This is where a site audit comes in to review any elements of your site that may currently be under performing but also as a way to prepare your website for what is going to be your most successful year yet.

With an array of updates last year, on both Google, Facebook, Instagram and many more digital platforms it is ever more important to make sure that you are doing all that you can to make sure that your website is ranking for its product but also so that you are not inflicting any potentially poisonous penalties on your site.

By conducting an audit following your busiest month of December for most eCommerce business you will be given a clear indication of the effectiveness of your website. A number one reason for conducting an audit is to create and follow a structured online marketing strategy, it provides the foundation for understanding how your site is currently performing, more specifically what is working and most importantly what is not!

There are multiple elements that an audit can focus on and across different digital marketing channels, an exploratory SEO audit goes into more depth on the functionality of your website and how your business appears in SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages). A technical SEO audit allows more insight into the performance of your website and why it may not be converting as well as planned or generating the forecasted traffic. Once the audit has provided the areas that are not performing as well as hoped, it outlines the areas for improvement. An audit creates a specific amount of problems that need to be fixed, amended and following the changes it allows you to plan on how to work with the best website possible.

In October last year, Google issued the final update for their Penguin algorithm, the one responsible for adjusting your ranking as a result of your backlinks. With this update, Google confirmed that the algorithm would work on a realtime basis and forms part of their core search algorithm. This reiterates the importance of regularly auditing your site in order to understand if your site is penalised or if any of your backlinks have the potential to create problems for your site at a later date. The result of this is that an audit must proactively look at the backlink profile of your website, specifically looking at links that could potentially need removing or replacing in accordance to Google’s guidelines.

An audit should be an essential part of your marketing activity in order to fully analyse and understand where your site is underperforming. Having worked alongside the growth of Digital Marketing I have been privy to so many variations in not only the search engines but also importantly how the search engines use their algorithms to decide what to show the user at the first stages of a search. You may or may not be aware that Google utilises over 200 different factors when it decides whether your website should appear in the search results.

Search Engines have become savvier, taking into account more elements than the historical basics. They are ranking your site as a result of an accumulation of factors including the speed of your site, the mobile friendliness and responsiveness. As you may know, if you have suffered a drop is traffic as a result of Google’s mobile update. Your content is also incredibly important as we have mentioned, as an eCommerce business, it is increasingly more important to make sure your copy is unique and not just the same manufacturer’s description. Ultimately all these different dimensions contribute to the user experience that a visitor gets on your website and how well your site answers the searcher’s query.

The most challenging part of digital marketing is that the technicalities behind the algorithms are continually changing and being updated, sometimes making it hard to keep up with the ever-changing specifics. There is a selection of some elements that you should prioritise, these include:

  • Regulating the backlinks of your site, this includes being aware of how many backlinks there are coming to your site as well as knowing the quality of those backlinks. Your backlink profile could have a substantial effect on your ranking opportunities. Do you know if any of the backlinks in hand are potentially harmful? As mentioned earlier, if you do not conduct regular website audits, an essential area that you should regularly monitor and audit are your backlinks!
  • Speed, how long does your site take to load? As an eCommerce store, every second that it takes to load will ultimately lose you sales. This is something that you can test and fix usually quite simply without having to contact external web developers.
  • Navigation, when a visitor lands on your site they should be able to find what it is that they are after, quickly and with ease. If you have made your navigation too complicated and are using terminology and jargon that the average layman visitor does not understand then you will lose them. Using analytics you should be able to further analyse whether your site structure is harming or benefiting your site and this is most commonly understood through the bounce rate and the pages per visit. The next level to this is to delve deeper and actually look at Heat Mapping of the customer journey, understanding which areas of a page they spend time on and which areas they quickly leave.

eCommerce Site Audit Checklist

These are just some elements that you can try to understand and fix yourself, if you would like to conduct a full DIY audit then please simply click on this image above and download a specific eCommerce audit that will allow you to pinpoint any issues with your site currently.