How to conduct an effective SEO audit for local companies in Vancouver? A step by step guide

If you run a local business and you are looking for ways to promote your business online this blog is for you. If you are a SEO consultant and you are looking for new ways to impress your clients this blog will give you new insights. If you are new to business or an old veteran and you need new ways to grow your customer base, grow your revenue and your profits, this blog will show you exactly that. 

Auditing your website is a skill set. There are 2 main skills that are required to make your digital machine work for you. One is understanding human psychology. How do people buy, what makes people click a link, what makes people  fill a form, what offer catches their attention and how you can position your brand in such a way that your prospects and customers think about your company first when they come across a similar product or service they need, want or hear about.

The second skill set is to make all your marketing pieces work together. This could be understanding the tools, the platforms, learning how to software program, understanding user experience, user interface design and everything that makes the system work.

For this blog post we will be focusing on the critical elements of both skill sets. Hacking the human psychology  and making all your marketing pieces work together.

Let us dive deep into it.   

Audit your brand

When you audit your website, you need to get out of your own head. Which is to say, you need to look at your company from the lens of your prospects. Ask your self these questions.
  • What are your prospects looking for when they come to your website? 
  • How can you make then feel your company is the authority in this market space?
  • How can you convey the message to your prospects that you are able to fulfill the results they are looking for?
  • How can you communicate your brand to your clients and make them like you?
  • How can you convince your clients that you have been very consistent in fulfilling customer demands and you are committed to helping them?
  • How can you attract the right kind of clients to your website?
  • How can you communicate effectively what results you deliver?
  •  How can you chase away the wrong prospects or let them know your service is not for them?
  • How do you communicate to your prospects what you deliver is rare and there is no one like you in this market space?  

The goal of your SEO audit is to look at your brand from the eyes of your customers or prospects and see how they would use your website

Similarly, you need to conduct an audit for your own website.
  • Why are your customers buying the type of product you are selling? 
  • Why should your customers choose you over your competition? 
  • What part of your website is turning them away and what we need to do to stop that from happening? 
  • What makes them want to scroll down your website or navigate more of it? 
  • What information are they really looking for but can’t find? 
  • Why are they not buying more from you? 
  • How usable is your website? 
  • Is it easy to find information and navigate through? 
Most of auditing is asking the right questions. 

If you know exactly what you are trying to achieve then you know what to evaluate. 

The next step after auditing your brand is to see if your website is able to communicate what you want effectively. Which is to say, how can you attract the right prospects to your website and increase the probability of converting those prospects into customers

Audit your website

As you can see, the more detailed and clear your questions are, the easier it is to audit your website. The goal of your website audit is to attract customers, make them stay longer on your website and help them take effective actions. Any element on your website that does not help satisfy this goal must be eliminated or improved. 

After you have noted the answers to these questions, you need to dig deeper into the search tools.

There are 4 main tools Google provides that are free and important. Bing too provides some features but for this blog post we will focus mostly on Google's tools. Why? Because it is the search engine most people use including your customers and not to mention the results are far better compared to other search engines.

Search tools to install

These 4 tools can help you make a lot more sense of your website using data. Let me explain their purpose. Normally, when I write blogs, I rarely focus on tools because tools keeps changing. Today they exist tomorrow they may not. This is an exception. Why? Because these tools are really valuable and can help you position your website accordingly on search.

Among the above 4 tools, the one that is the most powerful is Google Search Console. Yes, it is arguably the most important tool every marketer must use. Why? Because it tells you what keywords your website shows up for, where do you rank on search and how many users are searching for that exact keyword. With this information you can go a very long way in auditing your website.

I won't be going into the details of how to install and use those tools. This is beyond the scope of this blog. Also there are numerous blogs on this subject that will do a great job explaining how to get these tools working for you.

There are numerous other tools too you can use such as ahref, moz, semrush, screanfrlog etc. For the most part, you do not need these tools. They do give you more insights and ideas, help you understand your competition better and help you know what content is trending and what you can write on. But, for the most part, it is not your competition that is killing you, it is the glitches and issues on your website that is killing you. So 1st take care of your website then think about how your competition is stealing away your clients.

The process

After asking the right questions and installing the right tools, how do you piece an audit together? The method I personally use is called O.K.R. Objective Key Result.

Taken from the book "Measure What Matters" by John Doerr, this principle of goal setting was 1st introduced by Andy Groove the former CEO of Intel. After its wide adoption at Intel this strategy is now widely used in Google and various other big organizations. I personally use it too when I try to set a grand goal.

So, what is it.

Objectives and key results (OKR) is a framework for defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.

