How to Audit Your Brand SEO Health

23 April 2024

Posted in: Marketing SEO

If you’re already familiar with brand SEO (check out my previous blog on the basics of brand SEO if not), you might be eager to update your current SEO strategy in the hope that a flood of branded (and unbranded) traffic and an uplift in the SERPs will follow.

But before enthusiastically dashing down the first path that presents itself, you’ve got to understand the lay of the land underneath your feet. Looking before you leap might not be the most daring strategy, but it’s the most efficient path to peak brand SEO health. By taking the time to understand where your brand needs the most attention, you’ll avoid wasting time and resources further down the line.

The best way to do this? Conduct a comprehensive brand SEO audit, examining your site’s internal metrics, brand page elements as well as external signals. 

If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve created the industry’s first brand SEO audit template. Inside, you’ll find all the most crucial analysis points to pore over during your assessment — which will help you pinpoint the key focus points for your brand SEO blueprint.

Download Our Brand SEO Audit Template

Before you delve into the template itself, however, here’s my in-depth guide to auditing your brand SEO health. Ready to take your brand to the next level? Read on.


Why is it important to audit your brand’s SEO health?

As marketers and SEOs, we often falsely assume that we know best. We know our site, our audience, our goals — why second-guess ourselves? Mercilessly, we plough ahead, desperate to outrun our competitors, but we end up peering so far into the distance that we forget to check for obstacles directly in front of us. Things like:

  • Competitors switching their tactics
  • New competitors emerging
  • High-impact Google updates (like the March 2024 update)
  • Unexpected disruptors (ChatGPT, anyone?)

But by auditing your brand’s SEO health, you’ll not only bolster your defences against all of the above, but also:

  • Increase your understanding of your brand’s market position 
  • Discover why your site isn’t converting as well as it could
  • Find out why you aren’t ranking for competitive keywords

Best practices when auditing brand SEO health

Fair warning: a brand SEO health check isn’t a quick fix, but by following all of the strategies laid out in this guide, you’ll gain a holistic understanding of how your branding is affecting your company’s standing in the SERPS. Trust me — it’s well worth your time. 

Before getting started with your brand SEO audit, let’s establish some general good practices:

Examine your site’s internal metrics. Always begin by scrutinising your site’s internal metrics — your traffic patterns, user engagement metrics, conversion rates, etc. These metrics will provide the first vital clues to how effectively your brand’s online presence translates into tangible results. Most importantly, pay close attention to areas where performance deviates from expectations — these are your focus points for improvement. 

Get as many others on board as possible. When it comes to the qualitative areas of your audit, it’s a good idea to request other people within your organisation to complete an audit of their own. This way, you can compare notes later down the line. This is particularly beneficial when evaluating subjective elements like brand messaging or user interface design.

Conduct an external analysis. Try to extend your audit beyond the confines of your website to identify any external factors that may be influencing your brand’s SEO. Monitor industry trends, competitor strategies, and evolving search engine algorithms to anticipate shifts before they occur. 

Make it part of your monthly reporting. By incorporating key brand SEO metrics into your monthly reporting framework, you’ll enrich the report and create a sense of accountability and habit, ensuring you’re up-to-date with your branding’s SEO impact. It’s about continual and consistent analysis and iteration, not performing a one-off review and then forgetting about it.

The three ingredients of your Brand SEO audit

Every brand SEO audit examines three key areas. These are:

  • Internal site metrics
  • Qualitative page analysis
  • External signals

Below, we’ll dive into the individual points of analysis within each area. 

Internal site metrics

These are the metrics that only you have access to — think traffic figures, conversion rates, return rates, etc. 

You can use a range of platforms to track your internal site metrics, but I’d recommend the following three tools:

  • Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  • Google Search Console
  • Keyword Hero

Keep in mind that you won’t need all three tools to perform every check mentioned below. Google Search Console query data alone should be sufficient for the basic branded vs. unbranded traffic analysis, for example.

Keyword Hero is brilliant for determining query-level performance data for any keywords that are hidden on Google Analytics. However, even this tool isn’t essential — you can glean similar insights from the Google Search Console; it’ll just be slightly more challenging to obtain a reliable ratio for branded vs. unbranded conversion rates, revenue, and engagement.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at all of the internal site metrics you’ll want to measure. 

