Site Audits, what are they and why you need one?
Conducting an audit will give you a clear overview of the effectiveness of your website, regardless of your industry or whether you are a B2B, B2C or an eCommerce store. An audit should form an important part of any structured online marketing strategy and provides the foundation for understanding how your site is performing, what is working and what is not.
A concise and effective SEO audit goes into more depth on the functionality of your website and how your business will appear in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). This audit then helps you to understand many important metrics, such as why your website is not generating your forecasted traffic or why your conversion rate seems to be dipping. Once the audit has provided the areas for improvement, it creates a set amount of problems that need to be fixed, tweaked and a plan on how to market your website better in the future.
Automated Audit Tools
There are many automatic audit tools out there that claim to give you a free site audit or that give you an “SEO score”. Often these automated audits will give you a nice looking report that shows you a few standard things that are wrong with your website but they are invariably designed to be a lead generation tool for the website that you found them on.
Many will provide you with some sound discoveries of problems on your site, but bear in mind that they are likely to only do this for the page you ask them to (generally your Homepage). Often, therefore, missing some of the potential larger SEO pitfalls that your site may be experiencing. It is also likely that these sites will only provide you with minimal information, not enough to go away and fix the issues that they have highlighted, leaving you helpless and wanting assistance, (hence the lead generation).
Not all of these tools are entire without merit as there are a couple that will give you some good indicators of what to fix and how to fix it. In my experience, there are two tools that are quite popular, these are Woorank and SEOSiteCheckup. Both of these popular tools will provide you with more depth than those lead gen alternatives mentioned earlier, but again they will only look at pages on an individual level and not the site as a whole.
So why do you need an Audit?
Working in digital marketing over the years I have seen so many variations in not only the search engines but also importantly how the search engines use algorithms to decide what to show the user when they first start a search. Google itself utilises over 200 different factors to determine where your website should appear in those search results.
When search engines and keywords were in their earlier days many businesses would simply place keywords in the relevant ranking places, such as page titles, H1 elements and within the content. In fact, many would stuff the meta keyword tag full of keyword terms to rank in search engines. Search Engines soon tired of this and these tactics no longer work, in fact, they can now get you penalised.
Search engines learnt that they need to be savvy, taking into account things like site speed, mobile friendliness and responsiveness, your content and the authority of the content on your page. All contributing to user experience and how well your website provides the user with what they wanted out of their search query.
However, these technicalities are continually changing and being updated, sometimes it’s difficult to keep up to date with these ever changing specifics.
So how can you keep up with these changes?
Let’s do a little test here, ask yourself these simple questions:
- Do you know how many backlinks are coming to your website?
- Do you know the quality of those backlinks?
- Do you know if any of those backlinks are potentially harmful to your business?
- Does your site take a long time to load?
- Is your site navigation effective for the user?
- Is your site structure harming or benefiting the site?
- Do you have duplicate Page Titles or any other meta issues?
- Does your site have schema implemented?
- Do you know what Schema is?
Are you getting nervous yet? If you could answer one or two of the above questions, then well done however I have a feeling you might not have been able to, in which case you need an audit.
If you answered some of them confidently but other aspects you are unsure of, you would still benefit from an audit as they provide you with a more in-depth understanding of the problems on your site. Audits are bespoke, made to measure pieces of work, they do not have to be on a one-off basis if you want some assistance in fixing the problems. Also, it pays to audit the site regularly in specific areas to monitor your sites performance.
Don’t forget, Algorithms change and guidelines from both Google and Bing are regularly updated, all these elements affect your site’s performance, a site audit can monitor these fluctuations so avoid penalties.
What to expect
Done correctly an effective site audit should provide you with a lot of data, which can be interpreted. Regardless of the size of your site and audit is not a quick, simple process and you will get a fairly sizeable document, something resembling an academics dissertation.
Our audits take all of that data and deliver you with some meaningful insights on your business and your sector. Most importantly it provides you with actionable points that either you, your web developer or an agency can implement in order to improve your site’s performance and visibility. Our audits come in a summarised form so that you can easily go through the individual tasks without having to read the full audit every time. Our technical audits can easily be 80 plus pages which you don’t want to flick through every time you want to make some adjustments.
We provide a task sheet that breaks down each individual point discussed in the audit as well as the full audit data section that lists all of the data discussed within the audit in meaningful sections and task related pages.
Thinking you should check the effectiveness of your site? Get in touch with us today to book in for a consultation to discuss the perfect bespoke audit for you.
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What our client say...
“Richard and his team took a lot of time out of his day to come and visit us, see our products, see what we’re about and understand our industry. The results, they speak for themselves really.”
CEO & Founder
1 Stop Spas