Wouldn’t it be nice if every single website had a perfect, clear SEO strategy from the very start? And every single page on that website was perfectly aligned with every aspect of that strategy, from its original inception through every update?

What a dream, right? Sadly, that’s rarely the reality of running a website – especially if you’re managing a huge enterprise one. Instead, too many cooks over too long a period of time end up stirring up a kind of Frankenstein’s site. It might work, but you may not even know how many pages it has, much less how each of those pages is contributing to your SEO strategy.

Enter the SEO audit. A professional SEO audit is the best way to check on the effectiveness of your website and get it back on track for fulfilling strategic objectives. And the larger and older the website, the more valuable an SEO audit can be – which is exactly what makes enterprise SEO audits so crucial, despite their many challenges.

What is an SEO audit?

An SEO audit is a comprehensive review and reassessment of a website’s SEO strategy. They evaluate how a website’s pages are currently performing in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and why. In the process, SEO auditors identify any potential issues that may be preventing better performance and suggest ways to fix those issues and improve the site’s overall SEO strategy. 

An SEO audit has two main goals: 

  1. To develop an informed and contextual understanding of how and why the site in question is ranking in SERPs the way it is. 
  2. To define the next steps of an SEO strategy that will improve those rankings.

How does an SEO audit work?

Search engine algorithms like Google’s consider thousands of factors when determining which web pages to award top results in their SERPs. They even weigh these factors differently depending on the context of the subject matter and keyword. These factors include:

  • Technical considerations, such as page load speed, mobile friendliness, site architecture, page crawlability, etc.
  • On-page considerations, such as keyword placement and usage, page layout and structure (proper use of title tags, lists, etc.), use of semantically related keywords, page metadata, etc.
  • Authority considerations, such as how many backlinks the page has, how well any related pages rank or how frequently they’re visited, etc.
  • Content quality considerations, such as how well the content provides the information a visitor needs based on their search, the use of images and/or videos, length and readability, etc.
  • Competitive considerations, which compare the SEO of the site to sites of similar subject matter and reach.

To achieve their two main goals, SEO auditors have to analyze these considerations for each page of the website they’re working on.

Most SEO auditors take a triage approach to finding and pointing out opportunities for SEO remediation. They’ll start with the biggest, most damaging SEO problems and work their way down to the elements that aren’t making as big an immediate difference. This helps them make the biggest difference they can to rankings right away.

For example, when Google or other search engines evaluate a web page for inclusion in a SERP, they “crawl” it, or quickly scan its structure and contents to find what they’re looking for. The faster and more easily they can do this, the more likely they are to consider the page a good fit. Therefore, a page’s “crawlability” is one of the first priorities for most SEO auditors. 

Improving a page’s crawlability can involve using proper title tags, strengthening internal linking structure, making sure the keyword appears in the title tags and meta information, and organizing content into easily indexed sections.

Strategic considerations

SEO audits won’t just tell you what you’re ranking for right now and how you could rank for it better; they’ll help you figure out what you should try to rank for and how you can begin to do so. Usually, this consists of a combination of pursuing existing keywords and trying new ones, updating old pages, and writing new content.

What makes an enterprise SEO audit different from a conventional audit?

SEO audits of big, enterprise business websites usually work the same way as any other kind. The major difference is the scale of the project. 

Enterprise businesses usually have large, complex websites. They may consist of dozens of domains with internationally localized pages, complex structures of subdomains and internal links, and thousands of pages. 

This can make manually evaluating every page of a website the way auditors might for a smaller SEO audit logistically impossible. It also presents several other unique challenges that require specialist SEO professionals to tackle effectively.

What makes an enterprise SEO audit so challenging?

These are a few of the major reasons why enterprise SEO auditing is considered a specialization within the world of SEO – and why it’s so important for enterprise businesses.

Sheer number of pages

Any enterprise SEO audit has hundreds or thousands of pages to contend with. Each of these pages should have a specific and well-defined strategic purpose while simultaneously accomplishing the role they need to play within the business’s website. 

An effective SEO audit of an enterprise website must find every page associated with the website, define exactly what they do and how they can best accomplish both their SEO and business objectives, and then remediate every page’s SEO to meet those goals.

Complexity of site architecture

Managing the thousands of individual pages associated with an enterprise website would be tough on its own, but most enterprise organizations naturally organize these pages into complex directories of subdomains and child pages. 

For example, many enterprise websites list hundreds of individual product pages or even product categories. Each of those pages requires a thoughtful approach to SEO, but they also need to devote most of their space to listing and linking to other products and pages. 

The first step of most enterprise SEO audits is a high-level review and analysis of a website’s architecture. SEO auditors will examine the organization from the top down, evaluating how everything connects to everything else, how easy it is to navigate to the pages any user may be looking for, and what role SEO can play in the process.

Complexity of strategy

The more complex the website, the more complex the SEO strategy has to be. This counts double for enterprise businesses, which usually have highly diversified interests and complex strategic goals for managing their brand’s participation along multiple vectors.

The only way any enterprise SEO audit can be effective is if the auditors develop an advanced understanding of these goals. This will ensure that auditors find the right competitors to cross-reference and the right keywords to pursue for each strategic goal.

International SEO considerations

International SEO is a whole next level of complexity, and most enterprise businesses will need to confront it. Sites that service multiple nations need to be structured for different regions and languages, meaning new subdomains or subdirectories, new hreflang tags, and, in all likelihood, a whole lot of new localized content. 

Speaking of localization, individual keywords themselves change significantly between different nations and even regions within a nation. Truly effective SEO strategies will have to account for these local idiosyncrasies by using the language and keywords the local populace will be most likely to search. “Wicked smart sneakers” will probably only show up on your Boston pages, but it could be a highly relevant keyword within that region.

High risk of content cannibalization

Content cannibalization is simply a redundancy of content. Without realizing it, enterprises may have multiple pages that accomplish essentially the same purpose. Maybe they list the same product twice, for example, or they wrote a blog about something they’d already addressed years ago.

For SEO considerations, content redundancy becomes a big problem when multiple site pages start competing for the same keywords. The enterprise winds up competing with itself for SERP results, and in the process, undermines the effectiveness of both pages and the whole SEO strategy.

Are enterprise SEO audits worth all the work?

Absolutely. The bigger the website, the greater its SEO opportunities. Once again, this counts double for enterprises, who are usually quite recognizable and authoritative in their spaces and have a lot of business to gain (or lose) on the strength of their SEO. 

An SEO audit isn’t just something big enterprises need to occasionally invest in for website maintenance; it’s a huge opportunity to optimize a business’s potential. An SEO audit by the right expert professionals makes every page of an enterprise site into a strategic asset, primed to win the right SERPs, attract the right audience, and direct them exactly where they need to go. 

If you’re interested in optimizing your site with an enterprise SEO audit, our experts are excited to help. Get in touch with TopRank Marketing to get started today.

About the author

Harry is one of TopRank Marketing’s Content Strategists, and has been a professional digital content specialist since 2016. During this time, he has honed his content writing skills and worked closely with SEO and SEM experts to enhance his understanding of how to most effectively create high-quality content that performs well on both search engines and social media. Harry is passionate about creating content that represents the voice of his clients well and provides genuinely relevant, insightful information that his client’s customers will find helpful and entertaining to read. When Harry isn’t writing content, he’s usually reading it, or watching movies. He watches a lot of movies.