Branded vs. unbranded traffic

Understanding the balance between branded and unbranded traffic is pivotal. If one heavily outweighs the other, it could signal an issue, though this varies by industry.

For example, in tech, branded traffic is likely to take the lion’s share of your site’s total traffic — consider how many people search for “Samsung TV” vs. “Smart TV”. Conversely, in ecommerce, you’d most likely gain unbranded traffic from your product categories.

But, how do you know if your ratio is “good” or “bad”? 

To find out,  analyse your market — you can do a quick sweep of your competitors’ branded traffic by pulling keyword-estimated traffic data from tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush. By including variations of your brand name, you can tally the total estimated traffic from these keywords, and by excluding them, you can identify unbranded traffic.

Repeating this process with your top 5-10 competitors allows you to draw conclusions about your own branded traffic ratio. This insight helps assess your standing in terms of brand awareness and preference compared to your competitors. Just remember, it’s crucial to apply the same methodology to your site for a fair comparison. Relying solely on data from Google Search Console may skew your results.

Similarly, a higher brand traffic ratio than competitors doesn’t necessarily indicate success. Analyse the absolute figures of estimated branded traffic versus competitors for a complete picture. You might have a higher ratio, but only be attracting a small amount of branded traffic. By double-checking your figures, you might find out you’re missing out on those high-traffic unbranded keywords. 

Brand landing page engagement

The majority of your branded traffic typically lands on your homepage. Whether users come from a Facebook ad, word of mouth, or a feature on a reputable platform, your homepage is your brand’s digital home, so how users react to it can make — or break — your SEO performance. 

As such, you’ll need to dive deep into engagement metrics such as average time on page, engagement rate, and scroll depth, and perhaps more importantly, analyse whether users progress to other pages like landing pages, blogs, or directly to purchase/inquiry. If your homepage fails to guide traffic effectively or your brand message doesn’t resonate, you could be losing out on cold, hard cash. 

Even if your users’ journeys didn’t start on your homepage, many will likely visit it out of pure curiosity. Turn them off at this stage, and you’re decreasing the chances of them continuing their buying journey. 

Lead / traffic quality

You might be in a situation where you’re getting huge levels of organic traffic each month, through well-written, helpful content, good-quality links, and an immaculate page experience — happy days!

You’re ranking higher than ever for all those difficult keywords, and your digital PR campaigns are bringing in high-quality, authoritative mentions. So where are the conversions? With the stakeholders breathing down your neck in demand of those all-important results, you’ve got to figure out what’s gone wrong.

It’s actually a relatively common situation. Ecommerce businesses often struggle with low AOV and organic revenue, for example. As a service business, your leads may just be much lower value than you’d hoped for. 

If any of this sounds familiar, check your brand positioning. There’s little use in positioning your product as affordable and accessible, for example, if it’s objectively expensive and exclusive to a certain kind of customer. 

You’re unlikely to generate revenue simply by ranking highly for a few competitive keywords. If your brand perception isn’t matched through clear messaging and a tangible value proposition, your SEO ROI will never match your expectations.

Qualitative page analysis

No audit would be complete without some subjective analysis!

Most of your qualitative analysis will focus on your homepage, as it’s the central hub for your brand, playing a critical role in conveying your brand’s image and all the relevant information a potential customer might want to know. 

Assuming you’ve already gathered engagement data and insights into branded keywords and conversion rates, it’s time to delve deeper. By scrutinising specific on-page elements, you can pinpoint potential gaps and assess if further optimisation is necessary from a branding perspective.

Above the fold

When users land on your homepage, the first element they encounter is typically the H1. If they arrived organically, they would have already engaged with your meta title and description, indicating something resonated with them there.

Does your H1 reinforce what the meta promised? Does it effectively position your brand in the market relative to competitors?

Next in line is your tagline, which serves as your promise to users. It communicates how engaging with your brand can enhance their lives. However, not all brands clarify their value proposition immediately. Do you understand what your competitors promise? Can you differentiate yourself effectively? Is it easy for users to grasp who you are and what you offer?

