B2B SEO

How to Conduct a Thorough B2B SEO Audit in 11 Steps

A full B2B SEO audit allows you to create a comprehensive plan to 10x your website SEO and achieve the best results–here’s how you do it.
How to Conduct a Thorough B2B SEO Audit in 11 Steps
Cristina Rojas Colloridi
by Cristina Rojas Colloridi

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You’ve seen the huge success brands have achieved through B2B search engine optimization and you’re ready to recreate it. You know where to start, right?

You got it, with a B2B SEO audit.

A B2B SEO audit is an auditing of all the SEO aspects of your website and content strategy that’ll have an impact on your search visibility and conversion rates. 

Technically put, it’s about understanding how search engines are perceiving your content and gives you the insights needed to get a higher seat on their search results rankings and better hit user search intent.

In this article, we’ll show you how to conduct an SEO audit focusing on two key aspects:

  • Content SEO
  • Technical SEO

We’ll explore what you need to check and how you can improve on your findings.

Let’s get auditing.

Let’s find out what we need to know before we start our audit.

What do you need to start your B2B SEO Audit?

There are a few elements you should consider before starting the auditing process.

Run a competitor analysis

SEO doesn’t work by itself; your efforts will be in a constant battle against your competitors’ efforts and the latest SEO trends. It’s always a good idea to see what the competition is doing, and more importantly, how they’re doing.

However, before analyzing your competitors, their rankings, keywords, and holistic SEO strategy, you need to find out who they actually are. There are direct and indirect competitors, but when fighting for first place on search engine results pages (SERPs) you ideally want to gauge direct competitors.

When performing a B2B SEO competitor analysis of your direct competition you’ll discover:

  • What you can do to outrank on SERPs
  • The keywords you should consider ranking for
  • Where you can look for backlinks and off-page opportunities

Now that you know why you should consider your competitors, these are the general steps you should follow when running a competitor analysis:

  • Identify multiple competitors
  • Analyze competitors’ target and top-ranking keywords
  • Analyze competitors’ backlinking achievements
  • Take a look at your competitors’ content marketing initiatives
  • Study the user experience they provide
  • Pay attention to their social media channels and customer interactions

Set goals and objectives

Another important thing to consider before diving into your B2B SEO audit is the goals and objectives that you have for your digital marketing and for this specific SEO audit you’re about to do. After all, audits are not one-size-fits-all.

Of course, you might think: “but isn’t it obvious that we all just want more customers and profitability?” Well, the way you get there might be different.

Maybe you want to migrate your web pages to another domain, or you want to get more organic traffic to your landing pages, or maybe you want to rank higher in a few high intent relevant keywords–each of these will have a different focus on your SEO audit and overall strategy.

So pinpoint your goals and outline your KPIs and milestones for you to get there. 

Now you understand what your competitors are doing and you have specified what your goals are. It’s now time to see the 11 steps, divided into the categories ‘Content’ and ‘Technical’ SEO, to conduct a thorough B2B SEO audit.

Infographic of a Content and Technical SEO audit checklist

How to conduct a B2B SEO audit: Content SEO

SEO depends on content, as you’ve probably heard, ‘Content is King’–and it’s a core part of SEO best practices. So, the first thing we’ll look at is what you should consider when doing a full auditing of your content SEO:

1. Check on your keywords

Keywords are the matchmaker between what your users are trying to find, and your SaaS. They’re like the Cupid of customers and brands. Anyone doing an SEO audit knows that they’re important, so we need to see how they’re performing.

Of course, we’re not aiming to do a full on keyword research, we simply want to know which keywords are working for us and which ones aren’t.

The best way to find out this information is by using SEO tools and keyword research tools–paired with the knowledge of SEO experts–that’ll give all the insights you need. Some recommendations are:

2. Perform a content audit

Now that you understand the health of your keyword performance, you’ll want to do an audit of your current content.

What exactly does a content audit mean?

It means that you’ll want to check for duplicate content, thin content, or out of date content, as well as other important elements like the ones Alexandra Hillyard, SEO content specialist here at Skale points out:

“When we do a content model (a Skalified content audit), we manually review each individual page to get an indication of pages bringing in demos & signups, the current performance of each page, where the biggest wins are, and the opportunities we’re missing out on. We’ll also check whether the content is designed for user and business goals, and what topic clusters we can work with and build out.”

Duplicate content: can harm your performance because it confuses Google and other search engines which can lead to them ranking the ‘wrong page.’ Something you really don’t want.

