?
- Identify local attributes when necessary – If your prospect has a local business, be sure their city or area they serve is included within their on-page attributes.
- Ensure their site is mobile optimized – Google penalizes businesses for not having mobile-optimized websites because they don’t provide good user experiences.
3. Local SEO – When relevant
If your prospect is focused on local clients, make note of the following important local elements. If something is particularly bad or absent, you need to point it out.
- Google My Business listing – Having an optimized listing is a must for local search results.
- How many listings does the business have? People are often unaware that they have more than one listing, but it’s not uncommon due to some confusion around Google changes over the years. Ensure your prospect only has one listing and that it’s the one Google thinks is theirs.
- Is the category accurate? Be descriptive with the category. If your prospect is a lawyer, for example, instead of simply saying “law office,” it should say the type of legal services they provide.
- Is the NAP accurate and consistent? Make sure their name, address, and phone number are accurate and match what’s listed on their website as well as other online citations and directories.
- Are there reviews? People trust reviews and the more 5-star reviews they have, the more likely people will be to click through to their website.
- Are there photos, posts, or videos? Humans are visual beings. Recommend adding images of their products, services, staff, and basically anything else that would make prospects want to learn more.
- Citation profiles and inbound links – Make sure your prospect’s business is listed across not only directories, such as Yelp, but also on local directories.
- Local content – In addition to your prospect’s regular content, be sure to include content recommendations that revolve around their area, events, local happenings, and so on, so that their audience is aware that they care about the community (this is also another way to alert Google where they operate).
4. Content and structure
Scan the homepage and main pages of their website and make note of any absence of the elements below. It’s not important that all exist, but most should.
- Does the homepage address a problem? Addressing a problem your prospect’s audience experiences makes them feel like your prospect understands what they’re going through and helps to build trust with them.
- Is the target audience identified? The target audience should be clear so that they know they’ve landed on the right site.
- Are there trust, proof, and authoritative elements? These elements include quotes, client logos, association badges, testimonials, case studies, awards, and so on.
- Are there 300-400 words of copy on the homepage? Having substantial content on the homepage is good for SEO.
- Is there a blog? This is also good for SEO and educating personas, which helps to establish your prospect as an authority in their field.
- Do they use video on their site? There’s a reason YouTube is the second most visited search engine in the world (second to Google), and it’s because people love video and engage with it. If your prospect doesn’t have it, recommend they add it to their site.
- Do they use content upgrades and CTAs? It is imperative that they have lead generation opportunities throughout their website.
5. Backlink profile
These elements relate to off-page SEO ranking factors and will help you see where they lie on the digital landscape.
- What is their domain authority?
- How many inbound links do they have?
- How many linking root domains do they have?
- What are high priority keyword opportunities?
- How many indexed pages do they have?
- How much traffic do they have and where is it coming from?
For the keyword opportunities, have a separate slide that identifies top keywords. This shows you’ve put in the research, truly understand your prospects, audience, and have a keyword strategy ready to go.
6. Competitive review
This section may not be as robust as other sections in this post, but it is just as important as the other areas of the audit, if not more so. It is so important to have a good understanding of what their top competitors are up to so that you can see how they compare, as well as identify areas they may be able to do better than their competition is.
7. Social media
Your prospect doesn’t need to be on every social platform “just because.” They just need to be where their target audience hangs out online. In the audit, have answers to:
- What is the status of their [page on social media platform] branding, activity, and engagement?
- Are they present on all relevant social channels?
- Are social icons featured on their website?
8. Online reputation
Managing reputation online has never been more important. Be sure to develop a good understanding of the answers to the questions below:
- What is their reputation across Google, Yelp, and other relevant industry platforms?
- Does a search for their business name turn up an optimized snippet?
- Conduct a citation profile scan, especially of Google, Yahoo, and Bing
Once all of this information is gathered, finish up the presentation with a “recommendations” slide based on your findings.
With an audit and a plan of action to follow, you’ll have a complete picture of your current prospect’s online presence and a roadmap to help them do the things they need to do to dominate their market (which will hopefully involve your help and guidance along the way).
If you liked this post, check out our Guide to Building a Small Business Marketing Consulting Practice.