Finally, does your homepage feature a clear and relevant call-to-action (CTA) guiding users on how to engage with your brand or make a purchase? Does the CTA resonate with your audience? For instance, a corporate law firm might not receive many inquiries with a CTA like, “Send us a Whatsapp message today,” whereas they might have more luck with something like, “Speak to a legal expert right away.”

All these elements can undergo critical analysis using the Grunt Test: Can users immediately recognise what your brand offers, how it would improve their lives, and how they can purchase it? This evaluation should occur within 7 seconds of interacting with your homepage without scrolling.

Brand consistency

Brand consistency is crucial across your entire site. Everything from the tone of voice in written content to the colours and fonts used — it all needs to align with your brand’s image and meet your audience’s expectations.  

For example, if your business provides coaching services to C-level professionals, your website’s tone should align with their corporate mindset. Your website needs to give off an aura of confidence and dynamism.

Conversely, if your target audience is new mothers, your tone should be empathetic, warm, and friendly, acknowledging their unique needs and challenges.

Understand who your visitors are and then do everything within your power to appeal to them. The design of your site must be dictated by your brand’s tone of voice guidelines and mission statement, and be consistent with other channels too. 

User testing

As SEOs, we often avoid recommending UX (and even CRO) changes. Sometimes this is due to lack of time, or simply because we lack the confidence or knowledge to provide actionable suggestions. 

But no matter which way you slice it, SEO and UX are inexorably linked, and if a poor user experience is dragging your site down, it’s worth knowing about. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily always need expensive, large-scale tests to determine areas of improvement.

My advice? Keep things simple. As crazy as it might sound, ask your friend, partner, or even your neighbour to spend a few moments on your site, before feeding back on what they think your brand is all about. Can they easily distinguish your value proposition, USP, or even your purpose? Could they recognise your brand among a sea of copycats and competitors? 

Heatmap tests on your homepage are super useful, too — this way you can track where users tend to stop and linger to engage with your branded content. 

External signals

As you can imagine, when we’re analysing brand SEO health and brand power, crucially a lot of the information signals will be found outside of your website.

We can divide these signals can be divided into three core parts:

  • Brand search visibility
  • Brand popularity
  • Brand authority

Brand search visibility

When was the last time you Googled your brand? What came up?

Brand search can be a powerful mechanism for attracting high-conversion traffic to your site. But that’s not all — if your site increases in popularity through brand search, it’ll stand a better chance of showing up in unbranded searches too, because the more traffic your site gains, the more momentum it’ll gather in the SERPs. 

But what if your brand’s SERP real estate is packed with competitors? Or worse yet, what if there are barely any results for your branded keywords?

To solve this, you’ll need to perform a brand search analysis. Start with the following questions:

  1. What results appear in organic search when a user searches for my brand?
  2. Are these results owned by my brand, or someone else? (They could be a competitor, user, or publication).
  3. What’s the sentiment of these results? Positive or negative?
  4. Is the content high-quality, and does it match with the brand image? Is it consistent with what you would write on your own website?

Try to answer all these questions whilst taking a closer look at each of the SERP features:

  • Images: Are the images pointing to your website or other websites? Do they showcase your brand in a positive light?
  • News: Are there news results for your brand?
  • Videos: Are there video results for your brand?
  • Knowledge Panel: Do you have a Knowledge Panel? If not, is there a Google Business Profile? 
  • Forums: Do people discuss your brand on forums? Are you part of that conversation? If people are talking about your brand, that’s a step in the right direction.

Answer all of the questions above, and you’ll gain a much clearer view of what your target audience sees upon searching for your brand. 

But it’s not enough to familiarise yourself with just your own brand’s standing in the SERPs —  you need to review your competitors too. If they’re ranking for keywords that you aren’t, you need to find out what they’re doing differently. 

How many SERP features are controlled by your competitors? Featured snippets, local packs, video carousels — these features can often mean the difference between failure and success in the SERPs. 

Finally, you need to analyse how your brand is perceived by AI – more specifically Large Language Models (LLMs).

