During this stage, we want to show them we know what we’re talking about without “giving away the farm” and writing a full marketing strategy for them. It’s a tough balance, but I side on oversharing rather than under sharing.

My feeling with most of the clients I work with is that they’re approaching me generally because they don’t have the time to do it, not just the talent. In other words, I work with savvy enough owners who are familiar with SEO and just don’t have all the expertise and time to execute on it. Here’s the list:

  • Domain into SEMRush to review rankings
  • Find top-keywords ranking
  • Domain into SEMRush to review any drops in organic traffic
  • Link growth chart in Ahrefs
  • Quick anchor text review/analysis in Ahrefs
  • Review home page for main keyword targeting
  • Review UX of website as a customer
  • Make 2-4 UX recommendations
  • Find email sign-up, contact form or lead generation form
  • Review email signup, contact form or lead generation form
  • Break short notes into sections and make a few recommendations

At this point, we’re usually just having a client feel out what I see wrong or anything we could improve on quickly. I do always check links as well as any dips in organic traffic to see if the site could potentially have any penalty issues. Obviously the preferred method here is to have the client hand over Google Analytics & Webmaster Tools access, but not all are willing to do so. For the times they do, I just double check my assumptions above with any correlating data in Analytics and then I double check Webmaster Tools for query data, impressions, CTR and any manual penalties they may have on their domain.

I’m always evaluating the contact forms, checkout pages and any lead generation forms during an SEO audit.


Well, SEO is just the medium to a goal — a conversion. Each site will have at least one conversion, if not three or more, so evaluating these upfront is key. I can’t tell you how often I’ve won business just by finding broken checkout pages, fixing email signups and other small conversion wins. I don’t go all-in here and do any kind of A/B testing suggestions, I’m just looking for any quick wins.