The Benefits of an Audit

Skye Tunks

Account Manager
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What is an Audit?

A ‘Site Audit’ is the equivalent of giving your website a full diagnostic before an MOT, done correctly it will give you a complete overview of the current state and effectiveness of your website. This will, of course, apply to any website, regardless of industry, or whether you are B2B, B2C or eCommerce. So, what are the benefits of an audit?

“Audits help you identify and fix common problems that affect your site’s performance, accessibility and user experience.” – Google Lighthouse.

Benefits of an Audit

A full audit should be undertaken before a new marketing strategy is put into place. This is best practice to see where a website is at, positive and negative points within each aspect (technical, on-page & off-page). A detailed evaluation of your website will help you understand, a lack of traffic on your website, what technical issues exist which could be harmful to your visibility on Google and ultimately how to increase sales. 

Either way, it’s best practice to know exactly what’s going on with your website to improve on your marketing efforts.

Benefits of an audit include the following;

  • Find the answers to those burning questions you haven’t yet found the answer to, such as knowing exactly why sales have dropped or even increased
  • Audits aren’t all negative, they are great for finding aspects of your website which really work, these can then be enhanced upon
  • You know exactly what’s going on with your website, website users and best practices on how to maintain a healthy website

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 entirely 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.

Different Types of Audit & What They’re Used For

Technical Audit

A technical SEO audit is a process in which you delve into the technical aspects of your websites SEO. Technical SEO can cover a huge range of things but the key ones to look for which may be harming your website rankings and visibility are, response code errors such as 404 or 500, slow site speed, be sure to check every page (not just the homepage), duplicate content and missing schema. 

Some interesting stats on the importance of User Experience 

While your site is being crawled, search engines are also checking to figure out how secure, fast, and easy-to-use it is.

On-Page SEO Audit 

“Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site.” – Google Webmasters

Although there are over 200 ranking factors we can all agree that content as a whole is one of the ones to focus your initial efforts on. An on-page SEO audit mainly looks at the following:

  • Freshness and quality of content – (How to write the perfect blog post)
  • Local SEO visibility
  • Page titles and title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Clear Hierarchy
  • Using Analytics to check site performance including time on page, bounce rates and top pages
  • Internal linking strategy 

Off-page SEO Audit

Checking your off-page SEO is always key in making sure your website is receiving quality traffic which is beneficial to your company. Backlinks are critical if you want your SEO to succeed as it shows authority amongst your competitors.

Making sure backlink traffic is coming from quality & trusted websites, these can include brand mentions, content placements or source-linking. Perform a backlink audit to check for any toxic backlinks, good tools such as SEMrush will list your toxic backlinks which are harmful to your website domain authority.

Off-page SEO can also include aspects of Local SEO, if your business has a local presence or store-front then it’s important to check you’re mentioned/listed on local websites and your Google My Business is up to date.

Some interesting stats for User Experience 

Benefits of an Audit – what next?

Now you understand the benefits of an audit, it’s time to find out what your website needs to perform them?

Google itself utilises over 200 different factors to determine where your website should appear in SERP’s Search Engine Result Pages or just plain search results. A long time ago it was easy to rank a website but the Search Engines learned that they need to be savvy, taking into account a great many things, some of which we already discussed above. But there are more such as site speed, mobile-friendliness and responsiveness, the authority of the content on your page and the content itself. 

All these things and the other factors in the search algorithms contribute to user experience and how well your website performs in providing the user with the information they searched for within the original query.

These technicalities are advancing and changing all of the time, sometimes it is difficult to keep pace with the ever-changing specifics.

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?

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 the performance of your site.

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 and so avoid penalties.

Now you know the benefits of an audit, it’s time to run one!

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