So as an SEO consultant, let me tell you about a common occurrence.
You see an email land in your inbox from a client.
It’s panicky, it’s URGENT, and it’s going to take a while to calm them down.
The problem? Their SEO software’s automated audit service has told them they have a significant error.
On one of their blog posts, the meta description is too short.
This is a disaster. It must be fixed immediately. What are they even paying me for?
The irony of this situation is that it would take much less time to change the meta description than explain to the client the reality.
But I like to keep my clients in the know, even if it goes against an automated big red warning sign in their site audit.
So I explain to them that their SEO tool’s recommendation isn’t necessarily going to cause them to lose their rankings.
It reminds me of a quote form Mr John Mueller himself:
Any SEO tool will spit out 10s or 100s of ‘recommendations’. Most of these are going to be irrelevant to your site’s visibility in search. Finding the items that make sense to work on takes experience.
Part of me wants to send this quote to clients. But that’s not the best solution.
A better approach is to communicate that message to clients and caveat that these tools give recommendations. Still, they don’t necessarily mean that your SEO strategy is a shambles if you don’t get that 100% audit score.
This also works the other way around. Many clients don’t think they need help or to invest in SEO because their SEO tool says they have a score of 100%.
Now I’m not saying here that SEO audits are inherently bad. They can help you identify issues, especially on very large sites.
But should you take their recommendations at face value?
The answer is almost always no because they don’t understand the context of your site.
As an SEO consultant, it’s important to communicate this context to clients.
But ultimately, SEO tools don’t know the following things:
Review a site in context. Unfortunately, many SEO tools don’t understand the context and goals of a site. What are you optimizing for, page views or booked calls?
A consultant can understand this context and make contextual suggestions on what to implement instead of general recommendations.
SEO tools view many ‘issues’ as equal. This means that some glaring errors are considered equal to small nice-to-haves.
An aggregated score isn’t a signal of your SEO success. In fact, it’s not even related in most cases. Work closely with your SEO agency or consultant to decide on a set of KPIs.
That’s why you should take these recommendations with a pinch of salt.
Your SEO is there to explain what these recommendations mean but don’t be upset if they say that these suggestions aren’t a priority.
James is an SEO consultant based in London. Working with clients around the world to get more traffic from search.