Through a simple prompt like ‘who is [insert your brand]’, you can gain all sorts of insights into what different LLMs think of your brand; what they consider important/significant, and why they might want to use your brand as a source in their answers. 

After your initial question, try following up with something like ‘Where did you get this information from?’. My guess would be:

  • The mission statement on your website
  • Your Google Business Profile
  • Your G2 (or similar) listing
  • Your brand reviews/testimonials
  • Your About Us page

If you spot anything that isn’t correct, doesn’t match your positioning, or puts your brand in an unfavourable light, tackle these sources first.

Brand search popularity

Brand search popularity is a litmus test for your marketing strategies — it shows how well your various channels are performing together. If you’ve run a successful Instagram ad campaign, there’s a decent chance more users are going to search for your brand organically, and similarly, ranking for a popular keyword could improve the performance of your ads. 

But here’s the thing: Not everyone rushes to buy after seeing an ad. They need to feel the need you’re promising to fulfil, at a price that makes sense, and they need to believe you’re the best choice.

So, what happens next? They scroll on. They forget, then maybe remember later, triggered by another sighting of your brand or even that same ad. And when the stars align, they’ll Google your brand to see what’s what. That’s your brand search opportunity. The more people do this, the more popular your brand becomes. 

But the search volume for your brand will never be stable — it will fluctuate depending on your marketing activity (and budget). For some brands the fluctuations can be huge: One mention in the news can skyrocket search volumes. Take Meta, for example — Mark Zuckerberg’s court case, while not the most positive of stories, did cause a huge surge in searches for the company.

Mark Zuckerberg’s court case might’ve been rough for him, but it had some upsides for Meta’s standing in the SERPS!

When your brand starts popping up more in searches, search engines take notice. “Hey, people are curious about this brand,” they think. “Let’s make sure they find the good stuff.” Like your website, for starters. Meanwhile, your rivals are playing their own game, keeping you on your toes.

But how do you know where your business truly stands in the market when it comes to brand search? Brand keyword search volume is a good start, but to gain a deeper understanding, you need Share of Search analysis. And as luck would have it, I’ve shared a quick process on how to create a Share of Search report in WTS Newsletter column. This report will tell you whether your brand SEO matches your slice of the market’s pie. Because even if you think you’re the top dog, if search engines don’t see it, neither will your audience.

Brand authority

When we talk about authority, we usually think of things like domain authority or topical authority. But your brand holds its own authority too, both in the eyes of search engines and real-life humans.

One simple way to gauge your brand’s authority is by checking your link profile: do you effortlessly snag links from high-authority sites, or are your links mostly spammy or irrelevant? Can you score mentions through digital PR, or do journalists shy away from using your brand in their stories?

If you’re getting press coverage (congrats!), is it generally positive or negative? Even big brands deal with negative press (some more than others) so they’ve got to work extra hard on their brand SEO to balance things out.

For smaller brands, it’s crucial to see if any press coverage actually resonates with your audience and drives up brand searches and traffic (maybe even referral traffic).

But your authority and online rep aren’t just about digital PR. If people are talking about your brand, search engines know. Plus, users can easily stumble upon these conversations.

Good ol’ word of mouth is still alive and kicking — it’s just gone digital. User-generated content (UGC) isn’t limited to comment sections and forums; it’s also in your brand’s reviews and testimonials.

Sure, a handful of glowing 5-star reviews feel nice, but if your competitors have 400 reviews averaging 4.3 stars, they won’t get you far. Understanding how you stack up in the market gives you perspective. It also helps you focus on getting more reviews, responding to them, or digging into why some customers aren’t thrilled with your product or service — maybe there’s a big problem you need to tackle.


Cutting through all the noise online isn’t easy, but if you’re struggling to gain a foothold in the market, you’ll need to take a holistic approach and look deeper than your site’s traffic metrics. Authenticity matters, not just in the eyes of the audience, but for the search engines, too.

For Google, authenticity signals trustworthiness and relevance, and a solid, consistent brand identity is one of the best ways to gain favour in the SERPs. 

Conduct a brand SEO health check today, and pave the way for growth tomorrow. To learn more about building your brand’s online presence, check our guide on the best brand SEO tactics

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