In the SEO industry, it is common for businesses who are looking to acquire SEO services to request an audit of their website. I know from experience that SEO audits can make or break the deal. It shows potential clients an agency or a freelancer’s level of competency and expertise. It also allows potential clients to set expectations and KPIs.
As the CEO of SEO Hacker and the lead business developer of the company, I have done and sent hundreds of SEO audits to businesses. In this blog post, I’m willing to share some of my kept secrets that may seem simple at first but have allowed me to close more deals for our team.
Customize your Reports
There are a lot of lead generation tools for SEO that offer automated SEO audits for leads and we at SEO Hacker even use them ourselves. However, I would say that those are only good for initial engagement with leads.
What matters more is the audit that you do when you are already in talks with your clients or during your sales pitch. Instead of relying on tools to automate the audit process, what I like to do is create a full-customized report where I look into the website myself and list key points to improve.
Here are some tips that may help you out in picking out the details you would want to include in your audit:
- Try to get everything out of their homepage and point out every opportunity for optimization there.
- Pick out important pages with unoptimized title tags. You don’t have to give them a full list. You just have to pick out those that could possibly be giving them more traffic and more sales.
- Check their site structure and website indexability.
- Critique their content. Many companies know that content is important in SEO but they don’t necessarily know how to write SEO-friendly articles.
- Use a backlink checker to analyze their backlinks. Link building is a hot topic for businesses looking for SEO services so if you can point out areas of improvement there you can get higher chances of closing the deal.
- Show them screenshots and/or give a list of URLs you see that need to be optimized. Clients like to be very specific. Simply giving them a list of bullet points is not enough.
I usually list what I see on a simple word document with a template that we use for the header. Then I convert it to a PDF file and send it to the client. Sounds simple enough but it does work. Most of the time, you don’t have to use flashy presentations. What you need is a clear, concise, and straight to the point website audit that is easy to digest for any potential client.
Show What you Can do for Them
Simply diagnosing the problems of a website and showing it to your potential client will not make the cut. They already know that their website has problems and it needs to be optimized. That’s the reason why they’re reaching out to you in the first place. If they just wanted a simple audit of an SEO tool, then they could have done it themselves.
What clients are looking for in an SEO audit is how are you able to help them. You need to convince your potential clients that you are the SEO for the job. But before you add any solutions, you need to gauge your lead’s level of SEO knowledge.
If your lead is completely new to SEO, then you need to provide more details as to why this factor needs to be optimized and how important it is for ranking. Let’s say you’re working on an e-commerce website and you recommended that title tags of product category changes need to be changed. Why did you recommend changing those title tags? Why is it important to optimize the title tag of a product category page?
But for clients who are knowledgeable already with SEO, you may not need to discuss the importance of a product category page or of a title tag to them but you still need to give your analysis on why their existing tags are not good.
You have to remember when businesses are shopping for SEO services, you are not the only one they are engaged with. They are most likely in talks with other service providers. What you are trying to do here is making them feel comfortable with you. By crafting the right website audit, you can build trust, show your clients you’re competent and capable, and that they could give the project to you with no second thoughts.
Don’t Reveal All Your Cards
I know that I just said that you should show what you can do for them but that doesn’t mean you completely reveal everything you’ll be doing for them. There are two purposes for this: first is that it keeps your leads on the edge of their seats and second is to protect your or your company.
Using the sample I used earlier, let’s say you listed down the product category pages of your potential client and told them that their title tags are not good. You say why they are not good but you don’t have to say what you would replace it with.
What you’re trying to do here is you’re keeping potential clients engaged and interested. On the business side of things, you’re trying to avoid giving potential clients free work.
Compare them with their Competitors
Adding a competitor analysis in your SEO audits for potential clients can be a game-changer. Most businesses will usually ask for an audit of their website alone but I highly recommend that you go the extra mile and do a quick or short audit of their competitors.
What you would want to do here is in your audit, you would want to compare some of the problems on their website and show what their competitor is doing. Make them feel that they’re falling behind their competitors.
You don’t a very detailed analysis. You can just insert a few comments on your bullet points. Screenshots of data are also helpful especially on backlink data and rankings.
SEO audits are only one part of the overall sales process but they are a crucial part of it. It gives your potential clients a little sneak peak on what you can do for them after putting ink on the contract. It helps set expectations and KPIs. It can be the difference between them choosing a different company or you.