Thin content: is a marketing term that refers to content that offers no real value to users. With so many freelance writers online and so many brands struggling with SEO, many websites end up producing a high quantity of lacking content.

The main problem is that if users come and their search intent is not satisfied by the content, or it simply adds no value, search engines will pick up on that and harm the ranking of your website.

Out of date content: or expired content is content that is no longer useful for visitors and not inline with current tech or trends. 

Understanding the content that you have and how it’s performing will also help you find which gaps you can fill with new content.

Two tools that can help you better understand user intent and thus provide high quality content are:

  • AlsoAsked: with a basic plan starting from $15 per month
  • AnswerThePublic: it offers freemium package with pro features starting from $99 per month 

How to conduct a B2B SEO audit: Technical SEO

Now that you’ve checked how your keywords and content are doing, you’ll want to look at technical SEO. A technical SEO audit will make sure that your meta elements and coding makeup of your website is so search engines can crawl and index it in their rankings.

There are plenty of elements of technical SEO that you can audit, here we’ll go through the nine most important ones.

3. Audit your sitemap

Skale’s own tech SEO analyst, Selda Akin, gives us her definition of sitemap:

“Search engines always need help to understand the structure of a website. A sitemap is a close friend that helps them to understand which pages are important on a website and makes it easier for search engines to find those pages to be crawled & indexed.” 

To audit your sitemap you can use a number of different useful tools, like:

  • Screaming Frog
  • OnCrawl
  • SE Ranking
  • DeepCrawl
  • SEO Site Checkup

What these tools will tell you is if there are any issues with your URLs. Maybe they link to duplicate content, or maybe there are errors like orphaned pages–those that do not connect to any other–or other problems. When cleaning up your sitemap the audit will function as a guide to what you need to improve. 

4. Don’t forget about on-page elements 

On page elements take into account things like:

  • Title tags
  • Headings
  • Meta descriptions
  • Image alt tags

During the audit you’ll make sure that you’ve added each one of them where necessary, and that you’ve included appropriate keywords and easy-to-read copy in all of them.

Screenshot showing the HTML of a page

Source

Alt tags on images are normally ignored in SEO, but they’re actually extremely important because they increase the accessibility of the images for those with eyesight disabilities. They also allow images to become a source of keywords and increase the crawlability of your site for Google image search.

5. Check on your site speed

Since 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load, making sure you understand how long your website takes to load is an important part of the audit.

Site speed is not only important for user experience, it actually is cited as one of Google’s ranking factors.

💡 Google PageSpeed Insights is a great tool to measure your page performance on both mobile and desktop.

Elements that could be slowing down your site speed are:

  • Unoptimized images–we’ll talk about image optimization in a sec
  • JavaScript issues
  • Including too much Flash content
  • Excessive HTTP requests
  • Not using caching techniques
  • Long, complicated, and unclean code
  • Not using gZIP compression
  • Having too many ads on the site

These are just some of the factors that could be slowing your website loading time–which is why it’s crucial to understand how slow or fast it’s loading.

6. Consider image optimization

Images are important in websites–for example, blogs with images get 94% more total views than those without. No one wants to see a website that’s only text with some blank spaces. In order to actually get going with auditing your images the first thing you’ll need to do is use a SEO tool like Screaming Frog to create an image inventory.

Once you have the inventory organized and prepared for the audit you’ll be able to answer the following questions about your images:

  • Are they necessary? Get rid of unnecessary or irrelevant images
  • Do they have alt tags? Remember to include keywords
  • Are they appropriate ratios? Are they responsive for different screen sizes
  • Have they been compressed? So they don’t slow down your site
  • Are they high quality images? No one wants pixelated images
  • Do they have a file name that’s relevant and includes keywords?
  • Are they in the file type that you want them to be? Some sites work better with JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.

All of these questions will help you understand the state of your images. Nothing in SEO is left to chance. To achieve the best results possible you need to consider every detail of your website.

7. Ensure mobile friendliness

Check this number: 80%. That’s the number of top-rated websites that are mobile friendly–and also the percentage of people that surf the internet on mobile devices. When auditing make sure your website elements: pages, texts, images, CTAs and more, adapt to different screen sizes.

Below we can see Maze’s website on desktop and mobile:

Maze platform homepage
Maze platform homepage on mobile
Maze

Source

8. Check on links

Check which internal and external links you have on your website and how they’re doing.

Ensure the linking between your own pages is not broken, but also that the links you’re adding to other blogs or authoritative websites are working.