OKRs comprise an objective—a clearly defined goal—and one or more key results—specific measures used to track the achievement of that goal.[3] The goal of OKR is to define how to achieve objectives through concrete, specific and measurable actions.[4] Key results can be measured on a 0-100% scale or any numerical unit (ex: dollar amount, %, items, etc.). Objectives should also be supported by initiatives, which are the plans and activities that help to achieve the objective and move forward the key results.[5] - src - Wikipeida 

Let us define ANTSAND's high level O.K.R

Objective - By December 2019 get 200 businesses in Vancouver have an online presence that gives them 80% of all their customers, get at least 2.x ROI from their marketing budget and have an asset that keeps giving them consistent revenue and growth month after month for 2+ years and more 
Key Result 1: Positioning ANTSAND as the leading go to brand in Vancouver for anything related to digital marketing, SEO and Website Maintenance by December 2019

Key Result 2: Give our clients a high performing website that looks good, loads fast and has all technical elements to succeed (Marketplace, ANTSAND CMS, Concept2Design) by October 2019

Key Result 3: Give our clients the ability to rank on the 1st page of search for their product, services and content in their market (ANTSAND Black, SEO Consultation)

Key Result 4: Support our clients with website and SEO maintenance so that they feel safe about their online systems (ANTSAND High Performance Website Maintenance and Support)

Key Result 5: Give our clients the ability to create a powerful marketing funnel by giving their prospects tremendous value which in in turn will give them new customers consistently (ANTSAND Black)

As you can see for my O.K.R, it is based on high level goal. Helping my customers. Most goals people set are very self-centered. I want to increase revenue by 20%, I want to get 200 customers who pay xyz amount, I want to hire xyz amount of people in my company. Nothing wrong. Just that setting such types of goals does not motivate me. 

Seeing my customers succeed is very important. Every goal we set is to help our customers grow. Every action we take, every tool we build is all to accomplish that objective. The goal is far fetched, almost impossible but definitely doable. Based on all the key results, Key result 1 is the most appropriate for this blog. How to position your brand as a leader in your industry. 

Key result 1: Position your company as the leading go to brand for any product, services, help and support related to your market by ___ date.

Having introduced what questions to ask, what tools to use and how to set proper objectives for your SEO, let me give you an example of how we go about auditing our own website ANTSAND and how we use the same process to audit our customers website.  

Case Study: Auditing ANTSAND's Website

Based on the above process let me walk you through auditing our webpage and position our brand as the leading SEO company in Vancouver. 

Step 1: What should you position for?

When you start to work on SEO, you need to know for what keywords you want your website to show up. You need to know what users are searching for. You need to know if there is a market for that search term. So how do you go about positioning your brand?

There are 2 methods to the process. 

1. Define your vision and get into the minds of your customer 
To understand your vision, your 'why'  so as to speak, you need to know why your company exist and what problem it is solving. In ANTSAND's case, our high level objective is to help businesses in Vancouver have a strong online presence by positioning their brand for relevant search terms. But this is still very vague.

So how do we convey this message to our prospects in a more articulate manner? How do we tell them we are the people you need to get in touch with if you have any digital marketing issues?  Before that, how do we come up with how to position our brand? 

Red Ocean Vs Blue Ocean

Red Ocean

  • Shark infested
  • Market is big
  • Too many competitiors
  • Tough to get a hold of the market

Blue Ocean

  • Less Competitive
  • Market is big
  • Little Competition
  • A bit easier to get a hold of the market

The concept of Red Ocean is that there are too many competitors in a big market but not easy for new players to get a hold of this market.  

The concept of Blue Ocean is, there is a big market for your service or product but there is very little competition.

Our goal is to position our brand in the Blue Ocean. We do not want to get caught up in the red ocean or else we will end up struggling. 

So How do we enter the blue Ocean?

If we just focus on Digital marketing it is very competitive. Too many companies to compete with and a difficult way to make a name. 
Under digital marketing  you have social media marketing, Pay per click advertisements, website design and development, SEO, SEM, etc. Too broad. 

Let us narrow it down even further.

Instead of Digital marketing, let us focus on SEO. Still broad  but comparatively narrower. We are still in the red ocean for the term SEO. Let us dig deeper.

What about 'Vancouver SEO'. We are now slowly moving away from the red ocean into the blue. Now we are only competing with the local market. Before we were trying to compete with the global market. By adding a location you now are getting a bit into the blue ocean.

But, there are more that 150 digital marketing/SEO companies in Vancouver. It is still a lot of competition. How do we narrow it down, and yet keep hold of the markets demand. Since we want to position our brand as consultants or consultation, what if we position our brand for 'Vancouver SEO Consultation' or 'Vancouver  SEO consultants' ?

Here in comes the next step. Look at the data. See if people are actually searching for these terms. 

2. Look at the data and fine tune your positioning
 Here comes the power of Google Search Console. For ANTSAND, we have a lot of data and we know exactly what keywords we show up for on search. 

As you can see, on search console there are around 4000 people searching for 'Vancouver SEO expert' in the span of 3 month. There is a demand. So, to capture the market, all we need to do is target that one keyword and focus all our efforts till we dominate that keyword. 

