What is a website audit?
A website audit is a complete analysis of your website. It covers the factors that determine your site’s visibility in search engines. This includes; page errors, indexed pages & site speed.
Website audits are an in-depth examination of your site. Using tools and your eyes, together with your knowledge and experience to understand the opportunities. An audit will give you an understanding of what is not working and where to concentrate your efforts.
Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.
I don’t much care where –
Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Is your website performing as expected? Or perhaps you want to improve the performance and increase sales or conversions. An audit can run through your entire website and quickly uncover issues holding the site back. One question to always be asking of your digital channels, can this be better?
Decide what areas to focus on and consider the return on the investment, all too often I have found audits uncover issues that are simple to fix and have a significant impact on improving business. With any new client an audit is often one of the very first steps suggested and one that can see the greatest return.
You are not limited to who does the implementation from the findings, it could be your in-house team or an external supplier, my role, after delivery of the audit findings, is mostly limited to consulting.
Contact me to find out more about how a website audit can help your business grow today, or submit your website below for a simple free review.
Why do a website audit?
For any website an audit is a vital part of the business. A website audit should be completed least once a year, although preferably twice a year. An audit is also the key step before you complete any major changes on your website such as a refresh or a full overhaul, it can serve as a marker so that you know when something went wrong and how long it’s been going wrong.
Why do I need a website audit
Search engines are getting smarter. We are seeing more changes in how they work out the search results when someone does a search.
Many years ago it was as simple as adding keywords to your title tags and content and header tags. Add few back links and that was it, you got first page ranking!
Those days are long gone. Between February 2015 and 2016 there were seven notable updates from Google, these included:
- Mobile update (also known as “Mobilegeddon”)
- A quality update
- Panda 4.2
- Adwords update
The chances are each one of these would have had an impact on your website. And don’t forget Google makes many more smaller and incremental updates every single day (around 600 a year). There are also the attributes that Google looks at, any one of over 200 elements related to your site and the search. All this determines whether you make a first page listing, or buried away on the fourth page.
To keep on top off all this you need awareness of how your website is working, and to what extend search changes have affected your rankings. How customers are seeing your website, that is where the website audit comes in.
How long will a website audit take?
I run a number of different types of audits across digital marketing from basic website review audits completed in a few hours through to detailed audits with over 160 checkpoints. For larger websites completing a detailed audit it is not unusual for it to take any where from 2-3 weeks to complete. For smaller website keen to get an overall sense of how their website is performing an audit might be only 2-3 days.
How much does a website audit cost?
The cost of an audit will depend on whether it’s for an information based site or an eCommerce based site. It’s also going to depend on the size and complexity of situation as well.
What you are paying the auditor to do is to take whatever analysis tools they use and compare and contrast the data form those reports. Then, utilising their expertise, to compile an assessment of what that data means for your site and your business.
What you are really paying for is the expertise of the auditor. This is your investment.
A website audit needs to be part of your marketing budget each year, and keep in mind budgeting for the actions coming out of the audit such as a site penalty.
Cheap audits are going to give you a summary of report data from tools that don’t take into account the changing environment of search. Or a report without a proper interpretation of what those tool reports mean to your business and your customers.
For a small medium website this could be anywhere from £500-£4,000. Remember, expertise is key to getting a successful result, your audit is only going to be as good as the person conducting it.
How to Audit Your Website Content for SEO
Website audits can be tedious and time consuming, but by now most marketers know that they are a necessary for driving website success.
With Google’s frequent algorithm updates and improvements, SEO rules and best practices are changing. Reevaluating your digital strategies is one of the only ways to stay on top of these changes.
With the time and right resource a website audit can be completed in house, it does not have to be stressful or difficult, but it needs planning. You need to understand what your are looking for how to make changes and how to check those updates.
Areas to look at include:
- Data from your website analytics
- Review your targeted keywords
- Identify any issues at a domain level, including the speed of the website
- How well is the site indexed? (Type “site:www.domain.com” into Google to see what content is appearing in the list of indexed content).
- Look at issues with links, both internally and externally
- Review Title Tags, Meta data, etc.
Types of digital audit
You can audit anything and everything and audits will depend on what you are trying to achieve with some covering niche areas and other much wider in focus. While there can often be plenty of overlap of the types of audits, these are a few of the more common.
Examines your website to identify any potential technical issues and areas for improvement. This looks at how your site is indexed by the search engines, site architecture and errors such as broken links and missing pages. The SEO audit will also look into keywords, which ones are being targeted and which ones are bringing traffic to the site. Keyword research tends to be amongst the most time-consuming when it comes to site audits, but it always reveals the most insight
A content audit determines which pages need to be improved or created in light of the keyword analysis. It also identifies the strongest pages on a domain to develop a strategy to improve them.
Diving deep into the technical aspects of your website, including issues around mobile, international, and site speed
All too often I have seen websites that have the traffic and the numbers look good, but no one is buying. Usability looks at the critical tasks of your website against business goals and basic usability standards. together with other areas this can be used to review how users are converting to sales across the site.
The websites linking into you do matter and can impact your websites visibility. Analyse of your backlink profile can identify quality issues or risks of a penalty.
Social Media Audit
An analyse of your social media activity, are you using the best platforms for your audience? Are you using your current platforms in the best possible way? And how are your social activities integrated into the rest of your business?
You are paying to have your ads shown on google. This audit will identify how well they are performing and how best to target your spending.
Improving your website
Whether you are completing an audit in-house or looking to hire a consultant to complete one with you, the sooner you act the better. As a Digital Marketing Consultant every audit performed is custom tailored to your specific situation. An audit will typically include:
- Technical Audit of your website
- Content analysis
- Keyword analysis
- Backlink identification and review
- Competitor review