Additionally, make sure your URLs are following URL structure best practices: 

  • ensure they include important keywords
  • are not overly long
  • are intuitive and easy to follow

Is URL formatting only important for users? Nope. URLs are important for both users and search engines since these allow them to understand what the page is about.

Besides checking the health and text on your URLs you should also make sure you have a 404 page working. A 404 error is when a redirect has not worked since the page could not be found. However, instead of just having a warning page and seeing your users leave your site, make it useful.

Things to include on your 404 error page:

  • Empathic copy to connect with your user
  • Explain what the 404 means
  • Give links and options to go to–home page, other important and relevant pages, etc.
Google's error 404 page

Lastly, you’ll want to also ensure your 301 redirects are working appropriately. 301 redirects are when an old URL is inserted, the user then gets sent to a working URL. It’s important to make sure they work so you don’t lose a website visitor.

9. Review your index status

Indexing is crucial for SEO because, if your site is not indexed, regardless of how many amazing blogs it has, or flashy graphics, or number of keywords, it won’t be seen by search engines. Period.

Thankfully, technology is here to help. Google Search Console and SEMRush Site Audit tools are two tools to make sure the pages that you’re including in your SEO efforts are being seen by search engines.

10. Verify your schema markup

Schema markups are a way of presenting rich snippets so that they show the value the linking site can provide to the user.

For example, when you’re looking for video platforms, you’ll probably click on the Google search results that shows you a search bar from the platform, different landing pages, and even some videos. That’s an example of schema markup.

In the optimized image below ( 😉 ) you can see three examples of schema markups for the same type of service: video platforms. You can see how video giant Youtube has a more complete schema markup. 

SERP showing the benefits of schema markup for video results and rich snippets
SERP showing results for vevo.com
SERP showing results for Rumble.com

During your auditing it’s important to test if your schema markups are working properly. To do this you can use Google Schema Markup Testing Tool, it allows you to test and verify that your schema is error-free.

11. Double-check your robots.txt

Robots.txt file for web pages help you manage crawling traffic to specific URLs. This stops the server from becoming overwhelmed by too many requests from Google’s crawler, and also helps avoid crawling both unimportant and similar pages on your site.

To make sure everything is working as intended, check the number of pages you view on Google search results and compare that number to the pages you see listed directly in Google Analytics. If there’s a page on Analytics but not on search results, that would mean there’s an error that you’ll need to address.

Selda Akin, Skale’s tech SEO analyst, tells us how to address this problem:

“If you disallow a URL in your robot.txt file, you tell user agents not to crawl that specific URL. If user agents can’t crawl the pages, they can’t index & show them in the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs). 

However, blocking a page in the robots.txt file doesn’t always guarantee that user agents will follow your command. They might ignore it and continue crawling & indexing disallowed pages. 

It’s important to remove any links pointing to the pages that you do not want to be listed on Google because Googlebots might follow those links to land your page & index it. That’s why a page might appear on GA but not on Google. 

Additionally, the traffic source on GA is important as well. That page might be from direct or any referral traffic. Therefore, there are different metrics to check why your page is on GA but not on Google. By knowing the reason why it’s not showing, you’ll be able to fix the issue in no time.”

Leave your next B2B SEO audit to the experts

B2B SEO can significantly impact your marketing outcomes, conversions, and profits. The best way to start on the right track is to do a thorough audit of where you currently stand. Although it isn’t quite rocket science, it’s something that’s best to leave in the hands of experts.

Lucky for you, here at Skale, we are a B2B SEO agency with a team of knowledgeable experts ready to take your case and make it an astounding success story.

Ready to make your B2B SEO audit and strategy part of your success? Book a call and let’s see where we can help you.

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B2B SEO Audit FAQ

1. What is included in an SEO audit?

The main elements to include in your SEO audits are for the technical SEO audit:

1. Sitemap
2. On-page elements
3. Site speed
4. Image optimization
5. Mobile friendliness
6. Links
7. Index status
8. Schema markup
9. Robots.txt

Additionally, for the content SEO audit:

10. Keyword research
11. Content audit

2. Is an SEO audit worth it?

Yes, an SEO audit is the first step needed to create an effective and successful SEO strategy. We saw a 102% increase in MQLs after making changes highlighted by the audit we performed to Perkbox’s website.

3. How do you make a good SEO audit

To make a good SEO audit you need to do two things before you start: competitor analysis and define goals and objectives. Once you’ve done that you can continue with a thorough audit of your content and technical SEO.

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