Based on our above analysis + the data we have collected, we now want to position our brand under - "Vancouver SEO expert consultation"There is a market and we can have a competitive advantage. Now that we know what to focus on, let us base our O.K.R to position ANTSAND as Vancouver's SEO expert Consultants

Step 2: Set the Objective

The O.K.R described in the previous section was ANTSAND's high level objective. We can further dive deep into each key result, and see how we can accomplish those goals.Each of those key result will now be an objective. Let us break it down further. Let us focus on positioning our brand only for SEO.

Objective: Positioning ANTSAND as the leading go to brand in Vancouver for anything related to SEO by ranking on the 1st page of Google for 50+ keywords and combination related to Vancouver SEO, Vancouver SEO expert, Vancouver best SEO company, etc. by December 2019

Key Result 1: Create a webpage dedicated to Vancouver SEO expert consultation by June 20th 2019 - Vancouver SEO Expert Consultation

Key Result 2: Create a content calendar and write 15+ high quality blog content related to SEO consultation, SEO marketing, SEO digital marketing, etc including support marketing resources like ebooks, checklist, software tools  to capture email leads by August 2019

Key Result 3: Create podcast with 30 episodes related to SEO, benefits of SEO and deploying SEO as a marketing channel for businesses in Vancouver. - Google Podcast, Spotify, Google Play - by August 2019

Key Result 4: Create workshops and live events catered towards online marketing and SEO for business owners, marketing professionals and the likes.

Key Result 5: Go to networking events, do door-to-door marketing, cold calling, email marketing and touch atleast 20-30 people per month. Lead them to our workshops and events.

As you can see, the objective is positioning. You want to take one word and make sure everyone associates your brand with it. You want your whole marketing to revolve around that one word. For ANTSAND it is 'SEO experts in Vancouver'. For you, it might be different. This is SEO in a nutshell.

Let us now dive deeper into each of these key results.

Step 3: Focus on each Key Result

Key Result 1 - Create a web page dedicated to 'Vancouver Expert Consultation'. 

Our goal is to create a page that ranks high and is able to convert our prospects into customers. The key components of a good landing page that ranks are:

1. Value Proposition
 Value proposition is the ability to convey the value you provide to your prospects as succinct as possible. 

This is the 1st thing we want to obtain on a landing page. Convey it's value. In our case, we want to covey we provide SEO service and we are Vancouver's SEO experts. This part of the landing page conveys just that. 

2. Problem Definition
The Problem definition is the part of a web-page that tries to find the pain points of the prospects. We have listed 12 pain points that our prospects might have. This simple but elegant icons and boxes makes it easy to read, flows well with the page and communicates the problem effectively. These are all ingredients of a good landing page and a nice way to display the prospects possible problems.

3. Amazing attainable solution
It is here where we discuss how we plan to solve the problem. Since this is a consultation page, we 1st provide a thorough consultation as a basic service for an inexpensive cost of $250. We provide 4 options. Based on the prospects problems they can choose one of the 4 options. Each of the 4 options have different services but all cater to that one goal. Positioning this page as the consultation page.

4. Proof and Credibility
One of the main ways in which people buy stuff online, is by reviews and testimonials. Display a few online. It builds social proof. 

5. Call to action
Without a call to action, you won't be able to convert your prospects into customers. So make sure you have action points for your prospects to take every where on the page. Here are a few on our consultation page.

Similarity, as we did for our Key result one,continue for key result 2. Analyze the blog, see if it is targeting the objective and moving you one step close to your goal. 

Putting it all together 

This concludes our blog. This is the right way to conduct a proper SEO. Most consultants will tell you, you need to do on page SEO, some random off-page SEO, technical SEO and rubbish. I do not believe in such tactics. All I care is about my prospects and my customers. What are they looking for, how can I service them, how can I help them, what pain points they have, how can I solve their problem and conduct my positioning accordingly. This is a very different way of conducting an SEO audit, but this is the right way to do it. Set O.K.R, understand where you are positioning your website, in the red ocean or blue ocean, and find strategies to help you reach your objective. 


Please comment below if you have questions, ideas or how you can apply it. At ANTSAND, we apply everything we preach and teach. What we put out is based on our experience, our failures and success. We love to be transparent, as it really brings out the best in us. We will soon be creating a $5 monthly marketing package for our readers. You can pay us for one cup of coffee every month, and in turn we give you strategies, ideas, tactics, mindsets and exercises, you can apply in your business immediately. If you want to know more about it, just type in the comments below, "Coffee with ANTSAND". We would love to hear your feedback. If you want to read other blogs that might interest you, have a look below.
Written by Anthony Shivakumar
Founder, Lead Marketing and Software Developer at ANTSAND

Anthony has a Master Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has worked in major software firms for the past 15 years and currently runs his own software and marketing company.

He continues to write articles related to marketing, programming, sales and growth hacking.


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