As corporate websites become an increasingly important sales and marketing tool for companies across all industries, it’s important that participants in M&A pay particular consideration to the websites of companies they’re hiring.
In most cases acquirers hire a dedicated small and large agencies specialised on seo due diligence equiped with professionals and tools like Ninja Reports to conduct proper analysis. It will allow SEO’s to run website SEO analysis on the company and internal websites one-time or regularly. Ninja Reports is for do-it-yourselfers and small firms looking to generate seo audits, backlink analysis and track keyword positions.
But let’s first clarify what is due diligence in M&A and why SEO due diligence may plan and important part in overall marketing audit of a company.
Properly conducted due diligence will identify and evaluate risks in the company or asset being acquired, enabling the buyer to make more informed decisions as to the proper valuation of the company or asset based on the findings of the due diligence.
Why is SEO due diligence important?
With e-commerce sales accounting for around 20% of total retail sales, it’s important that companies are driving consumers to their websites. This is the job of SEO. It’s not just retail though.
Goods and services companies of all kinds now depend on SEO to generate sales, and those statistics usually don’t show up in industry totals. Whether you need an accountant, a lawyer, a hairdresser, or a car rental, the likelihood is you’re going to search for it online.
Thus, SEO is now a key component of a company’s business model, and that means it’s a key component of due diligence. Buyers and investors should look at a range of issues (see section which follows when considering due diligence).
It might not be a dealbreaker if a company’s website is underperforming on SEO – in some cases, it may even be a plus as it indicates low hanging fruit for improving the acquisition’s sales and marketing potential.
What to look out for in SEO due diligence
A good place to start is to assume that anyone searching for a company like yours is going to do so on Google.
Why is this assumption fair? Because Google has over 90% market share among global search engines.
For SEO to be effective, first and foremost it has to work on Google’s algorithms. Google’s algorithm considers approximately 200 different factors when looking at the efficacy of a website. These include:
- Security: Although this doesn’t the highest priority on Google’s ranking algorithm, it should be for your company. Unless the site domain has Https: in front, it should be avoided.
- Keywords: Use a keyword checking tool to ensure that your content is using the right keywords in the right amounts, and in the right places.
- Domain name: The company’s domain name should itself be a keyword and be regularly searched through Google.
- Page speed: Google gives higher priority to high-speed websites, so check for the speed of the company’s website on PageSpeedInsights.com or Pingdom.com.
- Mobile friendly: Google offers a mobile friendly test (see here), which enables you to check whether the website is mobile friendly or not – a critical issue for a website’s SEO as internet traffic increasingly moves onto mobile devices.
SEO Due Diligence Checklist
Most of us now use the internet for several hours per day, giving us a good feeling for what works and what doesn’t. It can be difficult to articulate what the difference between a bad site and a good site is, however.
For the purpose of references, we’re including an SEO due diligence checklist below for those that are looking to evaluate the potential of a website of a potential acquisition.
- Site architecture
- Indexing and caching
2. Site content
- Quality of content
- Content SEO potential
- Content areas for improvement
3. Algorithmic Resistance
- Resilience against future algorithm updates
4. Internal and External Linking
- Link equity
- Quantity and quality of links
5. Page speed
6. Mobile usability
Talk to DealRoom about due diligence
DealRoom is an expert in due diligence. For anybody conducting due diligence for the first time, talk to us about how we can help.
If there’s an M&A topic you’d like to address, just look at the first page of results on Google search about due diligence for our material as proof of our competence, and the value that we can bring to your process.